Election night

It was election night, and the big loser early on was the BBC. Brian Taylor stormed off as the big telly that the corporation had bought in the Barras failed to show anything at all, not even one of those graphs that shows how poor Scotland is. Even Greece can manage a working TV set. That’s how rubbish you are Scotland, said the BBC, your national broadcaster cannae even switch on a telly.

UKIP’s David Coburn arrived at his count in Dingwall in a plumber’s van, which was appropriate since in Scotland his party has disappeared down the plug hole and is coursing down the sewer. It’s going to take a lot more than a big plunger to save the party, but UKIP should have thought of that before choosing David Coburn. Plungers don’t come much bigger than David. Thankfully the much feared UKIP breakthrough seems to have been flushed away. In Wales however, UKIP seem to have won seats in the Welsh Senedd for the first time. How do you say WTF in Welsh?

Awaiting the result of the Glasgow count, cooncil leader Labour’s Frank McAveety looked like a man who could see dead people, or at least dead pies. Frank lost his own Holyrood seat the last time, he’s looking at another Labocaplyse. It’s not looking good for you next year, is it Frank.

Having lost his Rutherglen seat for Labour, James Kelly went on STV and with a very red face banged on about how Labour will be “making the argument” against the SNP for the next five years. They’d already made the argument, and they lost. The fact that James’s red face is the only red thing about Labour is one of the reasons that his party did so badly.

Clare Haughey, who took the seat for the SNP and evicted James, was asked what she’d bring to Holyrood. “Well I’m a mental health nurse,” she replied. The shattered remnants of Labour are going to need all the therapy they can get.

Late at night as speculation mounted about whether Johann Lamont had lost her seat in Glasgow, a photo of her looking angry was published on Twitter. This certainly didn’t mean that she’d lost her seat, she always looks like that. She had even more reason to look beelin as results came in and confirmed the early picture that Labour’s support has collapsed. The hundreds of thousands of Scots who once trusted blindly in the Labour party to bring about a better society have gone to the SNP, those who value the Union above all other considerations have gone to the Tories.

Another early result came in from Hamilton and Larkhall, which confirmed the pattern of the SNP’s vote increasing slightly, while Labour collapsed and the Tories saw their vote share increase. “There’s a strong tradition of Unionism in Larkhall,” mused the BBC’s Glenn Campbell in the understatement of the decade. There’s also a strong tradition of red white and blue lampposts and a distinct lack of green cars.

Not so long ago the story of Scottish elections was the story of the count of Labour seats mounting up as returning officers weighed the party’s vote. In the election of 2016 it took until 3.30 am before Labour won a single seat. Their vote evaporated, to the SNP, but even more to the Tories.

The story of the night is that the hard No vote is coalescing around the Conservatives. Ruthie’s “Vote Ruth Davidson for a strong Ruth Davidson holding the SNP to account with more Ruth Davidsonning” schtick appears to have paid off with the diehard Unionists. It was only after the polls had closed that she uttered the word Tory.

Jackson Carlaw took Eastwood, narrowly ahead of the SNP and pushing Labour’s Ken Wossisname into third place. A Tory, taking a seat in Glasgow, from Labour. We’ve crossed through the mirror now. Let’s just run that one past you again. A Tory has taken a seat from Labour in Glasgow. We have a Tory government running the NHS in England into the ground, dragging us into an entirely unnecessary EU referendum purely in order to settle the Tory party leadership, rewarding the rich and punishing the poor, reducing Scotland’s MPs to second class citizens, and some people in Glasgow still decided to vote for them. When are thoroughly vile Tory party still manages to take votes and seats from Labour, that all by itself tells you just how toxic Labour has become.

The lesson for the Yes campaign is that there are people in Scotland, former Labour voters, who are so committed to the Union that they’ve switched to the Tories. Those are the voters that we will never win over. Seems that the Red Tory jibe was pretty accurate after all. Next time someone from Labour calls the SNP the Tartan Tories all we need to do is to remind them where their votes went. Their hatred of the SNP has killed them. We’re facing an SNP government with the Tories as the official opposition.

It’s after 4 am now, and I need to get some sleep. It doesn’t look like the SNP can get a majority on constituency seats alone, so it’s all going to come down to the list votes. The pattern seems to be that the SNP is increasing its vote share in urban areas. Scotland’s cities and towns are voting for the party of independence. It’s nail biting, but it is still looking as though Scotland is on course to return a majority SNP government, and a majority of independence supporting MSPs. We won’t know until the list seats start to report. Then we’ll also find out if the rumours about a strong Green vote are true.

The big losers are Labour. What’s left of Labour needs to reflect on its ruination. For the first time in over 100 years it looks like they’ve been pushed into third place. If they really believe in the progressive politics they claim to stand for, they need to face up to the reality that Scottish politics is now a contest between a social democratic independence or a reactionary conservative unionism. There can only be one winner in the longer term. Either we lose our NHS, our public services, our free education, and become a glorified nuclear arms dump full of part time workers on zero hours contracts struggling with low wages and ever decreasing rights, or the Union is over. That’s the choice facing Scotland, that’s the choice facing Labour. It’s that stark.


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

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

The two volumes of the Collected Yaps are in stock again. See below for order details.


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

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

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

Vote Scottish

The polls open in a few hours, and the parties are making their final pleas to the public. The SNP hope to retain their majority and with luck increase it. The Greens hope to overtake the Lib Dems as the fourth largest party. And the Tories hope that Labour collapses to such an extent that they can sneak into a far distant second place.

Some anti-independence commentators, who really ought to know better, have been complaining that Scottish politics are now Ulsterised. This is based on the facile notion that the great political division in both is now between nationalists and unionists. However if you really think that Scotland’s politics have become just like Ulster’s, then you know nothing about Scotland and even less about Northern Ireland. Best you just shut your geggie before people point and laugh. As far as I know, there have been no knee-cappings or molotov cocktail throwings associated with organised crime gangs in league with Scottish political parties. There has been no voting early and voting often and a high turn out in graveyards, although if there has then perhaps we can ask Ruthie if she’s seen the postal votes. There has been snark a-plenty, there’s been pursed lips and dirty looks, but this election campaign has passed without so much as an egg being sacrificed.

There is of course only one small and rapidly diminishing voting block in Scotland which casts its ballot on the basis of sectarianism, and that’s one which wears an orange sash, waves a red white and blue flag, and whose members have a tendency to support a certain fitba team. If Ulsterisation exists in Scottish politics, it’s a problem for the Unionists and no one else. Funny how Unionists have a tendency to project their own shortcomings onto independence supporters.

If you believed the Unionist press, Scotland has been on the verge of civil war since late 2013. Yet the only actual violence leading to criminal charges, as opposed to hysterical predictions of violence which go no further than the pages of a Unionist rag, have been amongst Unionists. There’s that psychological projection again. Some anti-independence commentators really ought to consider the beams in their own eye before they go on about someone else’s motes. Not that that ever stops them of course. There is nothing that the Unionist media would love more than actual violence from the Scottish independence campaign. Our refusal to give them any annoys them almost as much as the inevitability of another independence referendum.

Ruth Davidson, in a last minute appeal from the back of a buffalo, has called on people who voted yes in the independence referendum to vote Conservative this time so that she can hold the SNP to account. That’s a bit like asking someone to shoot themself in the foot so that you can write a stiff letter of complaint to the Daily Telegraph about local chiropody provision. All over Scotland, at least in Ruthie’s imagination, independence supporters will limp to the polls to give her their support, although the overlap between independence supporters and psychotic self-harming masochists is probably not as great as she’s hoping it is. Even if Ruthie’s imaginary yes supporters who’re going to vote Tory do manage to drag themselves to the polling station leaving a trail of blood behind them, they’d probably be stopped by her equally imaginary burly men.

It’s not entirely clear what it is that Ruthie believes would possess a yes supporter to vote Tory in order to put pressure on the SNP. She’s spent the past few months banging on about nothing except her opposition to another referendum, but apparently she now wants people who want another referendum to vote for her because she claims the SNP don’t show sufficient leadership. She seems to struggle with the concept that you can only be a leader if people want to follow where you’re leading them. Ruth will show leadership, just leadership 180 degrees opposite to the direction that yes voters want to go.

By the same logic, if you want to protect the NHS you should vote for it to be privatised, if you want nukes out of the Clyde you should vote for Trident renewal, and if you want politicians who are truthful, consistent, modest, and self-effacing you should vote for Donald Trump. Or indeed, if you are viscerally opposed to politicians who pose with tanks, buffaloes, or large and very dead fish so that they can grab a quick photo opportunity and avoid being asked difficult questions about their Westminster colleagues’ vindictive and nasty actions in government, you could always for vote Ruth.

Meanwhile Kezia Dugdale has opined that she’s afraid that the controversy over allegations of anti-semiticism in the Labour party could have damaged their election hopes. She really needn’t worry. Labour never had a hope to begin with. The only question in this election is just how gubbed they’re going to get. Labour descended into irrelevance the moment that the party decided that campaigning alongside the Tories to prop up the Westminster system was the best way for their to guarantee their continuing expenses claims, the best they can hope for is that they don’t haemorrhage so much support that Ruthie overtakes them by simply standing still. Labour do occasionally manage to oppose the Tories successfully, in the same way that if you leave a basket in your garden and a fish falls into it from the sky you’re a successful angler.

Having been upstaged by pig-sex, which for once didn’t involve Davie Cameron, Wullie Rennie is confident that his party can avoid being relegated to fifth place behind the Greens. He was also confident that Alistair Carmichael didn’t deserve to get prosecuted, that Nick Clegg was right to go into coalition with the Tories, and that Danny Alexander was going to get reelected. The pigs rutting behind him as he made his pronouncement were making a far more profound statement about Lib Dem chances. They’re screwed.

However you vote on Thursday, vote Scottish. Vote to annoy the Unionist establishment, vote to keep Scotland on the agenda. Let’s make sure that Labour is justly punished, that the Lib Dems are consigned to history where they belong, and that the Tories and UKIP make no inroads. Let’s hope for a majority SNP government and a large contingent of Greens. If we can do that, and we can, there’s still hope for Scotland.

There are strict laws about publishing during the period of time when the polling stations are open. It is illegal to publish anything about how the vote is going, or anything which could be construed as an exit poll. I can’t sit and moderate comments all day, so regretfully I will turn off the comments facility overnight, and will turn it back on again when the polls close at 10 pm on Thursday. Thank you for your understanding.


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

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

The two volumes of the Collected Yaps are in stock again. See below for order details.


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

Donate Button

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

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

Let’s dream of unicorns

It took hundreds of years to trap the unicorn. There was the hammer of the Scots that broke on the anvil of Bannockburn, there wis the flooers o the forest that wede awaa, there was the queen who lost her head and the tongue tied son who fled south to the riches of London and thought he’d been appointed by God. There was the king killer who killed Christmas and the disputes about bishops and the number of angels who could dance on the head of the pin that was stuck into the wart of a witch. But the unicorn still ran free in the hills. The forests rang to its cry, and it galloped along the shores of the sealochs.

Then what couldn’t happen by force happened by stealth, and the trap of Union was baited with golden bribes. The auld sang fell silent. The people wept, the townspeople rioted, but the unicorn was catched and would be held fast. Rebellions rose, rebellions fell, pretenders came and pretenders fled, but the unicorn was snared in the chains of empire. The promise of a partnership became the aggression of assimilation. Speak English, become civilised, reject all that you were born to in the name of modernity. Embrace the cringe of inferiority.

Don’t listen to the stories of imaginary creatures, the unicorns and kelpies, the banshees and selkies. Listen to the hammers and the steam, listen to the pickaxe digging the coalseam. Listen to the forging of steel, listen to the shipyards and looms. Listen to the voices of your betters. Welcome to North Britain, where all you can dream of is a narrow horizon, an aspiration to emigrate, a marginal improvement. And if you’re really really lucky your team might win a cup at the fitba. There are no big skies in this land, just small voices and constrained hopes. There is no such thing as a unicorn.

The dream of a land that stood for itself became a myth. It was put away in the treasure chest of memory, and there it lay lost and still while the chiefs turned into lairds and evicted the caretakers of the land who were washed away and over the seas. The unicorn was quiet in the dark while the ancient tongues grew still. It watched as the cities grew and the slums sucked in the people and crowded them together in poverty and hopelessness. The only spirits that the people knew were the ones that came in a bottle to self-medicate the pain. As the empire on which the sun never set conquered the world, the sun set on the unicorn and it dreamed its dream of the hills and the forests in the long North British night as nightmares assailed it from every side.

You don’t exist, said the voice in the dark, you can never exist. There is only the grey sky and the hopeless certainty that nothing will ever get better. There is no poetry in your soul, there is no soul, there is no poetry. You have to be practical, you have to get on, you have to play the North British game. The very best you can hope for is that things might not be just as shitty as they have been. There is no place for dreaming in North Britain. All there is is work, if you’re lucky. And when there is no work as there so often isn’t, then you can leave. It’s a Union benefit. And in return all you have to do is to speak English, speak proper, stand up straight and salute the Queen, and kill your imagination. Wheesht, your betters are telling you how it is. Listen in silence and bow your head. Dae whit yer telt. Don’t dream, don’t hope, don’t imagine that there can be a better way.

The unicorn lived in dreams, and that meant it could never die. It only slept, and as it slept it flew on the wings of imagination carried high by the updraught of dreams. The dream leapt from head to head, and the realisation grew that independence starts in the imagination, that self-determination begins with the self, that the personal is political. That’s the dream of the unicorn. Believe in yourself and you can make your own dreams come true, believe in the dream of the unicorn.

A people weighted down with the baggage of centuries realised that the only thing holding them back was their own fear and the sense of inferiority that they’d been taught for generations. Dream of a unicorn and you can cast off the shackles you’ve locked on your own wrists and ankles. Dream of a unicorn and a different Scotland becomes possible. Dream of a unicorn and you can change the world. Dream the dream of the unicorn and you can learn how to hope, and once you’ve learned how to hope you can never forget the lesson. The flame dances within you and lights up the darkness. You’ll always dream of the unicorn because you’ve realised that there is a better way. It’s the path we choose for ourselves, the path we make for ourselves, the path that leads to self-determination.

A better country is possible. A better country is within our grasp, and if we stand on one another shoulders we can reach for the unicorn. When you dream of the unicorn you’ve never been more awake. Reality begins with the imagination. Imagine a better country. Imagine hope for your children. Imagine the confidence to go your own way. Imagine the strength that comes from self-awareness. Tell the world that Scotland is back on the back of a unicorn. And we’re not going back to sleep.

The unicorn runs free on the hills. It gallops through the towns and villages. The imagination of a people has been unleashed, a people who’ve learned how to dream and hope. There’s no going back to the dark, the fear cannot catch us, the cringe is gone, and hope is alive. Let’s make it real. Let’s dream of unicorns and sing again.

Tomorrow, let’s vote for a Scotland that dreams its own dreams.


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

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

The two volumes of the Collected Yaps are in stock again. See below for order details.


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

Donate Button

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

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

Davie Cameron doesn’t think

David Cameron doesn’t think that the Scottish government will have a mandate for another independence referendum. That sentence would be a whole lot more accurate if it ended at the word ‘think’. Scotland rarely fires any synapses in the brain of our Prime Minister, and on the rare occasions that it does his neural pathways snap crackle and pop into a resentful awareness that Scotland didn’t go back to eating its Unionist cereal after the independence referendum.

It’s all the fault of the Labour party, says a wee voice in Davie’s head, the mental scab that overlies the memory of his speech the morning after the referendum when instead of placating Scotland he told us it had all really been about England all along. He doesn’t think that telling Scotland that its Westminster representatives were going to be made second class would be seen in Scotland as a punishment for daring to consider self-determination. He didn’t think that was only going to piss us off, that it was only going to make us refuse to get back into the shortbread tin and would only make us redouble our efforts.

Davie doesn’t think about that. It’s not his fault. It’s Labour’s fault for not persuading Scotland back into the fold. It’s the SNP’s fault for existing. It’s the fault of the Scots in his imagination who only exist as a stereotypical chip on both shoulders. So Davie Cameron doesn’t think. If he thought he’d realise that it was his fault after all.

Davie Cameron doesn’t think. He doesn’t think about the promises made that we could only be safe within the EU if we voted no. All he thought about was settling scores within the Tory party, about settling his succession battle. Which of his teenage pals is going to get his job, his ex-bestie Boris or his current bestie George. Davie doesn’t think that reducing British politics to schoolyard rivalries writ large is damaging, and if he did think about it he wouldn’t care. All that Davie cares about is short term political advantage, but he’s not alone in that. It’s how all the Unionist parties operate in Westminster. They don’t think about anything else.

Davie Cameron doesn’t think. He doesn’t think about the promises that were made and not kept. He doesn’t think about the jobs that were supposed to be safe, the shipyards that were supposed to be given orders, the tax offices that were supposed to remain open. He doesn’t think about the pensions that were guaranteed but which now recede ever further into old age, shrinking like the collapse of the vertebral columns of working class people forced to remain working until they’re in their 70s, their 80s, until they drop dead. Davie doesn’t think about that, because Davie inherited dosh from his dad that his dad had stashed away abroad. You don’t need to think when you’re rich.

Let’s not think about Home Rule. Let’s not think about devomax. Let’s not think about the nearest thing possible to federalism. Let’s not think about the fevered promises of Gordie’s vow made in the last days of the referendum campaign when Davie thought for a moment and thought he was going to lose. Let’s not think about those faux parchment promises that were phrased in vague terms so that they could plausibly be read any way that you wanted. Let’s not think that the Unionist parties entered into the Smith Commission determined to give away as little as possible. Let’s not think that the Tories undermined the resultant Scotland bill and rejected every single amendment made to it by Scotland’s own MPs. Let’s not think about how Scotland in the Union is powerless to affect its own fate. There must be some cereal somewhere.

Instead let’s tell Scotland that it’s got the most powerful devolved parliament in the world. That sounds good. That sounds plausible. That sounds as though the Unionists have fulfilled their promises only the promise falls apart because Scottish people think. And we think that devolution is a concept that exists only under the British imaginary constitution that Westminster makes up to suit itself as it goes along, that the Scottish parliament is the only devolved parliament in the world because other parliaments are autonomous and their autonomy is guaranteed by written constitutions. We have no written constitution in the UK, we have only the word of Davie Cameron and the Unionist parties. And we think that those are worthless. Not even worth the paper they’re written on because they’re not written down. Those are the promises and commitments of devolution. Davie doesn’t want us to think about that.

But we do think, and we think that telling us that the Scottish parliament is the most devolved parliament in the world is much the same as telling us that the Scottish parliament is the most Edinburghy parliament in the world, the most Holyroody, the most Scottish parliament in the universe. It tells us nothing. It tells us that Westminster is full of crap, full of broken promises, full of lies, full of itself. That’s the kind of realisation you make when you think. So Davie Cameron doesn’t think.

Davie Cameron doesn’t think. He doesn’t think because if he did he’d realise that Scotland doesn’t need the SNP to make a case for independence. Davie and the Unionists are doing that all by themselves. The mandate for Scottish independence derives from the actions of the Unionist parties and from Davie Cameron’s lack of thought.

Davie Cameron doesn’t think, but we do. Let’s think. Let’s think about the better Scotland that we can build if Scotland was in charge of its own destiny. Let’s think about the changes we can make. Let’s think about the injustices that we can right. Let’s think about the chasm of inequalities that we can bridge. Let’s think about using Scotland’s talents and skills and resources to invest in Scotland. Let’s think about a better country. Let’s think about independence. And on Thursday let’s think about voting for parties that will take us closer to that goal. That’s the power of thought. Thought planted an idea and it grew a nation.


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

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

The two volumes of the Collected Yaps are in stock again. See below for order details.


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

Donate Button

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

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

Scottish democracy will not be silenced

So what’s more democratic? Would it be option a) allowing the people to have a say on a topic when there is clear evidence that public opinion has shifted, or would it be option b)insisting that the result of a previous vote must be cast in stone and preserved forever? Or at least for as long as it takes Ruth Davidson to stop banging on about how she’s not going to allow another referendum, which is the same as forever. Ruth will still be refusing to allow another referendum after there’s been a second referendum and the Yes campaign has won it.

Ruth thinks it’s option b, because under that option her opinion is the only one that counts. This is what a Scottish Tory considers democracy, and it’s easy to see why Ruth might have been led to that conclusion because after all the opinion of Scotland’s sole Conservative is the only opinion belonging to a Scottish MP that counts in the House of Commons. When you’re a Conservative naturally your views trump those of everyone else, that’s what being British is all about after all. Tory opinions are so all pervasive that the only way that Labour can get elected south of the border is by turning itself into a Tory clone.

Kezia Dugdale has a similar opinion to Ruth Davidson, or at least she does this week. A week or so back she was open to the idea of allowing Labour politicians to support independence if they wanted, she could even conceive of circumstances when she might vote yes herself, but then she clarified that those circumstances were themselves inconceivable. Labour is opposed to another independence referendum this week, because it’s just before an election and they’re desperate to shore up their hard line Unionist vote and stop it wandering off to the Tories.

Labour has changed its mind so often and on so many issues that it’s hard to tell what Labour’s position is on anything, because they change their policies more often than your average person changes their underpants. But then no one really pays much attention to what Kezia thinks, not even most of what’s left of the Labour party. And come Thursday there’s going to be even less of the Labour party left. Labour’s been changing its collective underpants far more frequently than your average person does as they face up to the prospect of their impending doom.

The great Russian writer Dostoyevski once said that there was nothing like the prospect of impending execution to concentrate the mind, but that doesn’t seem to have worked in the case of the Labour party in Scotland. But then of course that presupposes that they have a mind to concentrate. The Labour party in Scotland has James Kelly instead. The only consistent policy position you’ll find in the Labour party in Scotland is that the SNP is very bad.

In the interests of full disclosure, it does have to be added that Wullie Rennie is of a similar opinion. Admittedly no one gives a toss what Wullie thinks about anything, except possibly his views on the timetable of the number 17 bus from Cowdenbeath to Kelty. But then you can get an app for your mobile for that, which means that Wullie is the first party leader in recorded history who could be replaced by a mobile phone notification without anyone noticing. The Wulliapp is recognisable by the sound of its droning hum, which not coincidentally sounds very like the engine of an Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 double decker. Unlike the bus though, Wullie doesn’t meet emissions standards, as he spouts far more in way of brain damaging rubbish than a diesel engine, and he also carries far less on top.

Labour attempted to develop a similar app for Kezia, but its high pitched whine was inaudible to the human ear and only made all dogs within a three kilometre radius bark wildly and pee on the carpet. Since they’ve already got enough on their hands clearing up the mess that Jackie Baillie makes every time she makes a pronouncement, the idea was aborted.

Anyway, having had our referendum in 2014, the Unionist parties claim that Scotland isn’t going to be allowed to change its mind on the question of our status within the UK, not even if the Unionist parties break every single promise and commitment that they made in order to secure the no vote that September. There may be a promise that was made to Scotland by the Better Together campaign in the summer of 2014 that hasn’t been broken yet, although I must admit that I am struggling to think of an example. They did promise that it was only by virtue of a no vote that we’d still get Dr Who on the telly, but we’re not even getting a new series this year, although we may still get a Christmas special.

The Unionists believe that Scotland shouldn’t be allowed to reconsider the situation even if circumstances radically change and the previously unthinkable actually came to pass, as it would if Scotland was faced with being dragged out of the EU against its will or Jackie Baillie made an announcement about something that turned out to be well costed and numerate.

There’s a slow drip drip in the polls, and support for independence is growing. Eventually it will reach the point where independence can safely be called the settled will of the Scottish people. We may reach that point sooner rather than later, given the way in which the Unionist parties act as though democracy is optional as far as Scotland is concerned. But even if the polls show that there’s a clear, consistent, and settled majority in favour of independence, the Unionist parties still don’t want us to have one. They’ll be insisting that everyone respects a no voting majority that has ceased to exist.

The reason that the Unionists don’t want to give the Scottish people the chance to ask themselves the question about Scotland’s place in the world is because they are afraid of the answer that they’ll get. They’re desperate to retain control over us because they know they’ve already lost it. The question is still going to be asked, sooner or later, and the answer will be independence. Scottish democracy will not be silenced.


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

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

The two volumes of the Collected Yaps are in stock again. See below for order details.


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

Donate Button

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

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

The direction of respect

It would appear, according to the bunch of torn faces collectively known as Scotland’s Unionist parties, that there’s only one sort of respect that needs to be demanded in Scottish politics. That’s the respect that independence supporting parties are required to show the result of the referendum in 2014. Funnily enough, there doesn’t appear to be any parallel requirement on the part of the Unionist parties to respect the promises and commitments that they made to people who would otherwise have voted for independence in order to secure the result that they’re desperate should be respected.

In the twenty months or so since the referendum, one after another the promises made by the Unionist parties have collapsed like support for the Labour party. But then, they never had any intention of fulfilling them to begin with. Unionist political parties don’t do promises because Scotland has no means of holding them to account. We can punish their representatives in Scotland, we can pandaficate them, but they sail on regardless and impose what they like on us on the back of their support elsewhere. When you hear a demand that you respect something, you can be pretty damn sure that those demanding the respect have no respect for you. Respect only flows one way in the UK. It flows the same way as oil revenues, as Scottish capital, as educated and skilled workers. It flows out of Scotland and never comes back.

So when you heard the Unionist parties promise that Scotland’s EU membership could only be safe if we voted to remain a part of the UK, that wasn’t really a promise at all. It was just a serving suggestion. When you heard the Unionist parties swear blind that jobs in tax offices and shipyards and steel fabricators would only be safe if Scotland stayed in the UK, that wasn’t a promise at all. It was just a fond hope. When you heard Labour and the Tories scare the elderly with nightmare stories about pensions and health care that could only be avoided if Scotland voted No, those weren’t promises or commitments. It was a work of fiction for illustrative purposes. When you heard Gordie Broon and Alistair Darling say that a No voting Scotland would benefit from the nearest thing to federalism possible, would get Home Rule which was the same thing as Devo Max, none of that was a promise or a commitment. It was just a statement of potential aspirations.

And when Davie Cameron said that he would show Scotland respect and understanding, well he was just taking the piss. Thinking that a Tory Eton boy is going to respect Scotland? Even people out of their trees on drugs don’t hallucinate that much.

The reason that the Unionist keep demanding respect for the outcome of the referendum is because they’re desperate to avoid a rerun. They’re desperate to avoid a rerun because they know that they will then be held to account for the lies, deceit, and mendacity that won them the last one. And they know that the next time there’s a referendum, they’re going to lose. You might think that in a normal universe where we were blessed with honest politicians who understood the meaning of morality, that the Unionist parties would understand that the best way to avoid a rerun of the independence referendum would be by not only bending over backwards to ensure that all the promises and commitments that they made during the Scottish summer of 2014 were fulfilled, but by going beyond those promises and commitments and over-delivering. They haven’t done that though, have they.

The Unionist parties haven’t come remotely close to fulfilling the promises that they made to Scotland in 2014. The pathetically inadequate Smith Commission which was then ritually disembowelled in the House of Commons was supposed to deliver Gordie Broon’s infamous Vow. But Gordie’s Vow remains far off and inaccessible in the depths of outer space, a bit like Gordie himself. The Unionist parties got their collective arses kicked by the voters of Scotland in May 2015 as we reminded them that we had expectations of them that they had yet to fulfil. The Unionist parties have responded to their ignominious defeat in May 2015 by ignoring it and pretending that it didn’t happen. All they do is to demand our respect but have no intention of respecting us. So they can go screw themselves and stick their respect where the sun don’t shine. That would be whichever rock it is that Gordie Broon has been hiding under this past year.

So if the Unionists want the result of the independence referendum repected, they can bloody well start by respecting it themselves. And that means that they deliver on *our* understanding of the promises that they made to us, not their own self-serving understanding. Because right now they’re demanding that we respect their understanding of statements that Alex Salmond made during the independence referendum, and expect us to abide by their understanding of what someone said in a personal capacity. Don’t know about you, but I didn’t promise that there shouldn’t be another independence referendum for a generation. No one told me that was what I was voting for, and I am buggered if Ruth Davidson or Kezia Dugdale is going to hold me to a commitment that I didn’t make just so they can save their pathetic parties from a justly deserved electoral oblivion.

If Ruth and Kezia want the result of the referendum respected, then they’d better start showing some respect themselves. Because I’m not seeing any. All I see are political parties that are trying to weasel out of the promises that they made, that cavil and complain, that have reduced Scotland’s representatives to second class status in the House of Commons, and which continue to ride roughshod over the express will of the Scottish people.

Because if the settled will of the Scottish people was as important to them as they claim that it is, we wouldn’t be getting Trident renewed, we wouldn’t be subject to Tory cuts, we wouldn’t be getting hauf airsed powers over income tax and control of bloody road signs and being told that it was devo-pissing-max. I’ll be the judge of that along with the rest of the Scottish people, not David Cameron. And we will be the judge of whether or not the Unionist parties have fulfilled their promises. The kicking that they’re going to get on Thursday ought to tell them that we don’t believe them. I’m not about to start respecting political parties that treat Scotland with contempt, and I suspect I’m not alone.


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

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

The two volumes of the Collected Yaps are in stock again. See below for order details.


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

Donate Button

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

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

Vote for the good guy

I’ve written before that Scotland needs a majority SNP government, preferably with a large contingent of Greens, after the Holyrood elections in order to ensure that we maintain the pressure for a second independence referendum. We also need the SNP to maintain its majority in government in order to ensure that the Unionist media doesn’t have the opportunity to crow that the wheels have come off the independence bandwagon. Make no mistake, that’s precisely what they will do if the SNP return fewer MSPs this time than they did in 2011. The only story in the Unionist press will be that the election was a defeat for Scottish nationalism, not the SNP, but for the cause of independence. They’ll do that even if there’s a large contingent of Greens and RISE or Solidarity manage to achieve some successes.

But while this election may be a Scottish national election, it’s also a series of local votes for individuals. Some of those individuals are more deserving of a vote than others. It goes without saying that as a supporter of Scottish independence I’m going to vote for a representative who will campaign for that goal. But not all independence supporting politicians share the same vision of an independent Scotland as I do, and faced with a choice between two candidates both of whom support independence, I’m going to vote for the good guy.

As a rule, I try to keep my distance from politicians. I reserve the right to say rude things about any of them, and while I have a self-imposed ban on criticising any independence supporting party, that’s going to change come the glorious day that Scotland rejoins the international community of nations. So I don’t attend Holyrood, I don’t cultivate friendships with politicians, and have no intention or desire to join any political party. But there is one politician that I do know very well, and if I lived in the region where he is standing as a list MSP for the Greens, I’d vote for him, because he isn’t just one of the good guys, he’s one of the very best.

I’ve known John Wilson for a long time, and I should point out right here and now that he doesn’t know I’ve written this blog post about him, and he certainly didn’t ask me to write it. However if there’s one single politician I’d like to see returned to the Scottish parliament, to provide a strong and powerful voice for Central Scotland and north Lanarkshire in particular, it’s John. If Scotland had a parliament full of men and women like John, we’d be independent already.

Our friendship is not based in politics, I’ve been a friend of John’s wife Frances since we were both kids at school together. Frances was, and still is, like a sister to me, and during the long and painful months when my late partner Andy was dying from vascular dementia, Frances and John both went out of their way to give me the support and love that I needed to keep going. At that time John was an SNP list MSP for Central Scotland. Despite the fact he had his hands full with the referendum campaign and with party and parliamentary duties, he and Frances still made time to support me, and this was long before I started blogging. So no one can say that he was cultivating a politically useful contact. John doesn’t work like that anyway. If it wasn’t for John and Frances I’d have run into a brick wall long before Andy finally passed away, and would not have been able to fulfil the promise I made to Andy a long time ago that I’d look after him and would make sure that he didn’t have to go into a care home, a prospect that terrified him. It was thanks to Frances and John that I kept my promise to Andy, and thanks to them that I’ve been able to start the process of building a new life for myself now that he’s gone. So I owe both of them an enormous debt.

John’s commitment to a left wing, independent, socially just and peaceful Scotland is unwavering and single minded. He left the SNP after the referendum over the issue of NATO membership. He’d made the decision several months before, but chose not to speak in public as he didn’t want to damage the party or the independence campaign. He’s since joined the Greens and is now standing as a Green candidate on their Central Scotland list. Some people have said that they are unsure about the commitment of the Greens to independence, but John’s commitment to independence cannot be doubted. It’s his top political priority. John wants an independent, neutral Scotland, which disavows nuclear weapons, embraces land reform, seeks to protect the environment and which embarks upon sustainable development and reindustrialisation.

With John you get a politician whose commitment to ridding Scotland of nuclear weapons is absolute. He’s not going to equivocate. That’s why he left the SNP over the issue of NATO. Even though we’d get rid of nukes that were based on our territory with independence, as a member of NATO we’d still have to allow other NATO countries with nuclear weapons to make use of our facilities. We’d not be nuke-free, just nuke-light. I want no nukes in Scotland.

John is utterly opposed to fracking. He doesn’t want a moritorium, he doesn’t want a halt to fracking if there are substantial concerns about it. He wants it banned. Scotland doesn’t need fracking. This is a big issue in Central Scotland. Basically, regions which were former coal producers are geologically the same areas which are targetted by fracking companies as the oil and gas they seek typically lies underneath the old coal beds. But in Central Scotland this means fracking in the very same areas where the bulk of population lives. This isn’t the case in the USA or Canada where there have been serious concerns about pollution. In Scotland, fracking will risk causing severe pollution in the heart of our most densely populated regions. It’s not a risk that an energy rich country like Scotland needs to take. We need to develop our renewable energies. Scotland could lead the world in this field, but only if we have the full powers in order to do so.

I could go on, about John’s work with the low pay unit, his work developing credit unions to assist people on low incomes, his passion for improved public transport, how his expenses claims were amongst the lowest of any MSP. It’s enough to repeat what I said near the start of this blog post, John Wilson isn’t just one of the good guys, he’s one of the best. I know that having him on my side has helped me enormously, and if you are lucky enough to live in Central Scotland and you return him as an MSP on Thursday, you can have him on your side too.


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

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

The two volumes of the Collected Yaps are in stock again. See below for order details.


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

Donate Button

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

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