Two faces aren’t enough for the Lib Dems

twofacedlibdems
There’s hypocrisy, and then there’s Lib Dem hypocrisy. Or rather, in the words of the party leader Jeauw Sweynsen, heypaughrezeey. The party’s hypocrisy is many layered, complex, and internally lacking in anything that might vaguely resemble consistency, even when you try and listen to it from the back of a room full of people yelling at one another. So it’s rather like their party leader’s accent in that regard.

The brand new policy announced by the Lib Dems at their conference is that if they win a majority at the General Election – no laughing at the back there – they’re going to revoke Article 50. Now you might think that was a perfectly consistent stance from them. After all, they’ve been against Brexit since day one. However the option for the UK to unilaterally revoke Article 50 only exists in the first place because Joanna Cherry and Alyn Smith of the SNP, Andy Wightman and Ross Greer of the Greens, and Catherine Stihler and David Martin of Labour, together with lawyer Jolyon Maugham QC the director of the Good Law Project, went to the time and trouble of taking the UK Government to court to prove the point. The case was necessary because the British Government was asserting loudly and insistently that no such right existed. It took a court ruling to prove the contrary.

Who is missing from that list of litigants? That’s right, the Lib Dems fearlessly decided not to take part in the court case. The opportunists of the Lib Dems are just happy benefit from other people’s work without giving them any credit for it.

However flip-flopping is nothing new for Jeauw Sweynsen. She’s fiercely opposed to Brexit nowadays. Brexit is a bad thing that has only created division and upset. Today she’s quoted saying that former Tory PM David Cameron cannot be forgiven for calling the EU referendum. “No, I don’t forgive David Cameron for calling the EU referendum,” she told Lib Dem conference delegates. However she was quite happy to open the whole Brexit can of worms back in 2008 when she supported a motion put to the Commons which if successful would have brought about a referendum on EU membership. Wullie Rennie, who at the time was MP for Dunfermline and West Fife, also supported the motion. Jeauw stood up in the chamber of parliament and told the House of Commons, “In fact, the Lib Dems would like a referendum on the major issue of in or out of Europe.” Presumably she’s managed to forgive herself and Wullie.

The plan now for the Lib Dems is to revoke Article 50 and cancel Brexit outright, without another referendum. There’s no need for another referendum to overturn the result of the first one. There’s no need to implement the result of the first referendum to see whether it delivers what the voters were promised. Just vote Lib Dem, and a majority Lib Dem government will cancel the whole thing even though the First Past the Post voting system of Westminster would theoretically allow them to form a majority government on as little as one third of the popular vote.

But all this hypocrisy, rich and multistoreyed as it is, palls into insignificance when we contrast the Lib Dems’ attitude to the EU referendum with their attitude to the Scottish independence referendum. Unlike the EU referendum the result of the Scottish referendum was actually implemented. Scotland remains a part of the UK. Yet the Lib Dems and the other anti-independence parties have dismally failed to deliver on the promises and commitments that they made to the people of Scotland in 2014 in order to produce their winning result.

However not only do the Lib Dems refuse to concede that there is any need for another independence referendum, they have also stated that they would block one under all circumstances irrespective of whether voters in Scotland express a demand for one at the ballot box or not. The Lib Dems do not want to allow the electorate of Scotland to hold them and their pals in Better Together to account. The decision was made in 2014, and even if you were too young to vote then, you’re not going to be allowed to have a say on whether the UK that Scotland is a part of is really the UK that Scotland was told it was a part of.  That UK that was a member of the EU.  That UK that was a bastion of moderation, tolerance, and respect for minorities.  You’re not going to be allowed to decide whether that really is the same as the Brexit Britain immigrant bashing UK that Scotland has turned out to be a part of.  Not until Wullie Rennie shuffles off this mortal coil.

It doesn’t matter what the voters of Scotland actually want. Even if the voters of Scotland were to return 56 SNP MPs at the General Election to come. Even if the voters of Scotland were to elect an overwhelming majority of pro-independence MSPs in the next Holyrood elections, the Lib Dems say that they would still block any attempts to hold another independence referendum, indefinitely. They will do so even though they have but a fraction of the electoral support that pro-independence parties receive, and feel that they are perfectly justified in blocking the democratic will of the people of Scotland on the back of MPs from elsewhere in the UK. Yet this is a party which signed up to the Scottish Claim of Right, a document which states that the people of Scotland have the absolute right to determine the form of government best suited to their needs. Apparently there was a caveat to that document in invisible ink which said “as long as that’s OK with Wullie Rennie and Jeauw Sweynson.”

Meanwhile there are reports that the Lib Dems in Scotland are in talks with the Tories about ensuring that the SNP don’t get a “clean sweep” of Commons seats at the next General Election. Just like they did in 2010, the Lib Dems are quite happy to preach opposition to the Tories, and then collaborate with them.

Voters are allowed to change their mind on the decision to leave the EU, because that’s a decision that the Lib Dems don’t agree with. Voters aren’t allowed to change their minds on Scotland’s decision not to become independent, because that’s a decision that the Lib Dems do agree with. The only referendum results that need to be respected are those that the Lib Dems support.

“It’s about giving people a choice,” said Jeauw during an interview on Sky News on Monday. But only if that choice is one that the Lib Dems agree with. Two faces aren’t enough for them, the Lib Dems are neither liberal nor democratic.


newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free. You can order here –
https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2019

You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to weegingerbook@yahoo.com, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email weegingerbook@yahoo.com


You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Please log into Paypal.com and send a payment to the email address weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Or alternatively click the donate button. If you don’t have a Paypal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.
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If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information.

Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

GINGER2croppedGaelic maps of Scotland are available for £15 each, plus £7 P&P within the UK for up to three maps. T-shirts are £12 each, and are available in small, medium, large, XL and XXL sizes. P&P is £5 for up to three t-shirts. My books, the Collected Yaps Vols 1 to 4 are available for £11 each. P&P is £4 for up to two books. Payment can be made via Paypal.

The incredible sulk

hulk
Hulk angry. Hulk ignore law. Hulk smash constitution. Hulk want no deal Brexit. Lyin Bastert Johnson has now compared himself to the Hulk, warning the EU that “Hulk always escaped, no matter how tightly bound in he seemed to be – and that is the case for this country.” Then he went on to add that the angrier the Hulk got, the stronger he became. We can only assume that the Prime Minister of the UK has been exposed to a heavy dose of gammon radiation which has fried his brain. I must have missed that Avengers movie where the Hulk negotiated a deal on the Northern Irish border and made phytosanitary arrangements that the EU could accept.

Of course there are some important ways in which LBJ does resemble the Hulk. Neither of them can keep their trousers on, both are out of control mindless destructive forces, and both inhabit fantasies. That’s where the similarities end. The Hulk always ends up regreting the damage that he wreaked when he went on a rampage. LBJ only ever regrets things that he feels won’t further his career or inflate his ego.

It’s a crucial week for the exercise in political convenience that passes for the British constitution. On Tuesday the UK Supreme Court is due to start making its decision on the ruling of the Scottish Court of Session that the Government’s prorogation of Parliament was illegal. The English High Court has ruled that the matter is not within the competence of the courts, and it’s up to the UK Supreme Court to resolve the difference between the two rulings. Not even the Hulk can smash the two together in a way that doesn’t overrule one of them.

One of two things has to happen. Either the Supreme Court will uphold the ruling of the Court of Session, or it will uphold the ruling of the High Court. It has to uphold one of them. If it upholds the Court of Session ruling, then Parliament will have been found to have been prorogued illegally and will start sitting again immediately. The Prime Minister will have been found to have lied to the monarch – even though it’s improbable to think that the Queen didn’t know exactly what LBJ was up to – and he will either have to resign or he’ll be impeached by Parliament. There will be an almighty constitutional crisis. English nationalists will be outraged that Scotland has overruled England. It will increase the resentment amongst sections of the Conservative party south of the border, and reduce their resistance to another Scottish independence referendum.

Alternatively, the Supreme Court will uphold the High Court’s decision that the matter of prorogation is a political one which the courts should not get involved in. If that happens it’s a dreadful blow for the Scottish legal understanding of the constitution. The Supreme Court will have ruled that the Scottish constitutional tradition no longer has any influence in the UK. That will be devastating to those who claim that Scotland has a constitutional voice within the UK. It will in fact be a decision that the UK is simply, in legal terms, Greater England. Scots law and constitutional tradition will have been determined to be subordinate to that of England.

As was pointed out by TT Arvind, who is a professor of law at York University, https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/boris-johnson-brexit-supreme-court-scotland-parliament-suspend-a9104446.html there is an important difference between the English Bill of Rights of 1689 and its Scottish counterpart the Claim of Right which was passed by the Scottish Parliament that same year. Both these documents are regarded as being foundation stones of the constitution of the UK, one operational under English law, the other under Scots law, yet the English Bill of Rights simply declares that “parliaments ought to be held frequently”, whereas its Scottish counterpart goes significantly further saying “parliaments ought to be frequently called and allowed to sit”.

The reason that the Scots Claim of Right goes further in asserting the right of parliament than its English counterpart is because in 1640 the Scottish Parliament had already asserted its right to sit after it had been prorogued by the monarch. Charles I prorogued the Scottish Parliament, and in a typically Scottish way the Scottish Parliament went “aye, right”, and sat in defiance of the king. While Professor Arvind stresses that the Claim of Right does not create legally enforceable rights as a modern law might, it is strong evidence that the Scottish constitutional tradition expressly rejects the right of the monarch, or a Prime Minister exercising the royal prerogative on behalf of the monarch, to prorogue Parliament against the will of Parliament.

Professor Arvind also points out that the English High Court cited the Parliament Act of 1949 as evidence that parliament could be prorogued for a political purpose. However there is a significant difference between the prorogation of 1948 and that carried out by LBJ this year. In 1948 the Labour government, which commanded a majority in the Commons, wished to pursue a programme of nationalisation of important industries. However due to the Parliament Act of 1911, the House of Lords had the right to delay bills for three sessions of parliament over two years. The Government was concerned that the Lords would use this power in order to block the nationalisation programme. In order to get their programme through, the Government decided to alter the Parliament Act so that the Lords could only delay bills for two sessions over one year. Since the 1911 Act carried a legal obligation to a delay over three sessions before it could be altered, the Government got around this with an extraordinary short session of parliament in 1948, with a King’s Speech on 14 September 1948, and then proroguing Parliament just over a month later on 25 October. That fulfilled the requirement of the 1911 Act.

The crucial difference here is that the prorogation of 1948 was carried out by a Government which commanded a majority of 146 and the prorogation had the aim of ensuring that Parliament could carry out its business without that business being blocked or prevented by an unelected upper chamber. Labour was elected in the first general election after WW2 with a mandate to introduce nationalisation and the National Health Service. The deeply reactionary upper house, which at that time was composed solely of hereditary peers, was viscerally opposed to this. The workings of democracy were facilitated by the prorogation.

This year’s prorogation has the opposite aim, it is to ensure that a Government without a majority can escape the scrutiny of Parliament and drive through a policy for which it has no popular mandate. While the Government can argue that it has a mandate to deliver Brexit, it is a minority government and therefore cannot legitimately act as though it can ram through whatever policy it likes as if it did have a majority. Certainly the government has no explicit mandate to deliver whatever form of Brexit happens to suit the political purposes of Johnson and his cronies. The Hulk is the strongest force in any room, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson’s Government is not the strongest force in the chamber of the House of Commons. The purpose of this year’s prorogation is to frustrate the workings of democracy. It’s more incredible sulk than incredible hulk.

Many English commentators are predicting that the Supreme Court will uphold the ruling of the English High Court and overturn the Court of Session. It does seem that many of these commentators are basing their predictions on the casual metrocentric assumption that Scotland is subordinate to England, we shall have to wait and see what the Supreme Court decides. However if the Supreme Court does uphold the High Court ruling, it will be a deeply alarming development. They will have ruled that the British Government does indeed have the right to suspend Parliament in order to escape scrutiny. If that comes to pass, then independence becomes a necessity in order to defend Scottish democracy itself.


newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free. You can order here –
https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2019

You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to weegingerbook@yahoo.com, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email weegingerbook@yahoo.com


You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Please log into Paypal.com and send a payment to the email address weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Or alternatively click the donate button. If you don’t have a Paypal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.
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If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information.

Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

GINGER2croppedGaelic maps of Scotland are available for £15 each, plus £7 P&P within the UK for up to three maps. T-shirts are £12 each, and are available in small, medium, large, XL and XXL sizes. P&P is £5 for up to three t-shirts. My books, the Collected Yaps Vols 1 to 4 are available for £11 each. P&P is £4 for up to two books. Payment can be made via Paypal.

Fantasy politics and potholes

Ugh. Not again. Can they not just print this speech off on something like one of those Tibetan prayer wheels? It comes round just as often and it would save us all the hassle of having to listen to it again. Yes, Labour in Scotland has dragged the Federalism Fairy out of her grave again. I’d say that they must be desperate, but that’s pretty much the base state with Labour in Scotland these days.

This time it was Labour’s Scottish branch office manager Ricardo Loofahscratcher who was making the promise of the abolition of the House of Lords and replacing it with a federal upper house in Westminster. That’s because Gordie Broon was off having his formaldehyde refilled and his pulled strings retightened. In his place Rembrant Lunchloser vomited up a word salad of federal, equality, socialist, redistribution, notice me notice oh please please god notice that we still exist. But these days even that former bastion of Labour fanboyery Reporting Scotland is just going through the motions, visiting Remington Lumpsqueezer upon us like you visit an embarrassing old relative who smells of cat pee.

As she was announcing the item, you could see the resignation in the BBC presenter’s eyes. Now go on, the eyes were saying, watch Renton Lacklustre on the tellybox, you know it makes him happy – my boss in BBC news management that is. Christ alone knows what makes Rowland Lagerspiller happy. It sure as hell isn’t his job. Royston Lubemilker gets embarrassed on a daily basis for the Labour party’s Scottish branch office you know. There he is, plodding away at the political coalface all day, telling everyone he’s going to be the next first minister, and no one can even remember his bloody name. I can’t even remember his name and I’m staring at an autocue. C’mon. Humour us. Do it for me, please. I didn’t ask for this. I’m just biding my time until I can get that gig on an afternoon game show. Afternoon game show presenters don’t have to deal with bloody cybernats telling you you’re biased every five minutes. It’s only for a couple of minutes for god’s sake, and then we’ll show you the fitba and tell you how bad the SNP are. OK?

The main point of the speech was purportedly to clear up Labour’s confused position on Brexit as we head into a General Election. As an exercise in futility it wasn’t lacking in pathos, like a small child trying to save its parents’ failing marriage, pleading with them about issues that were far beyond its ability to affect. Rowan Lardlover announced with all the confidence of a man on a mainline railway about to be smashed by a train that Labour would fight the election promising a new deal on Brexit, a better deal, and then the party would offer a referendum and would campaign to remain. That ought to clear everything up. At least I think that’s what he was promising. I can’t really be certain because I was paying him as much attention as the leadership of the Labour party in London does. Which is to say that I was contemplating whether there is any point in redecorating my living room before the post-Brexit apocalypse. This is a damn sight closer to clarity on Brexit than Labour ever manages.

A YouGov poll this week showed Labour in Scotland on less than 10% in the General Election which is coming soon. It was just a subsample so has a larger margin of error than full polls, but YouGov weights its Scottish subsamples correctly. The finding is further evidence to add to other polls which show that Labour is going to be lucky to hang on to the seats it regained in Scotland in the General Election in 2017. It will be goodbye to Paul Sweeney’s ego and its inverse proportionality to his usefulness, goodbye to Hugh the Gaffe Gaffney and his uncanny ability to see a mouth and put his foot in it, goodbye to wossername the Shadow Scottish Secretary of State who has less substance than an actual shadow, and goodbye to the other ones that even Rexford Lobbydosser would struggle to identify.

Still, at least none of them are Ross SNP Gain Thomson, who is in campaigning mode, hoping to keep his overwhelmingly remain voting seat by taking photos of potholes in his Conservative/Labour controlled local authority and posting them on social media. Ross is asking his constituents to contact him if they find a pothole that’s in need of filling, except for the obvious one where his brain ought to be. Anything, but anything, to act as a distraction from Ross’s gushing fanboy support of a Prime Minister who’s been found to be a liar by the highest court in Scotland, and who has been trashing democracy in pursuit of his career.

Ross chose to kick off his lemme fill in your pothole campaign by standing next to a potholed road where there was a very large red road sign saying ROAD CLOSED and a load of traffic cones. This is a clue to those of us with better observational skills than Ross that this potholed road is under repair and won’t be potholed much longer. The roadsign wasn’t even in Gaelic, so you think he might have noticed. But let’s not be unkind. Ross is quite right to be concerned about potholes, because he might fall into one and have nothing to grab onto to break his fall. He is so lacking in self-awareness that he never realised that the biggest issue in that particular street was him. Poor Ross, out of his depth in a pothole.

In any event, filling in potholes is not actually the responsibility of a Member of Parliament, but Ross is practising for after the election, when instead of going round the doors canvassing and taking photos of potholes for his Twitter account, he’ll be going round the doors asking people if they need their driveway asphalted. And to think that Ross was once touted as being destined for high office, although admittedly it was only ever Ross that was doing the touting.

It was pointed out to Ross by SNP MP Philipps Whitford that the entire UK is going to hell in a handcart – or at least it would be if it wasn’t stuck in a 30 mile long queue of lorries along the M20 in Kent – and that perhaps he might better spend his time doing something to protect Scotland from the disasters that his party is inflicting on us all instead of gawking at potholes. There’s a massive big pothole in the British constitution. Maybe Ross should fix that.

So that’s the state of the two largest UK parties in Scotland. Fantasy politics and potholes. Any confidence that Scotland might still have had in British politics died a little bit more this week – and not just just because of Lyin’ Bastert Johnson.


newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free. You can order here –
https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2019

You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to weegingerbook@yahoo.com, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email weegingerbook@yahoo.com


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

If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information.

Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

GINGER2croppedGaelic maps of Scotland are available for £15 each, plus £7 P&P within the UK for up to three maps. T-shirts are £12 each, and are available in small, medium, large, XL and XXL sizes. P&P is £5 for up to three t-shirts. My books, the Collected Yaps Vols 1 to 4 are available for £11 each. P&P is £4 for up to two books. Payment can be made via Paypal.

Wee Ginger Dugcast – 13 September 2019

In this week’s edition of the Dugcast, The National’s editor Callum Baird and I discuss the fact that we’re going to be on the telly – no, really. This Wednesday and next Wednesday there’s a two part documentary series called The Press which will be shown on BBC 1 Scotland. The programme will follow The National and The Herald’s journalists over the course of a year. Me and dug make a brief appearance too.

We also discuss Friday 13th and the really unlucky week that Boris Johnson has had, the prorogation of Parliament, his loss of yet more votes in the Commons, and the stunning court victory of Joanna Cherry and others where the Court of Session ruled that suspending Parliament was illegal. We also discuss the surge in support for independence in Wales, what’s next for Brexit, how it impacts on support for independence, and John Bercow’s resignation as Speaker.


newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free. You can order here –
https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2019

You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to weegingerbook@yahoo.com, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email weegingerbook@yahoo.com


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

If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information.

Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

GINGER2croppedGaelic maps of Scotland are available for £15 each, plus £7 P&P within the UK for up to three maps. T-shirts are £12 each, and are available in small, medium, large, XL and XXL sizes. P&P is £5 for up to three t-shirts. My books, the Collected Yaps Vols 1 to 4 are available for £11 each. P&P is £4 for up to two books. Payment can be made via Paypal.

Mendax, mendax, bracae in igne

liar

The fact that the Prime Minister of the UK was found by a Scottish court to have lied to the Queen has failed to make it to the front page of most British newspapers. Which is fair enough, it’s not the first time he’s lied to a woman, and it probably won’t be the last. More likely it’s not front page news because it was only a Scottish court that found that he’d lied, and not a really important proper English court. Strictly speaking of course, he didn’t lie to the Queen, and even if he had done that wouldn’t have been the most egregious outcome of his decision to press ahead with an illegal prorogation.

The Prime Minister didn’t go to the monarch to ask for a prorogation. That was Jacob Rees Mogg. However Jacob was acting as an agent of the Prime Minister, and so when it’s said that the Prime Minister didn’t lie to the head of state, it’s only because he got someone else to do the lying for him. He’s still responsible for the lie. And lying to Liz isn’t any worse in the cosmic scheme of things than lying to anyone else. Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson lies all the time. He has a giveaway, a tell, which allows all of us to know exactly when he’s lying. You know he’s lying because his lips are moving.

The real thing that ought to be getting a suspiciously quiescent media up in arms is that the Prime Minister, the leader of the British Government, was prepared to lie in order to escape the scrutiny of the Commons on a policy which he knows he doesn’t have majority support for. He is only supposed to exercise the Royal Prerogative in the first place because he is meant to command a majority in the Commons. Yet he’s prorogued Parliament precisely because he doesn’t have such a majority. That’s the real outrage against democracy, not lying to the Queen – who in any case was probably relieved that it distracted from Prince Andrew’s dubious choice in friends. But lying to the Queen is a convenient shorthand for all that, because by making the request the way he did, in the manner in which he did, for the reasons he had, he was effectively lying to the Queen, as well as to everyone else.

The real scandal here is that he was able to do so. We can thank the Scottish courts for holding him to account, but should their ruling be overturned in the UK Supreme Court on Tuesday, British democracy will be in a very dark place. It would represent a very dangerous turn of events indeed. It would mean that any Prime Minister will be able to close down Parliament at any time, and for as long as he or she pleases, in order to escape the democratic scrutiny of the elected representatives of that people LBJ claims to be acting for. The Supreme Court would have given its assent to the transformation of the Prime Minister into a dictator.

Three judges in the highest Scottish court unanimously found that he had lied. It is a point of fact, a proven case, that he had lied even though the Government’s business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is trying to impugn the Scotttish judiciary by saying that many people think judges are biased. Meanwhile on Channel 4 news the Brextremist MP Andrew Bridgen also attempted to impugn the neutrality of Scots law, complaining about the “liberal elite” and saying that there was a suspicion that political pressure had been put on the Scottish judges. He openly wondered why it was a Scottish court which had come to this decision, not an English one.

The Government’s spokesapologists, and Court Certified Lyin Bastert Johnson himself, are also saying that the High Court in England found in his favour and agreed with him. He’s even lying about that. The High Court in London didn’t find that he hadn’t lied. The High Court in London ruled that the matter was one that was not justiciable, which is a great word for a crossword meaning an issue which is within the remit of the court and one it is competent to make a ruling on. The High Court decided that the subject was a matter for the Commons, not the courts, and so didn’t engage with any of the evidence. What this means is that according to English law, the suspension of parliament by an overweening government is a matter that can only be dealt with by the parliament that the government has suspended. If the Supreme Court upholds that interpretation, then the UK doesn’t have a constitution, it has a Joseph Heller novel.

The High Court specifically didn’t voice any opinion on the truth or otherwise of the accusation that the Government had lied to the Head of State, the Commons, and the public. The only courts which engaged with the evidence were the Scottishs Courts and the highest court in Scotland, the Court of Session, ruled mendax mendax bracae in igne. That’s how you say liar liar pants on fire when you’re a judge, especially when you’re a judge making a ruling on a liar who fancies himself as a scholar of the Classics.

The lies took another twist today when it came to light that the Scottish Government’s copy of the Yellowhammer report that the British Goverrnment reluctantly published last night says that the warnings represent a “base scenario”, whereas the version released by Whitehall claims they are a worse case scenario. This contradicts what the British Government has told Parliament. Michael Gove is one of those who has told Parliament that Yellowhammer is a “worst case scenario”. Knowingly telling a lie to Parliament is holding Parliament in contempt. No wonder the Government doesn’t want the Commons to be in session.

There are reports that the true worst case scenario documents, believed to be called by the code name Black Swan, are not being released by the Government.  Former Tory MP Anna Soubry tweeted on Wednesday night that she had seen detailed documents.  In August Michael Gove mocked the existence of any such documents, claiming that Black Swan was a movie about a ballet dancer.

Now a new court case has been brought by Joanna Cherry, Jo Maugham, and the businessman Dale Vince who is funding the case. They have applied directly to the Court of Session to request it to make use of a power of the court called nobile officium, a power which is unique to Scots law. This is the power of the court to intervene directly in order to ensure that the law is fulfilled. The case will, if it is successful, mean that the clerk of a Scottish court could sign a letter to the EU requesting an extension to Article 50 if the Prime Minister refuses to obey the law and do so himself. Unlike the previous case, which was against the British Government, this latest case is against LBJ personally. It’s not clear what sanctions would be taken against the Prime Minister, we can but hope it’s to be strung up by his nobile officiums.

According to The Journal of the Law Society of Scotland (see  http://www.journalonline.co.uk/Magazine/60-12/1021064.aspx#.XXqE3mZ7nIU ) there are four conditions which must be met before the court will exercise the power of nobile officium. Firstly there should be some exceptional or unforeseen circumstances. Secondly, “there should be a sense of urgency, injustice or need justifying an extraordinary response from the court.” Thirdly, the petition must not contravene statutory intention, or be used in such a way as to extend the scope of a statutory provision, or to require a person to act contrary to their statutory duties. And fourthly, there should be no other remedy available to the petitioner. It remains to be seen whether the Court of Session believes all four of these conditions to have been met.

Whatever happens, whether in this latest court case by Joanna Cherry, or what happens in the UK Supreme Court on Tuesday, we’re in for a bumpy ride. And there we were thinking that once the House of Commons was suspended for five weeks that not much would be happening.


newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free. You can order here –
https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2019

You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to weegingerbook@yahoo.com, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email weegingerbook@yahoo.com


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

If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information.

Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

GINGER2croppedGaelic maps of Scotland are available for £15 each, plus £7 P&P within the UK for up to three maps. T-shirts are £12 each, and are available in small, medium, large, XL and XXL sizes. P&P is £5 for up to three t-shirts. My books, the Collected Yaps Vols 1 to 4 are available for £11 each. P&P is £4 for up to two books. Payment can be made via Paypal.

A drop of Satan’s blood

risk
In a blatant attempt to use bad news to hide more bad news, on the evening that the British Government was reeling from three Scottish judges having called the Prime Minister liar liar pants on fire – I paraphrase – the Yellowhammer Operation document was officially released. The release comes following the defeat inflicted on the Government during the few days when it actually allowed Parliament to sit, and is one of the reasons why it doesn’t want Parliament to sit until Court Certified Lyin Bastert Johnson gets his way on Brexit.

Now there are those on social media saying, “Oh these documents were released aaaaaages ago, and you just weren’t paying attention. This isn’t new. Sheesh.” And this would be true. However the publication of a leaked document is a very different matter from the publication of a document which the government has been forced kicking and screaming to allow into the public domain. Governments famously do not comment on leaks, meaning that their contents can be ignored. They can’t ignore questions on a document which they themselves have officially published, especially a document which they very clearly didn’t want to be published until they were forced into doing so as the result of a vote in Parliament which the Prime Minister lost. Except that they’ve suspended Parliament, so they can ignore official scrutiny. Had the Prime Minister not suspended Parliament, he’d have faced Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday and would have had to explain himself.

As late as Wednesday morning, Andrea I’m a Mother Leadsom was still refusing to release the Yellowhammer documents. Her reason for not wanting them released was that if they were, then the public wouldn’t want Brexit. This is a problem because her government’s sole raison d’etre is because the public want something that they wouldn’t want if the government told them the truth.

So finally, late on Wednesday, the government published a redacted version of the report. Well I say report. It’s scarcely longer than your average blog post. They’re not exactly straining themselves this mob are they. Even this hauf-airsed piece of work isn’t complying with the instruction from Parliament, because they were told to release the full document and not just the bits that were the least embarrassing.

However there is some doubt about whether the Government has in fact complied with the instruction from Parliament. Late on Wednesday evening former Conservative MP Anna Soubry tweeted that these so-called Yellowhammer papers are not what Parliament demanded the Government publish. She said that this five page report is not a detailed and frank assessments of preparedness or otherwise for no deal nor the detail of the consequences. She added that she knows those papers exist because she saw them in March when she was still a Tory MP, and demanded that the updated versions must be published. Parliament is using the prorogation to hide from Parliamentary scrutiny. If Parliament was sitting the relevant ministers could be questioned directly on this point.

The Government was also told to release all the documents relating to the decision to progrogue parliament. They’re still holding out on those. Even the dug knows the real reason why Parliament was prorogued, and he’s currently lying on the sofa licking his bollocks. As long as the Government sits on the evidence it can keep lying to our faces. However the Government claims it would be an outrage if ministers and officials were to be forced to hand over their personal phones for inspection. I seem to recall that not too long ago women who were the victims of sexual assault were told that they needed to hand over their phones to the police. Seems that it’s only the powerful who have a right to privacy.

But back to Yellowhammer. A yellowhammer is a small bird. Its call is said to sound a bit like “a little bit of bread and no cheese”, which is a very accurate description of the diet we’ll all have following a no deal Brexit. According to legend, the bird was supposed to be a messenger from Satan. Its tongue was held to bear a drop of the Devil’s blood, and the markings on its eggs were said to be a message from Hell. So it’s all very appropriate for a no deal Brexit.

Even the redacted Yellowhammer document predicts riots, shortages of water and food, price rises which will disproportionately affect the poor, and major delays to the supply chain. Medicines and medical products will be particularly vulnerable to severe extended delays. Businesses are expected to cease trading. The agricultural sector will be very badly hit by tariffs. There’s a risk of contamination of the water supplies. But hey, taking back control from those unelected Brussels bureaucrats, ammarite? Bright sunny uplands and all that.

Rosamund Urwin of the Sunday Times received a leaked copy of the Yellowhammer document last month. She says that there is only one significant difference between the version that she received, and the version that the British Government has just been forced to release. The difference is the heading. The leaked version said “BASE SCENARIO”, the newly published version says “HMG Reasonable Worst Case Planning Assumptions”.

Now there’s a bit of a difference between a base scenario and a worst case planning assumption, in that the base scenario is the least you expect to happen, whereas the worst case scenario is, well, the worst. It’s the difference between a doctor telling you that you have at least 5 years of life left in you, or telling you that you have at most 5 years. Neither of them are great news, but the second is considerably more alarming than the first. The base case of a no deal Brexit is a total galactofuck. No wonder they didn’t put that on the side of a bus. Let’s file the new title under “failed attempt at damage limitation”. Brought to you by the people who have suspended Parliament. If the Government really did alter the title of the document in an effort to minimise damage after it had been instructed by Parliament to publish, then it would be in contempt of parliament.

Given the less than rosy picture painted by the document that the Government allowed to be published, a lot of people were wondering exactly what the redacted bits said. On Twitter, Rosamund also published the redacted paragraph 15 of the document. It reads as follows:

“15. Facing EU tariffs makes petrol exports to the EU uncompetitive. Industry had plans to mitigate the impact on refinery margins and profitability but UK Government policy to set petrol import tariffs at 0% inadvertently undermines these plans. This leads to significant financial losses and announcement of two refinery closures (and transition to import terminals) and direct job losses (about 2000). Resulting strike action at refineries would lead to disruptions to fuel availability for 1-2 weeks in the regions directly supplied by the refineries.”

So on top of everything else, a no deal Brexit will lead to thousands of job losses in the refinery industry alone, shortages of fuel, and riots at petrol stations. There may be sunny uplands after Brexit, but you’ll have to walk there. There won’t be any fuel for a car or a bus.

It’s just two months into Court Certified Lyin’ Bastert Johnson’s time as prime minister. In that short time he’s managed to lose 22 of his MPs and with them his majority, he’s lost every single vote he’s had in the Commons, he’s broken the law with an illegal prorogation of Parliament, lied to the Queen, he’s in contempt of Parliament, and he’s had to admit that his core policy will lead to economic devastation, job losses, riots, and shortages of food and medicine. God knows what he will do tomorrow. As long as Scotland remains a part of this dysfunctional so-called union, we are at risk of the likes of unprincipled charlatans like this Prime Minister, a man who has a drop of Satan’s blood on his tongue.


newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free. You can order here –
https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2019

You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to weegingerbook@yahoo.com, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email weegingerbook@yahoo.com


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

If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information.

Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

GINGER2croppedGaelic maps of Scotland are available for £15 each, plus £7 P&P within the UK for up to three maps. T-shirts are £12 each, and are available in small, medium, large, XL and XXL sizes. P&P is £5 for up to three t-shirts. My books, the Collected Yaps Vols 1 to 4 are available for £11 each. P&P is £4 for up to two books. Payment can be made via Paypal.

The mess got messier very quickly

The mess got messier very quickly. Yesterday the British Government was mired in a political mess, today it’s mired in a legal mess as well. Today all three judges in the highest Scottish court, the Court of Session, have ruled that the prorogation of parliament was unlawful. The case was brought by a group of MPs led by the SNP’s redoutable Joanna Cherry QC, who has been indefatigable in her use of the courts as a means of holding an overweening government to account. I had planned to take the day off today, cos it’s my birthday, but I couldn’t not blog about this lovely present to all of us from Joanna.

None of the judges dissented from the ruling. The court found that the prorogation was illegal because the UK Government sought it in order to prevent itself being scrutinised by Parliament, and not as the Government has claimed in order to introduce a new legislative progamme. This blog doesn’t call Boris Johnson Lyin’ Bastert Johnson for nothing, but today’s ruling means that the highest court in Scotland has found that LBJ has lied to the monarch and lied to parliament. We are being governed by lawbreakers whose actions in parliament are illegal. This is constitutionally explosive stuff.

The Scottish judiciary is not exactly noted for being a bastion of pro-independence sentiment, although if you were to look at some of the comments from Brextremists on social media you’d imagine that Scottish judges were all in the pay of the SNP. The sentiment that many are expressing is how every dare those uppity Jocks interfere with the glorious march to Brexit and contradict their betters in an English court. The High Court in London issued its full judgement today on its ruling last week that the matter of prorogation was not one which the court could rule on.

But this isn’t just a reaction from some zoomers on social media. Downing Street itself has released a pursed lipped statement which attempted to impugn the neutrality of the Scottish courts and implied that Scotland’s legal system is a nest of separatism actively plotting to block Brexit. The statement said, “We note that last week the High Court in London did not rule that prorogation was unlawful. The legal activists choose the Scottish courts for a reason.” That’s an actual press release from the Prime Minister’s office. Reflect on that for a second. The party that calls itself the party of law and order is attacking law and order. Gavin Barwell, who was Theresa May’s chief of staff, tweeted that this was a very unwise path for a party that believes in a) the union, and b) the rule of law, to go down.

Even Tory MSP Adam IT’S THE LAW Tomkins is very concerned by the reaction from Downing Street. He tweeted: “To politicians who don’t like court judgments: don’t attack the judges or the independence of the legal system. Don’t ever do that. Appeal, test your legal arguments in a superior court. Why does this even need saying?”

It needs saying Adam, because your party is led by a man who is a liar, a charlatan, and a populist opportunist who believes himself to be above the law and whose only guiding light is the unshakeable conviction that rules are for other people. He is quite prepared to trash the constitution, to destroy the rule of law, and to light a bonfire of democratic standards in order to secure his power. Everyone outside the narrow confines of the Conservative Brexit wing understood this before the man ascended to leadership. We warned you. So why are you surprised by this?

The Scottish Court of Session isn’t exactly noted as being an active partisan force in holding the executive to account. Like Gavin Barwell it isn’t notable for its sympathies with Scottish independence. It is instinctively conservative, with a small c. The real reason the case was lodged with the Scottish courts in the first instance was because English courts don’t sit in August – that’s because we don’t have a summer in Scotland. But Number 10 isn’t going to let that fact get in the way of its conspiracy theories. The zoomers have taken over the British government.

The matter will now go to the UK Supreme Court. It is expected that the hearing will be on Tuesday of next week. There is currently another court case on the legality of the prorogation winding its way through the English courts, and a ruling is expected on that case later this week. The Supreme Court will most likely take both judgements into account when it hears the case next week.

Should the UK Supreme Court overrule the highest Scottish court, on a ruling which the three judges of the Court of Session unanimously agreed on, it will be a further nail in the coffin of a union which is already more nail than wood. Scots law is very different from English law, and a Scottish court naturally will on occasion come to a different conclusion about the law than an English court will.

Politicians are now demanding that Parliament is recalled immediately. That won’t happen. The appeal will be heard in the Supreme Court on Tuesday and it will make a ruling. One of two things can happen. The Supreme Court can uphold the unanimous finding of the Court of Session, which will mean that the Government will be in contempt if it doesn’t recall Parliament immediately. A Parliament which returns to sit after the prorogation has been found to be illegal by the highest court in the UK is a Parliament which is highly likely to impeach the Prime Minster. There’s going to be a lot of very unhappy MPs who will be eager to voice their opinions. Get the popcorn ready.

Alternatively the Supreme Court can overrule the Court of Session, and that will spark off yet another political crisis. The UK Supreme Court is of course the highest court in the UK, but it sits in London, and the majority of its judges are steeped in English law, not Scots law. For those who call themselves Unionists, the optics of this are very bad. Overruling the Court of Session will appear as an English court and English law overruling Scots law in a matter which directly affects Scotland. The Westminster Parliament is, after all, Scotland’s Parliament too. A ruling which overturns the Scottish Court of Session will be seen as an English court asserting the primacy of English law over Scots law within Scotland and will only highlight the ever starker constitutional and political differences between Scotland and the rest of the UK. Politically that’s going to be difficult for the Tories to sell in Scotland. The party of law and order that doesn’t respect the law, the party of the union that wants Scots law to be subordinate to English law, led by a Prime Minister who casts aspersions on the independence of the Scots judiciary.

This mess just got a lot messier.


newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free. You can order here –
https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2019

You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to weegingerbook@yahoo.com, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email weegingerbook@yahoo.com


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

If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information.

Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

GINGER2croppedGaelic maps of Scotland are available for £15 each, plus £7 P&P within the UK for up to three maps. T-shirts are £12 each, and are available in small, medium, large, XL and XXL sizes. P&P is £5 for up to three t-shirts. My books, the Collected Yaps Vols 1 to 4 are available for £11 each. P&P is £4 for up to two books. Payment can be made via Paypal.