A dictionary of British politico-speak

Theresa May suffered her first big Commons defeat on Brexit this week. David Davis said that he was disappointed, which is politico-speak for banging your head off a wall until it bleeds while screaming for your mother. This isn’t the usual definition of disappointed, but when British politicians say words those words don’t usually mean what those of us who are encumbered by handicaps like merely being fluent in the language might expect them to mean.

It’s helpful these days to be able to decode what politicians actually mean when they say something, because the words that come out of their mouths bear very little resemblance to what has actually happened. What we really need is a dictionary of British politico-speak. Like when Boris Johnson said that he apologised if other people had misinterpreted what he had said, which really means that he’s a liar liar pants on fire and he’s upset that he got caught out. Or when Theresa May says she’s going to be very clear you know that what you’re in for makes less sense to the average human being than the collected works of Wittgenstein translated into Klingon by Google while using a Sinclair Spectrum computer. Or when anyone in the Conservative party refers to Michael Gove as my honourable friend, what they really mean is “that duplicitous backstabbing slimy wee bawbag bastert wi a coupon like a well skelpt airse”.

The defeat suffered by the government – well I say suffered by the government, it’s really the rest of us who have to do the suffering – centred on another of the 21st century’s British politico-speak novel interpretations. This time it was all about the obstensible reason for leaving the EU, which was taking back control and restoring full sovereignty to the British parliament. It’s just that restoring the full sovereignty of the British parliament has turned out to mean giving the prime minister of the day untrammelled powers to do pretty much whatever he or she likes without having to be held to account by a parliamentary debate or to bother their pretty little head with annoying trifles like having to explain themselves. Restoring the full sovereignty of parliament really means reducing the sovereignty of parliament. Although we were told by our honourable friend Michael Gove, amongst others, that the full sovereignty of parliament was going to be restored, which really ought to have told us everything that we needed to know about the veracity of the promise. And it wasn’t even written on the side of a bus. However, many MPs were unhappy with a government which planned on ramming through a Brexit deal which was supposed to be all about restoring sovereignty to the British parliament, and then not actually allowing that parliament to have any meaningful say on what that deal might be.

Some Conservatives actually had enough integrity to rebel and to insist that the government needs to give parliament a meaningful say on the Brexit deal. Although saying that there’s a Tory who has retained some integrity isn’t saying a great deal really. A piece of sweetcorn that’s passed through your digestive system and is excreted out the other end has also retained some integrity, but it’s still embedded in foul smelling crap and it’s not as if you’d like to have it on your plate.

The Daily Mail was furious though, so that was a result. As a rule of thumb, anything which annoys the Daily Mail is good news. The far right lunatic end of the Brexiteers, which is most of them really, were crying betrayal. It’s a remoaner coup! Although when a government is defeated in parliament by a vote of MPs that’s kind of the exact opposite of a coup, but then this is an article about how British politicians use words to mean the opposite of what the rest of us use them to mean, so that was only to be expected.

None of Scotland’s Tory MPs voted against the government, just like none of them voted against the government in an amendment the previous day which the Conservatives managed to defeat.  That’s defending Scotland’s interests in British politico-speak.  The amendmentwould have prevented the government from using the so-called Henry VIII powers to make unilateral changes to the devolution settlement. Scotland’s Tory MPs are quite happy for the government to do that, and they’re quite happy for the government to ram through a Brexit deal without having to bother with minor irritations like democracy or accountability. Let’s face it, if it doesn’t involve making crass remarks about the Travelling Community or disabled people, Scottish Tory MPs just aren’t interested. I’d say that their hearts weren’t in it, but that would imply that they had hearts to put in.

The Tories and the Scottish Unionist media are sure as hell not standing up for Scotland’s interests in this universe. It’s even unfair to say that there is a parallel universe in which the Scottish Conservatives and their pals in the Scottish Unionist media are defending Scotland’s interests. It’s more like a universe which has wandered off on a wee tangent of its own. It may be the universe where half the population of Glasgow are Tories, and most people in Dundee are posh people with upper class English accents. You know, the universe where Question Time finds its audiences.

It’s not that the Scottish Conservatives have burned out, because that would imply that they had some sort of fuel to begin with. They were in fact being entirely propelled by hot air from the Scottish Unionist media but that’s not enough to sustain them, hence their inevitable decline in opinion polls. Today the Tories are upset about the Scottish budget and an increase in income tax for high earners and hoping that their vileness and incompetence in Holyrood can be a distraction from their vileness and incompetence in Westminster. “It’s a tax on aspiration!” harrumphed Murdo Fraser. Some of us aspire to have decent public services though. Some of us aspire to live in a society where the better off pay more than the poor.  Some of us aspire to a country which provides for the disabled.  Personally I’m happy to pay a wee bit more in tax if it means pissing off some raving British nationalist zoomer on the internet.

Naturally there was a howl of outrage in the Scottish media about how the Tories are less effective at standing up for Scotland in Westminster than some wet toilet paper studded with a couple of pieces of digested sweetcorn. Of course you need to read that sentence in the same way that you’d read any sentence uttered in British politico-speak, so it really means “Oh no, the other thing.” The same newspapers which trumpeted the Vow and yelled to the heavens that a No vote really meant stronger devolution and entrenched powers for the Scottish Parliament were predictably silent when Westminster delivered the opposite, just as they’re silent on how Ruth Davidson and her wee band of saviours of the Union are doing precisely bugger all to stand up for Scotland’s interests.

You might think, if you were a reasonable person, that it would strengthen the Union if Scottish Tory MPs defended Scottish interests and if Scottish Unionist newspapers held a Westminster government to account. Clearly neither the Tories nor their media pals consider the people of Scotland to be reasonable. They might hope that we don’t notice, but we do. That’s precisely why the UK’s days are numbered.


weegingerdug.scot

The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.


gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Just click the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information. Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

Many thanks

The Westmonster Raving Yoony Party

It’s been a week for space geeks. It is deeply reassuring that the rest of the world is catching up because everyone in the UK has been living in a dystopian sci-fi nightmare for quite a while now. Who needs lizard alien overlords when you have the Conservatives?

Scientists are investigating a strange object which is the first confirmed visitor to our solar system from the depths of interstellar space. Called ‘Oumuamua, the object is believed to be an asteroid which is ten times longer than it is wide, a shape which scientists who specialise in the study of space rocks are finding hard to explain. Some have speculated that it could even be artificial, and are checking whether the object is emitting radio signals because it has the exact same dimensions as the Battlestar Galactica off the telly. You know, typical spaceship shape, indistinguishable at a distance from an extremely large phallus. Which is probably why it’s now heading away from us deep into the solar system and is on course to penetrate Saturn’s ring. If it is a messenger from a distant alien civilisation it’s legitimate to ask why it hasn’t made contact, but clearly it picked up a transmission of British cabinet ministers talking bollocks about Brexit and concluded that there’s no intelligent life on Earth.

Meanwhile, on Monday Donald Trump signed an executive order committing the USA to putting another man on the Moon. Originally Vice President Mike Pence had volunteered to make the journey because he wanted to go somewhere where there is no gay life, but then someone told him about the Clangers and the dangerously socialist Soup Dragon giving away food for free. So the plan is now to send Jared Kushner instead so that he can’t be questioned by the FBI. I’m going to start a petition to get Trump to send the entire UK cabinet. If we pack them all off to the final frontier then maybe we can have some sense on the Irish frontier instead. And there’s always the chance that by ejecting them from the planet we’ll raise humanity’s average IQ by enough to make ‘Oumuamua turn around and make contact.

Not that Labour is any more coherent than the Tories. The problem isn’t that Labour doesn’t have a position on Brexit. The problem is that Labour has as many positions on Brexit as there are Labour MPs. This means that Labour is still indulging in its favourite game of saying all sorts of positive and pleasing things in opposition and giving us no certainty at all that it’s going to implement any of it once it gets into power. The basic problem for Labour is that they have picked up thousands of votes from younger people who are viscerally opposed to Brexit, but Jeremy thinks that Brexit is quite a good idea, because he believes it will allow him to pursue his 1970s dream of the British Parliamentary Road to Socialism only without the flared trousers, the avocado toilet suites, or the casual racism, sexism, and homophobia. This is Labour’s own version of the Tories’ Irish border conundrum, one which they’re trying to solve by saying as little as possible but what they do say consists of meaningless soundbites. So very much like the Tories in that respect then. British politics these days is as meaningless as asking what time it was before the Big Bang, or claiming that there are actually real statistics for Scottish exports to England.

Those of us who are a bit older and a lot more cynical have seen this sort of trick from Labour before, and that’s why we gave up on the party a long time ago. We desperately clung on to the hope of Labour salvation all the way through the dire decades of Thatcher and John Major, only to discover that the British Parliamentary Road to Socialism ended up with PFI and bombs in Baghdad. This is why we want Scottish independence, it gives us a chance to press the political redo from start button.

However there are still those who think that the problem with British politics isn’t the system, it’s the individual parties. This is a bit like insisting that the symptoms of your illness are actually its cause. The problems with the British state are much deeper rooted. They are caused by the Westminster system and they won’t be cured by creating yet another Westmonster Raving Yoony Party. Writing in the Herald on Tuesday Chris Deerin, that apologist for British nationalism because it’s not nationalist at all, proposed exactly that. Let’s ignore Scotland’s constitutional questions and pretend they don’t exist, said Chris, unwittingly illustrating exactly what is one of the major problems of the British state. Scotland doesn’t get a voice in the Brexit negotiations, even though we voted by a much larger margin to remain in the EU than we voted to remain in the UK, but the Brexit-supporting DUP from a Northern Ireland which voted to remain by a smaller margin gets a veto.

Chris wants a new centre right party like that of French Prez Emmanuel Macron. Let’s get the likes of Tony Blair and George Osborne together in a new political party, he suggested. The thing is, if the answer is Tony Blair and George Osborne, then it ought to be obvious that you’re asking the wrong question. We’ve done the politics of Blair and Osborne before, and that’s precisely what brought us to the pathetic situation that we’re currently mired in. You’d have a far more realistic chance of solving the problems of British politics by pinning your hopes in ‘Oumuamua turning around and bringing us the 20th century equivalent of the monolith in the movie 2001 teaching the apes how to bang the rocks together. Presumably that would be banging the heads of the Tory party together. This wouldn’t actually lead to any lasting or meaningful solutions, but it would at least make the rest of us feel a bit better.

New political parties have been tried before, remember the SDP? That didn’t work. The UK is incapable of reforming itself and no amount of banging the rock heads of British political parties into a new Westmonster Raving Yoony Party is going to make the slightest bit of difference. There’s only one solution for Scotland, and it doesn’t involve remaining a part of a dying political culture in a delusional UK.


weegingerdug.scot

The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.


gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Just click the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information. Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

Many thanks

Botchland Uber allies

That didn’t last long did it. The Conservatives’ newly found Brexit unity has gone up in flames faster than a Samsung Galaxy Note 7. Despite the claims on the Tory benches on Friday that Theresa May had won a great victory for Britain by conceding everything that the EU had been demanding in the first place, by Saturday the EU was saying that there is as much chance of Britain getting a special bespoke preferential trade deal as there is of Michael Gove getting awarded Best Friend of the Year Award. Mikey is such a backstabber that he can’t even get a Tesco loyalty card. The ink wasn’t even dry on the EU agreement before Mikey was telling everyone that voters could elect a future government that could negotiate different terms. Presumably he was referring to a government in which he plays a leading role. And there’s a reason for Scottish independence all by itself.

Brexit is like being stuck in a lift with that guy from the breakaway Unionist froth group Unity going on about the fantastic opportunities Scotland’s got in the Union, horribly wrong on so many levels. That’s the guy who recently put out a wee video responding to the slagging off he was getting online which basically boiled down to saying “Stop hiding and come and have a chat face to face, foul separatists”. Or in other words, meet yese behind the bike sheds if you think you’re hard enough. No wonder he was just one froth too far even for the spittle flecked corporate lobbyists of Britain in Union.

The best bit of the video however was his gloriously delusional belief that people who are supporting Brexit are opposing the elite. That’s the Brexit which is supported by Boris Johnson, Liam Fox, and Michael Gove and the right wing of the Tory party. You know, those challengers of the global elites. As for likes of yours truly, I’m too busy hiding behind my real name and globally eliting up a close in the East End of Glasgow to have any sense of what might truly be exercising ordinary working class communities. Still, at least a right wing dysfunctional post-Brexit Britain where the only people to flourish will be the owners of global taxi companies which insist their employees aren’t employees at all can have a new national anthem, Botchland Uber allies.

The real problem for the British state is that the people who actually have power and influence aren’t any less delusional than some random guy on the internet. Former Territorial SAS sodgie David Davis already had the kind of reputation that you can only get when your sole area of expertise is garotting Her Majesty’s enemies with piano wire, but only at weekends. Now he’s also got a reputation that makes Walter Mitty seem like a hard headed realist. Just a few days after the deal was reached with the EU, the one that the entire Tory cabinet was lauding as the greatest political achievement since Theresa May managed to get through a speech without howking up phlegm, David is saying that after all Britain maybe won’t have to pay the £39 billion that it has agreed to cough up to the EU.

The Brexit secretary doesn’t think that the deal reached last week is legally enforceable. Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday morning, Dave said that the deal was just a serving suggestion. Directly contradicting the Chancellor Philip Hammond who described the financial settlement as an obligation, Dave insisted that both the financial settlement and the Irish border agreement are conditional on Michael Gove getting a Tesco loyalty card and the UK getting that bespoke preferential trading deal which the EU is insisting is an impossiblity.

This kind of Perfidious Albionness is precisely why the Irish government had insisted that the agreement reached between the UK and the EU last Friday needed to be “politically bullet proof” and “cast iron”. The Irish know better than anyone else that the British government can’t be relied on to keep its word. It’s not for nothing that the Irish have always claimed that the only reason that the sun never set on the British Empire was because God doesn’t trust the British in the dark. Now David Davis has proven that the British government can’t be trusted in the daylight either.

But then here in Scotland we’ve learned that lesson the hard way. Remember that binding and legal commitment that the permanence of the Scottish Parliament was going to be enshrined in law so that no Westminster government could change or alter the powers of Holyrood without the consent of the Scottish parliament? Remember the Vow? Remember all the promises of jobs and security and stability? Remember how we were told that the only way Scotland could remain a part of the EU was by voting to stay a part of the UK? Oh how we laughed. The UK still fondly imagines that in its dealings with Ireland it can act in the exact same way that it has acted with Scotland. It likes to think that it has all the power and all the cards, and the Irish like the Scots have no option but to put up and shut up and bow to Her Majesty’s government. The delusional Brexiteers are in for a very big disappointment. In these negotiations the Irish are backed up by the other members of the EU. They won’t be fobbed off with a Vow.

The lesson for Scotland ought to be clear. As a part of the UK our voice can be silenced, we have no redress when the British government goes back on its word. If Scotland wants to get something out of the British government, the only way to do so is from a position of strength, and that means as an independent state which can form partnerships and make allies with other states in its own interests. We’ll get precisely nothing as a satrapy of Botchland’s Uber allies.


weegingerdug.scot

The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.


gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Just click the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information. Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

Many thanks

A metaphor for the UK

Back in Scotland, jet-lagged, with a cold, and depressed because my significant other is significantly very far away. But hey, all is just wonderful in the wonderful world of wonderful British politics, so that makes up for it then. Or it would, if we all possessed similar nervous systems and the same ability to comprehend our surroundings and circumstances as an amoeba. So just like a UK cabinet minister then. These people make Donald Trump look like he’s a political giant.

The biggest and most important development is of course that Scotland in Union is no more in union with itself. At least that’s the biggest and most important development for those of us who really do work our wee socks off in a real grassroots movement. According to a statement from the Unionist grassroots organisation, stop laughing at the back there, there has been no break up, it’s just that some people who were formerly associated with Scotland in Union are now going off to do something else British nationalistish. This is of course not nationalist at all, because it’s British and being British gives you a free pass from the evils of nationalism. That’s what makes British nationalism better than the nationalism of lesser nations.

This is all a bit like saying that you’re not divorced from your partner, you’ve just both been sleeping with other people, living in separate houses, and are no longer on speaking terms with one another. Or in other words you are in the same kind of marriage that you typically find amongst senior members of the royal family. That’s how Liz and Phil have managed to stay lovingly wed for 70 years, and clearly Scotland in Union are adopting the same successful tactic. If that’s their model for keeping Scotland in the UK, we’ve probably got more in common with them than they would care to admit.

The break up that’s not a break up at all is because the people who haven’t flounced off didn’t do so because they were upset that Scotland in Union hadn’t been making a positive case for the Union. They are perfectly happy with the positive case that’s been made so far, which essentially boils down to “We hate the SNP. Westminster has half-bankrupted Scotland so it’s only fair that we let them finish the job. Did we mention that we hate the SNP?” They’re upset that Scotland in Union has been ignoring Brexit because it’s a galactofuck that Scotland voted against by a much larger margin than it voted against independence. From an outside perspective it’s the most sensible thing about the frothing tendency, as Brexit does make it rather difficult to argue that Scotland benefits from the strength, stability, and certainty of the UK. You can’t really look at Boris Johnson, David Davis, and Michael Gove and say that with a straight face.

However it is a fair point that Scotland in Union has been ignoring the obvious. After all Scotland’s supposedly leading grassroots Unionist organisation has also been ignoring the fact that the only real grassroots Unionist organisation in Scotland is the one that puts on citrus fruit themed parades around June. They’re also ignoring the uncomfortable truth that for a bunch of people who hate nationalism so much, the real blood and soil out and out fascists are all very much on their side of the political divide.

The group that hasn’t broken off is calling itself Unity, which is a strange choice of name for a bunch of separatists who want to split off from the other Unionists and split off from Europe, but who are we to judge. Their grassroots activity so far has mainly consisted of putting some memes out on social media about how Brexit is going to be great and Scotland has to suck it up. Scotland is loved and valued in the Union, as long as we shut up and do as we’re told.  It’s about as convincing as a declaration of undying loyalty from Michael Gove.

Back on planet Earth, or at least what passes for it in the wormhole leading into a dimension in which nothing makes sense which the UK has fallen into, this week has been a week of repeated humiliations for the British government. There have been even more humiliations than normal, even for this lot. There was the commissioning of the Royal Navy’s brand spanking new aircraft carrier. Only the nearest it’s got to an aircraft is a wee remote controlled drone that the captain’s wife is giving him for his Christmas. Phil Hammond admitted that the British government hasn’t actually decided what it wants to get out of Brexit. David Davis admitted that those impact assessments he’d been assuring us all were incredibly detailed have as much existence in this universe as Michael Gove’s reputation for loyal friendship. And Theresa May got slapped down by Arlene Foster when Theresa tried to sign a deal which would have seen Northern Ireland effectively remain in the Customs Union and Single Market but the rest of the UK leave it.

After Arlene sank the agreement that Theresa had reached on Monday, she then refused to take Theresa’s phone calls in a snub that even Michael Gove would have thought cold. There was poor Theresa, left looking foolish in front of the big boys and girls of Europe by a woman whose party makes Jacob Rees Mogg seem terribly daring and modern. This is how politics in the UK is conducted these days.

Hello, you’ve reached the office of Arlene Foster. I’m sorry I can’t take your call right now as I’m in a meeting to discuss how NornIreland can’t be allowed to diverge from the rest of the UK except for gay marriage and abortion rights.
Press 1. To hear Ulster Says No in every European language. Except Irish.
Press 2. To listen to a rousing selection of marching tunes from the Apprentice Boys flute band.
Press 3. If you’ve got another £1.5 billion to give away.
Press 4. If you’d like me to bring down your government.

By Friday, an agreement had been cobbled together. The man from the BBC said that there had been concessions on both sides, by which he meant that the UK had agreed to everything that the EU had demanded, and the EU had promised that in the next round of negotiations it will supply proper Belgian chocolate biscuits instead of those cheap bourbon creams from Aldi. And this first round, remember, was supposed to be the easy part of the negotiations for the UK. Britain has never been more screwed.

For Scotland what all this means is that the UK can no longer threaten an independent Scotland with a hard border, with economic sanctions, and with threats of military intervention. A Scotland which is part of the Customs Union and the Single Market will enjoy the same access as Ireland. Some in the UK voted for Brexit because they fondly imagined that Brexit would allow Britain to bestride the globe like a colossus. Instead it’s revealed the colossal weakness of a friendless and isolated Britain and one colossal humiliation after another while British politicians froth on the sidelines. We don’t have to be a part of this. The case for independence just got stronger. No wonder Scotland in Union is splitting up. It’s really been a metaphor for the UK this whole time.


weegingerdug.scot

The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.


gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Just click the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information. Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

Many thanks

Good for the goose…

A guest post by Samuel Miller

(Alternatively titled: Karma in action)

This’ll be a short one.

I’m guessing that by this point most readers will be aware of Prime Minister May’s very own bad hair Monday? No? Well it turns out our intrepid PM toddled over to Brussels with a proposal which her best buds in the DUP hadn’t really agreed to. This would be Treeza’s bid to kick start the phase 2 Brexit talks and hopefully avoid economic carnage for the United Kingdom of London. Oh and the baying of the UK public for Tory and more particularly, her blood.

Let’s face it, Cammo dropped a complete and utter wreck of a situation in Ms May’s lap and absolutely nothing has gone right for the new PM from that day forward. I’d feel sorry for Treeza, but, y’know, a. Tory and b. Tory PM. (shrugs)

Aaaanyroads, back to the meat of the matter. The proposal, so far as we’re led to believe, would allow that “the British government would commit to maintain the full alignment of single market and customs union legislation that might potentially create a border.” The DUP, for their own reasons (not going there), didn’t like this idea and before the PM could even finish her pre lunch aperatif, the anchors had been applied and the proposal removed from the table (Did it even make it as far as the table?). So far, so straightforward.

Now it gets interesting, because as you’re all no doubt aware, the very fact that Northern Ireland had been granted an exceptional status deserving of a custom brokered solution made a few bods sit up and take notice. Not least us obviously. Now comes the bit we’ve all been expecting from pretty much day one. The looming constitutional crisis.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan made a pitch for exceptional status as did First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones. How and ever, it should be pointed out to Mr Khan that London is not a country, it is a city within a country. A country which voted for Brexit. Equally Mr Jones should be aware that Wales also voted for Brexit. I have every sympathy for their position and only the most reclusive hermit living in a cave in Cape Wrath could fail to have noted that the economic ramifications of Brexit are going to be fairly grim to say the least.

No. I’d say there are only three bodies that Ms May will have any real worries over in the immediate aftermath of this remarkable clanger. The DUP natch, since her government relies on their… support? The hard line Brexit lobby of her own party and of course…

… First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Government.

Whichever way you cut it. Northern Ireland required an exceptional status to square a circle and one was drafted to suit, even if currently rejected.

Scotland, unlike London, is a country and unlike both England and Wales did vote to remain. The whole current situation is so convoluted, with parties, cliques within parties and cliques within cliques, the permutations for outcomes at this point would give a mathematician a migrane. Reminds me of something…

Cue the popcorn.

 

Our host should be returning in the next couple of days so this will be my final post. As always, I’d like to thank the readers for bearing with my rambling and for all the great comments. See you below the line.

They’re not using what now?

A guest post by Samuel Miller

There’s another theme running through unionist political releases of recent times which may bear a little closer scrutiny. Basically, that Scottish Government, critical institutions and services are seemingly always on the brink of catastrophic failure/crisis. More crucially, that the Scottish Government has the powers to deal with these crises, but for some unknown reason they choose not to use these pooowwwweeerrs to fix stuff.

“Our parliament is now more powerful than ever, with all the powers it needs to reverse Tory austerity. – But despite this, our services are still facing £327 million of cuts.” Kezia Dugdale (former) Labour in Scotland leader, January 2017

“Despite the Budget falling on international women’s day, 86 per cent of the austerity policies of Theresa May’s government fall on women. And Nicola Sturgeon could act to help stop this, but she refuses to stand in the way,” John McDonnell (Labour shadow chancellor) March 2017

“The SNP government has the powers if it wants to use them to mitigate the effects of austerity, they chose not to.”  Jeremy Corbyn (Labour Leader) August 2017

“The Scottish Parliament was delivered by Labour to be a bulwark against Conservative cuts, not a conveyor belt for them.” Richard Leonard (current) Labour in Scotland leader, November 2017 (‘delivered as a bulwark’… Uh Huh! So, not home rule as a point of principle then.)

Plausible? Would the Scottish government refuse/neglect to use their office and powers to alleviate hardship? This goes beyond the usual too wee, too poor, too stoopit meme we’ve seen endlessly regurgitated over the years into a whole new territory of shark jumping surely?

There is also a unicycling pachyderm in the room of course with this argument, but our media never quite seem capable of pointing it out to Scotland’s general public for consideration. (Spooky, I know). We’ll get back to that pachyderm shortly.

So, are the current Scottish government sitting on their hands when it comes to using the powers of Holyrood and devolved government to make life better for Scotland’s electorate?

Well, if you listen to the right wing meeja, then you’re constantly bombarded with accusations that Scotland’s citizenry enjoy a great deal more relief than other parts of the UK. Oh, and all at everyone else’s expense too. Over the past decade: exemption from tuition fees, free care for the elderly, bus passes for pensioners, free prescriptions, freeze on council tax, infrastructure investment in roads, *useless* (sark) second bridges, investment in child care and just for Mr Leonard, retention of Scottish water in public hands (cough). All pretty easily verified either on the SNPs own site HERE or if you felt like generally just catching up on what the Scottish government are up to then visit the Scotgov site HERE.

Still, if we want to keep it simple on the whole ‘not using the poowweeerrrs’ theory. Perhaps Labour’s leadership(s) could explain away mitigation of the Bedroom tax, the creation of the Food Fund, introduction of the Scottish welfare fund or the Banning of fracking. Maybe they could also throw some light on Scottish government intervention in threatened closures including TATA steel, BiFab, INEOS Grangemouth?

Maybe just me, but it appears that the current Scottish government have been fairly busy exercising powers and mitigating problems created by others. In fact it appears the Labour leadership’s sweeping accusations don’t appear to be holding much water at all.

How and ever, we’ll stick with just a couple of points to question. Perhaps Labour heid office are merely confused as to the nature and function of devolved government. Firstly, the Scottish government and devolution. Devolution in general surely isn’t a ‘bulwark’ against the depredations of any damn thing. Devolution is about exercising a degree of autonomy on budgeted administrative competences in specific areas agreed between a central government and a devolved legislature. A devolved legislature is power granted/gifted, not ceded. That’s point one.

Secondly, central government (that would be yer Westminster UK government), kinda get paid to deliver effective primary legislation which surely should NOT require mitigation by anyone and least of all by devolved legislatures who have zero control of their own economies and are allocated budgets which are expected to pay for other things. Why should a population pay taxes to central government for, y’know, governing and then expect their devolved government to mitigate for poor legislation from a budget (handout) that’s become a moveable feast? Basically paying twice just to either get by, or get things right.

Still, just to dot the i’s and cross the t’s, lets be very clear on reserved and devolved powers here, or what our handout is expected to pay for.

Devolved = what we pay for and have some control over

Reserved = what we also pay for, but have no control over

Back to the unicycling pachyderm in the room.

This Labour meme of a Scottish government not using devolved powers to alleviate austerity passed down from nasty Westminster government. Putting aside the points just made and the links to varied sources, there is only one reason Scotland’s government is forced to mitigate or offset any damn thing today. There is only one reason that Scotland’s electorate have to worry about or suffer any ill effects of Westminster legislation at all really.

We are not currently an independent nation state.

Labour and more particularly Labour in Scotland, may recall they were quite insistent that Scotland remain party to the political union of parliaments. I certainly recall that Labour leadership, (past, the then current and future), were only too happy to lead the charge in fronting the case for Betterthigetherness in Scotland during 2014’s indyref. Weel kent Labour faces fell over each other to apply both carrot and stick (mainly stick) to Scotland’s population throughout the entire debate. They also appeared none too worried about working alongside Mr Cameron’s Conservative party, or Mr Clegg’s Libdems along with many another pro union grouping besides. Are they now implying that the system of government they worked so hard to endorse to Scotland’s electorate isn’t quite up to scratch? That they’re passing down *gasp* needlessly punitive or highly inept legislation? Shocker!

Personally speaking though, I’m finding this current narrative of Labour’s hard to take. In my book, you don’t get to dump in someones living room then demand they clean up your mess. You certainly don’t get to endorse a political union, impose a system of government and a practice of politics, then moan about how bad its all turned out to those who didn’t want it in the first place. Or indeed, how badly their representatives are supposedly handling the shit pile you’ve helped dump in their laps.

Just so Labour is aware? You also don’t get to rewrite history.

You know readers, it’s not hard to find evidence that reaffirms your world view in this day and age. If you want to hate a thing, you simply read or watch information streams where you know you’ll find like minded bods telling you stuff you already believe to be reality. Some folk call it living in a bubble. The YES movement are accused of this all the time as most readers of pro indy sites are aware, but we’re not the only ones. The mainstream party political orthodoxy and the media are no less of a bubble and yet should require just the same scrutiny by each and every one of us.

The real test, again as many in the YES movement are aware, comes when you venture out to ask questions of your own belief of a narrative and of the people and institutions you have invested your trust in.

Just sayin’ like, but there’s a lot of YES voters out there today who weren’t always independence minded. These people still check out the mainstream media and its narrative near every day too, they just look at what is being said through new eyes and are prepared to consider the alternative viewpoint. Doesn’t seem such a difficult ask, but in this day and age it’s most certainly a radical and refreshing concept.

Something for the political class to consider. The days of mushroom farming the population may well be numbered. Tick tock.

For what it’s worth

A guest post by Samuel Miller

Back in May of this year I wrote the post Survival of the fittest. In that post I outlined what I considered to be my own personal summary of the challenges faced by UK society and the nature of the forces ranged against the YES movement, or indeed any movement seeking a fairer, more just system of government. Basically my thoughts on why we are where we are.

I pointed out what I felt were a couple of reasons for that and as a refresher, here’s the second one: “The second reason we are where we are? That would be the fault of the electorate. You get who you vote for. You get the society you contribute to – or don’t, as the case may be. For generations the populations of the UK bought into the big lie of our governance, that it gave a shit, could be trusted, was just the way it was meant to be. We allowed ourselves to be reduced to ‘ists’, ‘isms’ and labels (Makes that whole dividing thing so much easier). We allowed our system of government to take our best and brightest, make over their idealism and turn them into ‘weel kent’ faces we would vote for, perpetuating the cycle of legislative abuse. Worse, we allowed them to tell us who to trust, who to vote for, who to alienate and who to hate.”

For the removal of any doubt. What people are up against today hasn’t become any less frightening:

Poverty, Hate Crime, Austerity UK, Democratic Deficit, Brexit, 

Constitutional Crisis, Eire/NI, Legislative Abuse, Food Bank Growth

That wee list could be endless. You could literally cut and paste linked examples all day and I haven’t even touched on the usual subjects of ‘politics as it is practised’, the meeja, or a host of individual policies and scandals over recent years. If people are looking for something that needs to be opposed. If they’re looking for baddies under the bed, or something to get outraged about, then there are plenty examples to be found. There are people and causes who need help in the here and now. Entire populations of these islands, fractured demographics, oppressed minorities. Y’know, human beings.

Me? I’m easily offended and outraged really. A big softie with the accent on the soft bit, which spookily gets softer and wider the older I get (cough). I get offended when those we literally pay to care for our wants and needs abuse the trust we place in them. I am also somewhat miffed when those we empower put their own population in harms way for the sake of party political advantage or pure greed driven self interest (see under any campaign ever, but more recently both the EU and Scottish independence referendums). When they steal from us, abuse their positions, sign our names on the dotted line for illegal wars, or selling arms to others for their wars and abuses of human rights.

I am particularly offended when I see families in 21st century Scotland go without. When they have to make a choice between feeding the weans or paying the bills. I get offended when those least able to defend themselves are preyed upon by empathy free bastards in government who won’t know a day of hardship in their pampered, besuited, public expense fiddling, thieving, entitled lives. Those … people…, who know full well what they do and why they do it, are a special peeve in my book.

Basically, I get offended by people who harm others because they can, or because it benefits themselves. There’s a name for them. No, don’t tell me. It’s on the tip my tongue. It’ll come back in a moment. To be fair though, you could probably use several descriptors forming extended sentences, so fill in your own preference (though not in comments, m’kay? There may be young impressionable folk under fifty reading).

The buck still stops in the very same two places though. It stops with your system of central government and with YOU. The one we have currently feeds off the other’s compliance, acceptance and division. It needs that mix to continue doing all of the above examples and keeping itself and its patrons in the style to which they’ve become accustomed. That and being nearly totally unaccountable to those in it’s care.

Now you can have a system of government, practice of politics and an establishment which demands your compliance, your loyalty and your obedience. Yes you can. You can have a system that uses intimidation, fear and uncertainty as political strategy and practice against its own population. You can live on a media diet of celebrity get me tae f*** out of here and vote this way because the other team’s ‘the wrong sort’ too. You can continue to be told who and what you are by folk you’ve never met, nor walked a mile in your shoes. You can stay on your knees and get kicked repeatedly for daring to think you’re as good as.

Or.

Or you can stand up and TELL them you’re as good as. You can have a system that earns your vote, your loyalty, your appreciation and is obedient to the mandate you give it. You can have a government which offers care and aid to all of your population without favour, where and when it is needed. You can have a system of politics that rejects the tools of intimidation and fear because that’s how you want it. You can have a government that’s within the reach of the toe of your boot when it steps out of line, or when it’s politicians feel like dipping their sticky digits into the public kitty.

That choice is entirely up to you.

In the run up to Scotland’s 2014 indyref, many pro indy writers and bloggers wrote of what they feared was the future of a Scotland which still remained a UK partner. Throughout the YES movement we all had some pretty dark thoughts on the potential of that no vote given the nature of UK politics tbf. Back then it was on the horizon, something waiting to happen, but which we hoped would not. Personally, even in the aftermath of the vote, I hoped we were wrong, that the worst wouldn’t, couldn’t happen. Well, it’s here now and happening all around us. I also very much doubt it’s even close to the worst of the hardships and challenges our electorates have to face.

It’s not rocket science. We do this together. We work together to fix this, or we lose more than you can possibly imagine. We dump the rosettes, the petty grievances, the chips on shooders. We win by celebrating our differences and knowing that we are accepted by each other as a whole package. That’s kinda what it means to be a community, a population. We come from every walk of life imaginable and these days a fair few points of origin, but we ARE Scottish citizens. We are Scots. Think about that for a second. Really think about what it means and what it could mean.

You either govern for ALL, or you’re not fit to govern. Equally you either want a system of government capable of that, or you don’t deserve one.

I’ll leave it to readers to make their own minds up of course, but I know what I’d rather have.