Stick it where the EVEL doesn’t shine

Time is running out for an agreement between the Scottish Government and the UK Treasury on a financial settlement for Scotland. Now Labour has accused the SNP of creating an artificial deadline, because Labour are taking the side of the UK Treasury in this process. The discussions relate to the much hyped new tax responsibilities which Westminster wants to foist on Scotland in lieu of a proper devolution settlement, tax responsibilities which Governor General Fluffy Mundell gleefully described as a trap for the Scottish Government.

The trap is that Westminster wants to force the Scottish Government to raise income tax in order to protect public services. Westminster has refused to devolve any other major tax, and it’s not accidental that the one major tax for which they are willing to give partial control to Holyrood is the tax which has the greatest direct impact on the wage packets of ordinary working people. Westminster is keeping its paws firmly on taxes on businesses. They hope that they can force Holyrood to raise taxes on working people, which will then cause fewer voters to give their support to the SNP and to turn to the Tories instead.

Saving the Union and increasing Conservative support in Scotland in one. It’s yet another example of Westminster treating Scottish devolution as an instrument of short term party political advantage instead of trying to respond honestly to the aspirations and desires of the Scottish people. Everything about previous devolution settlements has been about short term Unionist party political advantage, and everything about the latest settlement is too.

The thing about traps is that you’re supposed to keep your trap shut about them. Traps work because they’re a deception, because they’re hidden. Putting a big advertising sign on your trap, like Fluffy did when he gleefully announced in the press that the UK Government had created a cunning trap, stops your trap from being a trap. It turns it into a roadblock. No sensible person is going to walk willingly into a trap when the trap setters have told them that it’s a trap.

Now Labour and the Tories are complaining that the Scottish Government is proving reluctant to walk into the trap. How very dare those evil nationalists. It’s entirely unreasonable to demand that when Scotland gets a devolution settlement that it should be a settlement to benefit the people of Scotland. Everyone who is anyone, and that would be anyone who is a Unionist politician because they’re the only ones who count, knows that it’s totally unreasonable to expect a devolution settlement to benefit anyone who isn’t a Unionist politician.

Labour is upset because the deadline imposed by the Scottish Government is looming, and it’s now looking as though no agreement will be reached. The deadline exists in order to give the Scottish Parliament ample time to debate the agreement before the May elections and if there hadn’t been sufficient time to debate it in full, Labour would have been amongst the loudest at complaining.

Personally, I’d be quite happy if there was no agreement. The Scotland Bill is the homoepathic remedy to the demand for real devolution, so watered down that it no longer contains any real devolution at all. All it contains is the appearance of devolution, an empty tartan box with more powers written on the side by Davie Mundell.

We started off with the infamous vow which waffled its way onto the front page of the Daily Record. The vow was phrased in a vague way to allow it to be presented as substantial powers, as home rule, as the nearest thing to federalism possible, without the Unionists having to commit to anything much at all. It was a lie from the start. Then during the succeeding Smith Commission the Unionists did all they could to remove what little of substance remained. Abortion? Oh no, you can’t have control over that. Scots are primitives who need Westminster to show them what is civilised behaviour. Trade Union rights? Oh no, you can’t have control over that. Scots might end up protecting the unions from the depredations of the Tories. We’ll let you have roadsigns, as long as you promise not to put Gaelic on them.

Smith was supposed to be the Unionist parties’ response to the referendum campaign. They’re refusing to give any response at all to their pandafication during the following general election. They don’t want anyone to intrude on their private grief at being reduced to a single representative each.

So instead of them taking the election of 56 SNP MPs as a warning from Scotland that we expect the Unionist parties to be serious about their promises for the most devolved parliament in the world, for home rule, for devo max, for the nearest thing possible to federalism, what we got was EVEL and Tory and Labour MPs seeping out the bars like spilled drinks in order to drown out every single amendment to the Scotland Bill put forward by Scotland’s own MPs.

If the Unionists ignore reality for long enough they hope that reality will change more to their liking. If their Westminion pals in the press keep up their litany of SNP bad for long enough, then eventually Scotland will realise that the SNP is as mendacious and venal as the Unionist parties, and will go back to voting Unionist. But Scotland doesn’t vote SNP because Scotland is in love with the SNP, it votes SNP because the SNP represents an escape route from Westminster and from being taken for granted, ignored, sidelined, and treated like a child.

The General Election might as well never have happened as far as Scotland was concerned. The Unionist establishment has no response to their near destruction in May last year, and will likewise try to downplay their impending decimation this coming May. Scotland isn’t important. Scotland doesn’t matter.

And that’s precisely what will lead to Scotland becoming independent, the realisation amongst No voters that their votes in the British Parliament count for nought. It doesn’t matter what we want, we get what we’re given and there’s nothing we can do about it. Scotland is outvoted, outnumbered, and outraged.

The best response to the pathetic Scotland Bill is to tell Westminster to stick it where EVEL doesn’t shine.

There won’t be any updates to the blog until Monday. I’m off to London for the weekend to visit family.


BUTRT cover front(1)BARKING UP THE RIGHT TREE Barking Up the Right Tree has now been published and is an anthology of my articles for The National newspaper. You can submit an advance order for the book on the Vagabond Voices website at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993

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 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.

Inveterate liar tells the truth

The tombstone toothed son of Satan, the warspawning liemongerer of Labour, the parasitical worm in the bowels of progressive politics, has treated us to something new. No, he’s not suddenly realised that his Christian faith means he’s supposed to repent of his sins, for Tony believes that Christianity has a lot more to do with product placement. The product being himself being placed in a position of power and influence which allows him to make tons of money. Neither has the great dissembler been overcome with a bout of self-awareness leading him to beg for forgiveness.

No, what’s happened is that the toothy trickster has treated Scottish independence supporters to the novelty of using us as a threat in someone else’s Project Fear. What’s even more of a novelty was that Tony wasn’t charging tens of thousands for uttering his words of self-serving wisdom. However the greatest novelty of all is that he was actually telling the truth for once.

No really. Tony told the truth. He has such a reputation for untruth telling that when someone says the sentence “Tony Blair told the truth” the immediate and entirely natural reaction is to accuse them of lying. Or at the very least being under the influence of mind altering drugs of the sort which you don’t usually get on prescription. The last time Tony knowingly told the truth was early in his marriage when he told Cherie that there was no lavvy paper left in the toilet. But even that degree of truth telling stopped when they got staff. Tony is the only man on the planet who never needs to ask “Are you calling me a liar?” because he can take it for granted that we are.

When Tony Blair tells the truth, you feel the need to go and lie down in a dark room for a while. When Tony says something that is neither a lie nor dissembling, there is some essential imbalance in the universe. It’s a bit like discovering that Iain Duncan Smith pays the rent on flats for homeless people or that George Osborne has been known not to pull the wings off a fly. It would almost be like discovering that Fluffy Mundell was halfway competent and actually put Scotland’s needs before those of the Tory party, but that would be silly. We’re just dealing with the ridiculously implausible here, not outright fantasy. Fluffy has never knowingly, or even unknowingly, uttered anything approaching words of wisdom. Just words of wincedom.

In an interview on French radio, Tony said that there was a “little mentioned” aspect to the debate on whether the UK should remain an EU member or should leave. Apparently that little mentioned aspect is that if the UK votes to leave the EU, then Scotland will vote to leave the UK and remain in the EU.

It comes as a bit of a surprise to learn that the possibility that Scotland might leave the UK if we vote to stay in the EU but England votes to leave. Far from being little mentioned, it’s been extensively discussed. In fact in Scotland we discuss the possibility of a second independence referendum if we vote to stay in the EU but England votes to leave far more than we discuss the merits or demerits of remaining a part of the EU. The truth is, in Scotland it’s EU membership which is little discussed, because it’s supported by a large majority so isn’t an issue. In England, politics revolves around the question of EU membership almost to the same extent that Scottish politics revolves around the question of independence.

What Tony’s off the cuff remark tells us is Scotland and England don’t have the same priorities, and the English – that is, British – political classes don’t give a toss about Scotland. So that’s not new at all then. So much for Scotland playing a vital role within this caring and sharing family of nations that make up the UK. I seem to recall that during the independence referendum the Westminster government begged Scotland to stay so that we could have a great effect in shaping and influencing Britain. Now we discover thanks to Tony that the most discussed aspect of the EU debate in Scotland scarcely registers amongst the London based political classes at all.

Mind you, it’s not like anyone in Scotland is surprised by this. Scotland’s central place in Westminster’s heart turned out to be the exclusion of EVEL and Tory MPs that no one in Scotland voted for turning down every amendment proposed to the Scotland Bill by the MPs that Scotland did actually vote for. The Tories hid in the bars of the Palace of Westminster, only coming out to enter the voting lobbies and jeer at the aspirations of a country that just a few short months before they told us was a much valued partner. So naturally they don’t give a toss about what Scotland wants when it comes to EU membership. Scotland is a possessed province which will do what it is told. Its opinions don’t matter.

Tony doesn’t really care about Scotland either. He only introduced devolution because he was told that if he didn’t Scotland would have been independent by the turn of the millenium. And then he introduced a kind of devolution that was designed to act as a lifeboat for Labour during those periods when the Tories were in power in Westminster, so that Labour in Scotland could protect itself from a future Thatcher. But Labour’s own greed and unwillingness to surrender control meant that the lifeboat was leaky and lacked any shelter from the Tory storms.

Now the lifeboat has sunk and Scotland is on course for independence anyway. Tony can give whatever warnings he likes, Tony is to credibility as James Kelly MSP is to charisma. Thatcher was the unwitting midwife of Scottish devolution, Tony is the unwitting midwife of independence. That, and the war crimes of Iraq, will be his lasting legacy.


BUTRT cover front(1)BARKING UP THE RIGHT TREE Barking Up the Right Tree has now been published and is an anthology of my articles for The National newspaper. You can submit an advance order for the book on the Vagabond Voices website at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993

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 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.

Grasping at a crocodile penis

According to a few recent opinion polls, the Tories are gaining ground on Labour in the battle to become the second largest party in Holyrood. Well, I say battle, it’s more like a slanging match between two drunks outside a pub over who gets a taxi that’s already gone. Before the last Tories in Scotland, nestled safely in their ironic Scottish Resistance T-shirts in a reservation in some douce wee suburb, get too excited, there’s not much of a Conservative revival going on in Scotland.

The people of this land are not being converted to the attractions of Davie Cameron’s smugging at Prime Minister’s Questions as he , neither have they sunk themselves in the swamplike embrace of the oozing oleaginous Osborne. Neither are they succumbing to the martial arts of Ruthie, who has decided that Scotland needs to be nagged back into subservience from the top of a tank. Scotland’s overly noisesome minority of Tory commentators have convinced themselves that Ruth Davidson appeals to the masses. No really, she’s very popular amongst people who are totally out of touch with the rest of the country, so naturally she’s going to do well.

Ruthie’s main claim to fame is that she likes to pose for photo opportunies while perched on a tank like her idol Thatcher. In her recent propaganda, sorry, interview with a Scottish newspaper, she claimed that she wanted to combat child poverty in Scotland. Coming from a person whose party has presided over the greatest damage to children’s opportunities since Herod slaughtered the first born, this was a bold claim indeed and not one the Scottish media is inclined to press her to clarify. Perhaps Ruth wants to give every Scottish child their very own tank.

Conservatives crying crocodile tears for the poor and marginalised is as convincing as Labour’s concern for numeracy. What’s really going on is a barefaced attempt to persuade the more die hard Unionists amongst traditional Labour voters to switch to the Tories instead. But when the future of the Union is embodied in the Tory party, when the Union stands for demonising the poor, for militarisation, for enriching the privileged, then the Union is already dead. Vote for Britain if you’re a selfish bastard who wants to bow down before your lizard overlords isn’t a very appealing proposition.

Ruthie is standing as a list candidate for the Lothians, having fled from Glasgow where she can’t be sure that she’d scrape into Parliament on the paltry number of votes she managed to secure last time. That’s how appealing Conservatives are to the mass of voters of Glasgow, as appealing as a dose of diarrohea. Although that’s unfair to diarrhoea as at least it’s in the running, which is a lot more than you can say for the Tories in Scotland. They are so unappealing, in fact, that they are unlikely to gain a single constituency seat anywhere in Scotland.

Scotland’s Tory commentators have a great track record in telling the masses what is going to be popular, in the same way that the Clangers is a gritty and realistic documentary about the challenges of everyday life for soup dragons on distant planets.

They confidently told us that defeat for Yes in the independence referendum was going to kill nationalism for a generation and we’d be back to politics as usual. By which was meant the politics of taking Scotland’s Tory press seriously. After that failed to happen they said that Jim Murphy was going to revive the fortunes of the Labour party, and they claimed that the scoffs and guffaws from the Yes movement were a nervous tic to cover our deep fears. Then when our scoffs and guffaws turned out to be straightforward mockery, their explanation for the continuing popular support for the SNP was that Scotland’s masses have been seduced by a swivel eyed cult which is motivated by an irrational hatred of all things English. The Torysplainers of Scotland are so far up an Egyptian river that they think that the crocodile headed god Sobek would make a great Tory list candidate for Central Scotland.

sobeksmithThe Ancient Egyptians really did worship a crocodile headed god, who embodied all the nasty, aggressive, and animalistic qualities you might expect of a cold blooded reptile who thought nothing of devouring your young and ripping the weak limb from limb. The name Sobek is an ancient Egyptian word which means, loosely, “the penis”. In hieroglyphic inscriptions Sobek is described by the epithets “he of the pointed teeth, the lover of robbery”. The only reason he’s not standing for the Tories on the list in May’s elections is because he’s already the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

The much heralded Tory revival in Scotland has been a long time coming. It’s still not on the cards, what’s actually happening is that Labour’s support is collapsing more quickly than ageing Tories are dying off. The apparent success of the Tories in not plummeting to their doom is success at staving off doom in the same way that a man dangling from a crumbling cliff edge has successfully grasped at a crocodile penis. He might not plunge to his doom quite as quickly as the Slab beside him who is sliding into the depths like Jackie Baillie on an inflatable banana boat, but he is not being successful by any normal definition of the word. He’s still going to get his hand bitten off.

But then we’re dealing here with Scottish right wing media definitions of success and failure, and according to the Scottish media the most electorally successful Scottish government since the reestablishment of the Scottish Parliament is actually its greatest failure. Even the right wing Scottish media has to concede that the SNP are going to win the next election with an absolute majority in a parliament designed to prevent absolute majorities, and the consavants are reduced to bigging up a party that just might crawl into a very distant second as the real winners. Sobek the lover of robbery might even cry a few crocodile tears over their treatment of truth.


BUTRT cover front(1)BARKING UP THE RIGHT TREE Barking Up the Right Tree has now been published and is an anthology of my articles for The National newspaper. You can submit an advance order for the book on the Vagabond Voices website at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993

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 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.

Taking the long way round

God, are we not lucky that the No campaign won the referendum eh? Remember all the wonderous things that would befall Scotland if we had the sense to just say no thanks to People’s Republic of Alicsammin? There would be jobs that were secure and pensions that endure. There would be careers for steel makers and offices for tax takers. There would be sincerity and prosperity. There would be the nearest thing to federalism possible and devodoubleplusgood. It was going to be even more Great British than Bake Off with sponge cakes for all. There would be a Westminster bedecked with respect in which there would be pooling and sharing and ruling without overbearing. Stay with us Scotland, we love you.

If it wasn’t for the No vote we’d have missed out on living in this paradise of foodbanks, job losses, asylum seeker demonisation, and Tory governments that we didn’t vote for. We’d have missed the pooling and sharing of seeing our MPs reduced to international observer status and non-Scottish MPs rejecting every single amendment put forward by Scottish MPs on Scottish legislation. We’d be bereft of the deaths caused by benefits sanctions. We’d be pining for the whining of privileged MPs with portfolios of property who voted down a measure to ensure that their tenants had homes fit for human habitation. How lucky for us that we voted to stay, to rub our noses in the stale stench of decay. What joy to see the Tory boys destroy all the advances our grandparents made to give equal chances to the poor and unfancied.

Mental health problems or terminal cancer, the Job Centre will still claim you’re a chancer fit for work until you finally drop, you’re a number, a cypher, a tick in a box. Trade unions are neutered but bosses are tutored in pay rises for the board but cuts for the horde. The rich hoard their wealth as the tax avoiding poison wrecks the nation’s health. It’s the British way, be glad, rejoice, as you go job hunting for the minumum wage, there’s red white and blue bunting and the poor stealing crumbs in the new Victorian age. Steal a loaf of bread and there’s tabloid outrage, steal a billion pounds and you’ll get a peerage.

There’s a media hatescape pointing the way to a future of war and terminal decay. Hurrah, hooray, we’re Caledonian doubts in George Osborne’s ashtray. And it’s all thanks to Labour for saving the day, for lying and crying until we obeyed, for cheating and bleating to drive away the fearsome idea of an independence day. We can only be safe when we’re at war, we can only be clean when we’re trapped in the glaur, because there’s nothing more frightening than the heretical notion of an informed and active Scottish nation in motion.

Don’t worry that your children have nothing to look forward to except a zero hour contract or signing on the buroo, we’ve got Trident missiles down on the Clyde to give a radioactive glow that stretches citywide. We’ve got aircraft carriers coming out our ears, nae planes to put on them but that’s the least of our fears. Imagine the horror, the shame, the disgrace and the hate if the Daily Mail didn’t think we punched above our weight. The Great British state in its nuclear fur coat and nae knickers, the Pentagon’s pal while its people grow sicker. Your pension’s not safe but that’s of small import, you’re still playing your part in the Great British sport.

You’ve got your devo, so what’s your beef? It’s a carefully constructed kick in the teeth. We voted to let Westminster be boss, and now it’s clear that they don’t give a toss. They promised the earth, they promised to change, they promised a pedigree but we got a mutt with the mange. They told us we’d be a part of the Great British family, but forgot to add we’d be the part sent to bed without any tea. They promised the most devolved nation on the face of the earth, but the Smith Commission was strangled at birth. The Scotland Bill was stripped, denuded and wrecked, and the Unionists laughed as Scotland’s hopes were checked. You’ve got your home rule, don’t rock the boat, and we’re keeping our paws on the TV remote.

But who wants to complain, who wants to cavil, there’s lotto and Strictly to pass the while between Job Centre appointments and trudging the miles to foodbanks, assailed by the bile of tabloids demanding you smile at the latest cute photies of Willnkate’s weans. Isn’t it wondrous, it’s so first rate, being a part of the Great British state.

This is the paradise that we were sold, the wonderous future that was fortold. We’ll be leaving the EU though we voted not to, we’ve lost the jobs we were told were safe, we’ve got the government we voted against. But it’s not all funny, it’s not all gone to pot, we know what currency we’re using for all that money that we haven’t got.

The brave Better Togetherites have all scurried away, not showing their faces in the land they’ve led astray. They got what they wanted, they got Scotland prostrate, and they’re happy and content that they made us third rate.

Independence would have come with challenges, but at least Scotland would have been able to decide for itself what the best solutions to those challenges were, instead we’re powerless pinned to a board like a dead butterfly while George Osborne and Iain Duncan Smith pull off our wings. We haven’t seen much sign of our share of the Great British sponge cake, not even a few crumbs left over from the business lunch at a conference in posh Swiss resorts, just plenty of Great British spongers appointed to the House of Lords.

We know the truth, we have the proof, the Union’s days are numbered and there is no Prince Charming who’ll sweep down and save them from the mess they created, the truths they desecrated. We’re still here, still campaigning and marching. We’re still on the road, just taking the long way round.


BUTRT cover front(1)BARKING UP THE RIGHT TREE Barking Up the Right Tree has now been published and is an anthology of my articles for The National newspaper. You can submit an advance order for the book on the Vagabond Voices website at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993

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 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.

The Great Scottish Blog War

I’ve been keeping out the Great Scottish Blog Wars. In case you haven’t noticed, which is another way of saying in case you’re a sane person who doesn’t care about arguments on social media because you have a real life, battle lines have been drawn over the question of list votes, and the best way to maximise the number of pro-independence MSPs in the next Scottish parliament. The merits and demerits of voting for RISE or the Greens in the list instead of voting twice for the SNP have been debated, dissected, and screamed at from trenches.

Some have accused other people of trying to silence them and shut down the debate, only they’ve been making the accusation on blogs and on Twitter where there really is very little sign that anyone is being gagged. In fact the ones who are claiming to have been censored and closed down seem to be the ones who are speaking the most.

Others have claimed that some have adopted a political strategy of trying to persuade supporters of party A to vote for party B by claiming that party A’s supporters are stupidly blind followers of a neo-capitalist front which is as radical as a vicar’s tea party, but hey, we support indy too. It has been pointed out that possibly this isn’t the best way to endear party B in anyone’s affections.

Then there are those who claim that unless you give both your votes to the SNP you’ve pretty much sold out Scotland to the forces of Unionism and you really ought to go and hide your head under a rock.

You might think that all this was purely a disagreement over tactics, over differing means to the same end, but handbags have been drawn at dawn and huffs taken. Meanwhile the Yooneristas keep very quiet and allow members of the independence campaign to knock seven shades of shazbot out of one another in the, probably vain, hope that it will put some folk off from voting for a pro-independence party and they’ll vote for Kezia instead. Because Labour really is the very model of a party that has got its act together. And in much the same way a monkey with a typewriter is the real author of Shakespeare’s plays.

An important reason for keeping out of arguments about which party to give my second vote to is that I’m deeply uncertain about my first vote. I have two main criteria for voting. Firstly I’ll only vote for a candidate who is pro-independence, and secondly I’ll only vote for a candidate who supports lesbian and gay equality. That means I won’t be voting SNP in the constituency vote because in my constituency the SNP candidate has a track record of voting against LGBT rights, voting to restrict women’s reproductive rights, and has attempted to introduce so called intelligent design, creationism by another name, into school science classes.

I’m not voting for an MSP who is going to promote an agenda which is damaging to my human rights and the human rights of other gay people and women, and who wants to bring religion into science lessons. I have no issues with Christians being represented in the Scottish Parliament, but they’re not going to promote their agenda on the back of my vote. No doubt there are some who will accuse me of betraying the independence cause for not voting SNP in the constituency vote, but I certainly won’t be voting for a Unionist either. In fact I’ll probably abstain in the constituency vote as it’s unlikely that there will be another pro-independence candidate.

What all this means is that when you vote you should do so according to the dictates of your own conscience. Tactical voting in Scottish elections is fraught with danger. It’s futile to try and game a voting system as opaque as the D’Hondt method used in Scottish parliamentary elections and attempts to do so risk allowing a Unionist party to get in through the back door. You cannot be certain that your tactical vote will produce the result you want, and there’s a very real chance that the only parties which will benefit will be the Unionists. Whatever you vote for, the priority is to get a pro-independence majority, and speaking as a member of one of Scotland’s minorities, a parliament that also supports the rights of all of Scotland’s communities.

I respect the fact that other people have different priorities, that they may find it difficult to understand why I might risk a Unionist getting into power by abstaining in the election of a nationalist. I was politicised in the struggle for LGBTI rights, and for me the struggle for the collective rights of the people of Scotland as a nation is part of the same battle for equality and acceptance. I can’t have one without the other. What I’m certainly not going to do is to tell you who to vote for or what priorities you should have. I believe the personal is political, so those are matters for you to decide yourself. That is the essence of independence, and Scottish independence begins with personal independence.

Who I do vote for would depend on which constituency or region I lived in, and who is standing. If I lived in Central Scotland I would vote for the Greens on the list, because one of their candidates is John Wilson, and John is a good friend of mine. He gave me support as a friend when I needed it most. I respect his politics, he has impeccable socialist and pacifist credentials, and he’s committed to independence. If Liam McLaughlin was standing for the socialists on the list I’d vote for him, because I’ve known him since he was born and he’s a passionate, intelligent and articulate young man who will do Scotland proud. Or I’d vote SNP on the list as they have many fine candidates whose commitment to LGBTI equality and social justice is faultless.

The point being, I will vote for whoever is standing locally that I believe in and who I trust to help bring about an independent Scotland that is an accepting and tolerant place that values all its citizens equally, and I suggest that you do the same. That is the essence of democracy, and that’s the kind of Scotland that we’re all striving for, irrespective of our differences.

Mind you, it should be pointed out that having such big fall outs over which parties to vote for in an election is all very peculiar for what is supposed to be a one party state, so if anything has been discredited by the Great Scottish Blog War it’s certainly the claims of Unionism. The recent disagreements have proven that the independence movement is anything but a monolithic one party state which doesn’t have room for dissent, and that’s a good and healthy thing.

Now let’s all give one another a big hug, and get back to the business of building a better, an independent, Scotland.


BUTRT cover front(1)BARKING UP THE RIGHT TREE Barking Up the Right Tree has now been published and is an anthology of my articles for The National newspaper. You can submit an advance order for the book on the Vagabond Voices website at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993

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 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.

Be a good little soldier

Our caring sharing all in this together Tory government wants to spread the benefits of militarism to the poor. Traditionally in Scotland, only the small minority of private schools had cadet forces, teaching kids from middle class backgrounds the rudiments of squarebashing and gun pointing so as to ease their later transition into officers’ commissions when they’d be ordering kids from poorer backgrounds to fight and die for a Crown that doesn’t give a toss about any of them.

It’s entirely possible that working class kids were denied this opportunity because the state couldn’t be sure which direction they’d be pointing their guns in. When I was at a state Catholic school in Coatbridge the 70s, there was a near riot when an army recruitment officer came to give the boys – not the girls, this was the 70s and the girls’ job was to make the tea – a talk on the delights of going to Northern Ireland and shooting at our relatives. It didn’t end well, although you’d think that an army officer faced with a class full of kids of Northern Irish Catholic descent during the height of the Troubles might have been a bit more prepared for the inevitable derision.

In former days working class young men were conscripted so they’d be fighting and dying for a Crown that doesn’t give a toss. No one needed to sell militarism to youngsters then, because they’d be getting a dose of it irrespective of their own views on the matter. But conscription is long in the past, and there is a diminishing appeal in a career which is liable to leave you on the unemployment scrapheap after a couple of years with few appreciable skills. It’s all very well knowing seven ways to kill someone with a ballpoint pen, but it’s not going to get you a job in Scotmid, even though it may be useful when the weans coming out of school shoplift the doughnuts.

Faced with a shortage of willing cannon fodder, the state wants to make more of an effort to sell the attractions of being maimed for the great glory of the British establishment to fresh generations. Since the last time that the Tories were popular in Scotland was during the days of conscription, the current government thinks that it’s a great idea to introduce mandatory marching for kids in state schools in Scotland. That’ll teach them how to be British, so it will. According to a leaked document the British government has decided to target schools in areas of greatest deprivation, areas full of impressionable youngsters denied other opportunities by the same Tory government, who will be most susceptible to the dubious charms of a few years in uniform and then spat out and discarded like spent bullets. Kids whose families are most likely to lack the social and professional connections to complain about their treatment.

The armed forces, the BBC, and the monarchy are the only British institutions left. No one believes the BBC any more, and the only difference between a monarchy and a soap opera is the amount of screeching. The armed forces are all that Westminster has got left to inculcate a sense of Britishness amongst a population for which Britishness is increasingly irrelevant.

Traditionally Scots were over represented amongst other ranks in the armed forces, but seriously under represented amongst officers. It suited the British army to perpetuate the myth of the martial Scot, just one in a long line of marginalised ethnic groups which were used by a more powerful state. They were, in the words of General Wolfe, “hardy, intrepid, accustomed to rough country, and no great mischief if they fall.” Scots and Gurkhas fulfilled that role for the British state, just like the Zouaves did for the French, colonial peoples serving the ends of their colonial masters. The Tories’ latest plans have the bitter taste of a past we had thought was long behind us. But it seems that is Scotland’s role in this Union, to give it our skills, to give it our resources, and to give it our children.

Today is the 25th anniversary of the first Gulf War. The British Legion estimates that of the 53,000 members of the armed forces who saw service during that campaign 33,000, 60%, have been left with lasting medical effects. Yet the UK Government ignores the illnesses, forcing ex-servicepeople to go to court to prove that their illness are a direct result of the conditions under which they served. That’s not a future for anyone’s kids.

Former service people are at a greater risk of suffering mental illness. They are disproportionately represented amongst the homeless. They are more likely to suffer from alcohol or drug problems. They have shorter life expectancies. We live in a state which cares so little for the welfare of former service people that we have charities which raise money to provide services for them which the government won’t provide itself. Yet this is the same government which fetishises the military and fosters a public cult in which it is considered blasphemous to criticise the armed forces.

Don’t dare criticise the cult of command, the top down direction of society, the profitable links between government and an offensive defence industry. Salute smartly and obey. Shoot at those the establishment tells you are the enemy, and then after a couple of years you can face a Job Centre interview which shoots down your chances of success in life.

Today the Telegraph has published a lead story attacking the Scottish Government because an unnamed person in the SNP criticised the Tory attempt to militarise our children, to chew them up in the army machine and to spit them out broken and discarded. Those the Telegraph sees fit to criticise are the people who say this is not a good future for our kids, that former service people deserve better. It plays the dutiful role of an attack dog for the state, biting down on dissent, and refusing to consider the morality of a government which treats the poor as cannon fodder. In the UK, the real sin is to point out the sinner.

Now be a good little soldier, fight and die for the queen, make money for your masters, accept your bowl of gruel. It was good enough for your grandparents, and it’s all your kids have to look forward to. It’s the British way.


BUTRT cover front(1)BARKING UP THE RIGHT TREE Barking Up the Right Tree has now been published and is an anthology of my articles for The National newspaper. You can submit an advance order for the book on the Vagabond Voices website at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993

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 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.

Bashing the birthday bash

Got £150 to spare? Admittedly it’s unlikely you’ll have that amount of cash to waste, what with zero hours contracts, DWP sanctions, and the increasing insecurity in the job market, but if you did have £150 that you don’t know what to spend on, then you could always spend it on the richest woman in Britain who is too much of a tightwad to pay for her own birthday party. Don’t know about you, but the last time I was invited to a birthday party I was only asked to bring a bottle, not to pay for the catering and the portaloos.

Things clearly work differently when you’re the richest woman in the country. Possibly that’s how you get to be the richest woman in the country, by getting everyone else to pay for you. You certainly don’t get to be obscenely wealthy by caring about poverty. It’s certainly worked for Liz and her family, who haven’t knowingly paid for their own toilet paper since the Restoration of the monarchy. They’re even using the birthday bash to enrich themselves, as it’s being organised by one of the Queen’s grandsons. That’s one who is actually her grandson. Princess Anne’s boy is getting an unspecified fee for all his hard work in persuading the plebs to part with cash and pay for the party that his granny won’t pay for herself.

Probably she’ll be having a birthday bash that the royals do pay for themselves. That will be a private affair attended only by members of the Queen’s family. And Prince Harry will be there too.

This year, the richest woman in the country is going to turn 90. That’s lovely in an old-lady-hasn’t-died-yet sort of way. Mind you, your chances of getting to 90 are certainly improved when you’re obscenely wealthy and still manage to get paid tens of millions a year in benefits. In celebration of the fact that a rich old lady is still a rich old lady, all sorts of events are being promoted in a pathetically transparent attempt to convince us that we’re all in this Britishness lark together. We are all in it together, it’s just that the establishment are in the money while the rest of us are in the shit.

Talking of crap, there’s “Clean for the Queen”. The government wants us all to go and clean the streets so that everything’s nice and shiny for Liz and she can continue in her delusion that the world smells of paint and disinfectant. You can even buy a special T-shirt for the occasion just so that you won’t be mistaken for someone who’s been sentenced to community service for glassing a guy during a fight in a pub, or worse, mistaken for someone who’s been told to clean the streets or their benefits will be sanctioned.

Those of us of a helpful disposition could point out that once upon a time in this benighted kingdom, people were actually paid a living wage by local authorities to clean the street. Perhaps if we returned to a society where we valued public services other than waving at the plebs from a carriage then the more cynical amongst us – that would be me – would be less inclined to point out the patronising hypocrisy of asking people to pay for the privilege of cleaning streets for an obscenely wealthy family. I always pick up the dug’s crap when he does a jobby in the street and I put it in the bin. Clean for the Queen makes me want to pick it up and post it to Buckingham Palace.

The most sickening aspect of the £150 birthday bash is that the invitees are the charities that Liz is patron of. It’s churlish to complain really. When an immensely wealthy individual who has a connection to your charity asks your charity for £150 a pop, money which could have gone towards helping the poor or disabled or finding a cure for a horrible disease, and instead to spend it on a party that she can’t be arsed paying for herself despite her £1.9 billion fortune, and on making her already privileged grandson even more privileged, then you’re being well and truly patronised.

For your £150, you’ll get a place at a trestle table in the street, a part share in a hamper containing quintissentially British products, and a paper flag. Huzzah! You may get waved at by some minor inbred type that even Nicholas Witchell would struggle to recognise, and if you’re really unlucky you’ll get interviewed by the state sycophant in chief himself. Nick will ask you some thought provoking and penetrating questions, like just how marvellous do you think the royal family is? Are they simply marvellous, utterly marvellous, marvellously marvellous, or like Nick do you wet yourself in marvellous excitement every time someone says Duchess of Cambridge.

The whole do is going to be broadcast on the BBC, as part of its public duty to provoke a mass outbreak of projectile vomiting. The only other places in the world where such arse-licking is dressed up as serious news are North Korea and some online video channels specialising in kinky pornography. At least in North Korea it’s free, in the UK, you’re legally obliged to pay for it if you have a telly.

The royal family in the UK are what passes for a sense of national identity. Britishness is vacuous and meaningless and the UK operates to privilege the rich and well connected, and so it’s entirely appropriate that Britishness is symbolised by a vacuous and meaningless family who are famous for their wealth, their privilege and their connections. The news on Friday was full of the news of the first British spacewalk, the first time that an emblem of Britishness has appeared in a vacuum. But that’s only true if you don’t count the vacuum between Prince Charles’s ears.

One of my main motivations for voting yes in the independence referendum was so that one day we might get a referendum on the future of the monarchy. A Scottish parliament is quite likely to offer that at some point, but there’s as much chance of getting one from Westminster as there is of Nicholas Witchell admitting live on the BBC news that the royals are a bunch of useless balloons who have never done a day’s work in their lives. In the meantime, I can think of a lot more than 150 better things to spend £150 on.


BUTRT cover front(1)BARKING UP THE RIGHT TREE Barking Up the Right Tree has now been published and is an anthology of my articles for The National newspaper. You can submit an advance order for the book on the Vagabond Voices website at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993

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 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.