The last UK General Election in Scotland

In France the National Front’s Marine Le Pen has done shockingly well in the first round of the French Presidential election, and it seems that the second round will focus on keeping the far right out of power. Here in the UK we don’t need to worry about keeping the far right out of power, because here in the UK the far right are already in power. What we need to worry about is what they’re going to do after a general election in which the polls are indicating that they could have a majority of 200 seats. They’ve already managed to wreak havoc with a majority of 18, the damage they could do with a majority ten times greater doesn’t bear thinking about. It’s like taking away a box of matches from a teenage arsonist and giving them a flame thrower.

For all that the hard line Unionists on social media are crowing about the Conservative revival in Scotland, the truth is there’s not much of a revival at all. What’s happening is that the Labour party is in the last stages of its death spiral and the Tories are picking up the votes of hard-core Unionists who previously voted Labour. Those are the people who support the Union blindly, and who would continue to support it even if it could be conclusively demonstrated beyond any shred of doubt that independence would make Scotland a far more prosperous country. They’re the people who support the Union without caring what sort of Union it is that they support. They’re the people who would never, under any circumstances, vote for independence. They might be vocal, they might have a lot of media support, but they’re a segment of the Scottish population that’s always going to be a minority.

Despite this, the Scottish Unionist media will do its best to paint any increase in the number of Conservative seats in Scotland after June’s election as a blow for Nicola Sturgeon and a reverse to the prospect of independence. But that’s nothing more than a desperate act of self-delusion. The fact that that people who would never under any circumstances have voted for independence are now transferring their red white and blue loyalties from one Unionist party to another Unionist party doesn’t damage the cause of independence any. Their votes were never available to independence campaigners anyway.

It’s a bit like you had a cake that was divided into halves and then you divided one of the halves into into two equal quarters. Then you get a new cake and divide it into halves, and divide one of the halves into two pieces, one of one third of the whole cake and the other one sixth. Then you point to the part that’s one third of the whole cake and say that the half cake has got smaller and it’s a huge blow for those separatist half-cakists.

What’s really happening is that the sixth part of the cake is far more likely to throw in its lot with the half cake, because the half cake isn’t flavoured with the stale and bitter seasoning of Conservative contempt. Those same polls that show that the Tories are sooking up hard line Unionist votes like a hoover nozzle stuck down a drain also show that 40% of those who are undecided on independence are more likely to vote for an independent Scotland if there’s a large Tory majority in Westminster. The Tories can have their stale one third of a cake if they want, it just makes it all the more likely that independence can get the tasty two thirds that’s left.

Meanwhile Scotland’s sole remaining Labour MP Ian Murray has said that he supports tactical voting to defeat the SNP, because for Ian defeating the SNP is clearly far more important than defeating the Tories. In Ian’s imagination it’s the SNP who are taking us all out of Europe into the hardest Brexit imaginable. He think it’s the SNP who have introduced the rape clause. He believes it’s the SNP who have denied housing benefit to young people making young women more at risk of sexually predatory landlords offering sex for rent deals. It’s the SNP who are demonising immigrants. It’s the SNP who are threatening employment rights. It’s the SNP who are responsible for turbo-charged austerity. Ian thinks that the SNP are worse than all the evils inflicted on the poor and the vulnerable and the low paid by the Conservatives. As such Ian represents the blinkered and tribalist thinking that has led to the Labour party being an irrelevance in Scotland, and even worse an irrelevance in a UK in which it’s still the official opposition. If Ian wants to understand why his party is staring electoral oblivion in the face, he only needs to look into his own soulless eyes in the mirror. Ian’s advising Scots to vote tactically for the Tories in order to keep the SNP out, and then he’ll blame the SNP for allowing the Tories to get into power.

Upset that people have been taking his comments to mean precisely what he was clearly implying, that Unionists should support Tory candidates in constituencies where the Conservatives are second to the SNP, Ian has tried to clarify by claiming that’s not what he meant at all. Oh no. When he said he supported tactical voting against the SNP he really meant that he supports tactical voting to defeat the SNP in his own constituency, not in anyone else’s. Which means that Ian has just admitted that he’s not merely blinkered and tribalist, he’s also opportunistic and bereft of any principles at all. Although to be fair that’s pretty much the definition of a Blairite or Brownite Labour MP.

Even if the Tories do manage to claw back a few seats from the SNP in June’s election after standing on a manifesto commitment to oppose an independence referendum, it will still be a massive defeat for them. Scotland will still have said in a very loud voice that it rejects the Tories and it rejects their policies, and it rejects their commitment to oppose another independence referendum. They are likely to come out of the other side of this election with a massively increased majority in England and Wales, but they’ll still be defeated in Scotland. The Tories will be stronger in Westminster, but Theresa May’s precious Union will be a whole lot weaker.

There will be another independence referendum within the lifetime of the next Westminster Parliament. June’s vote will be the last UK General Election in Scotland.

If you’d like me and the dug to come and give a talk to your local group, email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com


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frontcovervol3barkingvol2coverSigned copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 2 3 & 4 are available by emailing me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Price just £21.90 for two volumes plus P&P. Please state whether you want vols 1 & 2 or 3 & 4. You can also order signed copies of all four volumes for the special price of £40 plus £4 P&P within the UK.

Copies of Barking Up the Right Tree are available from my publisher Vagabond Voices at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993 price just £7.95 plus P&P. The E-book of Barking Up the Right Tree is available for Kindle for just £4. Click here to purchase.

Get your copy of Barking Up the Right Tree Volume 2 by placing an order on the Vagabond Voices website. Just click the following link.

https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/bookshop-rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2016

We say No to the Tories. And we mean it.

Without the slightest trace of irony, or indeed self awareness, the Tories have unveiled their new slogan. “We said No. We meant it.” Know who else meant it when they said no? Rape victims also meant it when they said no, but they’re still going to have to go into the details of their assault if they want to get child support for a third child. They can’t say no to the Tory intrusion into their trauma. They can’t say no to having a potentially unsympathetic DWP official going over the details of their assault. They can’t say no to identifying that a child is a product of rape.

The Tories have a nerve lecturing anyone on the meaning of the word no. Their gall is breathtaking. Without a shred of self-awareness the party of the rape clause have co-opted a slogan used to raise awareness of the sexual rights of women and to protest against sexual violence against women, and are using it in their tawdry little campaign to prevent the people of Scotland from having the right to say no to Theresa May. It’s revolting on so many levels. They’re taking a slogan used to empower and to give a voice, and are using it to disempower and remove the right to say no. And what’s most nauseating of all is that they probably didn’t even realise the connection, and even if they did they wouldn’t care.

It’s not just the shameless abuse of a slogan used to raise awareness of sexual abuse against women by the party of the rape clause which is offensive, although that’s a whole universe of wrongness all by itself. Their pithy little slogan conveniently brushes under the carpet all the myriad other things that the Tories didn’t mean in order to get that No vote that they did mean. And it’s not a short list. The only thing that means anything at all to the Tories is that they got the result that they wanted. They don’t wish to be held to account for all the many things that they said in order to get that vote and then conveniently went back on. There’s only side in this debate which has gone back on its word, and the Tories are their ground zero.

The Conservatives didn’t really mean it when they said that a No vote was the only way to ensure that the MoD would commission thirteen frigates to be built on the Clyde and keep the shipyards open. They didn’t really mean it when they said that a No vote was the only way to keep the jobs in the tax offices in Cumbernauld and East Kilbride. They didn’t really mean it when they said that a No vote would mean that the permanence of the Scottish Parliament would be enshrined in law. They didn’t really mean it when they said that a No vote was the only way for Scotland to remain a part of the EU. They didn’t really mean it when they said that a No vote would ensure continuing support for Scotland’s renewable energy industry. They certainly didn’t mean it when they said that a No vote would deliver Scotland the most powerful devolved parliament in the world. They didn’t come close to meaning it when they said that Scotland could lead within the UK and would be a valued equal partner in the most perfect family of nations that the world has ever seen.

Theresa May, the Prime Minister whose only notable talent is never giving a direct answer to a simple question that she doesn’t want to answer, didn’t mean it on any of the seven occasions when she did make a clear and explicit commitment and stated that there would be no general election until 2020. The woman who is saying no to allowing Scotland to have a vote on its future because she fears it will go against her is cynically holding a vote on her own future because the polling in England is favourable for her. Theresa May is always accusing all other politicians of playing games. Theresa doesn’t play games, at least not unless she’s made sure that she’ll win them first.

This is the election called by Theresa May so that she can crush all opposition, so that no one can protest, so that no one can resist, the blank cheque that an election victory will give her. Theresa has called this election to ensure that no one can say no to her. When the Tories said that the EU referendum vote was a mandate to restore the sovereignty of the Westminster parliament, they really meant that they were going to give their party leader and Prime Minister the powers of a dictator.

The only thing that Tories have ever meant is that they will lie, cheat and deceive in order to silence any opposition and to enrich themselves and their friends in big business. The only thing that Tories have ever meant is that they will cry foul and unfair at any attempt to hold them to account, to make them suffer the consequences for their lies and their dissembling. Vote Tory, vote to be held in contempt. Vote Tory, vote to be taken for a fool. Vote Tory, vote to surrender your fate into the hands of people who demonise the poor and punish them for the economic problems caused by the rich. Vote Tory, and vote to be a silenced puppet of Theresa May.

Well they’re in for a shock. Scotland will hold them to account. Just as in the Holyrood election last year, in this coming May’s council election, and in June’s general election, Scotland will return a majority of pro-independence representatives and will leave the Tories in distant second place. It’s not that Scotland doesn’t want a referendum. Scotland has never said that it doesn’t want a referendum, but by the ninth of June Scotland will have said three times, loudly and clearly, that we don’t want the Tories. We say No to Theresa. We say No to the rape clause. We say No to Ruth. We say No to being denied our say. We say No to a Brexit that we voted against. We say No to the Tories. And we mean it.

Audio version of this blog post, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wgd2-22nd-april-2017

If you’d like me and the dug to come and give a talk to your local group, email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com


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

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If you’d like to make a donation but don’t wish to use Paypal or have problems using the Paypal button, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for details of alternative methods of donation.


frontcovervol3barkingvol2coverSigned copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 2 3 & 4 are available by emailing me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Price just £21.90 for two volumes plus P&P. Please state whether you want vols 1 & 2 or 3 & 4. You can also order signed copies of all four volumes for the special price of £40 plus £4 P&P within the UK.

Copies of Barking Up the Right Tree are available from my publisher Vagabond Voices at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993 price just £7.95 plus P&P. The E-book of Barking Up the Right Tree is available for Kindle for just £4. Click here to purchase.

Get your copy of Barking Up the Right Tree Volume 2 by placing an order on the Vagabond Voices website. Just click the following link.

https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/bookshop-rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2016

National Yes Registry IndyApp 1.1

We are a non party-political communications platform designed for the use of Scotland’s entire grass-root independence movement. A platform where ideas, equipment, campaign strategies and social events can all be easily co-ordinated and shared across the movement’s community group network. Locally, regionally and nationally.

This link gives a detailed explanation of the National Yes Registry IndyApp concept and a full run through of its practical functions

We currently have 107 participating groups on the IndyApp platform and that number is growing all the time. We have completed our latest version1.1 and the groups are beginning to log in their memberships. So, our urgent task now is to totally complete the IndyApp2.0 and provide each group with their own Local forum. It is this discussion, planning and self-organisational ‘forum’ system that gives the groups their ability to network with one another across the country and take their seat in the ‘national Forum’ as fully autonomous members. Completing the national forum in four months is our new timetable target.

To save time explaining what has already been created, why not watch our latest User Demo and download the new IndyApp version 1.1 for free? You can get networked and judge our progress for yourself…

What I will do in this article is concentrate on some of the newly developed strategic and organisational capabilities already latent within IndyApp version1.1, but which will require completion of the final 2.0 version in order to become practical grass-root reality. This new campaigning potential, as well as the national forum’s ‘group to group’ networking capabilities, make up the ‘meat’ of our new IndyApp 2.0 crowd fund appeal. With #ScotRef just around the corner our target is now to achieve all of this within a reworked delivery timetable of only four months.

Encourage new group formation!

As each user downloads the IndyApp, they register using the first half of their postcode. This allows us to locate each download within a general postcode area, while still ensuring all user addresses remain completely anonymous.

An understanding of user distribution across the country allows us to compare IndyApp download distribution with our local group network, as it develops throughout the ScotRef campaign. This cross referenced geographical information can then be used to encourage new group formation wherever there is the potential local IndyApp support to sustain those new groups. By encouraging mass download of the IndyApp among Yes supporters throughout Scotland, areas of high download without a local group operating can easily be identified. A situation we can then remedy by contacting local activists, arming them with that new information and give support in starting any new local group.

Communicating directly with all yessers!

Combining our user distribution capabilities with the IndyApp’s private messaging function will allow ourselves and our participating groups (through their regional admin system) the ability to keep in contact with all those pro-Indy supporters that download the app but are not yet members of a local group or involved in campaigning. These functions will make it possible to target all yes supporters that download the IndyApp with very specific local Indy campaign messages and friendly encouragement to please come and get involved. An incredible practical advance on IndyRef1 grass-root campaigning!

Magnifying local campaigning power!

These new capabilities alone (never mind the many other communication advances provided by the app) will obviously increase the local reach and community campaigning power of the Independence movement. It will help encourage early participation in campaigning from all those new supporters that want to help win but are unsure of how to get involved at grass-root level. Especially during the heat and organised chaos of the closing stages of IndyRef ‘New’!

A National Convention 

It is also our intention to hold a National Convention of all participating groups, approximately five months from today. At our current rate of growth, in five months we could easily be up to 150+ groups plus general public on the day. This event will be a fantastic face to face grass-root networking opportunity for everybody, as well as a great publicity centrepiece to collectively launch ourselves from. A very public ‘collective statement of intent’ that will mark out Scotland as having the most technically advanced grass-root campaigning network in the world!

Changed political circumstance?

Snap election or not, Holyrood has declared the new Independence Referendum will be held 18-24 months from today. Nothing has changed that fact and helping the grass-roots to win this referendum is our complete focus! So, bearing this in mind, it is now a matter of urgency that the entire IndyApp ‘National Forum’ structure is fully completed, working and downloadable as quickly as possible. We propose achieving this within 3 months of our crowdfund successfully ending (4 months from today).

If you like what we have created so far and want to see the grass-roots equipped with the networking capabilities described in this article then please help us make it possible. This is truly a grass-roots project and therefore you are our only source of funding. It is a simple truth that none of this is possible without your continued generosity and support. So, please visit https://chuffed.org/project/indyapp, read all about our plans and give whatever you can.

Many thanks again for all you for your generous support

Jason Baird

NYR IndyApp

Audio version of this blog post, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wgd-22nd-april-2017

The only realistic choice

This one is easy. For May’s local government elections there’s been all sorts of discussion and the banging of heads off brick walls in an attempt to explain the simplest tactical voting strategy to reduce the number of DTBs who get elected. That’s Durrty Tory Basterts, in case you were wondering that’s the real name of the Conservatives. The relative merits and demerits of ranking the rank smelly party last in a vote until you boke tactic versus not ranking them at all have been debated ad nauseum, or more accurately, ad bokeum. There’s been a lot of disagreement, but we all agree on the basic principle – that we want as few DTBs elected as possible. The disagreement is purely about how best to achieve that.

However Theresa May’s Erdogan election is conducted under the stone age first past the post system, and the best tactical voting strategy to reduce the number of power grabbing Conservative authoritarians is equally primitive. Vote SNP. That’s it. That’s all you need to know. In Scotland, a pro-independence vote for any other party is a wasted vote. It’s that simple. I’ve got a lot of time and sympathy for both the the Greens and the Socialists, and under different circumstances I might even vote for them.

The Greens and the Socialists might stand in some seats, but realistically they have as much chance of getting elected as there is of Ruth Davidson standing up and saying, “You know, I’m going to be consistent and put it on the record that we shouldn’t be having a General Election because the people don’t want one. Less than a third according to a UK wide poll, that’s fewer people than want that independence referendum that I’m always banging on about no one wanting. And I promise never to go near a tank again. Also, I am utterly mortified that Katie Hopkins supports me. Totally affronted. It’s even more embarrassing than when someone lets Murdo go on one of his rampages on Twitter.”

In June’s General Election we have one priority, and that’s to reduce the number of Tories to the minimum. Ideally to zero. The way to do that is to vote SNP. There are other elections in which voting Green or Socialist can make a difference, this isn’t one of them. It is vital in this election that the pro-independence representation is as high as possible, that can only be achieved with an SNP vote. Voting for anyone else splits the pro-independence vote and at best achieves nothing, at worst it allows a Unionist through the middle.

Labour voters have to decide where their priorities lie. Their party has no chance of getting elected. Theresa May called this election in the first place because Labour is so weak. Labour voters in Scotland need to ask themselves whether they want to split the anti-Conservative vote and allow a DTB to slip through the middle, or to lend a vote to the SNP. Let’s be honest, the Union that Labour stands for is dead. The Britain of the welfare state, of public services, of nationalised industries, it’s never coming back, and Britain is facing decades of a hard right Conservative government that will strip us all of employment and human rights in a way that not even Thatcher would have dared. The Tories aren’t hauling us out of the European Union in order to create a utopia of workers’ and civil rights. This isn’t an election about what Labour has achieved in the past, this is a vote about the future, and a Tory future is bleak, barren and filled with the sobs of the hungry and homeless and there’s nothing Labour can do to stop it. The harsh truth is that for Labour’s pensioner vote, the chances are that they won’t see a Labour government in Westminster again. A Labour vote is a vote for hopelessness, for uselessness, for weeping in the graveyard while your children’s hopes are buried. The Tories are destroying Britain with a tiny majority, it’s terrifying to think what havoc they will wreak when they’re returned to power with a large one. Every Labour vote in Scotland makes that more likely.

What’s more important? Tribalism or defeating the evil of Theresa May’s inhumane and cruel government? Sadly for some, tribalism will win. The sparkling wit and raconteur Iain Gray, at least when compared to James Kelly, along with Anas Sarwar, have spent the day on Twitter accusing the SNP of not wanting to get rid of the Tories because they abstained in yesterday’s vote. Labour, on the other hand, trooped obediently into the same division lobby as the Conservatives and voted to back a Conservative motion. If their party had the slightest bit of sense they’d have refused to back the motion too, then the only way Theresa May could have got her vanity election would have been to put forward a humiliating motion of no-confidence in her own government. She’d still have got her election, but Labour could have made it difficult for her. They were too afraid of negative headlines in the Tory press, because Jeremy Corbyn’s party never comes in for negative headlines otherwise does it. Oh wait…

Instead, Labour made it easy for her, and allowed her to look as though she was in total control. But in the tribal world of Ian and Anas, it’s the SNP who are to blame. It’s all the more pathetic because everyone and their granny knows that in this General Election, Labour is going to get gubbed. That’s the sole reason for Theresa holding it in the first place, and Labour went along with it. That’s Labour for you, the party of soft boiled eggs that votes for spoons.

But even worse than Iain and Anas is tribalist extraordinaire is Ian Murray, Labour’s sole remaining MP in Scotland, at least for now. He’s made a call for Labour supporters to vote tactically for Tories in order to keep the SNP out. He’d rather increase Theresa May’s majority and condemn us all to the bleakest of Brexits under a Prime Minister who is even more authoritarian than Margaret Thatcher than see any support for a party which seeks to give the people of Scotland a vote on their constitutional future. That’s truly shameful, as shameful as Ruth Davidson’s support for the rape clause. A Labour MP, who presumably knows the evil effects of Tory policies on the poor, the vulnerable, and the low paid, and yet he’d still prefer to see a Conservative government than concede that the people of Scotland should have the right to decide for themselves what the place of Scotland within the UK and the EU should be. It would be beautifully karmic if Ian’s call for people to vote Tory tactically backfired on him and allowed the SNP to take his seat.

If you choose a better Scotland, a Scotland where hope flourishes, where the future is to be embraced not feared, where we tell Theresa where to go instead of her dictating to us, an SNP vote is the only realistic choice.

Audio version of this blog post, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-20th-april-2017

If you’d like me and the dug to come and give a talk to your local group, email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com


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

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If you’d like to make a donation but don’t wish to use Paypal or have problems using the Paypal button, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for details of alternative methods of donation.


frontcovervol3barkingvol2coverSigned copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 2 3 & 4 are available by emailing me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Price just £21.90 for two volumes plus P&P. Please state whether you want vols 1 & 2 or 3 & 4. You can also order signed copies of all four volumes for the special price of £40 plus £4 P&P within the UK.

Copies of Barking Up the Right Tree are available from my publisher Vagabond Voices at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993 price just £7.95 plus P&P. The E-book of Barking Up the Right Tree is available for Kindle for just £4. Click here to purchase.

Get your copy of Barking Up the Right Tree Volume 2 by placing an order on the Vagabond Voices website. Just click the following link.

https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/bookshop-rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2016

Theresa May’s Erdoğan election

Despite saying just a few weeks ago that she had no intention of calling a snap General Election, Theresa May has now done just that. Now is the time after all. The Brexit negotiations are being put on hold because we’re facing a snap General Election, which is not unrelated to the fact that the Tories are crushing all opposition in opinion polling in England. This vote is really about securing Theresa May’s position within the Conservative party, and annihilating the Remainers on the Tory benches. It’s got the convenient side effect of killing off the issue of Tory election fraud which had the potential to bring down the government.

For May, this is her Erdoğan election, the vote to destroy all opposition, the vote to give her absolute power, unchallenged and unconstrained. It’s a vote to give May her Henry VIII powers and to rule by decree. Theresa May wants to achieve unity by silencing everyone who opposes her. And Scotland is a part of that opposition. Theresa May intends to crush Scotland by achieving a massive majority in England. That’s how the Union works. May thinks that consensus is achieved by silencing and sidelining those who disagree.

If she was thinking about the future of the UK as a union, May has made a fundamental miscalculation. This General Election is likely to be the last UK General Election in Scotland. May’s unity election will spell the end of the Union. It will show that Scotland and the rest of the UK are heading in different directions, rUK back towards a nostalgic Empire 2.0, Scotland towards a future as a social democratic northern European nation. This is the election in which Scotland can break the chains. This will be the election which conclusively demonstrates that Scotland and England are on different political paths. The Union can only function as long as Scotland and England vote broadly the same way, and that’s what they did from the introduction of the universal franchise and throughout the 20th century. Those days are over. Politically Scotland and England are very different creatures. They want different things. They have different expectations. This can only end one way, with the end of the UK as a Union. Either Scotland becomes an independent nation, or it ceases to exist as a nation.

A Tory-free Scotland is within our grasp. Less than 800 votes stand between the SNP and David Mundell’s last bastion of Tory rule in Scotland, and despite the constant reports in the Unionist media that we’re past peak SNP, the SNP continues to ride high in the polls. The Tories have not recovered in Scotland, they’ve benefited from the collapse of Labour and are attracting Labour’s die-hard Unionists. But those voters are a minority, and positioning itself as the Union come what May party puts a ceiling on Conservative support in Scotland. It’s a position which in the longer term undermines and weakens the Union it claims to defend, because it associates that Union in the minds of voters with the hardline right wing policies of the Conservatives. It makes the choice starker, a choice between Theresa May’s hard right cruelties, or a social democratic Scotland that can only exist with independence.

Given the polling it is entirely likely that the Conservatives will achieve a large majority in England. Given that same polling it is even more likely that the SNP will achieve a massive majority in Scotland. The SNP will most certainly stand on a commitment to give the people of Scotland a vote on their future within the UK. Even if the SNP does lose a couple of seats, the party will still end up with a massive majority of Scottish seats, and those MPs will be elected with a clear and unarguable mandate for a second independence referendum. That’s how democracy works. A majority is a majority.

Despite the seeming insistence of the Unionist media that the SNP needs to increase the numbers of seats it holds, it means nothing at all even if the Unionist parties do manage to claw back a couple of seats. Barring something catastrophic, it remains a certainty that the SNP will be returned with a massive majority of Scottish seats, and a vote share that’s pushing 50%. Even though May is likely to end up with a huge majority in Westminster, she’ll certainly do so with a lower share of the vote than the SNP attain in Scotland. If this election gives May her mandate for a hard Brexit, it will also give the SNP a mandate for a second independence referendum. By calling this election now May has undermined one of her own arguments against a second Scottish independence referendum. She will no longer be able to argue that Scotland doesn’t want it. Now is the time after all.

As an aside, May has made the position of Ruth Davidson untenable – but then Ruth was always quite happy with sudden U-turns. If she had any consistency at all, she’d oppose holding a General Election now because it’s terribly divisive. But the only real consistency in Ruth’s politics is acting as an enthusiastic cheerleader for whatever her bosses tell her. In this election she’ll have to defend the cruel and heartless policies of a government that penalises the poor and the vulnerable. She’ll have to defend the rape clause and the removal of housing benefit from young people leaving them exposed to sex for rent predators.

Labour have nothing to offer. They’re facing a defeat in this election even worse than the defeat they suffered in 1983 which locked in Tory rule for another 15 years. They’ve lost all credibility. They had a chance back in 2016 in the aftermath of the Brexit vote when the Tories were rudderless and leaderless, without a plan and without a clue, yet instead of pressing their advantage to secure a soft Brexit, Labour’s parliamentary suicide squad decided that was the ideal time to mount a coup attempt against Jeremy Corbyn. It was a gross betrayal. Labour yet again put the parliamentary party before the country. And now they go into this General Election discredited, divided, and debilitated. The Tories are going to destroy them in England, and those who will suffer from the hubris of Labour MPs will be the poor, the disabled, and the low paid.

Scotland needs to make a choice about what sort of country we want to be. Vote Tory and rubber stamp May’s hard Brexit which will turn the UK into a tax haven for the rich with low wages and no social protection for the rest of us, or vote SNP and the chance to create a better country that looks after all its citizens. Now is the time.

Audio version of this blog post, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-18th-april-2017

If you’d like me and the dug to come and give a talk to your local group, email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com


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

Donate Button

If you’d like to make a donation but don’t wish to use Paypal or have problems using the Paypal button, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for details of alternative methods of donation.


frontcovervol3barkingvol2coverSigned copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 2 3 & 4 are available by emailing me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Price just £21.90 for two volumes plus P&P. Please state whether you want vols 1 & 2 or 3 & 4. You can also order signed copies of all four volumes for the special price of £40 plus £4 P&P within the UK.

Copies of Barking Up the Right Tree are available from my publisher Vagabond Voices at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993 price just £7.95 plus P&P. The E-book of Barking Up the Right Tree is available for Kindle for just £4. Click here to purchase.

Get your copy of Barking Up the Right Tree Volume 2 by placing an order on the Vagabond Voices website. Just click the following link.

https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/bookshop-rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2016

Starting with a single ripple

Well we’re still here, for now. You can never be entirely certain that there will still be a morning to wake up to when the fate of the world is in the hands of two man-children for whom the unthinkable of nuclear warfare is perfectly thinkable. When you do wake up you feel around to make sure that everything is still in one piece and your street hasn’t been turned into a post-apocalyptic wasteland, at least insofar as it’s possible to tell the difference between a post-apocalyptic wasteland and the East End of Glasgow when there’s a Tory government in Westminster. Then you turn on the telly news to check the progress of Trump and Kim’s nuclear dance to see if the children with lethal toys have put a stop to the steps of a billion lives.

Those of us old enough to remember the Cold War have been here before. The protests. The marches. The raging impotently against the world destroying power of those who can make your fate fall through their fingers like the dust that will be all that’s left after they’ve launched the destroyers of worlds. The difference is that back then the madmen who created the MAD doctrine knew what Mutually Assured Destruction meant, that it meant that nukes were weapons that could never be used as they’d destroy the very civilisation that they were supposed to protect. Now we’re in the hands of petulant children for whom nukes are just bigger bangs in a big banging contest. Children who don’t realise that using their toys will make the road in Cormac McCarthy’s novel seem like Sesame Street.

For many of us in this campaign to liberate Scotland from the grip of Westminster, it started with the revulsion that nuclear weapons with enough fire power to evaporate much of the globe were based just a few miles from Scotland’s largest city. It started with the realisation that to the power hungry of Westminster, Scotland is first and foremost a place to park the nuclear viagra of an impotent former superpower. Even more than the oil, even more than draining us of our children and using us as a reservoir of labour, Scotland’s place in the Union is to host the evil of mass death. For many of us, the campaign for Scotland independence is based on ridding Scotland of this evil, because if we accept it then we become complicit in it. Silence equals agreement.

Scotland’s just a small country. We can’t prevent a nuclear war. We can’t stop the USA and North Korea from setting fire to eastern Asia. But we can stop our own country from being a part of the madness. We can say that we don’t want Scotland to be a party to the nuclear dick waving. It’s not even as if the UK’s nuclear deterrent is independent. The USA supplies the warheads. The USA supplies the targetting. They’re simply an adjunct to American nukes which exist purely in order to justify the place that the UK takes on the UN Security Council. That’s a place that’s taken on Scotland’s back. It’s because of those dirty nukes on the Clyde that the UK fights dirty to keep Scotland within its grasp.

The truth is that those who say that they are renewing Trident because they are in favour of multilateral disarmament are, at best, lying to themselves. You don’t rid the world of nuclear weapons by commissioning more. You don’t make the world a safer place by buying bombs that make a bigger bang. You disarm by getting rid of bombs. It’s clear that Scottish opinion means nothing to Westminster, we’ve learned that lesson well, so the only way to rid our country of someone else’s bombs is to take control of our country for ourselves. Independence is the only route to Scottish nuclear disarmament. Westminster will never disarm, its multilateralism is just an excuse for it to pass its own moral obligations on to others. Saying that you will only do a good thing if someone else does it too does not make you a good person. It makes you a hypocrite.

Listen to the cant from some, especially in Labour, and you’d think that Trident was a job creation scheme. Jackie Baillie acts as though the entire purpose of Trident was to keep a medium sized Tesco Express open in the greater Helensburgh area. When you’ve got politicians who seriously try to argue that spending billions on bombs that can blow up the planet is a good thing because it can create a couple of hundred jobs, you’ve already descended into insanity. A weapon of mass destruction is not a job creation scheme. You don’t justify a great evil by claiming it does a small good. Trident is an obscenity no matter how many jobs it creates – and it creates damn few. It’s an expensive obscenity at that. We could create far more jobs by spending the money that Trident costs directly on job creation. We could make Scotland a safer and saner place in the process.

We’re back in the 60s when the world held its breath as giants like Kennedy and Khrushchev went toe to toe over Cuba, only this time the only things that are giant are the egos of small men. We’re back to being a small former Empire clinging on to past greathoods, perched on the edge of a Europe that we’re not a part of. We’re back to holding our breath in the realisation of the fragility of life, of civilisation, of all the progress that was so hard won by our grandparents and parents, and we go to bed in the dark of night not knowing if there will be a tomorrow.

The only way to change the world is to change that small part of it within your own reach and power. We can change ourselves and say that we will not be silent. We can change Scotland, and say that it will not be silent. We can say that Scotland will no longer be a host for the ambitious egos of the powerful and greedy. We can say that Scotland is committed to disarmament, and we can practise what we preach. We can make a small difference, knowing that large differences are made up of thousands of small ones, that a change in the course of a mighty river starts with a single ripple.

A voice singing alone is crying into the night, five million voices make a chorus that ripples through the world. The moral case for Scottish independence has never been stronger.

Audio version of this blog post, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-17th-april-2017

If you’d like me and the dug to come and give a talk to your local group, email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com


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

Donate Button

If you’d like to make a donation but don’t wish to use Paypal or have problems using the Paypal button, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for details of alternative methods of donation.


frontcovervol3barkingvol2coverSigned copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 2 3 & 4 are available by emailing me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Price just £21.90 for two volumes plus P&P. Please state whether you want vols 1 & 2 or 3 & 4. You can also order signed copies of all four volumes for the special price of £40 plus £4 P&P within the UK.

Copies of Barking Up the Right Tree are available from my publisher Vagabond Voices at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993 price just £7.95 plus P&P. The E-book of Barking Up the Right Tree is available for Kindle for just £4. Click here to purchase.

Get your copy of Barking Up the Right Tree Volume 2 by placing an order on the Vagabond Voices website. Just click the following link.

https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/bookshop-rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2016

An Easter homily

I’ve never been a Christian with a big C, but my mother tells me that I’m a christian with a small c. She means it as a compliment and I take it as such. She’s a Christian, a good Catholic, and she doesn’t wear her religion on her sleeve and cite it as proof that she’s a good person. She’s just a good person. She puts into practice what she believes in. She tries to be compassionate. She strives for understanding. She aims for empathy. Those are the things that her faith teaches her, and those are the lessons she tries to live throughout her life. For her, that’s what being a Christian, and a christian, means. I might not believe in God or gods, but that’s something worthy of respect.

It’s Easter weekend, the most holy time in the Christian calendar. I was brought up a Catholic but much to the distress of my parents the teachings of the church never penetrated. I decided at the age of 10 that God was just Santa Claus for grown ups, then spent the rest of my teenage years rebelling against Catholicism because in the 1970s that was a lot safer than rebelling against a western Scottish and working class expectation of heterosexuality. In Coatbridge in the mid 70s I’d make a point of eating a bridie on Good Friday, as I suffered from the naive delusion that a bridie contained meat. I told the priest at school that I was an atheist, mainly just to annoy him, truth be told. And then when he took me to one side and asked if I was having problems with my faith, I’d angrily reply that my faith was just fine, it was his faith that was causing me the grief. Then just shy of my 16th birthday there was the mother of all arguments when I told my parents that I wasn’t going to go to Mass anymore. It was an even bigger fight than the I’m gay fight some years later.

Along with my siblings I got dragged along to Mass every Sunday and to Confession whenever our mother realised that we hadn’t been for a while. Confession followed a familiar ritual. Bless me father for I have sinned, it’s been six weeks since my last Confession. I always said six weeks because it was invariably much longer, but figured that six weeks was long enough that the priest wouldn’t remember me, but not so long that I’d get hassle for not having been for ages. And then I repeated a wee list of generic childish sins. I fight with my brother and sisters. I’m disobedient. I swear. And then I’d end the recitation with “And I tell lies”, so I was covered for all of the above. The priest would then do whatever it was that he did, I was no longer paying attention by this point, he’d tell me what my penance was, then I’d go out and lie to my mother and say it was two Hail Marys and an Our Father, because I was buggered if I was going to sit there and recite ten decades of the rosary.

The last time I went to confession however, when I was fourteen years old, the priest didn’t follow the script. After my wee list of regular sins he said, “Tell me my son, do you play with yourself.” My jaw dropped. I was speechless. I knew exactly what he meant and was horrified he’d asked the question. It took all the effort I could summon to prevent myself from yelling out, “None of your damned business you dirty pervert.” So I played dumb. “Eh … I play by myself. Is that what you mean?” Clearly realising that he was dealing with a particularly obtuse child, the pervy priest tried again, “Tell me, do you have impure thoughts about women?” As loudly and as firmly as I dared, I replied in a tone which meant that this conversation was definitely over, “NO!” And that was the only time I ever told the truth in the confessional. Wild horses could not drag me back after that.

I’ve since learned that this particular priest was abusing the privilege of the confessional. Priests are taught not to go fishing for sins. Contrition is only meaningful if the penitent willingly offers up the knowledge of past misdeeds, that’s what confession means. But I didn’t know that when I was a kid. I never told anyone, not until many years later. The last thing a teenage boy wants to do is to talk about his masturbation habits with his parents or the adults in his life. So I never said anything, and now I’m left wondering how many other kids this priest perved on. Kids who weren’t strong enough to stand up and say no. Kids who told him what he wanted to hear so he could get his rocks off while he abused his power and abused the trust of a child. That priest was a Christian with a big C, but his actions were not those of a Christian with either a big C or a small one.

So I’ve always been suspicious of those who wear their religion on their sleeves, who cite it as proof of their goodness. If you’re a Christian, you shouldn’t need to tell people. Because if others see that your actions are christian in my mother’s sense of the word, that you’re a good human being who understands the importance of compassion, of humanity, of empathy, and the centrality of love, then the discovery that you are a believer means they will know that you are a good Christian. The proof of the Easter pudding is in the eating.

The most prominent self-declared Christian politicians today are Ruth Davidson and Theresa May, both of whom are characterised by a lack of christianity in their deeds. I may not be a Christian, but I know that Jesus didn’t teach us to take away the mobility cars of the disabled, to force people with degenerative conditions to prove repeatedly that they are still ill in order to continue to receive support, or to make women who’ve been raped prove that they’ve been raped before they’ll get the money that they need to feed their kids. Compassion means you put the needs of the weak and the vulnerable before the needs of the strong and the rich.

Ruth and Theresa put the need of the rich to receive even more of their wealth in tax breaks than they already do before the need of the poor to live a life that’s dignified. Don’t know about you, but that strikes me as pretty damned satanic.  They’re self-declared Christians with a big C, but there’s nothing about their political deeds that’s christian with a small one.

So this Easter let’s reflect on the gap between the words and the deeds of our political leaders who lay claim to Christian beliefs. The lesson to take is to beware those who feel the need to display their faith like an advertising hoarding. It’s actions, not words, which count, and their actions are the opposite of all the things that their faith claims to stand for and to have taught them. The real religion of Theresa May and Ruth Davidson is hypocrisy, greed, and a materialistic selfishness. They’re the Pharisees that their Jesus decried, and their actions of the past few weeks have exposed the truth. Ruth’s days of pretending to be the cheery caring face of a modern Conservatism are over.

Thus endeth the lesson.

Audio version of this blog post, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-15th-april-2017

If you’d like me and the dug to come and give a talk to your local group, email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com


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

Donate Button

If you’d like to make a donation but don’t wish to use Paypal or have problems using the Paypal button, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for details of alternative methods of donation.


frontcovervol3barkingvol2coverSigned copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 2 3 & 4 are available by emailing me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Price just £21.90 for two volumes plus P&P. Please state whether you want vols 1 & 2 or 3 & 4. You can also order signed copies of all four volumes for the special price of £40 plus £4 P&P within the UK.

Copies of Barking Up the Right Tree are available from my publisher Vagabond Voices at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993 price just £7.95 plus P&P. The E-book of Barking Up the Right Tree is available for Kindle for just £4. Click here to purchase.

Get your copy of Barking Up the Right Tree Volume 2 by placing an order on the Vagabond Voices website. Just click the following link.

https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/bookshop-rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2016