The curse of Cummings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Eyesight exams on the way to Castle Barnard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Acting on instinct

Any fond hopes that Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson might have had that he could draw a line under the Dominic Cummings affair have been well and truly dashed. Even the Daily Mail has come out in an angry tirade against the Prime Minister. That’s the Daily Mail which has hitherto been a cheerleader for the populist English nationalist right wing Brexitiness in which our Part Time Prime Minister specialises. That’s like thon shouty woman on the North Korean news saying, “See that Kim Jong-un. He’s a bit of a prick, isn’t he.”

So far twenty Conservative MPs have come out to condemn Dominic Cummings, a number which seems likely to grow, given that there’s been a rare outbreak of unanimity across the UK. Almost everyone hates Dominic and thinks he needs to go. When even the Guardian and the Daily Mail are saying the same thing, when the Church of England has condemned him, when the former head of the civil service Bob Kerslake has called upon him to resign because he’s brought the civil service into disrepute, there’s a serious political problem that’s not about to go away any time soon.

By Monday it was being reported that the police are to investigate Dominic Cummings’ movements. The police commissioner for Durham has asked the local police force to investigate the reports that the Gollum of Number 10 was seen in the area a number of times during lockdown.

The public is seething with anger, about how Cummings broke the lockdown, about how he felt he was above the rules that the rest of us have to adhere to, about how the Government has lied and gaslighted in order to defend him. But most of all because this Government has effectively trashed its own policy on dealing with a covid-19 outbreak creating even greater confusion and incoherence than it already had. And this is a Government which has led the UK into suffering the greatest death toll in all of Europe, so it’s not exactly like they were doing well to begin with.

The anger at Dominic Cummings and his casual entitlement is a displaced anger at the deaths, the suffering, the loneliness, the sacrifices, the worry, the job losses, the uncertainty that the British Government has magnified and made far worse than it needed to be. Cummings is the straw of arrogance that broke the back of public faith and its willingness to trust the British Government as the world stared into the abyss of the pandemic.

Given the magnitude of the crisis, many were prepared to overlook their misgivings about being led by the mendacious spivs of Brexit. That could only last as long as the public were prepared to believe that the British Government was doing the right thing by the UK. However as the death toll mounted, as Boris Johnson continued to treat his job as a part time ego trip, as the evidence of lack of preparedness and incompetence started to mount, eventually something was going to happen to cystalise public anger. That event was the arrogance and entitlement of Dominic Cummings and his casual disregard for the rules. In one dishevelled figure, contemptuous, arrogant, entitled, hypocritical, and privileged, he has come to symbolise all that is wrong with the British state in general and this Government in particular.

Yet Number 10 is desperate to defend Cummings because without him Johnson stands exposed as a hollow fool, a showboating narcissist who has all the depth of the scum that lies on top of a puddle. He is the Rasputin to Johnson’s Romanov, the gas for Johnson’s gaslighting. Cummings is the brains, the scriptwriter, the puppet master pulling the strings. Johnson’s just an empty ego filled with nothing but ambition and self-regard. Cummings is his vehicle for the attention and adulation that he so obviously craves. Without Cummings, Johnson goes nowhere. Without Cummings Johnson has nothing but a shambling schtick that’s as transparent as his ambition.

Things are so bad that Number 10 has been forced to put Cummings himself up for interview with the press. I don’t know about you, but I don’t really want to see a Government advisor holding a press conference. I want to see a P45. The move raises as many questions as it purports to lay to rest. On whose authority will Cummings be speaking? How will he be held to account if he is less than honest? The Government’s very own code of conduct for advisors says, “Special advisers must not take public part in political controversy… They must observe discretion and express comment with moderation, avoiding personal attacks, and would not normally speak in public for their Minister or the Department.” https://twitter.com/cathynewman/status/1264890116075597824 Yet again the rules are being rewritten to suit the Tories.

As the move was announced, Cummings was expected to tell the press hacks that he has full confidence in the Prime Minister and will not be asking for Johnson’s resignation. He’ll then expect a grovelling apology from the media for ever daring to call him into question. Dominic Cummings is not a man who does contrition.

But this is no longer a story about Dominic Cummings. The entire machinery of the British Government is now being called into question. The Health Secretary’s defence of Cummings contradicted his own instructions. The Attorney General declared that instinct beats law. Cabinet ministers regularly appear in public and lie repeatedly to our faces. Even the Civil Service has tweeted for help.

Above all it now about the judgement and ability of the Prime Minister. We have a Prime Minister who when confronted with evidence that his senior advisor broke lockdown restrictions rewrote those restrictions retrospectively so that they no longer applied to the advisor. He lied, deceived, and refused to answer questions.

Far from apologising, or even acknowledging that there was an issue to address, he doubled down and actually praised Cummings for acting according to a father’s instincts. Like Johnson would know. Surely the first instinct of a father is to know how many children he has. But hey, never mind about the rules and regulations, as long as you act according to your instincts that’s just fine with this Prime Minister. Perhaps now the Scottish Government can just declare independence without bothering about all that nonsense with a Section 30 order or a referendum. They could say they were just acting on instinct, because what we’ve seen tells us that the instincts of the British Government are rotten to the core.

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


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


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

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

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


The arrogant and offensive truth twisters

truthtwisters
The Prime Minister actually managed to turn up for work today and presented the daily British Government press conference. This is not unconnected to the fact that the only thing that anyone was wanting to hear from the British Government today was that Dominic Cummings had got his jotters for driving a coach and horses to Durham all the way through the lockdown regulations, and none of the spineless wonders in the British Conservative party are brave enough to stand up to Dominic. And neither, it has transpired, is the Prime Minister.

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson took to the podium to deliver the news that Dominic Cummings is going nowhere – except Durham. In the process he set a new UK record for the number of people shouting “Oh fuck off” simultaneously at the TV screen as he announced that Dominic Cummings had in his view acted entirely responsibly, legally, and with integrity. Although that last bit doesn’t really mean anything much as Boris Johnson is as far removed from an understanding of integrity as the Scottish Conservatives are from a reporter every time there’s bad news for their party.

This is a government without integrity, without honour, which is deserving of nothing but our contempt, our anger, and our disdain. What you sow, Boris Johnson, so shall you reap. Even someone who had access to the official Twitter account of the UK Civil Service was so angry with Johnson’s response that they tweeted “Arrogant and offensive. Can you imagine what it’s like to work with these truth twisters?” The tweet was quickly deleted. The person who sent that tweet will be investigated by the Civil Service and will be disciplined and quite possibly fired. That’s a damn sight worse than what the British Government will do to Dominic Cummings. The real crime here isn’t doing the crime, it’s being angry at the crime.

There was not even a hint of understanding that people who have abided by the rules deserve an apology. There was not even the faintest shadow of acceptance that Dominic Cummings’s actions were liable to produce a justified outrage. Instead what we got was almost a rebuke to those of us who have followed the rules, those of us who have told our mothers that no, we can’t come even to sit in the garden. We’re the ones in the wrong here, because we’re just little people with little lives who don’t count and who are not important. We’re the ones who are subjected to lectures in morality from a Conservative party that wouldn’t recognise morality if Dominic Cummings ran it over in his car on his way to a park in Castle Barnard.

Not only did Johnson fail to rebuke Cummings and fail even to accept that what he’d done looked bad even if in his view it was perfectly legal, he went out of his way to praise him. Dominic only did what every father’s instinct told him to, and for that he should not be judged because now we’re replacing following the rules with following your instinct. Except that is if you’re an ordinary punter whose instinct is to rush to the bedside of your dying relative. Except that is if you’re an ordinary person whose instinct tells you to give your mother a hug because she’s been stuck alone in lockdown and the isolation is getting her down. Except that is if you’re an ordinary person whose instinct tells you that your children need to see their grandparents. It’s only the instincts of senior members of the British Government that can be trusted. The rest of us need to tug our forelocks and do as we’re told by our betters.

This is the most extraordinary failure of a political leader’s judgement of the public mood since Herod slaughtered the firstborn. Even Prince Andrew’s press interview was more believable and displayed greater humility than this nonsense. In just a few short minutes Johnson managed to trash what little remained of any trust that the public had left in the British Government. This is a government that demands that members of the public can’t go to the bedsides of dying relatives, and who then can’t attend their funerals once they’ve died. This is a government that demands that we can’t hug, kiss, or embrace our nearest and dearest as people suffer unimaginable pain and loss. And people were prepared to do those things for the common good, for the greater good. Only to discover that a British Government which preaches that we’re all in this together practises an exceptional breaking of the rules when it suits its senior members. Dominic Cummings has now been given licence to do exactly what he pleases with the Tories’ 80 seat majority.

Meanwhile Jackson Carlot came out of his self-imposed social isolation from the press to release a carefully worded statement. It’s up to Boris, he said, now let’s get back to slagging off the SNP. Calling Jackson spineless is an insult to invertebrates. Once again, the Scottish Conservatives excuse the inexcusable because it’s a British inexcusable. Once again the Scottish Conservatives fail to stand up for Scotland within their so-called precious union. Once again the Scottish Conservatives show themselves up as the weak and obsequious cowards that they are. That’s their vision of Scotland within the UK. It sure as hell isn’t ours. The only question that Scotland has for the Scottish Conservatives is is there anyone left in the Scottish Conservatives who has even a tenuous grasp upon what’s right and what’s wrong? Because from the outside it’s looking like there isn’t.

There is now a very real danger that people will look at what Dominic Cummings has done and say – oh well, so it’s within the rules and it’s acting with integrity to drive 250 miles to go and stay with your parents. The already confused and incoherent messaging from the British Government about what people can and cannot do as we come out of lockdown got even more confused and even less coherent. All because Boris Johnson has put his own personal political interests before what’s right for the UK as a whole.

What we shouldn’t do is to react to the reckless and dangerous selfishness of Dominic Cummings by saying, well if he did it then we can do it too. Our anger is because he was wrong to do what he did. That’s what makes it a righteous anger. The fact that he’s being protected for his selfish rule breaking by a Prime Minister who is a by-word for selfishness and who has never in his life thought that the rules that apply to the rest of us should also apply to him does not give anyone else licence to behave like Dominic Cummings did. We are bigger people. We are better people. And soon we will be an independent people. The bright light of hope that guides us through the darkness of Conservative rule is burning brighter with our rage.
And finally, because we could all do with some cheering up during these difficult times… Here’s one for BlackRab


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


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

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

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


The second cummings of Dominic

savedominic
This British Government is easily the worst for 100 years. It’s ideologically driven, determined to ram through the hardest possible Brexit despite the current crisis, yet at the same time it’s incompetent, incoherent, and chaotic. It combines laziness with arrogance, and is characterised by an overweening contempt for the public and a deep rooted sense of its own entitlement. Back in 2014 they promised us the best of both worlds. They promised us the safety and security of the UK. They’ve delivered a shitshow of privilege, of entitlement, and arrogant contempt for ordinary people, all while tens of thousands die as a direct result of the incompetence of a British Government that has failed in its most basic duty, the duty to keep citizens safe.

So it comes as no surprise that its first reaction to the news that Dominic Cummings is alleged to have repeatedly broken lockdown restrictions is to double down and to lecture the public as though we’re the ones who are in the wrong for being angry at the arrogant entitlement of an arrogant man which may very well have put others at risk. And this all at the same time that ordinary people are making immense sacrifices that the most senior members of the British Government don’t seem disposed to make themselves. Millions of us have had no direct contact with our loved ones for months, others have been unable to attend the funerals of their nearest and dearest, were unable even to be at their bedsides as they died. Yet none of these rules need be obeyed by the members of that British Government which is demanding that the rest of us do so. And it’s us who are narrow minded and petty for being angry at their entitlement.

It has now been a couple of days since the news broke that Dominic Cummings doesn’t believe that the rules that the rest of us have to follow should also apply to him. The initial revelation that he had travelled 260 miles to Durham from London with his wife who was suffering from Covid-19 in order to stay at his parents’ place has been followed by allegations that he made the trip twice, and that he and his wife went on a drive to Barnard Castle on the day of his wife’s birthday. It was the Second Cummings of Dominic.

Cummings and his pals in the British Government show every inclination of riding out this crisis on a wave of contempt, disdain and through the sheer force of their arrogant entitlement. How quickly we’ve gone from “we’re all in this together” to members of the British establishment can selectively rewrite the rules to suit themselves.

Yet even if he is forced to resign, nothing much will change. We’ll still be governed by public schoolboys whose first instinct is to lie and cheat, who insist to our faces that black is white and up is down. Their new slogan is Keep Lying. Stay on Message. Save Dominic.

Over the past few days there has been not a word from the usually perma-angry Scottish Tories. It seems that if they can’t find a way to cast themselves as the victims of vile Scottish nationalists that they have nothing to say. Yet they were very vocal when it came to demanding the resignation of Scotland’s chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood for a lesser breach of the lockdown regulations than was committed by Dominic Cummings. And not one of them has ever made the slightest hint of a comment that they could possibly be less than happy that during the worst global crisis in decades the British Prime Minister is for the most part nowhere to be seen. Not one of them has ever made the slightest effort to stand up for Scotland’s interests within this so-called union that they keep telling us is so precious. Perhaps that’s because they’ve never answered the question – precious to who? Maybe we should be kind. Perhaps the Scottish Tories aren’t hiding from the press at all. It could be that they’re all just off on a trip to Durham.

In the UK it’s now accepted by millions that this is a government that’s crap and inept. We are no longer surprised by revelations that the Tories are venal, liars, hypocrites, and incompetent. The press doesn’t bother to challenge the Prime Minister for not appearing in public more than once a week. During the biggest crisis that the UK has faced since WW2, our Prime Minister who fancies himself as Winston Churchill doesn’t lead. The closest he gets to Churchill is the nodding plastic dog that advertises insurance.

Boris Johnson doesn’t put himself at the forefront of the UK’s efforts to deal with the challenge facing us all. He pops up once a week at Prime Minister’s Questions and refuses to do his bloody job. Parliament is being recalled and MPs will be forced to crowd together on the backbenches just so that Boris Johnson can perform in front of a tame audience of howler monkeys baying support, because watching Boris Johnson in PMQs in a silent House of Commons in lockdown is like watching a crappy 1970s British sitcom without a laugh track. Yet that’s just fine with British nationalists. Because bunting, Vera Lynn, Captain Tom, and WW2 spirit.

The UK is fundamentally broken. It can’t be fixed. There is no superglue than can put the shattered pieces back together. There is no balm that can soothe public anger and rebuild trust and confidence in the institutions of Westminster. It’s all the more vital that Scotland must get out from under this crushing dead weight that’s killing our soul. We can’t afford not to plan and think about the kind of independent Scotland that we will be campaigning for once we come out of lockdown. History tells us that after a period of immense crisis, people want change, they don’t want to return to the status quo with all its inequalities. History also tells us that those who have planned and are organised are best placed to take advantage of that appetite for change. In Scotland, that’s the independence movement. Unlike the British nationalists, we can offer change, and we can offer hope.
And finally, because we could all do with some cheering up during these difficult times…


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


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

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

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


Cummings and goings

cummingsandgoings

Dominic Cummings doesn’t obey lockdown rules. Only little people obey lockdown rules. It said nothing good about Dominic Cummings that he was prepared to sacrifice other people’s elderly relatives in pursuit of his herd immunity strategy. It says a whole lot worse that he was willing to risk the lives of his own parents too. It came to light on Friday that Downing Street’s resident Gollum had travelled from London to Durham in the north of England after he had started to show coronavirus symptoms and was highly infectious. His excuse is that he was taking his children to his parents so that they could look after them while Cummings and his wife recovered from the illness. It’s one rule for Dominic Cummings and another for the herd.

Anyone with a microgramme of sense would have realised that if you are coming down with Covid-19 and you need a relative to look after your kids, then you get your relative to come to you and collect the children. You don’t schlepp across the length of England while you know that you have the virus and you know that you’re infected, potentially spreading your disease to the countless people that you might encounter along the way.

Apparently Dominic Cummings was forced to travel because he didn’t have any friends who could look after his kids for him locally, and who could drop off food parcels at his door while he was ill. Actually, I could believe that.

Unlike the Scottish chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood who travelled to her holiday home across the Forth while she was perfectly healthy, Dominic Cummings drove the length of England with his kids while he was infectious with the virus. During that 250 mile journey he could have come into contact with many people. He most certainly put his parents at risk. We await the demands from the Scottish Conservatives for his resignation, just as they called angrily for Catherine Calderwood to resign. Well? Silence. What’s that Jackson? Speak up dear. Is it just fine if you’re Boris Johnson’s advisor? Asking for 5.5 million Scottish people.

Given the total radio silence of the Scottish Conservatives today and their inexplicable reluctance to voice an opinion on this matter, this is a good juncture at which to remind them of what they said when they discovered that an uninfected Catherine Calderwood had travelled forty miles to Fife. “There cannot be one rule for bosses and another for everyone else,” harrumphed Jackson Carlaw. Miles Briggs said that Catherine Calderwood’s resignation was “inevitable” and what was important now was that public confidence was restored. Adam Tomkins tweeted that “an atrocious example” had been set and said that you would have thought that the rules that Catherine Calderwood was promoting ought to have applied to her too. “Did they think that the messages [to stay at home] were for other people?” asked the perpetually confused Murdo Fraser, adding, “Hard to see how messages to the public can have credibility while those delivering them ignore them themselves.” Annie Wells said, “Trust is vanishing and rage is building. Resign and let’s get back to what matters most – following the rules to save lives.” Indeed Annie. Indeed. And we can be sure that you’ll be phoning in Kaye Adams to tell her how angry you are that public trust in the British Government has been so badly damaged.

Has anyone seen Ruth, or is she not available for comment again? How terribly convenient, Ruth. However to be fair Ruth was practising social distancing long before it became fashionable, as her constituents and anyone who had ever followed the news and noticed a story that was bad for the Tories can attest.

Yet you can bet a chance to see your parents that if you had replaced the name Dominic Cummings with Ian Blackford the Scottish Conservatives would have caused Twitter’s servers to break with the intensity of their angry meltdown. Even Julia Hartley-Brewer, that Waitrose Katie Hopkins who’s usually very keen to support amoral right wing causes, appeared on Sky News to condemn Dominic Cummings. But from the Scottish Tories, not a word.

However since Chancellor Rishi Sunak, and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab both came out on social media today to defend Cummings in the strongest terms, it’s likely that the spineless wonders of the Scottish Conservative party were merely awaiting their instructions from the big boys and girls. Scottish Conservatism is after all the political philosophy that Scotland is incapable of independent thought.

As the calls for Cummings to be sacked grew in intensity on social media, the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg tweeted in response to a journalist from the Daily Mirror who had broken the story that a “source” had told her that his trip was within guidelines as he went to stay with his parents so they could help with childcare. Just wondering aloud here if anyone can recall the many times that Laura leapt into action on social media to defend Nicola Sturgeon or Jeremy Corbyn from an attack because one of their “sources” had told her something. Nope. Me neither. I’m betting that the anonymous source had the initials DC.

No one believes Cummings, and no one believes the Tories’ anonymous sources any more. In fact it’s because of anonymous briefings from the Conservatives that there’s so much confusion and incoherence from the British Government and the British media is now a synonym for ill repute. Some of us are starting to wonder whether Laura Kuenssberg and Sarah Smith have a private bet going to see which of them can get away with the most blatant bias. That the British Government is no longer bothering to issue official statements any more but prefers to conduct its communications with the public via anonymous briefings to favoured journalists is a genuinely scary development in British public life. It’s another nail in the coffin of British Government accountability, because let’s face it, that died a long time ago.

Inicidentally, the conspiracy theorists were out in force on social media on Friday night, wondering why Dominic Cummings wasn’t trending on Twitter. There were mutterings about the dark forces of British state intelligence and the 77th Brigade. However the real conspiracy here is that Dominic Cummings conspired to get himself a surname that won’t trend on social media because it’s caught by Twitter’s profanity filters. No social media company wants porn to trend, so they use filters to catch items containing certain strings of characters. One of which is the popular word referring to having an orgasm. Have a look at the Scunthorpe problem on Wikipedia for a more detailed explanation. It’s the only way in which Dominic Cummings is ever going to make the earth move for you. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scunthorpe_problem

So remember, stay home, stay safe. Unless that is you want to drive 250 miles spreading your disease the length of the A1 in order to find an elderly relative to infect. That’s just fine – but only if you’re a Conservative advisor who works in Ten Downing Street. If ever you wanted to see how the privilege of the British establishment operates in practice, you just got a lesson in how it works from Dominic Cummings and the Conservative party. It’s one rule for the rich, the powerful, and the well-connected who defend the British state, and another for the rest of us.

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


Dugcast fae the Dughoose – with Angus MacNeil

Welcome to this week’s edition of the dugcast fae the dughoose with guest Angus MacNeil, the SNP MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar. Angus is perhaps best known for being a strong proponent of the need for a Plan B in order to secure an independence referendum from Westminster. We chat about lockdown in the islands, Westminster’s plans to end distance working for MPs, and of course that Plan B and the need to keep campaigning for independence and for some political measures which will ensure that Scotland gets a referendum on its own future, and much more besides.  Also I swear at him for having more hair than me – although to be fair, having more hair than me isn’t difficult.

We had a slight technical issue about 20 minutes in and our connection was lost, but we managed to get it back. I hope it doesn’t spoil your listening too much. Next week I am going to try recording the podcast via CleanFeed, but have had a couple of issues registering for the site.

A message for Anthony Hartie – you emailed me yesterday however there’s a problem with how you have configured Outlook and the return address is garbled. If you see this could you please email me again but include your email address in the text of your email so I am able to reply. Thank you.


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

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

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


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

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

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