The not so magnificent seven


Well it finally happened. There have been rumours of impending splits for weeks, the only uncertainty was whether it was Labour or the Conservatives which would break first. Now we know, Labour broke itself. In the UK we don’t have a political system, we have an ego massage for no marks who lack even the so bad they’re good talent needed to appear as let’s all have a laff at them candidates in the initial stages of the X Factor or the good looks and expensive teeth required to appear as extras in Hollyoaks. Politics is broken, said the new Independent Group, and so is their website. It’s not incompetence, it’s a metaphor.

For the rest of us, today’s events are confirmation that not even the Labour party thinks that the Labour party can save us from a Tory Brexit. Seven Blairite MPs have flounced off from the Labour party in order to perform a tribute act to the unlamented 1980s one hit wonders the SDP. They will succeed in precisely bugger all, except to make Labour even less electable than it already was. Although you can bet your rapidly depreciating pound coin that they’ll get considerably more favourable media coverage than the entire Scottish Government and SNP combined. Next week’s BBC Question Time will feature one of them fielding a question from a flute band member in the audience about how Scottish independence is even worse than Brexit.

According to a report in the New Statesman, the rebel Labour MPs considered asking Ruth Davidson to head their new movement. Which can only mean that they are as clueless about the true nature of the intensely careerist Ruth, as they are about Scottish politics in general. Either that or they were hoping for some of her dark money and burly men. If they do decide to stand in Scotland they’ll have to change their name to the The Independent But Not For Scotland Group, either that or they’re going to be a Scottish Independent Group that is anything but independent. So not really that different from the Labour party in Scotland after all then.

Surprise surprise, the not remotely magnificent seven spent most of their press conference slagging off the rest of the Labour party, and not attacking the Tories, that hate group which is actually the root cause of the Brexit problems which are screwing over the UK in the first place. On they trotted, each of them laying out their issues with Labour, every one of them greeted with “Who’s that?” from the assembled audience, followed by “Didn’t she once represent a sofa on Gogglebox?” Whoever was caught by the BBC microphone greeting the announcement with an “It’s mad. Between this and Brexit we’re absolutely fucked,” had it spot on.

The Independent Group isn’t social, it’s not democratic, and it’s not a party, but apart from that it’s exactly like the SDP. When the Gang of Four broke away from Labour in the 1980s in protest against Michael Foot daring to take a party that was supposed to be socialist in a vaguely left wing direction, the flouncers were at least big beasts within the party. All of them had been cabinet ministers in previous Labour governments and two of them had held one of the great offices of state. David Owen was a former Foreign Secretary, Roy Jenkins had previously served as Home Secretary. The others were almost as illustrious, Shirley Williams had been Education Secretary, and Bill Rodgers had served as Defence Secretary and Secretary of State for Transport. Yet even though any one of them possessed greater political experience and ability than today’s sorrowful seven combined, they still failed to make any serious electoral impact with their new party and only succeeded in splitting the opposition and ensuring a decade and a half of Conservative rule.

There are, it has to be said, serious issues with Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour party. He is the mirror image of Theresa May, incapable of reaching out beyond his own support base, narrowly tribalist, and ideologically inflexible. He came to power promising to be different, that he’d listen to the membership and prioritise what ordinary Labour members wanted. Once in power he’s done the opposite. He’s turned into exactly the kind of Labour leader that he himself serially rebelled against, and he is doing his utmost to ensure that Brexit happens. He just wants the Conservatives to take the blame for it and then hopes that he can coast to power in the ensuing chaos. It’s a breathtakingly cynical form of politics from a man who promised honesty and moral fibre.

Yet today’s split is self-serving and will ultimately prove futile. It pretty much guarantees that if the Conservative party can hold itself together, that it will remain in power for the foreseeable future even though it is the most incompetent, inept, clueless, and randomly vindictive government that the UK has ever seen. None of the splitters has the slightest intention of submitting themselves to the electorate even though they claim to have split on the question of allowing the electorate to have its say. The kindest thing you can say about The Independent Group is that it’s all an elaborate exercise in trolling the Corbynite wing of the Labour party, who are now demanding that if you’re not giving the voters what they thought they were getting then you need to resign and allow the electorate to vote on it, and thereby logically force them into supporting a second referendum. If that’s the tactic, it’s doomed already.

For Scotland this is merely more confirmation, if yet more confirmation was needed, that British politics are irredeemably knackered. It’s more knackered than a nag that’s already been boiled down for glue, but with less ability to make anything stick. The Labour party isn’t going to save Scotland from Brexit, because the Labour party can’t even save itself. If we want to avoid a repeat of the 1980s and the long dark night of Tory rule with no apparent end, we need to save ourselves. Today, the Labour party gave us seven more reasons for Scottish independence.


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GINGER2cropped

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

A journey through “Yr Hen Ogledd”, old loyalties and new horizons

A guest post by Aled Gwyn Jôb

In just under a month’s time, thousands of Welsh rugby fans will be making the journey up north to Edinburgh to follow the national team.

The “Scottish Trip” has always been THE rugby trip for Welsh fans based on the great rapport and kinship that exists between them and their Scottish hosts.

“Yr Hen Ogledd” part of the appeal of the journey

Scotland also has a very warm place in Welsh hearts because of “Yr Hen Ogledd”- that part of southern Scotland which once featured 7 Bryttonic Kingdoms, whose inhabitants all spoke an early form of modern Welsh- Rheged, Elmet, Galwyddel, Aeron, Bryneich, Gododdin and Ystrad Clyd. Indeed two of the earliest Welsh poets, who produced some of the most dramatic poetry in the nation’s long history, Aneurin and Taliesin, were both based in Yr Hen Ogledd.

On their way up to Caeredin (Edinburgh) in March, Welsh fans will be passing through two of the most extensive of these old kingdoms, Rheged and Ystrad Clyd (modern day Strathclyde)- the last of the seven to fall in the late 11th century, with these areas equating to modern day Lanarkshire, Stirlingshire, Ayrshire, Argyll and Dumfries and Galloway as well as Cumbria and the Western Pennines in England.

The journey is always a vivid reminder of the reach that Welsh once had on these islands, the longevity and durability of the language and the cultural heritage that we share with a large part of modern Scotland.

A new story to share on this year’s road trip

But, on this year’s road trip, we’ve also got a new story to share with our Scottish friends. A story about how Scotland’s drive for independence has inspired our own national ambitions here in Cymru. The resounding success of YES Scotland presenting the case for independence on  grass-roots level over the past few years has now been emulated here in in Wales with over 50 YES Cymru groups in existence throughout the nation, with the vast majority of these based on a community level, thus tapping in to the identification with the local which is still such a feature of Welsh life today.

We’ve also got a brand new pro-independence party to talk about in the form of Ein GWLAD (our nation). This party is the first ever syncretic/hybrid party to be set up in Wales or the rest of these isles for that matter.

Pragmatism and practical policies in place of ideology

In making the case that ideology, either on the left or the right can often be a hindrance as far as pragmatic and common sense policies are concerned, the party is willing to consider ideas from across the political spectrum as long as those ideas will benefit Cymru and her people.

Ein GWLAD are also breaking new ground with their own dedicated News Portal, which produces news stories and opinion pieces about Wales and Welsh political life on a daily basis: http://www.eingwlad.wales/NewsPortal. This is the first news portal of its type ever to be produced by a political party on these isles, and it is already garnering a significant amount of traffic and interest in the party’s message.

Manifesto drawn up after consultation with members and supporters

The scale of Ein GWLAD’s ambitions can be seen in the fact that the party is launching its manifesto for the 2021 Welsh Election a few days before the Scottish trip, two years before the actual election- a manifesto which has been drawn up on-line following consultations with party members and supporters.

And that’s not the end of it either as far as new political developments in Wales are concerned. Last week, a new socialist grouping calling for Independence for Wales was formed here. UNDOD (Unity) hope to put the case that any future independence for Wales needs to be predicated on socialist answers to the nation’s deep and longstanding social and economic problems.

This grouping will also no doubt come up with some interesting and innovative suggestions to develop Wales for the future, and add to the fast growing and flowering of democratic debate that we are at last starting to see here.

New entities show the genuine need for change

The emergence of UNDOD also puts paid to the suspicion aired in some quarters that the formation of Ein GWLAD was just a case of unthinking frustration amongst some disgruntled Plaid supporters, destined to go nowhere. Rather, it shows that there is a genuine call for change in Wales from all directions – beyond what the establishment parties in Cardiff Bay can deliver. YES Cymru, Ein GWLAD and UNDOD  can all play their part in delivering this change.

Scotland- you are not on your own any more in your bid for independence!

A book outlining the process of forming Ein GWLAD, over a year between the autumn of 2017 and late summer 2018 has just been published. “Gwlad!, Gwlad? – An Invitation To A Party” by Aled Gwyn Job is published by i2i Publications for £9.99 and is available in book shops and on-line

The alarm clock is ringing

alarmclock

The weekend was marked by the idiocies of Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary who decided to commission a ferry service from a company which had less experience in ferries than a pizza delivery guy who occasionally goes to Rothesay on holiday. You might think that this represented peak stupid from the Tories, and that’s a hard thing to achieve considering the competition.

We have Chris, and we have Andrea Leadsom, whose sole contribution to politics has been to allow us all to ponder the philosophical question of whether it’s sexist to point out that a deeply stupid woman is in fact stupid. We have the Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley who didn’t realise that sectarianism is a thing in Northern Ireland. We have Dominic Raab and his belated realisation that Britain is an island. And then along comes Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson saying haud ma coat. That slapping sound you hear is millions of faces palming.

Gavin, who always wanted to be Defence Secretary because when he was a boy he demonstrated his military prowess by pulling the wings off flies for fun, has announced that all is well in Brexitland. Leaving the EU, he affirmed, will “enhance the UK’s lethality”. And this is true. After Brexit the UK will be a lot more lethal if you’re dependent on benefits, you’re disabled, or you have a chronic health condition. Conservatives have always been considerably more successful at killing off British citizens than they have been at terminating terrorists. Although if you’re a Tory then you do consider poor people to be enemies of the state, so by that token they’re a huge success.

Gavin’s macho pose would be somewhat more convincing if he didn’t bear a startling resemblance to Frank Spencer of the 1970s sitcom Some Mother Do ‘Ave ‘Em. Like Frank, Gavin is best known for his hapless incompetence, his self belief, and his high pitched squeaky voice. All we need is for the Defence Secretary to turn up for his next big announcement about how Great Britain, and by extension Gavin, is on roller skates and being towed by a Routemaster bus. And there’s a reference that millenials won’t get. The roller skating behind a bus would at least have the merit of being worth watching, which is a quality that Gavin has always sadly lacked.

His pose would be more convincing still if the Conservatives hadn’t run down the armed services in the same way that they’ve run down all other public services and the defence budget wasn’t £7 billion short of where it needs to be in order to fulfil the Ministry of Defence’s 10 year equipment plan. Although perhaps when Gavin spoke about unleashing swarms of drones he was referring to Conservative MPs. They are also, on all the available evidence, unthinking and robotic. There’s certainly little evidence of joined up thinking from Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives™, unless you count confusing men’s groins with items of furniture. Allegedly.

“We should be the nation that people turn to when the world needs leadership,” said Gavin. With a straight face. This UK. The one that’s currently shooting itself in the foot and the face and is the laughing stock of Europe – and the only reason it’s not the laughing stock of the entire world is because of Donald Trump. Sure, people around the globe will look to the UK for leadership when they want to know how to turn a successful democracy into a low rent tax haven with bad weather and food. They’ll look to the UK for lessons in maintaining the veneer of democracy while stripping it of meaningful content. But most of all, they’ll look to the UK when they want to understand how it is that people of the calibre of Gavin can get to the highest levels of government. If nothing else, he’s an inspirational role model for delusional idiots.

This is, let us not forget, the Defence Secretary whose strategy for dealing with Russia consisted of telling Putin to go away. Whenever I look at Gavin I can’t help but think of the nasty wee placeholder who gets killed off first in a low rent thriller movie.

Now he wants to send an aircraft carrier that won’t be operational for another two years and which doesn’t have any planes off to the South China Sea where it has no business being, so it can be a sitting target for the Chinese. And this at a time when it’s vital for the UK to make trade deals so that it retains some semblance of a functioning economy after Brexit. The only positive thing that you can say about Gavin’s leadership of the Ministry of Defence is that the man is a weapon.

Gavin’s embarrassing jingoistic willy waving muppetry is however, precisely what Brexit is all about. It’s harking back to the days when Britannia ruled the waves and could waive the rules with impugnity. It’s the fantasy of little boys who lost themselves in Commando comics and dreamt about getting one over the Bosch. We have a Defence Secretary who has wet dreams about gunboat diplomacy. We have a Trade Secretary who said he’d bestride the world making favourable trade deals, but who’s only ever managed to trade on his favours in the Conservative party. We have a Prime Minister who says she’s listening but who only ever listens to herself.

Brexit was always an exercise in fantasy and wishful thinking. It’s a dream of a Britain that never was, refracted through the misty eyed myth making of years of fetishising WW2. In 2014 supporters of Scottish independence were accused by British nationalists of basing their politics in romance and daydreams, of seeking a country that never was. But now we see that it’s Scottish independence which is based in a hard nosed reality, while British nationalism loses itself in the dreamscape of Brexit. Their dreams are dangerous. They’re going to sleepwalk us off a cliff and into a nightmare where the British state will prove its lethality by depriving the poor, the weak, the disabled, and the marginalised of the means of a dignified living. It will prove its lethality by stripping the NHS to the bones and privatising what’s left. It will prove its lethality by getting rid of employment rights and consumer protections.

It might be too late for Britain to wake up from its Brexit nightmare. It’s not too late for Scotland. The independence campaign is the alarm clock ringing to wake Scotland up to reality.


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

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

BBC Question Time’s definition of balance

questiontimeI wasn’t planning to write a blog piece today, because Friday is the day that the Dugcast is released, but the farce that is BBC Question Time cannot pass unremarked. The programme is, frankly, a disgrace. BBC management were aware that the programme was tired and past its glory days, and so we got a shiny new presenter in the shape of Fiona Bruce. However that’s like replacing your curtains and touching up some paintwork when your house is structurally unsound, its roof is half off, its walls are falling down, and it’s built on top of a mineshaft that’s collapsing. Question Time is past saving, and Thursday’s atrocity of an episode from Motherwell proved it.

You would never know from watching BBC Question Time that this is a country where the SNP has more MSPs and MPs than Labour and the Conservatives combined. You’d never know that opinion polls in Scotland strongly suggest that in the event of a snap General Election the SNP would gain seats. And you’d certainly never know that half the population of Scotland supports independence and 59% of the people of Scotland think independence would be better than a no-deal Brexit. I was brought up in North Lanarkshire. But thanks to BBC Question Time I now know that the area is a hotbed of support for the Conservatives and Brexit.

There is absolutely no point in taking a debate programme to different towns and cities across the UK if the audience is not representative of the local population. It becomes nothing more than lip service paid by the metrocentric BBC to regional and national diversity within this so-called union. If the audience were truly representative of the population of the area from which the show is broadcast then you would expect strongly Tory audiences in the leafy English shires. You’d expect a Labour leaning audience in the towns of northern England or South Wales or the inner cities. And you’d expect that in Scotland around half the audience would support independence. In fact you’d expect a majority to support independence in places like Dundee or Motherwell which returned Yes majorities in the referendum of 2014.

But that’s never what happens. The audience is selected according to arcane BBC views on what constitutes balance. That’s a balance which seems to skew heavily towards support for Brexit, opposition to immigration, and a nasty rightwing intolerance which views compassion as a weakness and cruelty as a virtue. It’s a balance which invariably detests the very notion of Scottish independence. It’s a balance that gives us an abundance of plummy accented Tories in the working class Yes voting city of Dundee. It’s a balance which gave us a Motherwell, a town in North Lanarkshire with a Yes majority, a town with an SNP MP and constituency MSP, which appeared to be predominantly inhabited by right wing leaning British nationalists.

There was naturally a starring role for BBC Question Time’s very own Scottish Nigel Farage. Billy Mitchell is a man who is a failed UK council candidate, a founder member of an Orange flute band, and a fan of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. He is even less representative of Scottish public opinion than David Coburn, or indeed of Michael Forsyth who for some reason graced the panel. Yet Billy crops up more often on BBC QT in Scotland than a herpes sore at a clap clinic. He’s a bawhair away from getting mentioned in the programme credits.

It’s not easy to get on BBC Question Time. It’s even less easy to get picked to ask a question. It’s less easy still to have that question tweeted by the production staff. But Billy keeps on doing it. We can rule out him being the luckiest man in Scotland. So as an explanation that only leaves a breathtaking incompetence on the part of Question Time production staff, an incompetence which oddly only ever seems to favour right wing Ukip types, or there is systematic bias on the part of the programme. Neither of those is a good explanation for a BBC which insists on the right to raid our bank balances.

There’s the strange case of Billy Mitchell, but there’s the even stranger case of the framing of questions about independence. Questions about Scottish independence ought to come from Scottish audiences which are evenly balanced on the subject. You’d think that ought to mean that questions directly about independence ought to be evenly balanced on whether the questioner is positive or negative towards independence. David Dimbleby infamously refused to allow the topic of independence to be addressed, however when a question about independence is asked, the framing of the question is invariably negative – as The National has pointed out.
https://www.thenational.scot/news/17420082.question-times-independence-questions-reveal-a-sinister-pattern/

Clearly, what we are dealing with here is not an isolated instance that has rubbed independence supporters up the wrong way. What we are dealing with here is a consistent and persistent pattern of anti-independence framing and bias from BBC Question Time. Only some questions are fit to be asked. Those would be Great British Questions suitable to our Great British Broadcaster.

This is a serious issue. Scotland, as we all know, is denied the right to a national public broadcaster of its own. All we have is the BBC, a BBC which anyone who owns a TV set is legally obliged to pay for. Yet that BBC consistently refuses, or is incapable of, depicting the Scotland that actually exists. Instead we get a Scotland refracted through a British nationalist lens held up from London. We get a British nationalism which is regarded as the norm against which all other political views must be compared, and usually compared unfavourably.

The BBC’s charter, as decided by the British government, obliges the Corporation to “promote cohesion” between the nations of the UK. As one of the last remaining British institutions, the BBC is institutionally incapable of reporting fairly and in an unbiased manner on an independence movement within one of those nations of the UK. BBC Question Time demonstrates that failure on our TV screens every Thursday evening. It doesn’t reflect the Scotland that exists, it reflects the Scotland that British nationalism wants to see. That’s BBC Question Time’s definition of balance. It’s failing us all. It’s failing itself. It has become an unfunny joke.

BBC Question Time has some very serious questions to answer. It’s a safe bet that they won’t. Scotland doesn’t need the biased propaganda of BBC Question Time. It’s time the BBC was questioned.


 

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

Wee Ginger Dugcast with Anne McLaughlin

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In this edition of the Dugcast, Callum Baird, the Dug, and I are joined by Anne McLaughlin, the former MP for Glasgow North East.

This week we chat about Brexit, Angus Robertson’s new initiative Progress Scotland, and of course that episode of BBC Question Time. Or as it’s called hereabouts, BBC Where Did You Find All Those Tories in Motherwell Time featuring Ukippyranty McUkippyrantface.


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

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

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

Mistaking incompetence for sincerity

quentincrisp

Well if you were counting on the Labour party to save us all from a Tory Brexit, think again. Jeremy Corbyn has written to Theresa May to lay out his terms for supporting her deal. It’s clear that a second referendum on EU membership is the last thing that he wants. He has as much interest in representing the views of those parts of the UK which voted to remain as he does of appearing on Strictly. Although even the most flat flooted two left feet minor celeb on Strictly possesses considerably more grace than Jezza seems capable of when dealing with remainers.

It’s not just Scotland that Jeremy isn’t representing, it’s also most Labour party members and voters. Opinion polls show that by a large majority, Labour voters believe that May’s deal is bad for the economy. The latest poll makes it clear that if Labour is seen to enable Brexit, voters will punish it at the next election.

Jeremy Corbyn might think that his letter is really a clever ruse, making an offer to Theresa May that she cannot accept. The Prime Minister is never going to sign up to the customs union or agree to remain closely aligned in perpetuity to the single market. But what Jeremy has done is to give her leverage with Labour MPs in leave voting seats. She can sweeten them with bribes in the form of promises of investment in their constituencies. She can offer to respect the rights given to workers by EU law, a meaningless promise that the next Tory leader will quickly trash. And she can do all that telling them that their leader isn’t against her deal, he’s just quibbling with some of its details.

Since the Labour leader only takes action against those of his MPs who adopt pro-Remain positions, and has done absolutely nothing to discipline those Labour MPs who enabled the Conservatives last week, Theresa May knows she’s pushing at an open door. She can pick off Labour MPs safe in the knowledge that they’ve got nothing to fear from their own party leader.

Just today, Jeremy slapped down his MPs who said that Theresa May must accept Labour’s offer in full, or they’d press for another referendum. Labour is complicit in Brexit. It is the enabler and deliverer of a hard Conservative Brexit. Vote Labour, vote for a Tory Brexit. The Labour leadership has signed Labour up to the xenophobic and nativist tendencies of the worst of British nationalism. It’s signed Labour up to the ending of freedom of movement. That’s yer internationalism. That’s a gross betrayal of Scotland, and a gross betrayal of the majority of Labour members. Jeremy never promised to listen to Scotland, but he did promise to listen to his party’s membership. Now it transpires that he’s only going to listen to them when they agree with him.

Meanwhile, the Labour leader has also announced that the last Scottish independence referendum was a “once in a lifetime” event. He’s literally telling Scotland that we can only have another independence vote over his dead body. For a supposed internationalist, he’s doing a damn good impression of being every bit as much a narrow British nationalist as the Conservatives he effects to despise.

Labour’s remainers are deeply unhappy with their leader’s position. Chuka Umunna tweeted that what Corbyn was offering was the opposite of opposition. It was facilitating a Tory deal which would make the UK poorer. He said that it was a joke to suggest that a Prime Minister who had sponsored employment tribunal fees, supported weakening unfair dismissal protection would ensure “dynamic alignment on rights and protections”. In an article for The Independent he angrily castigated the Labour leader for betraying the spirit of Labour’s conference policy, which said that if the party couldn’t get an early election it should back another EU referendum. Meanwhile Owen Smith hinted that he was considering leaving Labour to start a new pro-European party. Thousand of ordinary Labour members are voting with their feet and their membership fees and drifting away.

Labour politicians know better than anyone else that it was the split in the party during the 1980s when the so-called Gang of Four left and founded the SDP which was responsible more than any other single factor for the almost two decades of Tory rule which followed. The fact that they are now willing to consider another split speaks volumes about their desperation and despair with the current party leadership.

And all this, let us not forget, when the official opposition is facing the weakest, most divided, and least capable governments in living memory. A half way competent Labour leader would have his or her party soaring ahead in the polls at this point. Yet the chances are that Labour is going to split, that the leadership will enable a Tory Brexit, and we’ll all be left powerless and helpless in the face of a Brexit driven permausterity.

We’ve known for years that Labour won’t stand up for Scotland. The only point to the Labour party in Scotland, the only justification for its existence, was its claim that it alone can prevent a Conservative government and protect Scotland from the Tories. It’s abundantly clear now that it can’t do even that. Its incompetence, division, and ineptitude means that it enables Tory policies instead. Labour’s inadequacies mean we could be staring at another decade of Conservative rule. The gods alone know what damage the Tories could wreak in that time.

The Tories have acheived gobsmacking incompetence in the two short years that Theresa May has been in power. Labour has been working hard at it for years. The problem with the UK is, in the words of the late great Quentin Crisp, “The English think incompetence is the same thing as sincerity.” Labour is doing nothing and still making a mess of it, and his supporters are still praising Jeremy’s sincerity.

There’s only one way out of this Brexmess, Scotland. We need a vote of our own, and we need to take charge of our own destiny. It’s time to break the chains.


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

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

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

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

Brexit: Plan, Eh?

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The Prime Minister is like one of those antibiotic resistant bacteria. The closest thing that she has to a political principle is MSRA. It doesn’t matter what countermeasures you throw at it, it’s still there, giving you stomach cramps and nausea.

On Tuesday, Theresa May went to Northern Ireland to tell Irish people all about Ireland. Ireland is a big island, she told them. It’s got water around it. Blue water, the same colour as the Conservative party, which means that she really cares about it. Ireland has fields. It has roads and houses. It has hedges and trees. No one cares more about Northern Ireland than she does, which is why she’s only speaking to the DUP and no one else.

She told the audience of increasingly bewildered Irish people, because she was being very clear, that she will do whatever it takes to keep the border open apart from keeping the UK in a customs union, keeping Northern Ireland a customs union, or signing up to the backstop. Theresa is committed to doing whatever it takes to keep the border open just as long as it’s not one of those things that can keep the border open. This is because the union is precious, so very precious, as it delivers her the DUP votes that she needs to keep her show on the road. And Ireland has roads too, so they have so much in common.

Seemingly unaware that she was speaking to an audience which had largely voted to remain, Theresa pressed on. Mostly by repeating herself and saying nothing that made any sense. The single political talent that Theresa May possesses is the ability to utter words that have a semblance of meaning, but as soon as they collide together in a sentence all sense vanishes. Her political speeches are to meaning as a cloud is to a hard surface. It looks solid from a distance, but if you try to stand on it you’re doomed.

Faced with people who were obviously not impressed by Theresa’s nebulosity and were demanding some firm and concrete answers to the question of the Irish border, a question which was directly affecting their lives, livelihoods, and businesses, Theresa backtracked on what she’d been saying last week, which itself was backtracking on what she’d been saying the week before. This is a Prime Minister who changes direction more frequently than a Mighty Mouse roller coaster in a 1970s fairground, all the while insisting that she’s going in a straight line and isn’t stuck on an eternal loop to nowhere.

Yesterday Theresa was insisting that there was still going to be a backstop, it’s just that some changes were required to it. That’s the same backstop that she’d told Arlene Foster and the DUP just the previous week that was absolutely, positively, definitely out of the question. The DUP have been very upset by the EU’s refusal to renegotiate the backstop. Arlene Foster called the EU intransigent, which is a bit like a zombie slating you for having too much meat in your diet.

The EU has repeated that the Irish backstop is not up for renegotiation. It only exists in the first place because of the red lines of Theresa May. It is only necessary because the UK has proven that it cannot be trusted. This is a British government which with its exceptionalism and its constant demands to have all its cake after eating it has trashed whatever residual goodwill it once had in Europe. Every change in course from Theresa May, every reversal of a previously held position, and the trust and confidence that the EU has that it’s dealing with a serious negotiating partner vanishes. There’s now no trust left in Britain. Negotiating with the UK is like negotiating with a blancmange. Although even a blancmange is able to hold its shape for longer than ten minutes.

Faced with a UK government which has no clue, no plan, and is plainly just making things up as it goes along and whose political aims consist of getting the Prime Minister through the next ten minutes, Donald Tusk now speaks like a man who has no tosses left to give. He wondered what the special place in hell looked like for those who backed Brexit without so much as the sketch of a plan, he told a press conference on Wednesday.

The Brexists were outraged, which to be fair is their baseline state. What an insult to the British people, they harrumphed. Although here we are over two years after the EU referendum, with less than two months to go until the British government’s own chosen date for Brexit, and they still haven’t come up with a plan. The nearest that they have is unspecified “alternative arrangements” for the Irish border. That’s not a plan, as it encompasses everything from the invention of teleportation to the insistence that goods can be transported across the border on the backs on unicorns, but manages to rule out anything that counts as realistic.

Back in 2014, the constant refrain from supporters of the British state hurled at independence supporters was “Where’s your plan B?”. There was a plan A. It was detailed and comprehensive. You might not have agreed with all its details but it most certainly existed. So British nationalists demanded a plan B instead. And if there was a plan B, they’d have worked their way down through the alphabet.

Even Baldrick’s plans were more cunning. Brexit is almost upon us and the goons of gammonry still don’t have a plan A, because they’re political illiterates. Before you can write a plan you need to know the alphabet. This bunch of clowns would struggle with a unicorn colouring in book and a crayon. It’s not so much a plan A as – plan, Eh?

How’s that safety, security, and stability of the British state working out?

From a Scottish perspective, that special place in hell looks like a Scotland which is silenced and sidelined within a British state which pays not the slightest heed to Scotland’s concerns or needs. A special place in hell is a Scotland that is held hostage to English nationalism wrapped up in a Union fleg. A special place in hell is being told that we are valued partners in a family of nations by a Prime Minister we didn’t vote for who treats us with contempt and who insists that she has a veto over our future. A special place in hell is the loss of our employment and civil rights that awaits us under Tories whose hands are no longer tied by Europe.

A special place in hell is Brexit Britain.


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