Thinking very carefully

I’m plastered in potions and lotions in an attempt to get my psoriasis under control, but I’m not sure which is scabbier, psoriasis or the union. Psoriasis is a chronic condition, but there’s a cure for the union even though we have yet to persuade a majority of Scottish voters that the side effects of the cure are nowhere near as bad as the disease. The cure may be some way off, and we don’t yet have a date for our independence doctor’s appointment, but at least the cure exists.

Another psoriatic Union lesion burst out onto the surface this week giving independence supporters something to scratch, with the revelations that the Queen’s supposedly spontaneous non-intervention in the referendum debate was neither spontaneous nor a non-intervention. Well, I say revelation, this is one of those revelations like the revelation that the X-Factor is nothing more than a money making machine for Simon Cowell and not actually a means of nuturing genuine talent. It’s a shocking surprise that anyone with half a brain knew at the time was a set up job, but saying so would only have brought down a torrent of accusations of tinfoil hattery from the Unionists who dominate the media. The usual suspects would have chorused “ooooh get her” in unison like a drag queen boy band dressed as girl band who’d just been turned down by Simon Cowell on the grounds that they were more butch than Louis Walsh.

Anyway, so Liz’s office got a phone call from Davie Cameron’s office, begging her to do something, anything, to help prevent Scottish people from voting for independence. We’re dealing here with the rarified world of people who employ people to answer their personal telephones, because protocol dictates that you can’t just give Liz a call on her mobile and tell her that her operating system is infected with the virus of nationalism. Davie’s spad doubtless reminded the royal flunky on the other end of the phone that Scottish people are well known connoisseurs of vodka which they will cheerfully consume without crackers. Actually he probably didn’t, because he probably thinks we only drink whisky and isn’t very clear on the distinction between Irn Bru and Tizer.

Some have attempted to defend Liz’s intervention on the grounds that remarking that people should “think very carefully” before they vote is not in itself an attempt to influence the outcome. I’d ask such people to think very carefully before they open their gobs. You do not ask people to “think very carefully” before making a decision if you genuinely do not give a toss what decision people will reach. Imploring that a person should “think very carefully” is the sort of response that you give to an elderly and wealthy relative with no weans who’s just told you she’s considering leaving all her money to the Maryhill Food Bank and the Cute Yes Supporting Spanish Mongrel Foundation and isn’t going to leave it all to you so you can buy that large Highland estate you’ve always wanted and teach baby Prince George how to shoot Bambi’s mammy.

Clearly, Queeniepoos cares deeply, and equally clearly, would prefer we voted No. Because anyone with half a brain, even people with a quarter of a brain, in fact even Alan Cochrane, understands very well that an independent Scottish Parliament is far more likely to vote for a referendum on the future of the monarchy than the Westminster Parliament is. And Liz knows that too. She knows that as soon as she pops her clogs, an independent Scottish Parliament would be faced with a clamour for a referendum from hundreds of thousands of Scottish people who would rather have a potato as head of state than King Charles III. Although it wouldn’t really be that easy to tell the difference. On balance the potato would be better, because it could at least be distilled into vodka. The only thing you’d distill from Charles is an overpriced organic cracker and a flunky whose job is to squeeze toothpaste on the brush.

So having prevailed upon the Royals of the desperate need for an intervention that wasn’t an intervention really, Liz obliged with a wee charade involving getting the polis to position the waiting media in the exact place so they’d just happen to overhear Liz making a carefully rehearsed and choreographed spontaneous remark which was written and prepare by some Tory government official. A remark which didn’t contain any bias in its text, only in its subtext, providing a fig leaf of plausible denial. And moreover one which was conveniently disguised as an overheard private conversation, giving Liz the excuse not to comment on any uncomfortable or difficult questions that might arise in the future. Questions like – so you did stick yer highly privileged oar in even though you know that’s a no-no, didn’t you? Or questions like – you do know that the Scottish people reserve the right to get rid of monarchs that piss them off, don’t you? Or questions like – oh come on, you’re not saying you really take Alan Cochrane seriously, are you?

You can argue about how neutral the Queen’s comments were from now until the Sun has fused the last of its hydrogen into helium atoms and expanded into a red giant and consumed the Earth, or until Scotland has forgiven the Labour party for giving the Royal family a run for its money in the sense of entitlement states – my money is on the Sun – but you can’t deny that the entire episode was manipulative, underhand, conniving, immoral, and dishonest. Even though it achieved in its immediate purpose – to assist the chances of a No vote – it still managed to be woefully inept because it got found out and so has only damaged its longer term interests due to its own short-sighted maneouvering. All of which is, come to think of it, a pretty good description of the workings of the Westminster Parliament, and the longer term fate of the Union, so there’s a poetic circularity to it all.

In much the same way, this week Davie Cameron’s wheeze to use the result of the Scottish referendum as a political tool to head UKIP off at the pass and get one up over Labour fell apart around his ears. Operating for short term advantage leads to longer term failure – and in the case of the constitutional status of Scotland in the Union, the time bought by the short term maneouvering gets shorter and shorter. Back in the 1950s, the short term maneouvering that dismissed the two million strong petition of the Scottish Covenant bought Westminster nearly 30 years of kicking Scotland into the long grass, the 40% rule in the referendum of 1979 bought 18 years, and the referendum of 1997 bought Westminster 17 years. Yet despite the fact that Westminster won the referendum of 2014, they couldn’t even manage a couple of months. The Scottish lion is very much out of the long grass, and eyeing a devomax haunch and licking its lips. Westminster’s ungulates are looking on nervously.

In other news – I need a job. I’ve been subtle. I’ve dropped hints. I’ve coquettishly fluttered my eyelids, and trust me, coquettish is not a look that looks good on me, but I’m still awaiting the offer of a regular column in certain newly founded national newspapers. Newly founded national newspapers that could be doing with a wee more in the way of funny and not taking yourself that seriously. More in the way of miniature erythrismal canids, in fact. Because it’s not just Kevin McKenna that can write fancy words, oh no.

National newspapers aside. I really do need a job. I don’t propose boring you with my financial issues, but I didn’t inherit any pensions after my other half passed away, and I gave up work in order to care for him. So unless I can find a lasting means of supporting myself, there won’t be any blog articles because I’ll be too busy asking “Big Issue?” to passers by in the street. Well maybe not, because I do at least have my own house. But I need to eat. And to pay the bills.

I’m 52, have an impressive line in vintage suits, and speak fluent Spanish. I formerly worked as the editor of a monthly English language magazine in Spain. Very much the low rent end of the publishing trade, but it taught me how to write to a deadline. Prior to that I worked in the voluntary sector. Ideally I’d like a part time job, anything I can do sitting on my bum in an office – or even working from home. Except a call centre, or sales. And I’m too old for the outdoorsy stuff, or heavy lifting.

So gie’s a joab, somewhere within travelling distance of the East End of Glasgow.  I have a full driving licence but no car.  All serious offers will be seriously considered. email me at


46 comments on “Thinking very carefully

  1. Lynne Dixon says:

    In the short term, perhaps a wee crowd-funding project just to keep the wolf from the door & your fine words on the screen?

  2. Sandra says:

    We want you in the national

    Sign this to support a petition to get Wee Ginger Dug in OUR National

  3. Ha ha! Duly signed after careful thought!

  4. Maria Sheridan says:

    Delighted to sign. Have also completed questionnaire for The National and requested a regular weekly column for Wee Ginger Dug!

  5. Alison says:

    I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you on the job . it would be a big loss to us all if u stopped writing.

  6. Clash City Rocker says:

    Can’t sign petition at work, but will do so tonight from home. The National is very badly in need of all that the Dug can offer. There are a lot of stories like this one that it hasn’t picked up…a bit worrying really. I’m beginning to wonder if it deserves my support.

    • diabloandco says:

      I have major , cynical doubts about its very existence but if Paul became one of its columnists I would continue to buy it.
      If it employed other stalwarts who told unvarnished truths – I would be delighted.

  7. Derick fae Yell says:

    Get thee to Goodmoves, search West of Scotland, status part time

  8. andygm1 says:

    Fear not Paul, have another crowdfunder, I’d certainly contribute.

  9. Martin Wood says:

    The national

    I’d love it – you’ve cheered me up “royally” if you forgive the turn of phrase during the darkest pit of September 19th

  10. mary says:

    Well said Paul
    I’ve signed too AYE

  11. annelawrie says:

    Signed. Hope you get your dream job!
    As for the monarchy – I heard a wee rumour that there might be an abdication message at Christmas!
    “A hereditary monarch is as absurd a position as a hereditary doctor or mathematician.”
    ― Thomas Paine

  12. Brian Fleming says:

    King Charles III? Surely not, Paul. Hasn’t the bold prince said he’ll take the official title of King George the 7th or 8th or whatever, in order to avoid the curse that seems to surround the combination of the words ‘king’ and ‘Charles’? For me, I’m all for “King Charles III, off with his head, All hail the Scottish Republic!” Although I think he’s a decent enough chap in himself, for a royal. But enough’s enough.

  13. Gavin Barrie says:

    The National would benefit from your contribution – usefully valid reporting and commentary on events in Spain for example in addition to the skills you note here. And then there will be the journalistic task of exposing Sneeky J Murphy’s lies and innuendos. Carolyn Lecke is doing well with her column.

    Interesting rumour that the Queen may abdicate next week. I’ll have to rely on the National to report it. as I’ve never listened to her Christmas message – why should I?
    So Brown deceives and threatens pensioners,then exits the political stage.
    Darling colludes with the Tories and he too exits the political stage. Is it that they cannot face the Indy music crescendo building, or surely not, their conscience?

    That fool Cochrane tells the world that the journalist profession doesn’t matter, so why continue to employ him as journalist? Was the rumoured £10,000 reward = £6,000 after 40% tax for being a sneak, his payoff from his English master?
    That’s three “notables”, plus a fool. Who’s next?

    I hope the National have read your article here as they are looking for a sub-editor, you should apply.

  14. George Elliott says:

    Signed, and agreed it would liven up the paper! We need more satirical writer in the MSM who can call a spade a shovel 😉

  15. Gavin Barrie says:

    Correction: I see that the National are seeking an Assistant editor, not Sub. A better prospect?

    Newsnet Scotland too would benefit from Paul’s writing.Currently it is as dry as a stick in the Sahara.

  16. vronsky says:

    It’ll no pit shoes on the wean’s feet or a meal on the table, but push The National thing. You are probably not going to get a conventional job – maybe you don’t want one – so you need a few different revenue streams (sorry for jargon). An occasional column in The National could be a wee bit of help. Greg Moodie elbowed in and for my money he’s not half as amusingly queer (in the most postitive sense of the word) as you are.

    But if you need money, just ask. Brass it out. Yer amang freens.

  17. arthur thomson says:

    I agree with others on here Paul. I will sign the petition and I will be very happy to contribute to a crowdfund. I VALUE what you contribute as others do and I know, as others do, that you can’t live well on fresh air alone. Don’t be backward about coming forward. Yer among freens as said above.

  18. liz says:

    Happy to contribute to a crowd fund and I see others have suggested the sub-editor job at the National, which would be really good.

    Or a weekly column in the National.

    Greg Moodle advertised himself and managed to get a weekly cartoon.

    Good luck on the job front.

    Having experienced some skin problems myself, not psoriasis, bathing in sea water is supposed to be good.

  19. Nana says:

    Signed with pleasure!

  20. clashcityrocker says:

    Now signed!

  21. lazy git says:

    Dear National,i sometimes miss my copy your paper because it’s
    sold out by the time i get to the shop.
    I visit the weegingerdug shop 7 days a week,cause i’m feart to
    miss anything.
    1+1 = 2 good to miss!

  22. M says:

    Signed with pleasure. Don’t know if you’ve ever tried acidophilus for psoriasis, but I found it worked well after a few weeks – only problem is the side effect of rather a lot of unwanted gas!

  23. neil bruce says:

    Signed and happy to do so, please keep writing these words
    of wisdom, they kept me going , as did wings over Scotland,
    after the 18th.

  24. Signed the petition, commented too and would definitely contribute if you had a wee fundraiser to get you through a couple of months. Your excellent blog is worth a few quid of anyone’s money Good luck, Paul x

  25. INDEPENDENT says:

    Hi Paul,
    I agree you would indeed be an asset to The National, only point being they are maybe a wee bit scared of being sued over some of your brilliant pieces. I personally would welcome a greater exposure for your cutting re-appraisal of the political scene, i.e. Telling it as it is.
    Unfortunately you may have to temper it ever so slightly so they can feel comfort in offering you a column.
    You know what I mean, substitute some asterisks! So, (Bo****ks) to them.
    Hope the itch improves and you get the gig, up for a crowd-fund to help you.

    Best regards.


    P.S. Off to sign your petition now!

  26. Signed petition with pleasure. We need more writers with “dug” in their name in the mainstream press!

  27. Calgacus says:

    WGD, please just have a wee crowd funding. Only too happy to contribute.

  28. Richard Smith says:

    The likelihood of Brenda chucking in the day job in favour of the Black Spider are microscopically slim. She’s in better nick than her mum was at that age, and she’s not going to want to sit back and watch that boy screw up all her good work.
    Speaking of age, I was 55 when I started an outdoorsy, heavy-lifting job, and it’s probably the best job I’ve ever had. After a career of lurking in offices and tech rooms, my weight and blood pressure are down, and overall health, fitness and morale are much improved. I wouldn’t rule out that sort of work on the basis of being merely 52…

  29. Dave Hansell says:

    Good luck with the job hunting and keep up with the postings on this blog. If you crack it put in a good word will you please? I have two sprogs 18 months out of uni struggling to find work in this field. One has a masters in print journalism and a bachelor’s in politics and international relations, the other graduated in digital media.

    A company pension and a part time wage only goes so far even in Yorkshire where us natives are like the Scots only with every ounce of generosity squeezed out us.

    I was intrigued about the rumour of the queen abdicating until I read this piece above, then it fell into place. The raving cynic inside me insists this might well be a runner to ensure the smooth (er) passage of royal succession before any future independent Scottish Parliament is created to throw a spanner in the process along the lines implied in this article. It would certainly be a more logical option than to wait until lizzy pops her diamond studded footwear in this context.

    In the long run it could be argued this might not change the eventual outcome. However, this sort of move is attritional, a game those who make up the establishment of the British State have been playing for a number of centuries.

  30. faolie says:

    Signed with best wishes to you, Paul. And the best of luck too.

    As to the queen abdicating, I’d say nae chance. Herself’s no daft. She knows that abdication will weaken the monarchy. Witness that abdication and accession in Spain. Made ye puke. Nope, Her Maj will be queen until she dies.

  31. scotsgeoff says:

    If you had a regular column in The National it would have one more regular reader.

  32. Jan Cowan says:

    Electricity was off yet again but now able to sign Sandra’s petition with pleasure. Good luck, Paul and thanks for sorting out the queen’s nonsense.

  33. AndyC says:

    Signed the petition but agree that you should try crowd funding too! You are a brilliant writer Paul!

  34. punklin says:

    I am seriously worried, royally so in fact. If someone as talented and funny as you, a gifted writer in his prime, has even to think of uttering the word “giesajoab” then we are all doomed! IMHO. OHMS.

    Richard Walker: wake up and smell the dog – perlease…

  35. MoJo says:

    petition signed – if you want to crowd fund that WGD book previously proposed happy to help. Also re your skin – as a fellow sufferer I swear by a couple of spoonfuls of cider vinegar and honey in hot water or apple juice first thing each morning – helps to balance the body chemistry apparently and also reduces inflammation in arthritis. Try it ….( and avoid all other sorts of vinegar as they have opposite effect)

  36. Paula Rose says:

    How about an account for subscriptions? A couple of hundred of us at a tenner a month should do the trick.

  37. megmerilees says:

    Signed with delight and yet again the eternal hope for good things from a Scot Semus

  38. diabloandco says:

    Need help !
    Can someone translate this gobbledygook for me ?
    Trying to get on to Wings and get this message,
    “Your PHP installation appears to be missing the MySQL extension which is required by WordPress.”
    Nae idea what that is telling me!

  39. Luigi says:

    Signed – the WGD’s brilliant writings need maximum distribution.

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