Flags, fetes and fascism

When I first saw the photo on social media I thought it was a fake, a mock up created by some user in order to make a point about the slide of Britain into authoritarianism and outright fascism. But sadly, it was all too real. The photograph of Regent Street in the centre of London, literally wall to wall with union flags, like all of Northern Ireland’s orange flute bands had decided to launder their union jack themed bedding on the same day and hang it up to dry along one of London’s most important thoroughfares was no fake. This really is what parts of the UK look like in 2022, bedecked in a fetishistic flag shagging orgy of red white and blue.

The only thing distinguishing this from North Korea or Red Square is the absence of a parade of tanks and missile launchers and marching soldiers. There’s a fawning and sycophancy on the TV and in the press that would not be out of place in a dictatorship in the midst of a full-blown personality cult. A personality cult is precisely what it is, and while the UK is not a totalitarian dictatorship, it has already gone a long way down the road to authoritarianism and a failed democracy.

Tories on social media praised the display and suggested that there is nothing that is wrong with modern Britain that can’t be solved with more flags and even greater obsequiousness to the Royal family. This is 2022. In any self-respecting state the quasi-deification of an obscenely wealthy family of social parasites would be an embarrassment, but in modern Britain we are so far down the rabbit hole that it is considered the epitome of bad taste to discuss the fact that a 97 year old head of state is statistically unlikely to be around for much longer and to want to talk about ensuring that the office of head of state is in the future more representative and accountable to the people.

All this is taking place as photos are revealed showing Johnson partying during lockdown, photos which prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the Prime Law-Breaker repeatedly lied to Parliament. ITV News has obtained pictures of Boris Johnson drinking at a No10 party during lockdown in November 2020. The photos cast fresh doubt on the PM’s repeated claims he was unaware of rule-breaking in No10 during the pandemic. On a personal level these photos are deeply hurtful.

In November 2020 I was lying in a hospital bed, paralysed down the entire left side of my body after suffering a massive stroke. I did not know if I would ever walk again, or even be able to function on a most basic level, it was a truly terrifying experience, yet because of covid restrictions no visitors were allowed into the hospital.  I saw my husband just once, glimpsed from a first floor window as he stood waving in the rain in the car park below. I have never felt more alone or more afraid, and I was far from being the only person put through that dreadful terror. I accepted it, as others did, because we knew it was for the greater good. Other people died alone, without the comfort of loved ones. Families were unable to say a final farewell to their nearest and dearest. Yet as all this was going on,  Johnson was having a party in Downing Street, lying to us that we’re all in this together.

The police have fined some of those who were at the November party, meaning that the police consider it was an illegal party. However there has been no explanation from the police about why they didn’t fine Johnson, who was not only present, but who according to some reports had been the one who instigated the party. It only adds to the already strong impression that in Britain there is one rule for ordinary people and another for the rich and powerful. Johnson was asked specifically about this party in the Commons, but denied that there had been any party on the date this party took place. He lied to Parliament, but still his party won’t force him from office.

Douglas Ross has called on the Prime Law-Breaker to explain himself, but Douglas Ross has quite a bit of explaining of himself to do too. First he wanted Johnson to resign, then he didn’t, and now it looks like another U turn may be on the cards. Ross should just install himself in a revolving door, it would make all those about faces easier, and easier for Ross to decide which of his faces to present to the public that day.

But never mind any of that, we have flags, we have the Queen, we have jubilee pudding, we have a commemorative coin for William’s 40th birthday bearing an image of the Prince with rather more hair than he really has, and these things allegedly more than make up for the fact that callous deceit, cronyism, authoritarianism , a determination to avoid accountability, and contempt for the public are what pass for the governing principles of the modern Conservative party. That is what all those flags stand for, and that’s why so many of us look at the images of Regent Street and are sick to our stomachs. The modern UK is flags, fetes and fascism.

For the benefit of younger readers. It is important to remember that what is happening in UK now is not normal. It is not acceptable, and it must be resisted. I was born in 1962. Even though I remember all the misery and contempt for ordinary working people displayed during the Thatcher years, never have I seen such a serious threat to the rule of law, standards in public life, human rights and democracy itself as the danger that emanates from Johnson’s government. When the law does not apply to the lawmakers we are not being governed, we are being ruled over while democracy and justice are being overruled. I did not think it was possible to despise a politician more than I despised Thatcher, but Johnson has managed it.

Tory MP Michael Fabricant – he of the straw blonde wig that couldn’t look more fake if it was actually made out of real straw – took to Twitter to tell us how lovely all those flags on Regent Street were and to express his upset that people had the temerity to criticise a display of triumphal nationalism in a state whose government has contempt for the law and for truth and decency for looking ever so slightly fascist.

But this is British nationalism that we are talking about here after all, and has been mentioned previously on this blog on numerous occasions, the defining characteristic of Anglo-British nationalism is a refusal to acknowledge that it is in fact nationalist, so you can be certain that modern Anglo-British fascism will be equally in denial about its fascism. British fascism comes with fops in Savile Row suits and English public school accents, telling you that they will protect you from “the woke”, or from Europe, or from Scottish nationalism, or from migrants and asylum seekers, while they strip you of your rights, destroy democratic accountability, slash public services to the bone and enrich themselves and their cronies from public funds.

For some bizarre reason, and let’s face it just about everything to do with Michael Fabricant is bizarre, the Tory MP has taken to writing his name on Twitter in Russian, as Майкл Фабрикант, alongside his Ukrainian flag emoji. In Ukrainian it would be Михайло Фабрiкант. But then he probably thinks that he’s written his name in Ukrainian and just doesn’t know the difference. An inability to distinguish between foreign types is another defining characteristic of Anglo-British nationalism, just like an inability to distinguish between democracy and fascism.

albarevisedMy Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to weegingerbook@yahoo.com (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).

I am now writing the daily newsletter for The National, published every day from Monday to Friday in the late afternoon.  So if you’d like a daily dose of dug you can subscribe to The National, Scotland’s only pro-independence newspaper, here: Subscriptions from The National

This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.

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The choice: independence and democracy, or the UK and jingoistic authoritarianism

On Sunday there were two important political developments. As the long-awaited Sue Gray report comes closer to publication following the conclusion of a police investigation which saw the Prime Law-Breaker and the Chancellor both be fined for breaking lockdown laws, and over a hundred fixed penalty notices being issued to staff at Downing Street. Now the attention has turned to what smells like an attempt by Johnson to interfere with what is likely to be a damning report about the culture of contempt and entitlement which Johnson presided over in Downing Street.

Questions are being asked about a meeting Johnson held with Sue Gray. Downing Street had originally claimed that it was Sue Gray herself who had requested the meeting, something that the senior civil servant was forced to deny. Secretary of State for education Nadhim Zahawi was trotted out for the TV in order to explain that a man who got sacked twice for lying, lied to the queen, lied to Parliament, confected a series of lies about the EU,and cheated on two wives, would never lie about a meeting with Sue Gray. Zahawi hummed and hawed his way through the interview, unable to answer the simple question of who called the meeting despite this story first having broken on the previous Friday and Zahawi certainly knew that he was going to be asked about it when he agreed to go on Sky News. Yet again we see the contempt that this government has for accountability. They are not even pretending to answer a very simple question.

I want to say that his car crash interview was a new low for this government, but sadly we know that another new low will be along in a day or two, possibly the next time that Michael Gove decides to adopt a silly accent in order to give a flippant non-answer to a serious question that has many thousands of people deeply worried.

Meanwhile in Scotland, following her as not seen on the BBC trip to the USA during which she discussed Scottish independence with senior American officials, the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon published a piece in The National on Sunday in which she announced that her government will shortly publish its new prospectus for independence and reiterated the reasons why ,despite the denials of the Conservatives and Labour, now is most definitely the time to debate Scottish independence. She stated that the matter of whether the people of Scotland want another independence referendum was decided in last year’s Holyrood elections when the people gave a large majority in Holyrood to parties which support another referendum and reaffirmed her government’s determination to ensure that the referendum will take place within the promised timetable.

The First Minister said that this reinvigorated debate will centre on deciding how to manage and develop the extraordinary assets of Scotland in order to build a better nation. Scotland, she noted, is one of the wealthiest countries in the world with an almost incomparable the combination of natural resources, a highly-educated population and a competitive edge in some of the global sectors of the future.

She also noted that here is no longer a status quo.

The world has changed dramatically since 2014. The Conservatives have taken the UK out of the EU, the single market and the customs union, dragging an unwilling Scotland with them. They have used Brexit as an excuse to embark upon an assault on the devolution settlement, without seeking the consent of the Scottish people to do so, in direct breach of the promises that they made to Scotland in 2014 in order to secure a no vote in that year’s independence referendum. We have experienced the pandemic which proved that Scotland is perfectly capable of rising to the challenges of a global crisis, and to make a better fist of it than an increasingly corrupt Westminster.

In Scotland, the Conservatives and their allies continue to deny the outcome of last year’s Holyrood election. This was an election fought on the single dominating issue of a second independence referendum. The people of Scotland listened to the arguments, and returned a Scottish Parliament with the greatest pro-independence majority ever, yet having lost that election the Conservatives and Labour continue to refuse to accept that the people of Scotland voted the way they did and in a blatant denial of democracy they continue to threaten to block another referendum from taking place. This raises the important question of whether Scotland can enjoy democracy within a UK where British parties have no qualms about using the electoral power they derive from votes elsewhere in the UK in order to block the democratic choices of the people of Scotland.

We have also seen the rise of populism and authoritarianism around the world, with an emboldened nationalist right take measures to weaken and undermine democracy and to evade accountability, measures which the right wing Anglo-British nationalist government of Johnson has adopted with enthusiasm. We have seen a drastic curtailment of the right to protest, the independent Electoral Commission being brought under government control, obstacles being put in the way of exercising the right to vote, a law-breaking Prime Minister who lies with impunity yet is still defended by his party while corruption runs rampant and the Conservatives are fueled by dark money and donations from wealthy individuals who are rewarded with honours and peerages. But hey! Jubilee! flags! Gawdbless’er isn’t she maaaaaarvellous!

The Home Secretary now seeks to silence police chiefs from speaking out on matters she deems to be politically sensitive. Patel is also seeking reforms to the Official Secrets Act which could see journalists facing prison sentences of up to 14 years for publishing stories that embarrass the Government. The move would criminalise the leaking of papers to the press, even when it revealed that the Government was breaking the law or that there was a clear public interest in releasing the information.

We have also seen Putin’s invasion of Ukraine which has driven over six million Ukrainians into exile according to the UN, has wrought destruction on swathes of Ukraine and cost the lives of thousands. The war has destroyed the post cold war security consensus and reanimated fear of nuclear conflict as well as illustrating the dangers of relying on dictatorships to supply a large part of Europe’s energy needs.

The climate crisis continues to worsen, and together with the need to move away from the fossil fuels which fund dictators, it is increasingly imperative that Scotland develops its massive potential for renewal energies to the full. For all these reasons and more, a new prospectus for independence is needed, one which talks more about the democratic deficit of the UK. The political struggle of our time is no longer left versus right. It is democracy versus authoritarianism. The UK is becoming an authoritarian failed democracy. It’s a very far cry from the claims of Better Together in 2014 that Scotland relied upon the UK as a guarantor of democracy and good government.

The response of British nationalists was to attempt to get trending on social media a hashtag based upon unfounded homophobic rumours, about an alleged incident in their fantasy of the First Minister’s personal life, which supposedly took place quite some time ago and which even if it was true has nothing to do with whether the First Minister is any good at her job, and which in any case has even less to do with whether or not Scotland should be an independent country. Tell me that you are afraid to engage with the substantive issues without telling me that you are afraid to engage with the substantive issues. If irrelevant homophobic ad hominem whataboutery is what passes for a “positive case for the union” these days, then no wonder the Tories and their allies are so terrified of another independence referendum.

albarevisedMy Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to weegingerbook@yahoo.com (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).

I am now writing the daily newsletter for The National, published every day from Monday to Friday in the late afternoon.  So if you’d like a daily dose of dug you can subscribe to The National, Scotland’s only pro-independence newspaper, here: Subscriptions from The National

This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.

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

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The English dreaming of Peter Hitchens

Peter Hitchens, the conservative contrarian who hates to be called a contrarian, has decided that Brexit isn’t enough to restore greatness to England as it still leaves England encumbered with Scotland and Wales, countries which he appears to see as lesser nations which sap the glory that rightfully belongs to England alone. Hitchens has published a column in the Daily Mail in which he argues that England should give up trying to persuade Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to stay and instead secede from the United Kingdom, leaving the ungrateful Celts to get on with it by themselves. England, he tells us, should leave the UK to embrace “a golden future,” a future which judging by recent behaviour would seem to consist of being stroppy and ripping up treaties which it had itself negotiated, deporting migrants and asylum seekers, bollocks to everyone, and flags everywhere, sticking it to Europe with two world wars and a referendum.

The piece reeks with the exceptionalism and claimed victimhood which are the contradictory twin characteristics of modern right wing English nationalism. Hitchens is at pains to stress that his proposal does not mean that England would declare independence. Hitchens’ England is far too grand and glorious for that, declarations of independence are what lesser dependent nations do. England, he tells us, has never depended on the other nations of these islands. So we must have been imagining how it was Scottish oil revenues that paid for the massive development of the city of London in the 1980s. It was just a dream that Irish labour built the railways or that Welsh coal kept the steam trains running.

The way in which Scotland, Wales and Ireland were bled of resources, talent, and capital in order to help build the modern English economy was just the Celts paying their dues for the privilege of England allowing us to be ruled by that parliament and government which Hitchens tells us is English already and has simply, “given hospitality to others during the long adventure of the Union.” No, he really did write that, presumably in all seriousness. So when the Conservatives foisted their hard-line ideologically motivated Brexit upon Scotland and stripped us all of our rights and privileges as European citizens, they were just being hospitable. Aren’t you glad that Hitchens has cleared that up for us. I’m sure it comes as a huge comfort to those EU citizens resident in Scotland who have had to apply to a cold-hearted Home Office in order to remain in the communities where they have made their homes.

Hitchens says that England would not be declaring independence, his England has always stood gloriously apart, and needing no one, an island nation except for the uncomfortable fact that it has to share an island with ungrateful and lesser neighbours. This is the England of whose empire, Hitchens writes, approvingly quoting the Spanish-American philosopher George Santayana “never since the days of heroic Greece has the world had such a sweet, just, boyish master.” He briefly concedes that “no doubt many wicked things were done by our empire”, glossing over the slave trade, the Irish and Bengal famines, the genocide of indigenous Australians, institutional racism, colonial exploitation and appropriation, to name but a few, but still says of England’s Empire “ours was better by far than any that has ever existed.”

What he calls for is not independence, instead he calls it the “Restoration of England” because he implcitly believes that England is being prevented from achieving its full potential and sense of itself by those Celtic nations which hang on to England’s coat tails and hold it back. You see, England is the real victim in this UK, selflessly sacrificing itself for smaller nations which don’t appreciate all that England does for them.

Santayana’s most famous aphorism is : “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Hitchens and other right wing English nationalists cannot or more accurately will not, remember the many sins of the British Empire, its racism, its exploitation, its contempt for “lesser breeds”, its rampant theft and corruption and the abiding sense of entitlement of its white Anglo-Saxon masters. The modern Conservative government repeats the past tragedies as farce.

Hitchens does not think that there need be an English independence referendum. Instead he believes that any party which put English secession in its manifesto for a General Election would win a resounding majority. Note that the English nationalists who insist that Scotland should only be able to hold another independence referendum with the permission of a parliament at Westminster which Hitchens asserts is English already also believe that England should be free to secede from the UK without even consulting the other nations, never mind asking their permission. That is a very telling double standard.

Of course Hitchens is merely being his usual contrarian and attention seeking self in making this proposal, but he does speak for a growing constituency within England. For decades opponents of independence have insisted that Scotland is financially dependent upon England, people in England have absorbed this message too, and naturally wonder if they would not be better off if they ditched what they believe to be the ungrateful financial millstone that is Scotland. An opinion poll in 2019 found that 75% of English Brexit supporters would be willing to “let Scotland go” in order to ensure that Brexit was done.

In 2020 a YouGov poll found that less than half of voters in England, just 46%, thought that Scotland should remain a part of the UK. What this, together with Hitchens kite -flying article, tell us is that a significant part of the English electorate, and particularly Brexit supporting Conservatives, are not strongly motivated to keep Scotland a part of the UK. This means that a Conservative Government could easily position itself as the champion of English interests by agreeing to a Scottish independence referendum, although what is far more likely is that post Brexit English antipathy towards Scotland means that in a future referendum Scotland will be told that no further devolution or “special treatment” is on the table, and the choice for Scotland is either independence or to accept its status as a “region of the UK” with no greater status than Yorkshire or East Anglia.

Personally I feel that one of the greatest advantages of Scottish independence is that it means we would be able to secede from Peter Hitchens and the cancer that is the Daily Mail.

albarevisedMy Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to weegingerbook@yahoo.com (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).

I am now writing the daily newsletter for The National, published every day from Monday to Friday in the late afternoon.  So if you’d like a daily dose of dug you can subscribe to The National, Scotland’s only pro-independence newspaper, here: Subscriptions from The National

This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.

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

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The elephant and the bin bag

In an earlier piece this week I remarked that the current behaviour of Satan’s little helpers the DUP, following their historic defeat in the recent Northern Irish Assembly elections demonstrated the fundamentally undemocratic nature of British nationalism in both Scotland and Northern Ireland. British nationalism is a dogma which disguises itself with a veneer of respect for democracy, but in reality it is a majoritarian, not a properly democratic form of politics.

Majoritarianism is the belief that the majority community should be able to rule a country in whichever way it wants, by disregarding the wishes and needs of the minority. This can easily be confused with democracy as long as the majority community is indeed the majority, but the moment that majority community loses its former dominance, its true anti-democratic nature becomes apparent.

This is what is happening in Northern Ireland just now as the DUP, aided and abetted by the Conservatives in Westminster tries to destroy the Northern Irish Protocol despite losing the recent election to Sinn Fein and despite the electorate of Northern Ireland voting for a Stormont with a large majority of parties which support the Protocol.

The DUP is unable to accept that it no longer represents the majority of the population, ever since the British carved Northern Ireland out of Ireland in order to create an artificial Unionist majority in the north, it has been an article of faith amongst Northern Irish Unionists that they are the majority community. They are emotionally and psychologically unable to accept that this is no longer the case. This is why the DUP and the even more frothy and extremist TUV which split from the DUP in 2007 because it objected to the DUP sharing power in Stormont with Irish nationalists believe that they are justified in bringing down the Assembly because the voters of Northern Ireland had the temerity to make Sinn Fein the largest party and to give an absolute majority to parties supporting the protocol.

British nationalists in Scotland have a very similar view of themselves and the same majoritarian and anti-democratic tendencies. One prominent and particularly zoomy Scottish Unionist group on social media even calls itself “the Majority,” unsurprisingly this betokens a conceptual inability to comprehend that its brand of hard line unionism may not in fact be supported by a majority and an equal inability to accept that there is a majority in the current Scottish Parliament for holding another independence referendum. Holyrood’s pro-independence majority and the mandate which it possesses for another independence referendum must be delegitimised, sidelined, and discounted, because to accept its existence means accepting that the Unionist “majority” may not in fact be a majority after all.

Mainstream opponents of Scottish independence are usually careful to maintain a veneer of democratic accountability. However former Scottish Conservative MSP Adam Tomkins let the mask slip in a recent article for the Herald newspaper. Tomkins has been something of a loose Scottish Tory cannon ever since he was ousted from his front bench position in the Scottish Tories following the putsch orchestrated by Ruth Davidson which unseated Jackson Carlaw and replaced him with Douglas Ross.

In the piece Tomkins tacitly acknowledges that the Scottish Parliament has both a mandate for another independence referendum and the majority needed to pass a Bill in Holyrood in order to legislate for a second independence referendum. He goes further than most of his unionist colleagues by admitting that if there is another independence referendum then Yes side would win. He says that Yes would win because of public anger about Brexit, the British Government’s mismanagement of covid, Westminster’s failure to reform and for the corruption and contempt which characterises the Conservative government.

However this is where Tomkins reveals the fundamentally anti-democratic nature of British nationalism in Scotland. He believes that it is this certainty of a yes victory which makes it imperative both that the British Government refuses to permit another independence referendum and that any Bill which Holyrood passes in order to facilitate another independence referendum should be struck down by the UK Supreme Court as unlawful. The message from this prominent Scottish Tory is clear: “Scotland you can’t be allowed to have an independence referendum because you’ll only use it to vote in a way that British Unionists won’t like.”

Tomkins dismisses the outrage that this undemocratic and authoritarian move would invariably provoke as “political noise” which the British constitution will “quietly deal with”. I suspect that Tomkins in his legalistic arrogance gravely underestimates the political ramifications and consequences of what he is proposing.

The Scottish constitutional debate cannot be resolved by the law because it is a political problem not a legal problem. That public anger with Westminster which Tomkins gives as the reason why he believes Yes would win the referendum will not go away because Westminster resorts to legal chicanery in order to evade the democratic verdict of the people. It will only intensify and deepen the anger. Tomkins is proposing the wrong tool for the wrong job. What Tomkins is advocating is like suggesting that you can dispose of an angry elephant by stuffing it in a bin bag and chucking it in the bin. You’re just going to end up with a shredded bin bag and an even angrier elephant.

What is being acknowledged here by a former Scottish Conservative front bencher is that the traditional Scottish Unionist conceit that the union between Scotland and England is entirely voluntary is a fiction and that there is no democratic path by which the people of Scotland can express their desire for another independence referendum. He is saying that another referendum is entirely the gift of the British Prime Minister, who will only grant one if he or she is certain that it will produce the result that British nationalists desire.

Tomkins is making it plain that the entire basis upon which the people of Scotland have accepted the Union since the introduction of the democratic franchise is a lie and that Scotland is after all a mere possession of England with no right to self-determination, and any choices that the people of Scotland make about the future of this country are subject to the veto of a Prime Minister from a party which has not won an election in Scotland since the 1950s. He proposes to use the law to trap Scotland into the UK forever, irrespective of the will of the people of Scotland.

This is deeply undemocratic, and politically unsustainable. Its chances of success rest upon the implausible likelihood that having closed down any democratic route to another independence referendum, independence supporters will simply swallow their deep misgivings about another major milestone on the UK’s journey to undemocratic authoritarianism and say, “Well that’s just fine then, let’s give up on this whole independence malarkey,” because people who demonstrably have no respect for democracy have told them that they have made it unlawful because they are afraid of the verdict of the people.

What Tomkins proposes would not generate mere “political noise”, it would create a political earthquake that his precious union would be unlikely to survive. You cannot use the law to patch together a political union that has lost the confidence of the people, it’s like trying to stuff an angry elephant in a bin bag.

albarevisedMy Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to weegingerbook@yahoo.com (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).

I am now writing the daily newsletter for The National, published every day from Monday to Friday in the late afternoon.  So if you’d like a daily dose of dug you can subscribe to The National, Scotland’s only pro-independence newspaper, here: Subscriptions from The National

This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.

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

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Stephen Kerr’s permapoplexy

Holyrood’s resident gammonista gum-bumper has been at it again. Scottish Tory list MSP Stephen Kerr, a B-movie version of a James Bond baddie, is one of those middle class right wing British nationalist heterosexual white men who are convinced that the world is eager for their hot takes on all and every topic on account of the fact that they are middle class right wing British nationalist heterosexual white men, who as everyone who reads the Daily Mail knows, are the most marginalised and oppressed people on the face of the planet.

Kerr, who is currently suffering from a fit of apoplexy because Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives addressed Nicola Sturgeon as madame First Minister, has been taking twitter lessons from Donald Trump, although to be honest apoplexy is Kerr’s base state, he suffers from permapoplexy, and makes the rest of us suffer for it by vomiting his ill-informed bile all over Twitter.

Yesterday Kerr took to Twitter to opined that the SNP want to “Join the EU, but not the EURO. Join NATO, but reject Nuclear Weaponry,” adding, “The SNP really don’t get it, do they? These aren’t just clubs for all-comers where you can pick and choose what you get.”

Talk about weapons, and there he is, the Scottish Conservative Holyrood whip. Before we get into the substance of how Kerr is wrong yet again, it is worthwhile to note that Kerr’s comments are a bit rich and ever so slightly lacking in self awareness, coming as they do from a member of a party which on the very same day announced that it intends to pick and choose which parts of an international treaty it wants to abide by.

Obviously Kerr doesn’t understand how international institutions and the EU in particular actually work, but then that’s scarcely surprising because neither does anyone else in the Conservative party and certainly not in the Conservative government in Westminster, which operates on the assumption that the EU is a vile plot to do Britain down. The British Government is currently expressing its shock and surprise that the EU is implementing the provisions of the Northern Ireland Protocol which guarantee the integrity of the European Single Market. The British Government appears to have operated on the principle that the EU would just ignore those parts of the protocol that the Conservatives and their partners in slime the DUP didn’t like.

You might think that someone who imagines himself to be a serious politician ought to have familiarised himself with the basic facts before taking to social media and unwittingly revealing himself to be god’s gift to the cause of Scottish independence, but a mere trifle like fact checking cannot be allowed to get between Kerr and a potential approving mention in the Daily Express.

Kerr’s claims have already been debunked by independence campaigners, yet opponents of Scottish independence keep repeating them because they have a religious belief that Scotland is utterly dependent on the Westminster Parliament, completely incapable of achieving anything on its own merits, and that without the UK Scotland would be alone and friendless in a hostile world. It’s the sadly familiar “you’d have nothing without me cry” of the spurned lover. It’s a belief system which is impervious to mere facts or reality. It’s like trying to explain evolution to a creationist who can’t understand how human beings can be descended from “the monkeys” when monkeys still exist.

However given the state of the media in a Scotland where the overwhelmingly anti-independence press and the BBC are all to happy to amplify the faith-based misinformation of British nationalists like Kerr, it is imperative that those of us who seek Scottish independence do not cease to publicise accurate information, no matter how frustrating or dispiriting it may be to have to keep on repeating the same thing time after time.

So once more with feeling. Joining the EU does not automatically mean joining the Eurozone, or the Schengen area for that matter. Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Sweden are all EU members but do not use the Euro. Denmark, like the UK when it was a member of the EU, has an opt out. All the others must in theory enter the Eurozone after meeting certain criteria. The key term here is “in theory.” All EU countries have the right to put off making any effort to meet the Eurozone criteria for any reason and for as long as they like, and thereby indefinitely postpone their adoption of the euro. Crucially, the EU has no means of forcing any member state to meet the criteria and has no mechanisms for sanctioning any member state which declines to make any effort to meet the relevant criteria.

The Czech Republic has stated that it has no plans to adopt the Euro despite not having a formal opt out from the common currency. Referring to the fact that it is entirely up to a member state to decide if and when it moves towards meeting the necessary criteria for adopting the Euro, in 2014 the Czech Prime Minister noted that there was no need for a formal opt out, saying : “No one can force us into joining the euro… We have a de facto opt-out.”

As far as an independent Scotland is concerned, before it could even consider adopting the Euro it would first have to have its own Scottish currency, and for this to be in place for some years before any moves to adopting the euro could be made, and even then the timing and implementation of those moves would be entirely up to the Scottish Government to decide. But of course what Kerr really has a conceptual problem with is the notion that it could possibly be up to Scotland to decide anything. The idea that Scotland could have agency is alien to the Conservative British nationalist mindset.

Although I am not personally in favour of NATO membership for an independent Scotland, this blog has already explained on a number of occasions why insisting on the removal of Trident from the Clyde is not the automatic barrier to NATO membership for an independent Scotland that Kerr and his fellow British nationalists would have us believe it is, most recently in March this year. In order to save me from rehashing those arguments all over again, here is a link to that piece here :
https://weegingerdug.wordpress.com/2022/03/09/trident-has-to-go/

An SNP spokesperson said: “Stephen Kerr is either deliberately spreading false information or simply displaying his own ignorance of the facts. The euro isn’t used by every EU country and the vast majority of Nato members don’t possess or host nuclear weapons.”

But the reason that Kerr keeps doing it is because for the most part the media in Scotland lets him and his fellow British nationalist scare mongers get away with it. We can be certain that as Scotland moves towards another independence referendum,independence supporters will still keep having to debunk the British nationalist scare stories that refuse to die.

albarevisedMy Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to weegingerbook@yahoo.com (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).

I am now writing the daily newsletter for The National, published every day from Monday to Friday in the late afternoon.  So if you’d like a daily dose of dug you can subscribe to The National, Scotland’s only pro-independence newspaper, here: Subscriptions from The National

This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.

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

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The banquet of consequences

Boris Johnson visited Northern Ireland on Monday to meet with the parties elected to Stormont after last week’s elections which saw a historic victory for Sinn Fein. For the first time since the British carved Northern Ireland out of Ireland with borders drawn in such a way as to guarantee a Unionist majority, an Irish nationalist party has become the largest party in Stormont. It’s a seismic shift in Northern Irish politics and one which, as you might expect, the DUP is not taking at all well. The DUP and the other Unionist parties fought the recent elections asking the people of Northern Ireland to give them a mandate to overturn the Northern Irish protocol which was the basis of Johnson’s Brexit deal with the EU.

The protocol attempted to solve the contradiction created by the Conservatives’ ideologically driven insistence that Brexit meant that the UK must exit the European Single Market and Customs Union, and the Good Friday Agreement underpinning peace in the troubled six counties, a key component of which is the guarantee that there must be no checks or controls of any kind along the border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the island. The DUP had been enthusiastic proponents of Brexit, believing that it would sink the Good Friday Agreement cement Northern Ireland’s place in a UK which was firmly outside the EU, and make the reunification of Ireland a distant and unlikely prospect.

Instead Brexit has proven to be the undoing of the DUP. Hitherto the party’s intransigence and its unwillingness to embrace the principle of compromise had always been its greatest strength, but they made the fatal mistake of taking the lying Conservatives at their word, and now the DUP find that not only have they lost their prized place as the largest party in Stormont to Sinn Fein, but there are customs checks and controls between Northern Ireland and Britain, and a reunification referendum is now a more likely prospect than it has ever been. It has been a catastrophic miscalculation on the part of the DUP, who are now sitting down to a banquet of consequences which they themselves brought about. No wonder they are currently in the midst of a full on strop. Can you hear that sound? It’s the world’s tiniest violin giving a rendition of the Sash, only it turns out it’s not a sash, it’s the petard that the DUP are hoist by.

Northern Ireland uses the same electoral system for Stormont that Scotland uses in council elections. It is a strictly proportional voting system. By a substantial margin voters gave a clear and unarguable majority to parties which support the protocol. Under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, the First Minister must come from the largest party in Stormont and the Deputy First Minister from the second largest party, However having lost the election the DUP has now refused to participate in government, even refusing to allow a speaker to be elected, meaning that no business can take place at Stormont, in effect holding the Northern Irish Assembly to ransom in order that they can still impose their will on an electorate which had the audacity to reject them at the ballot box.  Unionism was never democratic, it was majoritarian, but now it’s no longer in the majority its anti-democratic nature is exposed. There is a lesson there for Scotland too.

The protocol works for and is supported by Northern Ireland. It’s the English Tories and their sectarian British supremacist friends in the DUP who have a problem with Northern Ireland showing the rest of the UK what a folly Brexit is.

So now, in order to get itself out of a mess which it itself created, because of its lies and duplicity and by pandering to the DUP and teaching it that its intransigence would be rewarded, the British Government is threatening to renege on the Protocol. This means that Johnson is now prepared to rip up an international treaty and risk a trade war with the EU precisely when households are facing soaring energy, food and housing costs, and the worst cost of living crisis in decades. All those countries around the world which “global Britain” seeks to sign post-Brexit trade deals with will now know that no deal which the British Government signs up to will be honoured and that the UK will trash it the second that Johnson feels that it is no longer in his own interests.

Johnson admitted that he negotiated and signed up to the protocol, but he had hoped that the EU wouldn’t adhere to the terms of the deal that he himself had negotiated and then sold to the British public as having got Brexit done, proclaiming that it was a fantastic deal. But now the Prime law breaker is insisting that the current mess isn’t his fault, it’s all the fault of that EU for imagining that when Johnson agreed to a deal that was hammered out after a lengthy process of negotiation, he actually meant a word of it.

It’s outrageous, but entirely in character for the Conservatives that government ministers are now pretending that they had no idea of the chaos Johnson’s “oven ready” deal would cause. Their own Brexit impact assessment said that the deal would mean checks, increased costs to businesses and an increase in the price of high street goods, and that it entailed those checks on commercial traffic between Northern Ireland and Britain which Johnson promised the DUP were never going to happen. But it seems that they were far too busy having boozy lockdown busting parties to read it.

DUP MP Ian Paisley Jr. even claimed that Johnson privately said before the 2019 election that he would “tear up” the Protocol. He told BBC Newsnight before the December 2019 election : “Boris Johnson did tell me personally… after agreeing to the protocol, he would sign up to changing that protocol and indeed tearing it up.” So much for “oven ready.”

Johnson lied to the DUP, he lied to the EU, and he lied to the public, and now he too is sitting down to a banquet of consequences. The global Britain that Scotland was promised it could be a part of in 2014 has been exposed as a rogue state which trashes international treaties which it itself negotiated, stabs its friends and allies in the back, and has not the slightest care for how its recklessness affects its citizens who are already struggling to make ends meet. This is what happens with a Westminster system which prevents politicians from being held to account, you get governed by charlatans who blame everyone else for their own sins.

albarevisedMy Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to weegingerbook@yahoo.com (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).

I am now writing the daily newsletter for The National, published every day from Monday to Friday in the late afternoon.  So if you’d like a daily dose of dug you can subscribe to The National, Scotland’s only pro-independence newspaper, here: Subscriptions from The National

This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.

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

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Anglo-British nationalism : greater projection than an iMax screen

One of the most persistent and pernicious claims of opponents of independence is that the desire to see a restoration of Scottish statehood is motivated by nothing more than anti-English racism and a hatred of Scotland’s southern neighbour. It’s a claim which serves a number of purposes, which is why it keeps being made despite a lack of substantive evidence to back it up.

It is noticeable that those who cling most fervently to the belief that the Scottish independence movement is a toxic xenophobic anti-English force which wallows in an unjustified belief in Scottish exceptionalism and a romanticisation of the past are those who themselves adhere to a right wing Brexit supporting Anglo-British nationalism which is characterised by British exceptionalism, an abiding dislike of Europe, immigrants and asylum seekers, nostalgia for empire, worship of the monarchy and the armed service, and the unshakeable belief that their British nationalism is beyond the criticisms levelled at the nationalism of lesser nations because British nationalism is “patriotism” and is not nationalist at all.

This is of course delusional, but a refusal to acknowledge the nationalist character of the right wing Anglo-British nationalism which dominates the Conservative party is a defining characteristic of Anglo-British nationalism. This is why the likes of Douglas Ross was able to deliver a speech to the Scottish Conservative conference bemoaning that “Scotland has been “gripped by the dead hand of nationalism.”

That would be the same Douglas Ross who heads a party which is the leading proponent of an Anglo-British nationalism which has ripped Scotland out of the EU against the will of the majority in Scotland, and which is unilaterally ripping up a treaty with the EU in order to placate the British nationalist sectarian bigots of the DUP. It’s a Conservative Anglo-British nationalism which is imposing vile and despicable laws on Scotland,laws which will see asylum seekers deported to a Central African dictatorship with an appalling human rights record. Yet with an entirely straight face, and without a shred of self-awareness, Ross complained about the “dead hand of nationalism” gripping Scotland. That’s because Ross, like all Anglo-British nationalists, is blind to the nationalist character of his own politics.

In order to maintain this delusion they project all their own sins onto their political opponents. It’s a projection which is so enormous in extent that it would not be surprising if iMax sued them for breach of copyright.

Anglo-British nationalism is so all pervasive in the modern British state that its proponents no longer see the wood for the Platinum jubilee trees. It is regarded as – to use a term beloved of Michael Gove – “common-sensical”, although it is neither common nor sensible. However British nationalism has in modern Britain become the standard by which all other political viewpoints are judged, and being the standard it itself becomes placed beyond question or serious critique. It is simply “normal”. This is why the BBC is deeply critical of Scottish nationalism while it feeds us a diet of nauseatingly sycophantic royalist brain-candy and yet it insists that it is an unbiased and neutral reporter on Scotland’s constitutional debate and not what people who are not Anglo-British nationalists perceive it as being, which is an active participant on the anti-independence side in Scotland’s constitutional debate.

One of the great uses for Anglo-British nationalists of the assertion that Scottish nationalism is a racist campaign motivated by hatred of the English is to dissuade people from engaging with the arguments around Scotland’s constitutional debate. If members of the public can be put off from even looking at the arguments for independence, then opponents of independence don’t have to bother framing counter arguments of their own.

The English-hating slur also means that Anglo-British nationalists do not need to examine the structures and institutions of the British state and how these are failing. It means that they can continue to pretend to themselves that everything in the Anglo-British rose garden is just wonderful and that there is no underlying reason or motivation for Scottish independence that is rooted in a desire to tackle the democratic deficit and lack of political accountability at the heart of the Westminster system because they use the assertion of anti-English racism as a means of denying that any such democratic deficit or lack of political accountability exists.

The claim also serves the invaluable political purpose of allowing Anglo-British nationalist to pose as the victims even as the British government embarks upon an assault on the devolution settlement, an assault for which it does not even have the pretence of a democratic mandate from the people of Scotland.

The reality however, is that modern mainstream Scottish nationalism is strongly civic in character. According to Stephen Reicher, professor of social psychology at St Andrews University, the idea that all types of nationalism carry “the seeds of hatred” is wrong. Professor Reicher believes that it is Anglo-British nationalism which is far more problematic, speaking to The National newspaper he said, “I think there is little doubt there are toxic nationalisms in the UK, but it is more English nationalism than Scottish nationalism that is the problem.”

He added : “I think one needs to give credit – while being cautious, while being very alert to the more negative sides – one has to give credit to the fact that what Scotland has pioneered in the UK is an inclusive, civic nationalism which on the whole is not based in grievance.”

This is in marked contrast to the Anglo-British nationalism of the Conservatives which is founded in the imaginary victimisation of the UK by the EU, and within Scotland by the imaginary victimisation of the English by supporters of Scottish independence.

There are of course anti-English zoomers and bigots in Scotland, but they are a small minority who are scorned and disowned by most supporters of Scottish independence. They have no influence on mainstream Scottish nationalism, no matter how much Conservative MSPs say they do – the same Conservative politicians who deny the racist and sectarian elements who are a far more prominent feature of Anglo-British nationalism in Scotland and whose party panders to the DUP and the worst elements of English exceptionalism.   A British nationalist double standard is very much at play here. The Conservatives and their allies react with fury at being associated with the minority of violent bigots, racists, and xenophobes who are a far more prominent feature of right wing British nationalism, but they are quick to tar all independence supporters with the same brush as a tiny minority of idiots on the pro-independence side.

It is worth pointing out that independence supporters have never gone on a violent rampage on the streets of Scotland’s towns and cities, but right wing British nationalists have done so on more than one occasion.

Professor Reicher went on : “On the whole, I think it is fair to say over the past 20 years Scotland has forged a more inclusive notion of nationalism – what is sometimes called civic nationalism, which says you are Scottish, whatever your background, if you live in Scotland and are committed to Scotland.”

It is not anti-English, or indeed anti-anyone ,simply to want the people of Scotland as defined above to be able to determine Scotland’s fate and the path that this country takes. At base, a belief in Scottish independence is nothing more than the belief that decisions about a country are best taken by those who care enough about it to live in it and choose to make their lives in it.

albarevisedMy Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to weegingerbook@yahoo.com (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).

I am now writing the daily newsletter for The National, published every day from Monday to Friday in the late afternoon.  So if you’d like a daily dose of dug you can subscribe to The National, Scotland’s only pro-independence newspaper, here: Subscriptions from The National

This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.

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

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The state pantomime of Parliament

This week we had the spectacle that is the state opening of the Westminster Parliament in which elderly men and women raided the dressing up box and bedecked themselves in fancy costumes. The vast majority of the Lords and Ladies in their ermine robes and coronets are no more lords or ladies than anyone else. They owe their pretendy titles to the patronage of a Prime Minister for services or donations rendered. They don’t embody nobility, they embody grift and time-serving.

The ceremony of the state opening of Parliament is neither ancient nor steeped in tradition, the pageant was devised in its essentials in Victorian times in order to bestow an air of hoary legitimacy to an undemocratic Parliament which was under severe pressure to grant the vote to all adult men irrespective of wealth or property, a pressure which Westminster resisted until 1918, when women over the age of 30 were granted the right to vote too. Its supposedly ancient rituals are nothing of the sort. They are simply a species of theatre aimed at hiding the lack of democracy and accountability in the British state.

The traditional search of the cellars of the Palace of Westminster is conducted ahead of the State opening of Parliament and dates back to 1605 when Tory MPs used to hide stashes of tractor porn and cocaine down there.

In its current form the state opening is a creation of the reign of Victoria’s successor Edward VII, a vain and insecure man more interested in gambling, eating, drinking, hunting, and womanising than the welfare of his subjects. The pomp and flummery of the state opening was designed as a sop to the massive ego of a man who devoted his life and energies to self-indulgence. Just like the privileged and entitled royals who starred in this panto, it was an embarrassment. This is what democracy in the UK in 2022 looks like.

In the absence of the Queen the event was presided over by Prince Charles, wearing a full dress admiral’s uniform for the occasion even though he has never been and never will be a real admiral, he was dripping with jewels and his chest was weighed down with medals he’d never earned but which he had been given by his maw so that he wouldn’t feel left out when in the company of people who really had earned the medals pinned to their uniforms. What Charles and other members of his family sport are not medals won for valour or for great achievement, the only thing they have achieved is the great fortune of being born into immense wealth and privilege. The medals, decorations and gew-gaws which adorn their fancy uniforms are nothing more than the awards equivalent of a pity fuck.

Charles sat on a golden throne beside a crown of gold and precious jewels and informed his mother’s subjects that her government could not be arsed to do anything much to help its citizens cope with a cost of living crisis which in no small measure is a creation of this government and which it is about to make even worse by threatening a trade war with the EU in order to reward the DUP for its pig-headed intransigence over the Northern Irish protocol which the British Government itself negotiated and agreed to. This is despite the fact that in last week’s Stormont elections the people of Northern Ireland, using a strictly proportional voting system, gave a large majority to parties which support the Protocol.

The jewel encrusted crown which was brought to Westminster in its own Rolls Royce is worth an estimated £3.5 billion, a sum which could rescue millions of families from poverty. It sat beside a jewel encrusted prince who lives a life of privilege and luxury beyond the imaginations of most of us, privileges and luxury which we all pay for. You couldn’t ask for a starker illustration of the priorities of the British state.

However this is a government which is not content with rewarding the parties which lost last week’s elections in Northern Ireland, the speech intoned by Charles like he was doing us all a favour also contained provisions to further the UK’s descent into authoritarianism, Having recently given itself control over the hitherto independent electoral commission, this government wants to follow it up by criminalising many forms of public protest and demonstrations, demonising refugees, deporting asylum seekers to a dictatorship which recently experienced an actual genocide, and trashing what is left of Britain’s international reputation by ripping up an international treaty that it had negotiated and agreed to.

Just like democracy in the UK, the entire event is play acting which is devoid of real substance, a ridiculous travesty where people dressed up in fancy uniforms covered in medals which they have not earned pretend that they are participating in an ancient and time honoured ritual in order to showcase a democracy which is as fake as the historicity of this sop of a pageant. This was the British establishment saying, “Look here peasants, this is our imperial state, not the modern democracy you want, so just do as you’re told, pay your taxes, and Nicholas Witchell will be along in a few minutes to witter on about street parties for the platinum jubilee.”

The State Opening of Parliament is an absurd, archaic, pantomime that should be consigned to the dustbin of history, along with all the rest of the ridiculous, anachronistic pseudo-historical rituals. It’s long past time that Britain grew up and stopped wallowing in a dream of the past.

The state opening of Parliament is a ritual introduced in Victorian times in order to distract and deflect from the popular demand for a government which was democratic, representative, and accountable. One hundred and seventy years later it is still performing the same role. However with the inevitability that within a couple of years Charles will take over from his mother, who by virtue of her longevity enjoys a respect which the scandal ridden Charles can never hope to receive, there is a sense that the wheels are about to come off the royal carriage of pageantry and pomp which sustains and inflates the British nationalist exceptionalism disguising the democratic deficit at the heart of the British state.

albarevisedMy Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to weegingerbook@yahoo.com (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).

I am now writing the daily newsletter for The National, published every day from Monday to Friday in the late afternoon.  So if you’d like a daily dose of dug you can subscribe to The National, Scotland’s only pro-independence newspaper, here: Subscriptions from The National

This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.

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

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The bonkeroony Michael Gove

Some of you may have had the immense misfortune to witness Michael Gove’s, eh, let’s call it a “performance” on the BBC Breakfast news on Wednesday morning. Readers of a certain age may remember Monty Python’s Ministry of Silly Walks, way back when John Cleese was still funny. The Secretary of state for levelling up appeared to have decided that he was really the Secretary of state for Silly Talks as he adopted a variety of am dram accents and mugged and girned his way through an unhinged interview in which he denied that there was any split between Boris Johnson and the Treasury on how to tackle cost of living crisis. He went on to describe any suggestion that Boris Johnson should resign for breaking the law as – and I quote – “bonkeroony.”

And this is why, ‘he’s adopting various accents’ will henceforth be my new favourite euphemism for describing someone who is dealing with the aftermath of a monstrous coke binge – allegedly. Being tired and emotional at 7.40 am is quite an achievement, don’t let it be said that this government doesn’t go the extra mile, admittedly it seems to the casual observer to be a mile that they have gone with the assistance of Bolivian marching powder, but still. It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase the party line.

It was just a short a while ago that it was reported that traces of coke were found in the toilets at Westminster and nothing more was said about it. In construction, or in any other workplace, if drugs were found on site all the staff would be getting tested.

Still, it’s heartening to know that the person in charge of levelling up the north of England can put on a cod Liverpool accent so that those northerners can understand as he tells them there’s no money and the government isn’t going to offer any monetary assistance as people are forced to choose between heating their homes or feeding their children. Delivering the news as though he’s auditioning for a part in a Harry Enfield sketch that’s based on tired stereotypes of Liverpudlians will really make them feel like he and the government care deeply for them. It was like watching a real life episode of Spitting Image, only with a more rubbery faced main character.

Clearly Gove hasn’t understood that this is a cost of living crisis. It’s not a joke, or an opportunity for him to display what an out of touch middle student debating society considers to pass for wit. Although when viewers in Scotland saw the interview, we didn’t say – “wit” – we said “Whit?!”

It was a bizarre and troubling performance, this individual is in charge of making decisions which affect the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people yet he behaves in an unserious and adolescent manner as though it’s all just a bit of a laugh.

There are those who claim that Gove’s performance was a deliberate trolling to distract our attention from the Government’s woeful handling of the cost of living crisis and to get us to talk about Gove’s clowning instead. I don’t buy that, this is the same Michael Gove who was filmed in the Chamber of the House of Commons in September 2019, visibly unsteady on his feet, and propping himself up on a lectern and doing a very good impression of an extremely drunk man trying and failing to disguise just how drunk he was. This is a government which is led by a man who is widely considered, even by many in his own party, to be unfit for office. All that Gove has done is to make everyone think that he is unfit for office too. If it was just a tactic it was a self-defeating one, and would only confirm the poor judgement of those who occupy the most powerful positions in the British Government and demonstrate that they really are unfit for office.

A far more plausible explanation, given the behaviour of senior Conservatives over the past years and months, is that they genuinely just don’t care. The rules and norms that apply to ordinary mortals do not apply to them. To them it really is just a game, they do not have to suffer the consequences of the decisions that they make and dysfunctional Westminster system means that they know that they will never be held to account. Not even actual law breaking by the Prime Minister has resulted in him being forced to resign, and Gove thinks that it is “bonkeroony” that he should have to. They are not even hiding their contempt any more, but putting it on full display as though they are competing with one another to see which of them can take the piss the most before a TV interviewer will call them out for it.

So it’s just fine in Gove’s mind that he can appear in a TV interview, clearly, ahem, “unprepared”, and treat the experience as a huge joke. He knows that no one is going to take him to task for insulting the public in such a brazen manner, least of all the BBC interviewer. In any other walk of life this would be a career ending performance. If you or I had turned up for work and behaved in such a fashion, we’d be sent straight to HR and forced to take a drug test before being shown the door.

If a Scottish Government minister had behaved in a similar fashion during a TV interview, it would be newspaper headlines for weeks. It might even get the Herald to stop banging on about ferries for all of five seconds. But because it’s a senior Tory it will scarcely register. This is the UK after all, our political masters in Westminster are expected to hold us in contempt and to laugh at us, and it’s just as accepted that there is nothing that we can do about it. The Tories are laughing at us. They know we can’t vote them out. Gove thinks it’s bonkeroony that people like him should ever face consequences.

Michael Gove needs help, and as long as he remains a minister, so do we all. Gove’s bizarre performance is yet more proof that it’s bonkeroony for Scotland to remain under Westminster rule and subject to the contempt of arrogant Conservatives like Michael Gove whom we cannot hold to account.

albarevisedMy Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to weegingerbook@yahoo.com (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).

I am now writing the daily newsletter for The National, published every day from Monday to Friday in the late afternoon.  So if you’d like a daily dose of dug you can subscribe to The National, Scotland’s only pro-independence newspaper, here: Subscriptions from The National

This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.

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

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The fragility of this so-called union

There are long term and short term lessons to be drawn from last week’s elections. In the short term, there are now serious questions about the position of Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross, who pins the blame for the catastrophic performance the Scottish Tories at last week’s local elections on Boris Johnson’s partygate lies and law breaking while continuing to back him as Prime Minister. It’s a fundamentally contradictory position from a Scottish leader who first demanded Johnson’s resignation and then did a humiliating U-turn, proving that Jacob Rees-Mogg was accurate when he dismissed Ross as a lightweight.

It’s now an open question whether the Tories, who are typically ruthless when it comes to ridding themselves of leaders whom they consider to be an electoral liability, will get rid of Ross before they get rid of Johnson. There are already rumours that Scottish Conservative MSPs have had informal talks about replacing him. Ross’s spinelessness and poor leadership are being blamed for the party’s dismal showing on Thursday, when it was the only party with representation at Holyrood to lose council seats and register a decline in its percentage share of first preference votes.

Not only did the Scottish Tories haemorrhage council seats, in Edinburgh they also suffered the humiliation of plummeting to fourth place in terms in terms of votes and fifth place in terms of seats. In Glasgow they lost all of their seats but two, so are no longer a Conservative group but a Conservative tag team. However the greatest disaster for the party is that the gains that they made under Ruth Davidson have now been wiped out. The Tories have never had anything to offer Scotland apart from their knee jerk opposition to independence. Presenting themselves as the “party of Union” was the Scottish Tory USP and under Davidson the Scottish Conservatives managed to establish themselves as the dominant anti-independence party, pushing Labour into third place.

The Scottish Tories have now lost their prized position of the largest party opposed to independence to Labour, which has overtaken the Tories both in terms of vote share and in the number of councillors it got elected.

However there is also a more important long term pattern which these most recent elections have confirmed, and that is the continuing disintegration of the so-called Union. In Wales Plaid Cymru gained control of three councils. In Northern Ireland, for the first time ever since Britain carved the Unionist statelet out of Ireland with borders drawn in such a way as to supposedly guarantee a Unionist majority in perpetuity, an Irish republican party has come out on top in an election.

It is obvious that none of the British parties has any convincing plan or the political will to make the necessary structural and constitutional changes to the UK which would be needed in order to halt or reverse this decline. Labour keeps promising federalism, with its constitutional review headed by the discredited Gordon Brown who promised Scotland the same thing in 2014 but signally failed to deliver. The truth is that there is no appetite in England for such wide reaching constitutional changes, and very little interest in the political or constitutional demands of the other constituent parts of the UK. The UK already works for England, as it was designed to.

This is the biggest problem for traditional unionism, both in Scotland and in Northern Ireland. There is just no appetite in England for sacrificing English interests in order to placate a Scotland and Northern Ireland which they are convinced depend upon English tax funds. It may be a falsehood, but it is deeply engrained.

The Tories have neither the political interest nor the desire to make any changes to a system that already delivers them almost absolute power on a regular basis. They have no motivation to address the long term structural decline in Unionism. In lieu of any strategy to reverse that decline, they instead resort to the short term tactics of scaremongering, threats, obstructionism, and ever more desperate appeals to “patriotism” which manifest themselves in union flags, British nationalist exceptionalism,military parades, more union flags, the glorification of the imperial past and a royal family who grow more discredited with every passing scandal, and even more union flags, none of which has any appeal in Scotland outwith Tory voters and the dedicated followers of flute bands.

Opponents of independence might not wish to admit it to themselves, but they know that the so-called Union faces existential challenges for which its supporters have no practical solutions. This is why they increasingly react with hysteria out of all proportion to imaginary threats which a self-confident Unionism would either ignore, or even embrace as symbols of the Union’s ability to encompass Scottish nationhood.

We saw this recently with the over the top reaction to Billy Kay’s non-political speech in Holyrood when he used the Scots language to talk about the importance of the Scots language to Scottish culture and literature. For his pains Billy was subjected to a torrent of abuse from British nationalist ignoramuses who know nothing about the Scots language or linguistics in general. Similar abuse was also recently directed at a young female poet for having the temerity to use and take pride in Scots.

Despite the fact that the Scots language is the cultural heritage of everyone in Scotland, irrespective of their political views, this abuse overwhelmingly comes from individuals who identify as British nationalists and as opponents of independence. This is not a symptom of a confident and self-assured Unionism, rather it betokens a deep angst and a panic that the union is in mortal peril. This so-called union is so weak and fragile that it can be threatened by a poem.

Just this week we have a new example of Scottish Unionist panic. The National Museum of Scotland has announced that it will put the Declaration of Arbroath on public display in June and July next year. The document had been due to go on display in 2020 to mark its 700th anniversary. However, lockdown forced the exhibition to be postponed and it will now take place next year instead, cue howls of outrage from the Tories and their allies who are both outraged that a foundation document of Scottish statehood should be put on public display in a year when the Scottish Government plans to hold an independence referendum, and simultaneously eager to assert that it’s not such an important or meaningful document after all. That’s the mighty British state for you, put in danger by a Scots language poem and a 700 year old document which British nationalists insist isn’t important at all. If it’s not that important, why do they have an issue with it going on display? Answers on a postcard to Douglas Ross, contradictory positions are his thing.

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