The fog of Union

The vow was the cunning plan of the Unionists in the last fevered days of the independence referendum. The entire point of the vow was to phrase things in a sufficiently vague manner so that the Westminions could claim that what was on the table was superdooper devomax, the most federocious federalissimo, and the devolviest devolving in the devolution of devolvement, when in fact what they intended to do was whatever it took to ensure that Scottish independence supporters would never put the shiters up Westminster ever again. A year on and the Westminions claim that the vow has been delivered, a claim that they keep repeating in the vain hope that if they say it often enough then someone other than the editor of the Daily Record might actually believe them.

The problem for the Unionist parties is that fogginess smothers both ways. According to a recent opinion poll, a mere 9% of Scots believe that the vow has been fulfilled, because just as the Unionists constructed the vow so that it could mean anything at all, the people of Scotland came to their own conclusions about what the vow was going to mean. We decided it was going to mean what the Unionist parties implied it meant in the days before the independence referendum, and we decided we were going to hold them to that promise – which is why there was an SNP landslide in May. However Westminster is fixated on the referendum vote and would prefer not to think about the subsequent election.

The piss poor proposals of the Smith Commission were Westminster’s response to the referendum vote, they’ve still not responded to May’s election results. The result of that lack of response is to tell Scotland in no uncertain terms that how we vote in Westminster elections doesn’t matter, but if that’s the case they’re also telling us that Westminster doesn’t matter either. They can’t have it both ways. They want to have it both ways, but they’re dealing with an electorate which can recognise a pauchle as quickly as it takes to say that the vow has been delivered.

Monday evening’s debate on the Scotland Bill was a farce. Well I say debate. It was a debate in the same way that a drunk man in a different room with his fingers in his ears going la-la-la-la is taking what you say seriously. The Westminions were notable only for their absence, and unlike Aliestair Carmichael most of them didn’t have the excuse of being up before a judge for telling a big fat porkie. They were in the Commons bars instead, with their fingers in their ears going la-la-la-la we’re not listening to what Scotland is saying. Then when a vote was called the gentlemen and ladies of the Commons who had voted to deprive Scottish MPs from having a say on English legislation scurried out from under their rocks to vote on Scottish legislation. And they voted down every amendment put forward by the party which was returned in 56 of Scotland’s 59 constituencies just a few short months ago.

There were a few MPs from English constituencies in attendance, and they got most of the speaking time. For the first half hour of the all too short time allocated to Scotland by the Commons, we were regaled by a discourse on the importance of English devolution. Then we got the balloon brained Alberto Costa, a Scottish Tory who represents an English constituency, telling us how it was a good thing that there are no Scottish representatives on the Commons committee that’s going to strip us all of our human rights, because human rights are a reserved matter. In Alberto’s world, Scottish MPs are not allowed any influence on British matters. But as the evening unfolded we discovered that Westminster doesn’t want Scottish MPs to have any influence on Scottish matters either.

Although they were asked a number of times, Tory ministers have refused to confirm that any top up payments made by the Scottish Government to mitigate tax credit cuts won’t be clawed back by the UK Treasury and the DWP. That’s just a risk you’ll have to take, smirked Fluffy Mundell when he was asked directly about it by Mhairi Black. Which means that’s precisely what the Tories will do. Any additional payments made by the Scottish Government to those affected by tax credit cuts will be deemed income by the DWP and the Treasury, and other benefits will be cut accordingly and the tax paid will be raised proportionately. The effect will be zero benefit to those affected. The politicking and positioning of the last few days was shown to be a charade by Mundell’s refusal to give a simple answer to a simple question.

Being genetically incapable of imagining that Scotland can have control of anything, Labour voted against allowing Scotland to control abortion law, because we need a male dominated Westminster to defend Scotland’s women from the female led parties in Holyrood. The move was motivated by nothing more than anti-Scottish racism, the deep rooted belief amongst certain sections of the British establishment that Scots are atavistic primitives who think feminism means allowing the little woman to decide what’s for tea.

Despite making a song and dance for the last couple of weeks about how the Scottish Parliament ought to mitigate tax credit cuts, Labour voted against the devolution of tax credits, thus making themselves look like massively hypocritical opportunists. Since the Tories were going to vote the measure down anyway, Labour could have voted for it safe in the knowledge that it wasn’t going to pass, and then the Tories would have copped all the blame. Instead they allied themselves with the Tories yet again. Labour’s only got one job along with its one Scottish MP, and that’s to oppose the Tories. They can’t even do that.

That wasn’t here here you heard in the chamber of the Commons, it was the sound of nails being hammered into the coffin of the Labour party. In this debate Labour proved that not only is it determined to frustrate the will of the Scottish people, that it’s self-centred and selfish, that would be be bad enough, but on top of all that it also proved that it’s very very stupid. But then you only need to hear James Kelly MSP open his gob and you can work that one out for yourself.

The Union is dying, and it’s dying because the people who say that they love it don’t love it enough to keep it alive. They love their power and their privilege and their entitlement far more. And with every move they make to keep hold of their power, the end of the Union comes ever closer, smothered to death in a fog of conceit. But the fog will clear and we can see an independent nation taking shape. Bring it on.


My new book is due to be published on 23 November. Barking Up the Right Tree is an anthology of my articles for The National newspaper and is being published by Vagabond Voices press, who also publish Jim Sillars. The dug is in exhalted company. None of the articles collected in this book have appeared on this blog.

You can submit an advance order for the book on the Vagabond Voices website at

Price is just £7.95 for 156 pages of doggy goodness. Order today!

A limited number of signed copies of the two volumes of the Collected Yaps is also still available. See below for order details.

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.

Donate Button

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 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. Get your order in today – an ideal Christmas present!

42 comments on “The fog of Union

  1. […] The fog of Union […]

  2. mogabee says:

    I wasn’t in to watch debate, such as it was, but played catch-up. Despite knowing how it would proceed, It was still shocking listening to such uncalledfor nastiness.

    Gloves are off now…

  3. macart763 says:

    I think that puts the tin lid on it.

    Westminster stabbed the Scottish electorate in the back and Labour’s betrayal is complete.

    Is there anyone out there in any doubt about what just happened today? Cameron’s ‘nothing is off the table’, Brown’s ‘near federalism’, the media’s ‘vow and devo max’, even the Smith Commission’s watered down original recommendations binned in favour of self interest.

    Devolution is power retained. It always was and it always will be.

    The establishment parties had absolutely no intent or interest in honouring Scotland’s right of self determination, neither as a devolved entity or an independent partner. Their one concern from start to finish was retaining Scotland’s geographic borders and securing a claim to resource and tax base… end of.

    All of what has occurred since September 19th, 2014 has been pure theatre, going through the motions. In reality there has been no Scotland Bill debates, no devolution settlement simply because debate of any sort was never intended. Their idea of a ‘settlement’ was agreed in all but signature long before a referendum took place and it certainly never required the input of Scotland’s electorate.

    The ONLY control the Scottish electorate ever had over the whole situation was (and still is) their ability to walk away, become independent. That was the gamble Westminster took and boy did they ever throw absolutely everything they had in order to effect the desired outcome.

    There is however still a little rain cloud on their parade of condescension and ignorance. The result of the referendum was not decisive and they are staring across a chamber at a majority SNP representation and across a border at a majority SNP government. Why is that a problem for them you might ask? After all they’ve shit on that representation since May this year.

    The answer is simple. Those people represent the Scottish electorate and are, unlike the tame and biddable representation of past governments, able and more than willing to listen to and respond to the popular will of that electorate.

    So if we’re quite done being patient and understanding, let’s start by returning a majority SNP government in May and then politely, responding to Westminster’s devolution ‘settlement’ in the negative.

    A firm thanks…., but ‘No Thanks’.

  4. punklin says:

    “…Labour voted against the devolution of tax credits, thus making themselves look like massively hypocritical opportunists…”

    Why “look like”? – they ARE!

    Thank you for this and your powerful post on the hypocrisy of Remembrance Sunday events and reactions.

  5. Guga says:

    Article 1 in both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights reads: “All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development. ”

    The English government, being a signatory to these treaties, have, therefore, no legal right to try and stop the Scottish government holding a referendum on independence whenever we want one. They might be the colonial power, but the days of the Empire and the Raj are long since past. They could hardly get away with sending in the gunboats or, as in the days of the “Red Clydesiders”, confining all Scottish troops to barracks and sending 10,000 English troops, and tanks to Glasgow to keep the natives under control.

    The sooner we shake off the English shackles, the better, and preferably long before the English have stolen all of our natural resources.

    • daibhidhdeux says:

      Good points. Very much so.

      Also, excellent historical reminders of what WM has proven capable of and still is in other geo-political theaters.

      Suspect the devils would send in troops again if they thought they could get away with it with “Woofie” Davidson in the lead tank commanding the forces of “liberation”, La Dug heading-up the infantry, and “Whaur’s ma (?)” Wullie Rennie Rennie leading the cooks to feed the troops on jellied eels and mash. Mundell, Murray, and Carmichael manning WM HQ and directing ops on behalf of the Brit establishment.

      However, after this Scotland Bill farce at WM, this pack of rUK insolents have effectively repudiated the Union Treaty and forfeited any moral basis for intervening in any way in Scottish affairs ever again.

      in effect, they have, in principle and de facto, shaken off the Treaty shackles and officially named us as a Bantustan to do with as whatever pleases them.

      I trust the citizenry will deliver them the appropriate democratic response come Holyrood thus freeing-up ScotGov to push WM’s unilateral abrogation of the Treaty of Union to its logical and peaceful conclusion.

    • Pam McMahon says:

      They’ve got gunboats?

      Good article, WGD. That Labour coffin must have more nails in it by now than wood and could probably be used as a bouncing bomb.

  6. says:

    Reblogged this on Bampots Utd.

  7. jdman says:

    I have a question,
    Could the SNP table a motion to abolish Holyrood, make Faslane an English enclave, have written into law that any future independent Scotland not only CANT use the pound but will face the wrath of the world if we even have the audacity to suggest using ANY currency whatsoever, just to watch those little creatures scuttle out from under their Veuve Cliquot (or in the case of Labour MP’s Newkie Brown) covered rocks to vote the motion down?

    I would pish myself until my head exploded.

    • paulamrose says:

      I would have thought that the SG could put forward a referendum asking if the Scottish people wanted to abolish the devolved parliament and set up an Independent one or give all powers back to Westminster. Bit make or break but would settle it for generations.

  8. And so it goes. If ever things were any different. Socialists? Go fuck yourselves.

  9. Albawoman says:

    What a brilliant post. Thank you so much. You refine the contours of the map to independence. Knowledge is power and you light the way.

  10. jimnarlene says:

    What’s that old term of phrase, that sums up last night’s charade;
    Perfidious Albion

  11. excaliforniagirl says:

    Not a g*dd**m word about this in the papers this morning. I’m literally shaking with rage. Also agree with the comment above that this FMQ should be well worth watching: how wee Kezzie will demand money from thin air.

  12. macart763 says:

    Make sure folks, any links to excellent posts such as this or any vids of last night’s farce at Westminster are spread far and wide.

    People NEED to see for themselves.

  13. Papadox says:

    Well we always new the imperial power was selfish and ruthless. We gave them a chance and they fu**ed it good and proper. So now we know the rules lets play their game.

  14. Dan Huil says:

    Just as they did during the referendum Labour in Scotland are now, with their supine acceptance of the Scotland Bill, intent on doing the Tories’ dirty work. No wonder English MPs were so condescending towards Scotland yesterday; they know the Red Tories will always do their dirty work for them.

  15. david agnew says:

    The vow was nothing more than a polished turd on a stick. So in a sense Ian Murray was correct – they certainly delivered a heap of shit in full. Labour would now very much like the snp to hold that poo on a stick for them. I say: They took the credit for it. They get to own it.

    Every time a unionist MSP dares to talk about power, the SNP can remind them just how utterly useless their precious powers are.

  16. Justin Fayre says:

    It’s 250 years ago almost to the day that Westminster introduced the Stamp and Sugar Acts to the USA.
    When the ‘unruly natives’ complained, the Acts were repealed only for an even more draconian bill to be introduced within a year.
    We all know what happened after that bit of insanity.
    History Repeating itself?
    They really can’t help themselves.

    To badly misquote the lyrics from an old Gaberlunzie song
    ‘Freedom’s Sword’

    “The time is RIGHT
    The time is NOW
    Tell them to stick their stinking VOW
    I fear no hell nor Westminster’s Lie
    For Scotland now it must be UDI”

  17. Reviresco says:

    Jeez, thanks. Reading that was like opening a safety valve on a biler that was ready to blow.

  18. Last night’s fiasco is just another nail in the coffin of the union. As has been said, “they just cant help themselves”. I don’t know how many former “colonies” they have “lost” over the years, and Scotland will be the next to go. I know many of you are impatient, as am I, but our independence is coming, and it’s the unionists who will make it happen with their continued attacks, financial or otherwise, on the people of Scotland.

  19. arthur thomson says:

    Thank you for your thoughts Paul.

    We really are not living in a democracy. The people responsible for that shambles last night are beneath the contempt that they show to others.

    I am seriously losing patience with these people. Corbyn’s labour were right at the centre of shafting Scotland last night.

    • Sue de Nymme says:

      No, it was not Corbyn’s Labour, it was the Liebor which he has not yet managed to steer in his chosen direction.

  20. Hetty says:

    Excellent once again.

    Sue, actually Corbyn is no friend of Scotand. Has he not said that we are no more entitled to be independent than Shropshire or some such thing? He is a uinionist, yes hates wmds like any normal human being does, but no friend of Scotland.

    Regards the election next May, I say we need to get out there, leafletting, canvassing. Many who support the SNP could still be conned by liebour etc.
    Who knows what the gravy train riding freeloaders have up their dirty, nasty sleeves. They are not going to let us go without a fight and I suspect would not hesitate to put tanks at the border and on our streets should they feel that their rightful (not) ownership of our land, resources, people, seas, fishing, whisky, oil, renewables, home for their wmd’s, fracking plans etc, might really be threatened.

  21. Itchybiscuit says:

    Labour will be out and about this Saturday to tell the folk of Scotland how they fought for more powers for the Scottish parliament.

    I’ll be at Govan Cross with my cameras taking pics and filming what they have to say. I hope I’m not gauche enough to laugh in their faces.

  22. RabMacPhoto says:

    Excellently put as ever Paul. As an ex-pat living with London for nigh on 30 years it tears me up to see Scotland treated like this.

    Still, on the bright(ish) side, FMQs should be a fkn bloodbath this week; Fifi’s gonnae get her arse handed to her on a plate.

    • daibhidhdeux says:

      On Fiffi La Dug “get[ting] her arse handed to her on a plate” at FMQs incoming, will she do a Lamont-Gray routine and chuck a sickie?

      Maybe a smart move given the FM will have her guts for garters and shoe-laces.

      Ditto, Whaur’s ma Wullie and Woofie the Tank and their respective parasitic hordes.

      As for Lady Anna Banana of the Goldie, lips zipped would seem to be her best policy.

      @perdition with them a’


      • Pam McMahon says:

        The opposition determines what replies are given at Holyrood, by what questions they decide to ask. Any bets welfare cuts won’t be on the agenda tomorrow? Police Scotland, Police Scotland and…Police Scotland is my bet.

        • daibhidhdeux says:

          Cap doffed & heid bowed. Pam. You are correct.

          Also suspect their topic of choice will be as you state (or some other dodging the constitutional crisis “trivia”).

          • Pam McMahon says:

            Dinny doff yer bunnet at me, diabhidh. You were right to raise the question of how effective the opposition at Holyrood (or WM) is. They have so much stuff they have to avoid raisng now for fear of getting ripped to shreds,that they’re left with the SNP badddd dross, because of their incompetence at Westminster.

            Will only watch tomorrow to see what they howk oot of their diminished basket. NHS or Police?

            • daibhidhdeux says:

              Thanks, Pam,

              Much appreciated.

              Looking forward, too, to watching what these do at FMQs.


              PS Check out James Kelly’s blog. Some lively craic going on there.

              PPS Looking forward o your take on FMQs session tomorrow.

              • Pam McMahon says:

                Sadly, seem to have been 100% correct. The day we get an effective oppostion in parliament is the day we get a real parliament, and become a nation again.

                  • Indeed. It was yet again the same old broken record from the enemy. One day, after we have cleansed Holyrood of British parties, we will have an opposition worthy of the name. Whilst I would like that to be the greens or socialists, I fear it will be too risky to vote for them next year lest we not flush the bowl completely…

  23. RabMacPhoto says:

    Apologies, “living IN London”.

  24. arthur thomson says:

    I feel obliged to respond to the comment that this was not Corbyn’s labour.

    Corbyn claims to be the leader of the labour party and if he has not sanctioned their votes on the various ammendments then he should have or should have resigned his leadership. Given his stance on Scottish independence I have no reason to imagine that he did not fully support labour’s stance. He is also responsible for the branch office in his north British region and has done absolutely nothing to prevent them from spreading smear, fear, distortion and downright lies.

    This was Corbyn’s labour in action.

  25. Patience is a Virtue says:

    So 308 years of Union gets you 6 hours allocated time for debate on the ‘Scotland Bill’ – if the attendance in the Commons had been approaching 650 MPs, that may have been some indication that the Union genuinely wished or even cared about Scotland’s contribution or continued ‘membership’ of this expensive club.

    As we saw again…all the birds are flown .. If Scotland’s elected representatives are treated with such disdain, perhaps it is time to review membership subscriptions and indeed membership for the years ahead.

Comments are closed.