A letter to a wee ginger dug

A guest post by David Kelly

I am a computer specialist who has been working in the Oil and Gas sector in Aberdeen for almost 40 years. I am called a “Subject Matter Expert” (SME) because I know a fantastic amount about almost nothing.

This is the first time in my life I have been so engaged in politics. I have always had a few clever words to say, a sarcastic observation, a cynical put down. I have been on the odd march about war or nuclear weapons. I write an occasional letter to the newspapers. Now I find myself out in the evening knocking on doors selling what I believe in. Writing a letter to a dug I have never met because I am passionate about politics.

What is going on, what has changed? I have thought about this a lot and want to share these thoughts.

I am not a nationalist. I have no “issues” with my nationality. Scotland may not have been a sovereign nation for over 300 years, but I know I am Scottish. Like many of us I have worked all over the world, and everywhere that brawn as well as brains are required to build things I hear Scottish accents. We know who we are.

I remember once in O’Neil’s Irish bar in Atyrau Kazakhstan, chewing the fat with an unusually broadly educated American engineer who knew of Adam Smith and David Hume and other figures of the, the, er, “English Enlightenment”… as so often happens you have to explain. That’s fine. Being called “English” is not an insult; they are our friends and neighbours.

I don’t need to build a country just for Scottish people to help me with my identity.

If I am not a Nationalist, what am I? – I consider myself an Internationalist.

Why does my “internationalism” lead me to wanting to create another country at first that could seem counter intuitive? There are two issues I would like to fix:

1. All my life I have only voted for parties that believe in unilateral nuclear disarmament. That includes the SNP, the Green party, even Orangina. At last this might actually happen.

2. Sending our young men and women abroad to kill brown people to keep America safe is not borderline crazy, it is profoundly sociopathic. I call it PISD ‘post imperial stress disorder’. The empire is over. We can stop killing people now.

If I ask myself a simple question:

“Would the world be a better place if Scotland had its own voice, however small, instead of having Britain speak for us?”

I answer yes. I hardly have to think about it. I am certain we would be a better world citizen than Britain. Why? Because I believe that we will build a more socially just society within Scotland, and that we will project those values rather than military ones.

Of course at the moment Britain is being run by Eton’s sixth form common room. No wonder I want free of that, they swapped the “home counties” for the “home country” and run the state with the imperial swagger and contempt for the national interest that was once reserved for the dominions. The argument from the Labour party is that everything will change when Labour wins the next UK general election. I am told that the voice I want Scotland to have in the international community will be heard just as soon as the Labour party are in power again. I have to say that the last two Labour administrations have been profoundly disappointing. The idiot adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan are a scandal to match any of our historic imperial bullying. But what of Gordon Brown’s administration, that son of the Manse, introducer of tax credits and other help for the low paid?

The other question I need an answer to is:

“Is it possible to build a society that has the levels of equality and social justice which I aspire to within Great Britain?”

… and I have to answer no. I can tell you the moment I realised it was not going to be possible.

In 2007/8 the world’s financial structure was imploding. The future of international cowboy capitalism was at stake. Faced with the starkest, clearest choice in a thousand years between the interests of the rich and the interests of the poor, Gordon Brown’s Labour government chose the rich. Gordon Brown’s undoubted understanding of the crisis and generosity to the uber-rich made the world safe for bankers and billionaires, and gave more money to the rich in an afternoon than the poor in ten years in power. Son of the Manse? Sounds more like the Book of Revelation’s Antichrist to me. Of course there are thousands of good people in the Labour party but for the life of me I have no idea what they think they can achieve while in thrall to the City of London.

The result of the referendum in September will be decided to a very great extent by the people who voted Labour in the last election. I attended a meeting of the Labour for Independence movement and was hugely encouraged to find a distinguished panel of life long labour party members arguing for Independence. So I asked the panel:

How do I persuade my friends who have voted Labour all their lives to vote for independence? Many of them are going to vote no just because they hate Alex Salmond, if I have one minute of their time what do I say to persuade them?” and the answer was:

“So that together we can start to build the just society you have been voting for all your life.”

That’s why I am on this journey. I want to start to build that just society.

The debate is full of numbers and statistics… can I leave you with two of them, that to me define the nature of Britain today.

The DWP employs 3250 investigators looking for £1.2bn of benefit fraud

HMRC employs 300 investigators looking for £70bn of tax evasion

The Trident replacement project to renew Britain’s “First Strike” nuclear capability will cost £100bn pounds. Hard to imagine how big that number is, and of course there is no “genocide cap” on that cost, unlike the benefit cap imposed by over 500 Westminster MPs. To put the number in perspective, a new teaching hospital 25% bigger than Aberdeen Royal Infirmary would cost £500m. So we will spend the amount of money that would build about 200 teaching hospitals to renew our weapons of mass destruction.

This is not the country I want to live in.

For the first time in my life I think I can do something about it through the democratic process.

That’s why I am voting yes, and why I want to encourage others to do so.


An audio version of this blog post is now available courtesy of 1 of the 99% at the following link


28 comments on “A letter to a wee ginger dug

  1. JimnArlene says:

    The DWP employs 3250 investigators looking for £1.2bn of benefit fraud

    HMRC employs 300 investigators looking for £70bn of tax evasion.

    Very powerful, sums up the whole stinking affair that is, Westminster.

  2. […] A guest post by David Kelly I am a computer specialist who has been working in the Oil and Gas sector in Aberdeen for almost 40 years. I am called a "Subject Matter Expert" (SME) because I know a f…  […]

  3. wakeupbeforeitstoolate says:

    Reblogged this on Wake Up Before It's Too Late and commented:
    Brilliant letter to Wee Ginger Dug from David Kelly – well worth a read and please share far and wide!! 🙂

  4. The calmness of your words an inspiration Thank you.Unfortunately some of the eye dust particles seem to be spreading ..but in a good way!!!

  5. HawGaw says:

    Articulate, Thought provoking, Non trivial reasoning. I like it.

  6. Jim Galt says:

    Well said, quietly passionate, articulate – it’s springing up everywhere – I was in a pub in Glasgow yesterday wae a pal and with very little prompting the Barmaid (barperson – sorry!) came out with one of the most articulate, impassioned pro Indy arguments Iv’e heard. It would have been interesting to get your expert “inside” views on the Oil and Gas sector and what you think it’s future is – amazingly important for us.
    I note you say you’ve never written a letter to a dog you’ve never met before – does that mean you only write letters to dogs you’ve been properly introduced to! Sorry couldn’t resist it!.
    Great Letter.

  7. Robert Graham says:

    thanks for sharing your thoughts i suppose i like a lot of people logging on i day and daily learn something more a wee titbit of information and realise how ilimformed i have been well no more its like a hunger the need to really get a grasp of what’s going on and how we are to blame for letting these lying politicians play their little games with little or no oversite well folkes it ends here whatever the result a lot of people have got these peoples number now and a mass issue of P45s is flying their way –a service of reconciliation aye right –bloody warrants for fraud more like

  8. mary vasey says:

    Excellent article David, thank you. Those figures you quoted are abysmal. I, like you have never wanted or believed in nuclear weapons. I also don’t believe in war, whoever it’s against and especially not over America’s access to oil. I, like you live in Aberdeen and though not involved in any way with any oil companies, I was a nurse. So I know how oil as well as bringing about lower unemployment to my city it also brings poverty to some, those who cannot afford the cost of housing, high cost of living etc. Although my son works in the oil industry earning what he calls ‘silly money’ I have 2 daughters who have moved away as neither of them do. I believe it is everyones right to get paid a decent wage whatever their job. I also believe in our NHS and that it is also everyones right to have free healthcare. These are just a few of my personal reasons for voting YES.

  9. Capella says:

    A good read. It’s very encouraging to have first hand accounts of what motivates people to vote YES. It’s simple and direct and that’s why it’s so effective. Thanks for posting this and thanks to the WGD for providing the space.

  10. David, thanks for sharing that. For me, getting rid of Trident is the number one reason for Independence…….regards,

  11. […] A letter to a wee ginger dug […]

  12. arthur thomson says:

    Thank you for your letter David. It is inspiring to read your thoughts.

  13. arthur thomson says:

    Has everyone heard Debra Torrrance’s poem ‘I’m a scrounger’? I found it on the English Scots for Yes site. She is part of Disabled people for Independence’. It is well worth listening to. As with David’s letter, I found Debra’s poem inspiring.

  14. macart763 says:

    A first class post David and couldn’t agree more. Its pretty close to my own reasons for voting yes. I simply could not and even today cannot see the solutions to our societal and economic problems coming from the very entrenched, self serving, governmental system which created them in the first place.

    We can do better.

  15. flooplepoop says:

    “So that together we can start to build the just society you have been voting for all your life.”
    A great riposte to any doubting Labour voter and a very good article, thanks.

  16. Thanks for your effort David. I think you speak for a lot of us.
    I don’t often reblog posts. This is one I will.

  17. Reblogged this on EezyPeezyLemonSqeezy and commented:
    I think David might speak for quite a few of us.
    Scots are admired the world over and yet we can’t call our country our own?
    The time is here….

  18. Les Wilson says:

    America followed the tactics of the British Empire, they became powerful, they used that power to gather “friends” to support their various “causes”, and help support and even fight in their wars.. As their power is slowly lessening they use dirtier tactics to keep these “friends”, in line with their policy.

    They have abandoned health care making it into a Billions of dollars industry.They are cutting “benefits” to the poor, and impoverishing millions of Americans. Yet they pay obscene pensions, wages and expenses to the big companies and political elite.

    So now the parent learns from the son, and the declining British state is a worthy student.
    They are carrying out all the same policies, the middle class and the poorest are being destroyed in order to keep the elites of society to remain untouched.

    All empires fade, and largely for the same reasons. The UK is in terminal decline as appears with America for no matter how they spin it, no matter how they and the media praise false figures and data. The debt is unsustainable. The truth is reflected in the lives of the people beneath the elites, whose lives are deteriorating fast.

    Scotland has the chance to buck the trend, to control the vampires and bring in social fairness and order, and buck the trends across the world. We can show that there can be a better way and will become a shining light that others can aspire to, and even more will learn from.
    Go Scotland, Go!

  19. Reblogged this on amnesiaclinic and commented:
    Very interesting point of view!

  20. bringiton says:

    British Labour supporters need to ask themselves the question,why was maintaining WMD on the Clyde more important to Labour than allowing a flourishing oil business to develop?
    Unemploymant in the West of Scotland was a price worth paying in order to maintain the facade of British global power.
    That is the party they will be voting to support with a No vote.
    Great article.

  21. Jan Cowan says:

    Excellent letter. The stats. regarding DWP and HMRC well worth spreading widely. Thank you, David.

  22. No bad. Heard worse.

  23. mary cuthbertson says:

    Just so good to read…thanks for this

  24. Reblogged this on Bluesprints mkII and commented:
    I was struck by the figures towards the end of this article. They’re worth absorbing.

  25. Hugh Wallace says:

    Reblogged this on Are We Really Better Together? and commented:
    “The debate is full of numbers and statistics… can I leave you with two of them, that to me define the nature of Britain today.

    The DWP employs 3250 investigators looking for £1.2bn of benefit fraud

    HMRC employs 300 investigators looking for £70bn of tax evasion”

  26. Hugh Wallace says:

    Thanks David! Maybe we will bump into each other one day campaigning in Aberdeen.

  27. Ruth Eadie says:

    Did Nicola Sturgeon not urge labour voters to vote yes in the referendum with the single purpose of then being able to vote for who they want in an independent country. A new Labour Party that truly represents Scotland and not the Eton common room Perhaps this argument, alongside more statistics like the DWP/HMRC ones from David will finally swing it? September 18th is coming up! After having spent most of my adult working life abroad I am desperate to see what Scotland will be like without the imposed “permanent austerity” of Westminster rule.

  28. YESGUY says:

    Welcome David and i hope we hear more from you.

    Very calm l, logical piece.


    Your getting some fine guests Paul. keep it up.

    This site is always a pleasure to come to.

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