Government by smirk

smirking
There’s little that’s attractive about the Conservatives at the best of times. They’ve always been the party of privilege and the interests of the wealthy. Once upon a time, they covered their patrician entitlement under a thin veneer of appeals to British patriotism, and a proclaimed belief in gentlemanly behaviour and honour. But now they don’t even bother to hide their contempt. The days when a Conservative minister resigned because of a scandal are long gone. Nowadays, even when they’re sacked, they just pop up back in government a few months later. The Tories have been accused of acting as though they don’t give a toss about public opinion. That’s not true. They’re not acting.

We are governed by smirks. It’s the smile that says, well well, look at the consequences of my own actions, and there’s nothing you can do about it. To be a part of the British state means to be trapped with the smirks of sociopaths who lie and who know that we know they’re lying, and who know that there’s nothing we can do about it. We saw it in the smirk of Dominic Cummings as he concluded his liefest in the Rose Garden. It was the smirk of a sociopath who knew he’d got away with a lie. We saw it when Michael Gove attempted to claim that driving when your vision is impaired is a perfectly reasonable way to test your eyesight. It was the smirk of a habitual liar who knew that it was a lie too far. We see it every time Priti Patel appears in public, her smug self-satisfaction at having power over the lesser people. We saw it when Matt Hancock laughed and guffawed as though being asked about the failures of the government he represents was the most hilarious joke he’d ever heard. It was the smirk of a spineless careerist who realised he was trapped, that his whole life had become the defence of a lie. We see it every time the Part Time Prime Minister stumbles, mumbles, fnaughs and ums his way through a public appearance as unprepared as an actor who doesn’t even know what play he’s appearing in, never mind not learning his lines. And who doesn’t care anyway as he smirks about becoming World King. The smirk is all he is, the smirk is there is. A smirk is a smile that bullies. A smirk is a smile that says the Tories are a joke, and we’re the punchline.

The Conservatives are the party of smirkers who wear their scorn for the little people on the sleeves of the unironed and stained shirts that Dominic Cummings wears as a power statement. He’s telling us all that he’s so influential, so indispensible, so knowledgeable, that the normal rules of business appearance don’t apply to him. And as he does so, he smiles that sly passive aggressive smile in order to tell us that he’s above the rules that we must abide by, that norms of decency are only for those who lack his consideration of his own immensity.

He’s not alone. The behaviour of Dominic Cummings is only what we have come to expect from every member of this British government, whether they’re elected politicians, or appointees like the members of the Lords or advisors. When it comes to dealing with the biggest crisis facing us all, they are the worst performing government anywhere in the world. And there they are, smirking as the coffins line up, their sole concern is thinking about their own careers, reputations, and how to deflect the blame.

England, where the British Government has the sole responsibility for measures to tackle the pandemic, has the highest per capita death rate anywhere on the globe. It’s only because the UK figures also include Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland’s statistics that the UK manages to squeeze into second place behind Spain. England has suffered 608 deaths per million due to Covid-19, ahead of Spain which has seen 578 deaths per million due to the virus. The UK figure is slightly behind Spain’s, at 570 per million, but that includes the fact that Scotland has suffered 429 per million, Wales 420, and Northern Ireland 227. That’s a damning indictment of the British Government. And still they smirk. https://www.travellingtabby.com/scotland-coronavirus-tracker/

The British Government is the worst in the world in undeniable terms, yet apologists for the British state in Scotland still insist that we must surrender ourselves to the smirkers. They have such little confidence in themselves, in Scotland, in our own abilities that they demand that we share their terrorised belief that that left to its own devices Scotland would perform even worse than the very worst.

In 2014 we were told that Scotland needs the protection of the UK in order to keep the people of this country safe. We now know that what safety we do enjoy is despite the British Government, not because of it. Yet British nationalists like Ian Murray, the last Labour MP standing, continue to bemoan the fact that people are criticising Boris Johnson instead of focussing their anger on Thatessempee. Certainly the Scottish Government has made mistakes in its handling of this crisis. Nicola Sturgeon has put her hands up and said as much herself. However for Ian to demand that the real subject of our ire ought to be the Scottish Government and complaining that we’re too angry with Boris Johnson is like demanding to know why you’re more upset about a smirking sociopathic serial killer than you are about someone who ran a red light while trying to prevent the serial killer from taking another victim.

As the UK comes out of lockdown, there is still a high level of infection in the wider community, especially in England. In UK there are currently around 8000 new infections daily, which is a far higher level of new infection than in other states which have started to loosen lockdown restrictions. Epidemiologists have warned that coming out of lockdown without the track and trace system fully operational, and with such a high level of infections means that we are at a very high risk of a new spike in deaths. The Conservatives are desperate to prioritise the economy, and if that means risking a new wave of infections they’ll only smirk their way out of that too.

Scotland has the ability to wipe the smirk off their faces.  Once this crisis is over, we’ll vote for independence and do just that.

And finally, because we could all do with a laugh during these difficult times …


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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.


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


Dugcast fae the Dughoose – with James Dornan

in this week’s edition of the Dugcast fae the Dughoose, I’m joined online by James Dornan, the SNP MSP for Glasgow Cathcart. We chat about the Dominic Cummings affair and how it’s affected public trust in the British Government, the Scottish Government’s positive ratings in opinion polls, and a whole lot more besides.

This week I tried for the first time to use CleanFeed as a way to record the podcast. Hopefully it helps solve some of the sound issues people reported before.

And in case you have issues with the embedded link, here’s the link to the podcast on Soundcloud as a normal URL https://soundcloud.com/user-291670852/dugcast-29-05-2020-with-james-dornan


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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.


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


The next steps to indy

A new poll shows that a substantial majority of voters in Scotland want another independence referendum. 63% of the Scottish public want to see another independence referendum, only 34% are oppose to another referendum. The 34% is that majority that the British nationalists are always telling us that they speak for in a perfect example of British exceptionalism, where 1/3 is bigger than 2/3. More details of the poll are given here – http://scotgoespop.blogspot.com/2020/05/stunning-telephone-poll-finds-almost.html

It’s a remarkable finding, given that we’re currently in the middle of the biggest international crisis since WW2 and we’ve been deluged in British nationalist propaganda from the media dressed up as VE Day nostalgia and lies about how we’re all in this pandemic together. Although someone clearly forgot to make sure that Dominic Cummings and the Conservative party understood the message.

Usually in times of crisis there is a “rally round the flag” effect, this happens in every country. However it’s striking that in Scotland, despite the best efforts of the British nationalist media, that effect is benefiting the Scottish Government, not the British one. Although given how god-awful the Conservative administration in Westminster has been, that’s perhaps not surprising. The UK now has the highest absolute death toll in Europe, and the highest per capital death toll in the world. This tragedy was avoidable, but the British Government has failed at every turn.

In their predictable attempts to find some SNPbad to get them through the week, the British nationalist parties and press in Scotland have had to resort to criticising the Scottish Government for not diverging from the policies of the British Government more rapidly and more assertively. That alone tells you just how dreadfully the British Government has performed. For the SNP to be attacked by British nationalists for not diverging more from Westminster is like getting a lecture on public health from Harold Shipman.

The poll shows unequivocally that people in Scotland regard the independence question as unfinished business. Far from the epidemic destroying the argument for independence, the shortcomings and lamentable performance of the British Government has only helped to focus people’s minds on the possibility that for Scotland it doesn’t have to be this way. As Scotland slowly and cautiously starts to come out of lockdown, the clamour for another independence vote is only going to grow.

Yet despite their best, or rather worst, efforts, and the constant fixation upon a Nike Conference attended by 70 people while ignoring the British Government’s decision to allow the Cheltenham Festival to go ahead a week later, the Scottish population continues to trust in the Scottish Government. Public trust in the Scottish Government, and in the First Minister in particular, is at 82%, according to another opinion poll conducted recently. Polling clearly finds that people in Scotland expect and want the Scottish Government to take the lead in fighting the virus, and trust in its judgement in doing so in a way that they’d don’t trust the British Government. It shows that there’s an expectation in Scotland that Scotland could and should formulate its own distinctive response to an international crisis.

What people in Scotland most definitely do not want is what Alister Jack and the Scottish Conservatives have been preaching, that Scotland acts in lockstep with Westminster. Which in practice means that Westminster takes all the decisions and Scotland tags along obediently. Alister Jack, supposedly the voice of Scotland in the British Government, has been noticeably absent during this crisis. He’s even more of a part time performer than the Prime Minister. The lesson that’s being drawn from this is that it’s Holyrood which speaks for Scotland, not the Scotland Office.

Equally Alister’s colleagues in Holyrood are struggling politically. They have been damaged by Surname Surname’s pitiable reluctance to say anything critical about Dominic Cummings breaking lockdown rules, when he was all over the airwaves and the press demanding the resignation of the Scottish Chief Medical Officer for a similar, although lesser, breach. Despite the vigorous defence by senior figures in the British Government, Durham Police have concluded that Cummings did potentially break the law. Cummings either broke the rules by doing on a family outing during the lockdown, or he broke the rules by putting other road users at risk by driving while he thought he might be unfit to do so. It’s one or the other, and either constitutes a sacking offence in a senior government advisor who has been forming the rules that the rest of us must abide by. Surname Surname has done his best to keep his head down because criticising Number 10 is way above his paygrade. He might not have been noticed in the media, but his hypocrisy and the hypocrisy of his party has most certainly been noticed by the public.

We are now in a Scotland which expects that the independence question should be revisited. Moreover we are in a Scotland where there is also an expectation that Scotland should make important decisions for itself, including decisions about how to respond during an international crisis. The Scottish Government enjoys huge public trust, while the British Government stands exposed as a bunch of self-serving liars and charlatans who have traduced any faith that the people might once have placed in them and whose incompetence and successive failures have led to the UK being the worst affected place in the world.

No British nationalist can now go to the Scottish public in a second referendum and seriously argue that Scotland depends upon the British Government to keep it safe. No one can now plausibly assert that Scotland is more secure and better protected by Westminster than it could be as an independent nation. We only have to point to the British Government’s record in mishandling the coronavirus epidemic.

There is now a willingness in Scotland to listen to and accept pro-independence messages that didn’t exist in 2014. There is now a lack of trust and faith in the institutions of the British state that didn’t exist in 2014. And above all we enter a new independence referendum campaign with the idea of independence a normal topic in Scottish political discourse, and with the support of half the population. Once we are through this crisis and out the other side of it, independence is ours for the taking.

For the grassroots movement coming out of lockdown means that we can, tentatively, begin once again to build upon our local networks of activists and activities. We can once again start to debate and discuss the arguments that we will need to persuade undecided voters to our cause. But we’re now pushing at an open door. What we need to see from the Scottish Government is the same determination to pursue the goal of self-determination for Scotland as it has done to ensure that we’re kept safe during the epidemic, because a British state that knows it will lose the independence vote is a British state that’s going to be unwilling to cooperate in delivering a referendum. We must not ask for a referendum, we must demand one, take one, and make one happen regardless.

James Kelly (no not that one) of the opinion poll analyst blog Scot Goes Pop is crowdfunding to commission a new opinion poll on the independence question in the post-Barnard Castle era of British government. It’s not an easy decision to crowdfund right now as we’re still in lockdown and many people are facing uncertain futures, but this is a good cause and it’s certainly worth your while sending a couple of quid his way. He’ll put the money to good use.
https://www.gofundme.com/f/a-postdom-opinion-poll-on-independence

And finally, because we could all do with a laugh during these difficult times …


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.


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


Astonishing and creative

Part Time Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson appeared before the House of Commons Liaison Committee on Wednesday. Despite the fact that the Government had ensured that the chair of the committee is the arch-loyalist Bernard Jenkins, who is one of those Tories who is happy to say that up is down, black is white, and driving to Barnard Castle is a perfectly acceptable substitute for going to Specsavers, Lying Bastert Johnson still executed a car crash that couldn’t have been worse if it had been him who was driving to Barnard Castle with dodgy vision. Johnson delivered the worst TV performance of any PM in modern times this evening. On live TV, in front of a Committee of senior MPs, he showed that he is utterly unfit to lead a conga line, never mind the UK.

The session began with a request for the Prime Minister to attend the Committee regularly. He hummed and hawed and made an excuse about being terribly busy. Trying to keep track of how many children he’s got is a full time job all by itself. However as the session proceeded we discovered the real reason why he’s so reluctant to answer questions from MPs. It’s because he’s utterly shite at everything except self-promotion. He’s a posher version of Ruth Davidson with blonde tousled hair.

“This is a Government which has done some astonishing and creative things,” he told the Committee. And this would be true. It’s done some astonishing things to trash public trust and has been extremely creative with the lies it has invented. Today we were astonished to see a Prime Minister so publicly display his complete inability to do his job. Every day it’s an adventure in astonishment with this Government. He was so far out of his depth that not even Nigel Farage could have saved him with a Brexit flotilla.

Mostly what we got today was stuttering, stammering, fnaugh fnaughing, and a complete inability to accept that his senior advisor could possibly have done anything wrong. Bernard nodded in approval. “We’ve got a fantastic agenda for this country for uniting and levelling up,” he fnaughed, mistaking the Committee for a party political broadcast just before an election. Bernard nodded again. By this time you will have realised that Johnson could have taken out his wullie, waved it about, and then done a dump on the table and Bernard would continue to nod in approval. It wouldn’t even be the most astonishing thing that this pathetic Prime Minister has done.

The only time that Bernard got a bit annoyed was when Labour’s Yvette Cooper had the audacity to press Johnson on making a choice between the national interest and Dominic Cummings. Naturally he chose Cummings. “Here’s the problem Prime Minister, the reason you are ducking this is because you are trying not to incriminate Dominic Cummings,” she told him, and got cut off from Bernard for her pains. It’s not the job of the chairman of the Liaison Committee to allow MPs to liaise with the Prime Minister unless they want to tell him how astonishing and creative he is.

When Johnson was asked about providing additional assistance to the childcare sector he stumbled, muttered, hummed and hawed. His answer contained precisely no thought, no content. He’d clearly not given the topic the slightest consideration. Which is also the amount of consideration he’s given to everything that’s not about the sucking vacuum of nothingness that’s his ego and self-importance.

We also learned the startling news that the Prime Minister isn’t actually in charge of the Government. “I’ve been forbidden from announcing any more targets or deadlines,” said the man who’s supposedly the World King in response to a question from Jeremy Hunt about delays to testing. Has Dominic put his foot down, like he did on the accelerator when he was driving to Barnard Castle? Despite this astonishing revelation, yes indeed Prime Minister your government does continue to astonish, he had revealed a new target just moments previously when he’d said that all tests would be returned within 24 hours. Perhaps that wasn’t really a target or a deadline then, just a fond wish that has no bearing in reality. A bit like his promise that there would be no checks on goods travelling between Northern Ireand and the rest of the UK then. Or £350 million extra for the NHS. Or an extra 50,000 nurses. Or just about anything he’s ever said.

Mostly however, what he wanted was for everyone to move on from the Dominic Cummings affair. Dominic has already moved on. He moved all the way from London to Durham and back again via Barnard Castle. The Prime Minister wants us all to follow Dominic’s example. You know, by breaking the lockdown rules that we don’t fancy having applied to us and smirking about it in a press conference.

Elsewhere in Westminster, Health Sock Puppet Matt Hancock was trying to announce the launch of the new trace and contact system for England. He lectured everyone about their civic duty to stay home if infected and do as told about track and trace. That’s the man who says Dominic Cummings did not break the guidelines and in the process disintegrated any moral authority that he might have had to call on other people to inconvenience themselves.

If you’ve been in contact with an infected person you will be expected to self-isolate for fourteen days, but Dominic Cummings’ behaviour just opens up so many questions. Does isolate mean in your own home? Or does it mean by driving 260 miles from London to Durham and back again? Does it mean staying at a relative’s house, perferrably in Durham? Does it mean going out for a wee day trip, say for example to test your eyesight by driving for 45 minutes to Barnard Castle with your family in the car? So many unanswered questions. And most importantly of all, can we all claim to be Dominic’s friends and have been in contact with him so that he’s got to self-isolate for the rest of his miserable life?

Just as we enter one of the most crucial phases of the crisis, the British Government has blown what was left of its credibility. The same people who are demanding that we stay at home are still excusing the actions of one of their own who didn’t stay at home. Their lies about Dominic Cummings are lies of a different order from all their many other lies. They’ve lied so often and so reflexively that they’ve lost the ability to calibrate their lies. This time they’re contemptuously pissing all over the sacrifices that millions have had to make. Rules are only for the little people. We’re not all sacrificing together, we’re the sacrifice so that they can continue to enjoy their privilege. This is the great betrayal that destroys the UK. We’re not going through all this just so that they can get back to their entitlement.

And finally, because we could all do with a laugh during these difficult times …


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.


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


Not better together

notbettertogether
You can tell that the British nationalists are getting desperate. We’re now several days into the discovery that Dominic Cummings knows more about eye exams than anyone else on the planet because he inserted a sentence about it into an old story on his blog in order to prove that he was retrospectively ahead of the curve. This is a special sort of bending of the laws of time and space that only a man who’s capable of a special sort of bending of the lockdown restrictions could possibly understand. But despite all the attempts to rewrite the past, this is a scandal that’s just not going away.

Even the Daily Star, which is normally far more interested in what’s going on in Love Island, has got in the act. Although since this is a publication which generally specialises in the antics of the rich, entitled, and vacuous talking about Dominic Cummings is well within its comfort zone. On Wednesday it published a cut out and keep mask of Dominic Cummings, so that readers can wear it and sod everybody else. It’s a joke that they stole from social media, so no points for inventiveness, but for the British Government this is a sign that anger about the Cummings scandal has broken through into even that demographic which Cummings specialises in manipulating, the so-called ‘low information voter’.

More seriously however, we’re now in a UK where the police actually have to issue an official statement telling people not to drive if they think that they can’t see properly. Michael Gove, a man whose very presence in our public life constitutes a major oil spill that pollutes the environment for decades, told the press on Tuesday that he thinks that driving to test how well you can see is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. In fact he’s done it himself.

During an interview on Sky News, Kay Burley asked the Human Oil Slick about a statement from the Bishop of Leeds who had said, “Do we accept being lied to, patronised and treated by a PM as mugs? The moral question is not for Cummings – it is for PM and ministers/MPs who find this behaviour acceptable. What are we to teach our children? (I ask as a responsible father.)” Gove would only reply, “I wish the bishop well.” When an incredulous Kay Burley pressed him on whether that was all he was going to say, he added that he respected the bishop because he was a Christian himself. That’s Michael Gove there, who would have deported Joseph and Mary for being homeless asylum seekers and who thinks that money-changing is the entire purpose of temples. I’m more of a Christian than Michael Gove is, and I’m an atheist.

In a desperate attempt to find a squirrel to point at, the Brexity British nationalists on social media demanded an investigation in the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford. He travelled 620 miles, took a ferry, and spread the coronavirus in the Isle of Skye instead of staying at home in London, they harrumphed, because they’re still living in the 1980s and don’t know there’s a bridge. Actually, they barely realise that Scotland has roads. Why isn’t the media investigating? It’s a remoaner cover up. Because as we all know in Scotland, the media is always highly reluctant to publish stories that show up the SNP in a bad light. And Dominic Cummings is up there with Jesus Christ in his self-sacrifice. Michael Gove thinks so, and he tells us he’s a Christian.

Ian Blackford went home to Skye at the same time as all the other MPs went home when Parliament went into lockdown. He didn’t have any symptoms but went into self-isolation because he’d been in London and didn’t want to risk infecting anyone. He didn’t go on to develop any symptoms. Dominic Cummings went into his work even though he was living with a person who had symptoms, then left his home in order to seek childcare despite not needing it, travelled with his wife who was already ill, went to stay at his parents’ place, came down with coronavirus, then went on a jolly to Barnard Castle in order to, ahem, test his eyesight. But sure, yeah, apart from that it’s totally the same.

Meanwhile in Scotland, Jackson Carauction has been reluctantly forced to suggest, hint, imply that Dominic Cummings ought to resign. Although he’s at pains to point out that it’s not for him to tell the Prime Minister what to do, what with him being a loyal House Jock and everything. The story is dominating the news and making it even harder for his attacks upon the Scottish Government to gain any traction. No one is in the mood for listening to a Conservative preach about the mote in someone else’s eye while there’s a beam in their own that they’re driving around with in order to test their eyesight.

None of the attacks by Jackson Carauction for the Tories and Labour’s Renaldo Losevoter on the Scottish Government appear to be resonating with the public. The media in Scotland have been banging on about the supposed cover up of the infection at the Nike conference in Edinburgh and the number of deaths in Scottish care homes for weeks now, but the public still place their trust in the Scottish Government.

Even the BBC has commissioned an opinion poll, which supicious minds are convinced was done with the purpose of generating another SNPbad story, only to discover that the Scottish public overwhelmingly trust the Scottish Government and Nicola Sturgeon’s handling of the crisis, and don’t have anything like the same faith in the British Government. Fieldwork for the poll was carried out before the Dominic Cummings story broke, so it’s likely that there’s even less trust in the British Government now. The poll found that 55% of people in Scotland think that Johnson has performed poorly in his handling of the crisis. Only 30% think he’s done well, despite the constant mantra of “we’re all in this together”. However a massive 82% think that Nicola Sturgeon has handled things well, and just 8% think she’s done poorly.

Today at First Minister’s Questions, Jackson tried to imply that the First Minister doesn’t remember that every death added to the statistics isn’t just a number but a human being. Along with the Labour branch office manager they tried to do a Dominic – rewriting history with the benefit of hindsight. The problem for the British nationalist parties is that the British Government is performing so poorly and so mendaciously that the only angle that they can find to attack the Scottish Government is to criticise the First Minister for not doing things differently from the British Government. Their problem is that we all know that they’d have been the first to attack her if that’s what she’d done at the time. So it’s hardly surprising that the Scottish public is choosing to ignore them.

What makes it worse for them is that by saying that Scotland should have diverged even more abruptly and strongly from Westminster, they’re only reinforcing the message that a Scotland which was not encumbered with Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings could have performed a whole lot better than it has done. Once this crisis is over, there will be a public enquiry, and that public enquiry will find that Scotland has suffered because it was following Westminster’s lead. We’d be a whole lot better off not being Better Together.

And finally, here’s a video from Louis Rive, a Scottish singer songwriter living in Barcelona…


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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

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The curse of Cummings

cummingssymbol
Something incredible happened today. A Scottish Conservative discovered a backbone, or at least a fascsimile thereof. Moray MP and junior minister in the Scotland Office Douglas Ross has tendered his resignation as a minor flunky in the Government over Dominic Cummings trip to Durham and automotive eye exam in Barnard Castle. Admittedly he did so in a mealy mouthed letter which didn’t go full out in its criticism of Dominic Cummings. In fact he scarcely criticised Dominic Cummings at all and said that he accepted that the Gollum of Downing Street had been “well meaning”. But still. Baby steps, eh. Baby steps.

The reaction of most people to the news was surprise. Mostly because they’d never heard of Douglas Ross. Even in the small world of Scottish politics he’s not exactly a household name. He was previously most notable for constantly being confused with Ross Thompson and for saying when first elected that his priority would be “tougher enforcement against Gypsy travellers”. That, and buggering off to referee fitba matches. Let’s be honest here, until today’s resignation, Douglas was Number 2 in the Scotland Office. Given that his boss Alister Jack isn’t exactly a shining star in the firmament of Scottish politics, it should have been easy for Douglas to make a name for himself. The fact that he still couldn’t manage to achieve a public profile higher than the kerbside upon which we scrape off the dog crap tells you all you need to know about his mediocrity.

Adam It’s The Law Tomkins tweeted in support of Douglas, saying that losing him showed clearly why Cummings needed to be sacked. But that’s it. They are the only two Scottish Conservatives who have said anything at all other than to grovel in support of Johnson and Cummings and their Cthulhu-given right to retroactively change the rules to suit themselves. We don’t know whether there are any others. We don’t know why the rest of them are willing to defend Dominic Cummings and his flagrant breach of the rules. No one from the Scottish Conservatives was available for an interview. Jackson Carlaw has clearly realised that Dominic’s motoring adventures are a used car story too far, even for him.

It would be lovely to think that this change of heart from Douglas and Adam was due to revulsion and anger that Dominic Cummings is an entitled arse who is the senior advisor to a government of entitled arses. Sadly it’s not. Douglas and those other few Conservatives who have said that they cannot support the Government over its decision to back Cummings have simply sniffed how the wind is blowing and are seeking some shelter from the Cummings storm. Douglas has a majority of just 513 over the SNP. He’s jumping before he’s pushed. It would not take many of those who lent their votes to him to keep out Thatessempee to defect or abstain for him to lose his seat. Tory rule in Scotland hangs by a thread.

According to a Yougov poll published today, a large majority of the public wants Cummings to resign. A majority of Conservative voters and a majority of those who voted to leave the EU want him out of his job. Even Jungian synchronicity is against Dominic Cummings. There’s an old expression in Durham dialect, “that’s so Barnard Castle”, which means “that’s a pathetic excuse”.

This entire episode has been immensely damaging to the British Government as it has stripped away the goodwill that people who are not instinctive Tories were prepared to lend to the British Government during a time of crisis. Even many traditional Conservative voters have been left feeling angry, betrayed, and taken for mugs. In Scotland it plays into the existing constitutional arguments. Unlike in England, in Scotland there is an alternative Government which still enjoys widespread support from people who are not traditional supporters of the governing party, and which is widely regarded as having performed considerably better than the British Government. That’s precisely what makes this entire episode so dangerous for the Conservatives in Scotland. If Boris Johnson were paying the slightest attention to the precioussssss union™, he would realise that he’s got a serious problem. Of course, he isn’t paying attention. Meanwhile that same YouGov poll found that a massive 82% of voters in Scotland think that Nicola Sturgeon has handled the crisis well. In Scotland we have an example of what competent government looks like.

The first instinct of the Scottish Conservatives whenever the British Government behaves badly is to circle the wagons. In doing so they hope to fend off any criticism until the problem goes away of its own accord and the public’s attention moves elsewhere. Then the Scottish Conservatives can get back to saying no to another referendum and finding some new topic for SNPbaddery. What they never do is to criticise the British Government because they have a terror that if they do so then they will only boost support for independence. This means that they can never be seen as the champions of Scotland within the UK, and so they ultimately undermine Scotland’s place within the UK. Their short term political interests are damaging to their long term goal. That’s the Scottish Tory paradox.

The real problem here for the Scottish Tories is that Dominic Cummings, his rule breaking, and the way in which he has been defended by the Conservative Government has become emblematic of something far larger than one man who took a trip to stay at his parents’ place and broke lockdown. He has become the symbol for the public’s anger at the entitlement and privilege of the rich and well-connected people who control the British state, and a British Government whose handling of this crisis has been woeful. If the UK had been one of the best performing states in Europe during the pandemic, there would be little public anger about what Cummings had done. The reaction of the vast majority would have been to shrug it off. However the UK has the greatest number of deaths in Europe, and every step that the British government has taken during this epidemic has been mistimed, chaotic, incoherent, and poorly planned.

This is no longer about Dominic Cummings and his rule breaking. He’s merely the face of a British state which is dominated by personal greed, exceptionalism, selfishness, and which prioritises the interests of a few wealthy and powerful people over the public good. Cummings has built a political career out of railing against “the elite”. It is his curse that he has come to stand as a symbol for all that is wrong with the British establishment, that he’s now a byword for everything that he tried to define himself against. Our curse is that we’re stuck with him as long as Scotland remains a part of the UK.

And finally, because we could all do with some cheering up during these difficult times…


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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.


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


Eyesight exams on the way to Castle Barnard

castlebarnard
Well that was, ahem, interesting. The much touted press conference with Dominic Cummings started a half hour late, but it still hadn’t given him enough extra time to tuck in his shirt. The short version is that he’s not apologising, he’s not resigning, and everyone should feel sorry for him. It’s really all the fault of the media for misunderstanding how wonderful, humane, and tortured he is. It turns out that his slick and polished media manipulator explanation of the allegations that were made against him was to confirm with a massive dose of self-pity that he did in fact do exactly what everyone has said that he did. We’re so glad that he’s cleared that up for us all.

Watching Dominic Cummings give a press conference to explain his actions in breaking the lockdown regulations was the worst episode of Watch With Mother ever. He’d have done a whole lot better if he’d just strode into the Rose Garden, told the press to fuck off, that he didn’t care, and that everyone could just bugger off and stick their press releases up their collective arse than to come out with this pathetic attempt at poor me feel sorry for me drivel. At least then he might have preserved his carefully honed reputation for being a master of manipulation. Instead he revealed himself to be a pathetic and shambling individual, trying to justify himself and failing badly. He showed himself to be incapable of taking personal responsibility, of perpetually seeing himself as the victim, everything was everyone else’s fault. It was all the classic hallmarks of a bully and a coward. It seems that the reason he’s so close to Boris Johnson is because they’re both creatures cut from the same cloth. If this is the most brilliant man in government, it really doesn’t say much for the rest of them.

What made it all the more surreal was that it was being played out to the accompaniment of some peculiar noise in the background which sounded very much like someone had decided that this was the ideal time to learn how to play the smallest violin in the world. Which was quite appropriate given what was transpiring.

Dominic feels that he did nothing wrong, and if other people think that he broke the rules that’s not his fault because they’re obviously not able to interpret the rules properly like he can, what with his massive brain and everything. He thought that what he did was perfectly reasonable, which is why he’s spent the past two months trying to cover it up. His wife, who is an editor on the Tory house magazine the Spectator, wrote about her family’s time with covid-19, but strangely omitted to mention that they’d travelled to Durham where they could go for walks in Dom’s family’s private woodland. That’s the Dominic who’s always railing against the elites there.

Martyr that he is, his first thought after his wife fell ill was to wonder if he could get back to work so he could save us all, what with his massive brain and everything. Although he somehow hadn’t noticed that it says in the regulations that if a member of your household falls ill with covid-19 like symptoms that you should also go into self-isolation irrespective of how well you’re feeling. A significant proportion of people who become infected never show symptoms at all, yet are still infectious.

He did tell the Prime Minister, but apparently the two of them were so delirious at the time that neither of them can remember the conversation. And then he got into his car and drove 260 miles to Durham. Or something. No, I wasn’t really clear on any of that either, and I suspect that was entirely the point.

We also learned that the only reliable and proper way to check whether your eyesight is safe for you to drive is to get in the car, drive about for half an hour then get out of your car, walk about in the countryside for a bit, get back in your car and then drive home. That’s following the science. The corona virus test drive. That’s a thing. Or at least it is now. It’s quite fitting in a strange way that telling everyone that you went for a drive to test your eyesight turns out to be such a car crash of a statement. Going for a drive to test your eyesight makes Prince Andrew’s claim that he doesn’t ever sweat seem pretty plausible by comparison.

Apparently driving 260 miles was the safest option. That’s because the vile and nasty press had made it unsafe for him to remain at his own home. It’s not his fault that he had to choose, nay, was compelled, to get in his car to drive all the way to Durham for childcare that he later told us he didn’t actually need. He was dealing with exceptional circumstances. Other people who had to deal with his exceptional circumstances got a telling off from the polis and a fine. And then he drove to Castle Barnard, and then he drove back to London again. And apparently he didn’t have to fill up with petrol at any point along the route. Can he please let us know the make and model of his car, because we’re all well impressed with the fuel efficiency.

This, by the way, is the statement that Boris Johnson told us all gave him full confidence that Dominic Cummings had behaved “responsibly, legally, and with integrity”. His wife had symptoms but he returned to work that afternoon. Then he took her and their child on a 260 mile trip to Durham without stopping anywhere for petrol. Because his eyesight was impaired he took another drive for 30 miles with his wife and kid, quite coincidentally on her birthday, to test just how fit he was to drive, during which he went for a walk in the woods because his kid who didn’t need a toilet break all the way from London to Durham needed one after a 30 mile jaunt. And this is the story that made the PM think he should stay? Uh, and indeed, huh. Seems that the real reason that the British Government changed its advice to stay alert was so we should watch out for drivers with impaired vision on the A1.

Anyone seen the Scottish Tories yet? Thought not. You’ll not see them even with perfect eyesight.

And finally, because we could all do with some cheering up during these difficult times…


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.


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