A rammy, a swerry word, and abuse

Sorry for the lack of updates to the blog for the past few days, but I’ve been unwell and lying languidly on the chaise longue familiarising myself with the finer points of the legal system. Some people would say that means I’ve really had my arse glued to the sofa, full of a cold and feeling sorry for myself while watching repeats of Judge Judy, but they’d be cruel and heartless bullies like those who swear at billionaire authors on Twitter who’ve got no one to back them up except 6 million followers and the entire UK media.

I missed the Sweargate scandal, what with being snottery and no well. Apparently Stu Campbell of Wings Over Scotland, seemingly in one of his frequent provocateur moods, swore at JK Rowling and wosserface from the 80s on Twitter – both of whom are very good at trolling duties themselves. The last time a swerry word provoked such condemnation was when Johnny Rotten swore at Bill Grundy on the telly in 1976. We’ve got more used to authentic working class language in middle class media spaces these days. Nowadays you can hardly go five minutes on Channel 4 without someone swearing – although usually that’s the viewer when they realise the unmitigated pish that’s on offer on the channel. Swerry words are not offensive, certainly not if you’re Scottish, but they do provide an excuse to take offence, which isn’t quite the same thing.

Anyway, I’m not proposing to defend what was said, nor to take offence on the part of the poor victimoids, but it does seem to me that the entire episode only became an episode because of the parties involved – that would be JK Rowling with her prominent unionist pointy hat on, and Stu Campbell the media’s favourite vile cybernat. No one really gives a shit about wosserface from the 80s.

The internet is full of swerry words, people seeking to offend, and people seeking to find offence to take. One of the worst cyberspats I ever had the misfortune to witness involved some very strong language about the detailing on a Hornby model steam engine. Boys’ toys are important, and it’s really, REALLY important when someone is wrong on the Internet. The fact is that the internet exists primarily for three things: A) pornography, B) pictures of cats in amusing poses – and apparently for some people with particularly recherché tastes categories A and B overlap – and C) having bad tempered pointless arguments about pointless shit. The very first two people ever to use the Internet used it to exchange expletives about a photo of a cat in a sexually provocative pose.

There’s a bit of a devaluation of language going on here too. When one adult says fuck to another adult over the Internet, that’s not abuse. Abuse is a child being the victim of an assault at the hands of an adult, abuse is a powerless person being attacked by the powerful, abuse is an illegal war, abuse is rape, abuse is violence. Mentally competent adults swearing at one another over the Internet is none of these things. It’s just a rammy.

However when the swerry words are being exchanged by an independence supporter and a unionist, all of a sudden it’s abuse. And it’s invariably the indy supporter who is the abuser. Indy supporter swearing at unionist is news, unionist swearing at indy supporter is not news. This is the imbalance that sticks in the craw. If the media was not so quick to condemn just the one side in the online ramminess and go greeting abuse whenever someone from Glesca used a swerry word, then indy supporters would be less inclined to rush to the defence of those who engage in it. We end up with a vicious circle of self-righteousness in which everyone feels perfectly entitled to tell everyone else to fuck off.

Then there are those who wring their hands at the online behaviour of followers of Scottish politics – invariably the followers being those of a pro-independence persuasion, and equally invariably the hand wringers are of a Unionist persuasion. It’s a scandal, it’s a shock, it’s appalling. And so it is. When grown up adults behave like hormonal teenagers having a fit of door slamming you don’t understaaaaaand me and I didn’t want to be born anyway, it’s never edifying. But this is not a problem that’s specific to Scottish politics. It’s an Internet thing. Complaining about internet swerry words as though it was a specific problem for Scottish politics is a bit like complaining about the neighbour’s cat shitting in your garden after a mains sewer has broken and flooded the entire town. And it’s not even one of those pornography cats.

Trust has broken down between a large segment of the Scottish population – I’d argue a majority – and the Scottish media. I’ve argued before that when that happens it’s not the fault of the people, it’s the fault of the media. The perception is that our media is one sided, partisan, and reflective of the views of only a part of the population. This is a dangerous and unhealthy state of affairs in a democracy. It’s not like there’s any shortage of instances of independence supporters being subject to verbal rammies from the gobs of Unionists, but they never seem to make the newspapers or the telly. And with every Internet rammy dressed up as an abuse scandal, the little bit of faith in the media that still remains withers a little bit more.

Some months ago GA Ponsonby, formerly of Newsnet Scotland, published a book detailing the one sidedness of the BBC during the independence referendum. How the BBC Stole the Referendum is an important and well researched book which goes to the heart of media imbalance in Scotland. There’s now a crowdfunding appeal to raise the cash to make the book into a documentary. I’ve already agreed to take part in it. The way to start changing things is to spread the message that things need to change. This documentary project is a vital contribution to that. If you haven’t donated already it’s well worth doing so. Let’s make this happen.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/how-the-bbc-stole-the-referendum-the-documentary/#/story

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

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Order the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug Vols 1 & 2 for only £21.90 for both volumes. A limited number of signed copies is still available, so get your order in now! P&P will be extra, approximately £3 per single volume or £4 for both sent together. If you only want to order one volume, please specify which. Single volumes are available for £10.95 per copy.

To order please send an email with WEE GINGER BOOK ORDER in the subject field to weegingerbook@yahoo.com giving your name, postal address, and email address and which volumes (1, 2 or both) you wish to order. I will contact you with details of how to make payment. Payment can be made by Paypal, or by cheque or bank transfer. There is a limited number of books in stock, so get your order in today!

Ten other things I hate about Westminster

1. Zombies
Michael Forsyth has a seat in the House of Lords and influences Scots laws and policy despite the fact that he’s so much of a loser that the English rugby team look down on him. Forsyth lost his seat in the Commons in 1997 when he was the leader of the Scottish Tories. He didn’t just lose his own seat, he lost every single Tory seat in Scotland. In any other line of work there are consequences for such devastating failure. If he was a doctor he’d have killed all his patients and would be struck off. If he was a teacher all his pupils would be unemployed drug addicts and the parents would have got a court order banning him from approaching 300 metres of a school. If he was a bungee jump operator he’d have been slung off a cliff with a snapped elastic. But he’s a Westminster politician, and Westminster rewards political death with a seat in the Lords. It’s the zombie plague of politics.

2. Elective dictatorships

The first past the post system of voting produces huge majorities for parties which achieve just 36% of the votes cast. Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair never secured a majority of votes cast, but they ruled for decades with massive majorities – the result was the devastation of industrial communities, wars, privatisation, and the enrichment of a tiny minority. But that’s exactly what the first past the post system is designed for, not to reflect the votes of the people, but to produce a “strong” government – which is Westminster code for a government that can do what it wants and not what the people want. The UK isn’t a democracy, it’s an elective dictatorship.

3. Sovereignty of parliament

Under the Westminster system, the people are not sovereign, the parliament is. In normal democracies, the people are the ultimate authority, in the UK it’s the Westminster parliament. This means that the British state isn’t run for the benefit of its people, but for the benefit of its political establishment. Westminster is the fount of all power, and it’s not keen on sharing it. It’s the myth of the sovereignty of parliament which means that real devo max or full fiscal autonomy is a non-starter, even though this is probably the constitutional settlement which most Scots could support. Under proper devo max, Scotland would be responsible for all its own income and expenditure, and would transfer an agreed amount to Westminster for shared UK responsibilities in defence and foreign affairs. But this would mean that Scotland held the power in relationships between Holyrood and Westminster, not the Westminster parliament, because Scotland could decide – for example – it wasn’t going to transfer funds to Westminster to pay for one of the many wars that Westminster is prone to going off on. Scotland isn’t going to get devo max or a federal settlement because it’s a direct challenge to the sovereignty of Westminster. Westminster isn’t going to let that happen.

4. Duck moats and posh boys
Ducks are cute. Tory politicians with duck moats aren’t cute. Tory politicians who expect the public to pay for their duck moats are taking the duck pee. Screwing expenses is a Westminster sport, as is leaving politics and sailing into well paid consultancies and directorships on the back of the contacts politicians made while in office. There’s no come back, there’s no oversight, because the people doing the oversight are other politicians from the same narrow social group playing the exact same game. It’s not against the rules, they bleat, because they’ve written the rules in order to benefit themselves. A lack of accountability breeds arrogance and incompetence, and those are the only two qualities which Westminster has in abundance.

5. Tories
We spend far too much time bewailing Tories, moaning about Tories, railing furiously at Tories, and hating Tories. In a normal country, the Tories would be marginal figures of fun whose extremist views were derided and mocked by the mainstream. But although Tories are derided and mocked by the mainstream of the public in Scotland, they’re not marginal in political or media influence because we don’t live in a normal country. We live in a country where the government is elected by the neighbours, and far too many of the neighbours like voting Tory. Because of the Tory hold on the neighbours, Scotland is blessed with a media where the number of Tory voices is ridiculously disproportionate to the number of Tories in the general population. Scotland doesn’t have a dialogue with itself, there’s a monologue from the bar bore next door and our interjections are rarely heard.

6. The British Parliamentary Road to Socialism
The most pernicious myth of British politics is the foundation myth of the Labour party which believes that if only a socialist party can gain control of the British state by achieving an absolute majority in the House of Commons, then all wrongs will be righted, all ills cured, and no one would ever have to see Katie Hopkins ever again. 100 years and counting on from the foundation of the Labour party, it has enjoyed several decades in power, and we’re no closer to the end of the journey on the British Parliamentary Road to Socialism. Meanwhile the road has turned into an overgrown dirt track covered in undergrowth in which lurk Blairite monsters. Jeremy Corbyn has promised to attack the undergrowth with machetes, but he’s already got stuck in the potholes of petulance from the Blairite faction. His chances of making progress and pretty much zero. The truth is that for the left in Scotland, the Corbyn project is a distraction, the only way we’ll make real progress is through independence.

7. Devolution
A power devolved is a power retained. The word devolution was invented by Westminster politicians because it implies the opposite of evolution. In their infinite kindness, they were prepared to loan Scotland some of Westminster’s powers, but the term devolution makes it plain that the ultimate power remains with Westminster and they can take back the devolved powers whenever they please. Westminster begrudges any loss of power, even a “loan”, and fights tooth and nail to preserve its overweening influence and control. Even when faced with an existential threat in the form of a Scottish independence referendum, Westminster still couldn’t bring itself to offer the Scottish people meaningful and substantial self-government. All we got was control of road signs and some half-arsed tax and social security powers which are designed to aid the Tories politically, not to answer Scotland’s needs. The devolution of broadcasting – an essential prerequisite for any self-governing territory or nation – isn’t even on the table. The Westminster parties use devolution as a political tool with which to beat up the SNP and each other. Scotland gets sidelined and ignored. Real self-government and self-determination comes from the people, not from politicians. We’re never going to get that from Westminster.

8. Doing whatever the establishment wants
Britain has no written constitution. What we do have is a load of practices, customs, and laws scattered about in various statutes, and what passes for a constitution means that the British establishment can do what it pleases. Customs and practices don’t spring into being because the constitution fairy waved her magic wand, they arose because a previous government did it and got away with it. Modern governments make up their own customs, practices, and establish their own precedents in the British Doing Whatever the Establishment Wants. These never further democracy. What we’ve ended up with is no separation of powers between branches of the government, giving the Prime Minister effective control of everything. The two main parties show no inclination to change things because they’re holding out for their turn in charge. The result is stagnation and decline and it’s never going to get any better. The only way to get a proper written constitution which spells out the powers and responsibilities of government, and the people’s means of gaining redress, is Scottish independence.

9. The moronisation of politics

Watching Prime Minister’s Questions is like sticking your genitals into a food processor because someone told you it was juicy. You can actually feel your neural synapses give up the ghost and die when you watch a debate in Westminster. It’s a guarantee that the MP for Safeseatshire will pop up and ask an entirely irrelevant question, especially when Scotland is the topic. Although to be fair when Scotland is the topic the Tory and Labour benches are usually empty, except when a vote is called when the Dishonourable and Disreputable Members ooze out of the bars and into the voting lobbies. Let’s be honest here, backbench MPs are not there to debate or to get to the bottom of complex issues on behalf of the people. They’re not elected to think, they’re unthinking lobby fodder for the party whip. We’re governed by morons who know nothing about us and care even less.

10. The Long Goodbye
Scotland is leaving the UK. That’s a prediction, an inevitability, a certainty. It’s not a question of if, but of when. In the meantime we’ve got to put up with all this asinine crap while we wait for No voters to realise that the promises they were made are as worthless as an intervention in a Scotland Bill debate from an inbred Tory posh boy. But the penny is slowy dropping. Scotland will get nothing from Westminster, and Westminster will never change.

The only consolation is that we at least have an escape route.

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

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Order the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug Vols 1 & 2 for only £21.90 for both volumes. A limited number of signed copies is still available, so get your order in now! P&P will be extra, approximately £3 per single volume or £4 for both sent together. If you only want to order one volume, please specify which. Single volumes are available for £10.95 per copy.

To order please send an email with WEE GINGER BOOK ORDER in the subject field to weegingerbook@yahoo.com giving your name, postal address, and email address and which volumes (1, 2 or both) you wish to order. I will contact you with details of how to make payment. Payment can be made by Paypal, or by cheque or bank transfer. There is a limited number of books in stock, so get your order in today!

A dumb carpy spate of Unionists

According to an assortment of Unionists who have been greeting their wee eyes out to anyone who will listen, which is pretty much most of the Scottish and UK media, Scotland is a one party state. Most recently the claim that Scotland is a one party SNP state has been made by Adam Tomkins, who’s a Conservative Holyrood candidate in a city with a Labour cooncil. Adam’s penned an article for the Tory magazine the Specator, edited by Frazer Irritable Vowel Syndrome Nelson, written as though it had to be smuggled out of the country on toilet paper from the gulags of Gourock, because there are no media vehicles for Unionism in Scotland, apparently.

But the poor put upon Unionists shouldn’t be too disheartened, after spending the referendum campaign telling Scots that their country was a bit rubbish and incapable of doing anything done by a normal country – like having money or pensions or a health service – they should at least take a modicum of comfort from the fact that if Scotland is a one party state, then it’s pretty rubbish at being a one party state. Scotland is so rubbish at being a one party state that Sturgeon must apologise immediately. Scotland didn’t even make it into the qualifiers for one party stateness, that’s how rubbish at it we are.

In yer normal run of the mill one party state, it does what it says on the tin. There’s the one party, or there’s one dominant party and a number of smaller parties which are licenced franchises of the large one and do its bidding. Scotland fails dismally at the outset here, as there are five parties who have representatives in the Scottish parliament, and considerably more parties which stand during Scottish elections. Far from being puppets of the SNP, these other parties compete against the SNP, and in the case of the Unionist parties their loathing is overt and frequently detailed in the press.

Scotland is so mince at being a one party state that there’s absolutely nothing to prevent parties other than the SNP from being elected. When there are mutterings of electoral fraud it’s invariably supporters of independence who are the ones doing the muttering. Ruth Davidson complained about burly men at a polling station, but these burly men turned out to be as fictional as the compassionate conservatism that Ruth claims to stand for.

And these other parties which the SNP allows to exist because it’s so rubbish at one party statiness represent the entire rainbow of political colours. It’s just unfortunate for the Unionist parties that the colours they represent are fifty shades of skidmark. Sadly for Adam Tomkins and other Unionist apologists who run greeting to the media about how oppressed they are in Scotland’s more than one party state, a country doesn’t qualify as a one party state just because its Unionist parties are so pathetically inept that no one wants to vote for them.

In a normal one party state the governing party has tight control of the media, and stories critical of the ruling party are not allowed anywhere near a printing press or a broadcast studio. Scotland is so rubbish at being a one party state that its ruling party allows the media to gorge itself on SNPbad stories. An SNP MP has a tastefully decorated living room and it’s a story in the papers. In the bitter imaginings of those who keep stating we’re a one party state, the fact there’s a single daily newspaper and a single Sunday newspaper which support Scottish independence means that it’s impossible to criticise the ruling party. Except when one of them has a tastefully decorated living room, or except on every single episode of Reporting Scotland that’s ever been broadcast, and except when the Scottish media goes on one of its regular SNPbaaaad piranha attacks. It could be argued that the media in Scotland does behave like it’s in a one party state, only the state in this case is the Unionist state.

We live in a state where the powerful rush to claim victimhood status. The Unionist establishment which ruled Scotland for so long didn’t complain about a one party state when it was Labour which enjoyed majority rule. Labour’s domination of Scottish politics in the 1980s and 90s was far more comprehensive than the SNP’s is now. They’re not at all happy now that another party has trounced them – and this time under a far fairer voting system.

What really upsets Scotland’s Unionists is that the Unionist status quo is no longer unquestioned and unchallenged. Support for independence is no longer the preserve of a tiny minority which can be sidelined and ignored. We’re here, we’re growing in number, and we’re in their faces and they don’t like it. They don’t like it that the future of their Union which once stretched off into the far distance and over the horizon of decades and centuries, is now to be numbered in a few years at best. They don’t like it that it’s them who are the laughing stock.

And now here were are, at the fag end of Union, and the once mighty British state is reduced to pleading victimhood status in the vain hope that people will vote for it because they feel sorry for it. The mighty British state and its apologists, they don’t want to talk about the havoc that Westminster and its Tory masters wreak and the lives that are sacrified on the altar of austerity, they want to talk about how someone in a wheelchair spat at a journalist, about how an unemployed man called a politician a rude name. This is a state that wants to strip everything from its victims, including their status as victims.

Poor put upon Unionists, even the fact that they’re so rubbish that they can’t get anyone to vote for them is all the fault of the evil SNP. They’re never going to cease telling anyone who will listen that they’re the real victims, as they rob the poor, dispossess people on housing benefit, and demand that paralysed people pass work assessments. We don’t have a one party state, but what we most definitely do have is a dumb carpy spate of Unionists whose definition of being well balanced is to have a fish supper on each shoulder.

And finally, on a personal note – today it is two years exactly since I started this blog. There have been laughs, there have been tears, but it’s always been an adventure. I’d like to thank all my regular, and not so regular, readers for giving me a reason to get up in the mornings. Here’s to many more years to come.

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

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Order the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug Vols 1 & 2 for only £21.90 for both volumes. A limited number of signed copies is still available, so get your order in now! P&P will be extra, approximately £3 per single volume or £4 for both sent together. If you only want to order one volume, please specify which. Single volumes are available for £10.95 per copy.

To order please send an email with WEE GINGER BOOK ORDER in the subject field to weegingerbook@yahoo.com giving your name, postal address, and email address and which volumes (1, 2 or both) you wish to order. I will contact you with details of how to make payment. Payment can be made by Paypal, or by cheque or bank transfer. There is a limited number of books in stock, so get your order in today!

The cat crap trap

The biggest problem with the Tories isn’t that they’re evil and selfish, although they are most certainly evil and selfish. You only have to look at George Osborne basking in the adulation of the Tory conference to see that. But that’s not the biggest problem with the Tories. The biggest problem with the Tories is that they’re evil, selfish, and transparently manipulative like a cat which has crapped in your shoes and expects you to blame your significant other for it. They’re evil and manipulative and just don’t care, because they know there’s not a great deal we’re able to do about it. And cats are considerably cuter than George Osborne. No one has ever felt the urge to chuck George under the chin, just the urge to chuck him over a cliff.

Sadly – thank you No voters – Scotland is powerless before the evil selfish Tories. Our powerlessness before the Tory onslaught is not solely down to the fact that we’re only a few months after a General Election in which they won a majority in England, it’s also because the Tories also know that in Scotland they have no meaningful support and so can do what they like without suffering any meaningful electoral consequences. David Cameron isn’t going to lose any sleep over the fate of the Tory party in Scotland, because the Tory party in Scotland already makes a shuffling zombie look like a nifty mover. And zombies probably smell more fragrant too.

However this doesn’t stop the party’s Westminster Head Office from giving the corpse of the Scottish Tories the occasional electric shock, in the hope that they can jolt some life into the rotting body. They know however that there’s no real prospect of this ever happening, so instead their interventions in Scotland are designed more to trip up the other parties. This isn’t difficult to achieve with the Labour party in Scotland, it must be said, as tripping up a party which is staggering about blindly is about as simple as David Mundell.

The latest Tory cunning plan involves the party’s favourite fetish – taxation. Despite having historically the same enthusiasm for devolution as a dental patient has for root canal treatment without an anaesthetic, all of a sudden the Tories are falling over themselves to make like the tooth fairy, promising shiny new tax powers in return for a few molars. However the new tax powers which the Tories are hurriedly bringing forward for the Scottish Parliament are new powers in the exact same way that cat crap in your shoes gives you extra height which opens up undreamt of new vistas.

What the Tories are hoping is that they can put pressure on the Scottish Government on income tax, the most visible and noticeable of all the taxes, the tax that directly affects ordinary working people. It is of course income tax that the Tories are proposing to give Holyrood limited powers over, not any of the other taxes which together raise 80% of a government’s revenues. Income tax is the most taxy of the taxes, it’s the one that directly has an impact in the pocket of working people in a way that other taxes do not. Income tax is the tax that the voters notice, and that’s why the Tories and Labour are prepared to devolve some control of it.

Combined with the package of tax responsibilities are equally limited powers over social security – powers which can only be exercised with the permission of David Mundell. These powers will give the Scottish government the ability to make up the difference to low paid workers whose tax credits have been slashed by the Westminster Tories. But the Scottish government will only be able to do so if it slashes public services or it increases the most taxy tax. It’s going to be the ordinary working people of Scotland who will pay twice for the cost of Tory economic slash and burning – and the cunning cat crap plan is to force the Scottish government to take responsibility for the Tories slashing tax credits for low paid workers with families.

Oh look, purrs Fluffy Mundell like the cat that’s crapped in your shoes, the Scottish Government has the power to raise income tax in order to compensate low paid Scottish workers for the cuts to their tax credits imposed by George Osborne. The political heat for the cuts to the income of low paid workers in then transferred from the people who impose the cuts, to a parliament which is not actually responsible for them. The Tories hope that the focus will be on the people with the bandages and plasters, and not on the basterts with the chainsaw who’ve just cut the support off from beneath the poor and the vulnerable. In this they will no doubt be assisted by a Scottish media that’s more interested in screaming SNPbaaaad than in holding Westminster to account.

The thing about traps is that they’re supposed to be well camouflaged, hidden deep in the woods and covered with branches where they can be cunningly sprung on their unsuspecting victims. This Tory trap is lit up in sparkly lights and sits under a neon sign that flashes TORY TAX TRAP in dayglo red white and blue while Fluffy Mundell poses on top of it wearing a Union Jack thong and a come hither smile. It won’t work, and not only because Fluffy is to honey traps and sexual allure as his boss is to porcine welfare. It won’t work because it rests upon the voters of Scotland not remembering that we have a Tory government which is engaged in slashing and burning the incomes of the poorest paid while it enriches the better off. It won’t work because it depends on the Scottish government not realising it’s a trap. And it won’t work because it depends on the people of Scotland having heads that button up the back.

Once again it’s Scotland that loses out as Westminster uses devolution as a means to play party political games. The Tories are hoping that their cunning taxy tax wheeze will mean Ruth Davidson can call a taxi for Kezia Dugdale and overtake Labour as the second party in Scottish politics. Ruth’s going to go into the next Holyrood election calling for tax cuts, while Labour’s going to demand that there’s a tax rise for the tiny number of people with high incomes. As they jostle for the runner up prize, it’s the chances of Scotland remaining in their precious Union that will get squeezed.

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

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Order the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug Vols 1 & 2 for only £21.90 for both volumes. A limited number of signed copies is still available, so get your order in now! P&P will be extra, approximately £3 per single volume or £4 for both sent together. If you only want to order one volume, please specify which. Single volumes are available for £10.95 per copy.

To order please send an email with WEE GINGER BOOK ORDER in the subject field to weegingerbook@yahoo.com giving your name, postal address, and email address and which volumes (1, 2 or both) you wish to order. I will contact you with details of how to make payment. Payment can be made by Paypal, or by cheque or bank transfer. There is a limited number of books in stock, so get your order in today!

Unionist sheep bleat SNPbaaaad

The shine has come off the SNP, say people who’ve spent the past decade throwing mud and crap at the party in the hope that some of it might stick. The main result of this exercise has been to leave crap all over the hands of the mud throwers, and an SNP which sails on unperturbed by the ripples created by Scotland’s media pond life. Mud slinging is a dubious political tactic, consisting at base of the unconvincing and base selling point that we should vote for a unionist party because a pro-independence party is as sleazy as a unionist party.

It’s a tactic which is doomed to fail. Every time Kezia Dugdale gets up at Furst Meenister’s Questions to hurl some more dirt at the SNP, all she does is to remind us just how dirty the Labour party is now and has always been. There’s not a lot of mileage in accusations of impropriety directed at the SNP out of the mouth of the leader of a party which only a short while ago saw five of its MPs receive jail terms. Then there’s the goings on in Glesca Cooncil under Purcell, the sink of North Lanarkshire and sectariangate, the pauchles of Falkirk selections, and a litany of scandal and sleaze which long since ceased to be a series of isolated incidents and became an intricate macramé of mafiosos.

Labour in Scotland is not a political party tainted by sleaze, it’s sleaze with the occasional spots of politics. Scandal and sleaze is what defines them. Not that that stops Labour from trying to claim the moral high ground, when in fact all they’re doing is clambering on top a pile of corpses, most of which have been stabbed in the back by a former SLab MP. The result of this well known history of rankness is that when Kezia and her pals scream SNPbad, all the Scottish electorate hears is “See that SNP, they’re just as bad as we are.” It’s not a message that’s going to get any of their former support to return, but even though it’s a tactic that has been as successful as business selling pan scourers as toilet paper, Labour keeps scraping. They don’t know what else to do.

We’re told that it’s always important not to confuse the messenger with the message, and in the general run of things this is true. But in Labour’s case the SNPbad message is being delivered by a party which has a proven track record in badness. It’s like getting a warning about the dangers of organised religion from a Young Earth Creationist, or the Mongol Hordes railing against caravans on the A9. The message has no credibility when the messenger is guilty of far worse.

Another of Labour’s attacks died a death over the weekend when the director of T in the Park revealed his company had received financial support from the previous Labour Lib Dem coalition in Holyrood. For weeks now Labour and the Lib Dems along with the Tories have been trying to make out that the festival’s receipt of a grant from the Scottish Government was an atrocity on a par with the Massacre of Glencoe. Although that was carried out by Unionists and so was really just a bit of a misunderstanding and not in any way typical of Westminster’s historic attitude to Scotland, oh no.

Meanwhile, faced with a Tory government that’s demonising immigrants and dismantling the NHS, Labour chooses to attack the Tories by asking why Jeremy Hunt’s Chinese wife came to live in England. So much for the much heralded new politics. Corbynism has given Labour in Scotland the same sort of bounce that was last seen on a spacehopper which had lost an argument with Jim Murphy’s broken Irn Bru bottle. The SNP’s commanding lead in the opinion polls remains bright and shiny. It should be clear to even the most obtuse party leader by now that all the SNPbadness in the world isn’t going to do the Unionist parties any good, but it’s all they’ve got.

The only way in which the Unionist parties could start to make a serious dent in the SNP’s support is a way that’s closed to them. They’d have to start making a real commitment to the kind of devolution that they promised during the referendum campaign, and not the kind of devolution they’re currently trying to pretend is what they meant all along.

Oh but when we said home rule we didn’t actually mean, you know, home rule. We meant limited extra responsibilities over limited forms of taxation. And road signs. And no, don’t even think about getting your hands on the TV remote control. Now eat your cereal and go to your bedroom where the TV is set to the BBC and don’t dare imagine you can change the channel. What we really meant by the closest thing to federalism possible is whatever is going to advantage our parties, not what the people of Scotland want. This is still the game that the Unionist parties are playing, and it’s still the game that the electors of Scotland see right through.

If Labour wants to eat into the SNP’s support, it can only do so by attracting SNP voters back. That’s never going to happen if all that Labour has to offer is repeating ad nauseum that the SNP is as bad as Labour is. But then Labour’s real problem is that it’s so discredited that it could offer incontrovertible proof that it could give every person in Scotland winning lottery tickets, the ability to walk on water, the powder to turn base metals into gold, and most importantly of all, some actual real jam – but people would still not believe it.

All the SNP has to do is to be mildly competent and it’s still miles ahead of the competition. People are still going to vote for them no matter how much Unionist party sheep go SNPbaaad because they want to punish Labour and the Lib Dems and their proven record of incompetence, because they have no faith in the Westminster system, and because they want another independence referendum – and whatever your opinion of the SNP another independence referendum offers the people of Scotland the opportunity to wrest power for ourselves. Nothing Labour can offer is able to match that, no matter how many sheep bleat SNPbaaaad.

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

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Order the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug Vols 1 & 2 for only £21.90 for both volumes. A limited number of signed copies is still available, so get your order in now! P&P will be extra, approximately £3 per single volume or £4 for both sent together. If you only want to order one volume, please specify which. Single volumes are available for £10.95 per copy.

To order please send an email with WEE GINGER BOOK ORDER in the subject field to weegingerbook@yahoo.com giving your name, postal address, and email address and which volumes (1, 2 or both) you wish to order. I will contact you with details of how to make payment. Payment can be made by Paypal, or by cheque or bank transfer. There is a limited number of books in stock, so get your order in today!

Gordie peddles the pedalo of delusion

Gordie Broon’s been intervening again. This time he’s intervening in a doomed attempt to save his credibility, if not the carpets that he paces up and down on. Unfortunately for the clunking fistula, the Gordie Broon credibility ship sailed to the mythical land of media adulation quite a long time ago, struck the iceberg of self-deception, and is now rusting on the bottom of the ocean of self-regard, heavily encrusted by the barnacles of bluster. Not even all the balloons on the Labour benches in Holyrood could refloat it now. Gordie’s no longer sailing the ship of state, he’s peddling the pedalo of delusion.

Gordie would be the very last person to admit that his hastily cobbled together Vow was always as screwed as Peppa at a Tory party conference, but in his traditional haste to ensure that someone else takes the blame for his own failures, he has made a sideways admission that the only delivering his Vow has done has been to deliver Scotland into the pocket of the pig fanciers.

Despite serial claims from Labour politicians that the Vow has been fulfilled, Gordie now feels the need to point out that it hasn’t been fulfilled at all. This of course, is certainly not his fault. It never is. Nothing can dent the regard which Gordie has for himself, a regard matched only by his mythical status as a great statesman in Scottish media circles. The thing about a mythical status that has escaped Gordie’s notice is that it has no bearing in reality, somewhat like his Vow.

But Gordie is not to blame for the failure of a Vow whose success he swore blind he would personally ensure and take responsibility for. Oh no, it’s all the fault of those nasty Tories, the ones that Gordie worked his wee socks off to deliver Scotland to with his threats that you wouldn’t get your kidney transplant if Scotland voted Yes. Leaving Scotland prostrate and powerless before a majority Tory government elected by a mere 10% of the population, plugged in to a dialysis machine whose off switch is controlled by the Tories, that’s the kind of democracy that Labour told us we’d be better together with. Now we’ve got what Gordie wanted, only he’s unhappy to discover that he’s getting shafted along with the rest of us.

It was only by staying in the Union that the NHS was going to be safe, Labour said, as the NHS in England plunges into the worst financial crisis that it has ever seen, a crisis which is likely to have a knock on effect in Scotland. It was only by staying in the Union that Scotland would be able to guarantee social security and state pensions, said Labour. Pooling and sharing, repeated Gordie ad nauseum. There’s no pooling and sharing now, only social security pulling apart and shredding. It might be the Tories who are doing this damage, but Labour is to blame for delivering Scotland into their hands. That’s not a responsibility that Labour gets to escape from.

But the former prime minister who makes the invisible man seem like a bit of an exhibitionist wants us to know that it’s not his fault for believing that Tories would actually keep their promises when there was nothing to force them to do so and they have a history of duplicitous and underhand behaviour matched only by Gordie and his erstwhile chum Tony Blair themselves. Gordie’s blameless. In his own mind, if nowhere else.

Although Gordie has as much power to influence the Scotland Bill as a bacon sandwich has of resisting the advances of Davie Cameron. In his delusional state he still thinks he’s making policy. He paced up and down, wearing out the carpet, telling the press and his pre-vetting audience that he and Ian Murray propose giving the Scottish Parliament the clear and unambiguous power to top up what it pleases him to call, in the language of the Tory right, welfare payments. He is going to make it clear that the UK Parliament can’t have a veto over this. He’s going to achieve it by intervening in speeches to pre-vetted audiences, because that’s really going to make Davie Cameron sit up and take notice.

Gordie has no power at all. He’d have as much success if he attempted to achieve constitutional change through the medium of interpretive dance. This would at least have the advantage of being kinder on the carpet. All these dance steps he now thinks are so vital to ensure the future of the Union – maybe he could have performed them when he was actually in power, when he was Prime Minister. But when Gordie was Prime Minister he was far more interested in trying to prevent Scotland from having a referendum on independence in the first place and making sure we were the Cinderella who didn’t get an invite to the ball. That’s why Wendy Alexander got stabbed in the back.

What Gordie is complaining about now is that the Tories are using the non-progression of devolution for their own political ends. It’s unfair that the Tories should do that, it’s only Labour which has the right to use Scotland as a political football. After Labour used the consultations of the Smith Commission to water down the proposals as much as possible because all Labour was interested in was party advantage and not what was good for Scotland, they’re now complaining that the Tories are doing the exact same thing.

What Gordie meant by a modern form of Home Rule was a devolution settlement that suited the Labour party. As always, the desires of the Scottish population come a poor second to the desires of Westminster political parties. But never mind, yelling SNPbad! will substitute for having Scotland’s interests at heart. The Vow won’t deliver, because the Vow was always a lie. It was deliberately vague and deliberately unspecified so that it could be sold to the Scottish people as a modern form of home rule, as devo max, as the nearest thing to federalism possible, but still allow the Unionist parties to treat Scotland with the contempt that they have always done. Gordie’s not upset that the Vow has not been fulfilled, he’s upset that he’s been found out and his pedalo is peddled in ever decreasing circles.

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

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Order the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug Vols 1 & 2 for only £21.90 for both volumes. A limited number of signed copies is still available, so get your order in now! P&P will be extra, approximately £3 per single volume or £4 for both sent together. If you only want to order one volume, please specify which. Single volumes are available for £10.95 per copy.

To order please send an email with WEE GINGER BOOK ORDER in the subject field to weegingerbook@yahoo.com giving your name, postal address, and email address and which volumes (1, 2 or both) you wish to order. I will contact you with details of how to make payment. Payment can be made by Paypal, or by cheque or bank transfer. Books will be back in stock on Thursday, so get your order in today!

The bright light whooshing over Greater Britain’s head

The world ended yesterday, according to some mad churchlet of Christian fundamentalists. And in equally accurate predictions, according to the equally mad breathless fanboys of the right wing press, after today’s speech to the Tory party conference Davie Cameron is the new voice of the left. In other news, Hannibal Lector is the new voice of veganism, Ian Paisley is the Vatican spokesman on ecumenicalism, and the BNP are the new UN Commissioners for Refugees. Although that last one isn’t too far from the truth because in part due to the support of our Tory government, Saudi Arabia is now chairing the UN human rights council. If you think Cameron is centre ground, you need a new GPS because the one you’ve got has led you up shit creek. That’s where much of the UK media is currently marooned, having confused a Telegraph editorial for a paddle.

The purpose of Davie boy’s pleadings was to use his speech to try and entice some of the Blairite factions of the Labour party over to the Even-Darker Side. We got to witness the leader of the party which has been the main historic agency of discrimination use the struggles of the discriminated to make political capital. He railed against sexism, he complained about people with foreign sounding names not getting called back for job interviews, he moaned at the unfairness of racism and homophobia. But he didn’t say what he was going to do about any of it. Discrimination will magically vanish in Greater Britain just because Davie and his oh so modern Tories think it’s a bad thing. They don’t propose taking any steps to end it, because that’s the sort of thing that the Daily Telegraph doesn’t like, as it damages the life opportunities of middle class heterosexual white men. We’ll have none of that sort of thing in the Tories’ Greater Britain. It’s not clear what Dave meant by Greater Britain, although it’s a phrase he repeated a dozen times during his speech. Possibly it means more Union fleg bedecked pastry programmes on the BBC, because we don’t have many of those as it is.

Of course Davie’s newfound fairness was all just fluffy window dressing from a man who wants to withdraw from the European Treaty on Human Rights, a distraction technique to mask his dog whistle attacks which appeal to the right. Compassionate conservatism is like part time virginity. The real way in which the Tories intend to screw us all was revealed just the day before by Theresa May.

It wasn’t all pretendy cuddly. Davie attacked Jeremy Corbyn like he was attacking a pork pie. He accused the Labour leader of hating this great country which Davie loves like a bacon sandwich, in an entirely non-nationalist way of course. If it had been a Scottish politician who supports independence who had accused Labour of a Scotland-hating terrorist sympathising ideology, the newspapers would descend in a feeding frenzy that would make the Michelle Thomson piranha attack look like breadcrumbs in a goldfish bowl, but Davie can do it with impunity because British nationalism isn’t nationalism at all. British nationalism remains invisible, even when it wraps itself in a Union fleg and marches across the stage of the Tory party conference. The great thing about British nationalism is that it allows British people to be better than the foreigners and Scottish people who suffer from nationalism.

Maybe one day the UK press will realise that what pisses people in Scotland off isn’t that the SNP is criticised, it’s the media’s double standards. But that’s as likely to happen as David Cameron and the Tories actually doing something to combat discrimination instead of just using it to score cheap political points.

Davie got his loudest applause for a lie. He claimed that Jeremy Corbyn had described the death of Osama Bin Laden as a tragedy, and used the claim to launch into an attack on the Labour leader which the delegates loved. Naturally the BBC news didn’t examine the claim, which was as truthful as Davie’s intention to take real action to end all the discrimination he complained about in the same speech. What Jeremy Corbyn really said was that not bringing Bin Laden to trial was a tragedy. The tragedy he referred to was a tragedy for us not a tragedy for a mass murderer. But nuance is lost in hysterical headlines and in a BBC whose coverage of the speech consisted of little more than gushing guff. But then the speech was likewise gushing guff, so for once the BBC was accurate.

He’s going to ensure there are affordable houses for people who earn enough not to need social housing. If you earn £77 thousand a year then you’ll be able to afford one of the Tories’ new starter homes. But then if you earn £77 thousand a year, approximately the same as a backbench MP, then the only reason you should need help from the state with your housing is if the housing market has been irredeemably buggered by successive governments which have used an ever inflating housing bubble as a replacement for economic growth.

Davie’s rhetoric crashed into reality exactly like the asteroid promised by the Bible text interpreters. It’s a fantasy, but the world has indeed ended. We no longer live in a world where our political masters make any sense, or where they have to make any sense, because much of the UK media doesn’t report on them criticially. When the leader of the most right wing Tory party in history is described as making a bid for the centre ground, you know that Greater British politics have lost any anchor in the real lives of people in Scotland, where just 10% of us voted for this farce. Scotland isn’t a democracy, that’s the reality, and we are forced to pay attention to the prancing of what by any right ought to be marginal figures, because we live – for now – in this dysfunctional Union.

See that bright light in the sky? That’s reality whooshing over the heads of the establishment in Greater Britain. One day it’s going to come crashing down on top of them. Every day that passes brings us a day sooner to that inevitability.

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

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Order the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug Vols 1 & 2 for only £21.90 for both volumes. A limited number of signed copies is still available, so get your order in now! P&P will be extra, approximately £3 per single volume or £4 for both sent together. If you only want to order one volume, please specify which. Single volumes are available for £10.95 per copy.

To order please send an email with WEE GINGER BOOK ORDER in the subject field to weegingerbook@yahoo.com giving your name, postal address, and email address and which volumes (1, 2 or both) you wish to order. I will contact you with details of how to make payment. Payment can be made by Paypal, or by cheque or bank transfer. Books will be back in stock on Thursday, so get your order in today!