A cunning plan?

A guest post by Samuel Miller

Aye, it appears that the political classes and assorted meeja types are at a bit of a loss as to why no one will listen to their air biscuits of wisdom currently. Their cunning plan to date seems to be comprised of an avalanche of editorial, twitter snark (whatever that is) and general broadcast sound bites from assorted punditry aimed at either a. Convincing the public they have undergone mass brainwashing/enforced indoctrination or b. Shaming the same public into a realisation that they have been an unwilling victim of the biggest mass political con of the decade and therefore are essentially just dim.  Oh, and you’re all the wrong sort of nationalists if you support independence for Scotland. To coin a popular phrase these days… You’re all vile frankly (sigh).

Basically, y’know, insulting and antagonising people, which is always a great way of winning folk over.

Now all of this has apparently been perpetrated by those evil masters of deception and duplicity, that sinister, single issue fringe cult of Essenpee (bad) inc., who are…wait for it… planning to continue arguing for independence. That is quite some feat for a party that struggles to get the gopher in any daily title’s editorial bear pit to answer the phone, never mind have said title print pro Essenpee propaganda for the mass market to get all brainwashed over. Oh and as for favourable broadcast coverage?  Safe to say, it appears that the media in general aren’t fans of either the Essenpee or the concept of Scottish independence.

So I thought it might be a bit of a help if we telt them just why we personally vote the way we do and why we’ve kinda turned off to what they’re saying.

I’ll start shall I?

What I believe – Put simply, I believe Scotland is a country. I believe the population of a country are those best placed to make decisions about their own needs, governance and future. I believe the electorate of a country should expect to elect and be governed by the party of their democratic choice, one that will reflect and administer for their priorities, their particular needs and their aspirations. I believe in personal and collective choice, democracy and responsibility. To quote a rather well known American fella, I believe in a “government of the people, by the people, …”. I don’t consider myself superior to anyone else, but I’m damned if I’ll be considered less than anyone else because of my country of origin, or because I wish to see that country exercise its democratic rights on its own behalf.

I believe stewardship and governance of a country is all about the future, the next generation and that it is the present generation’s duty to act as caretakers of the country and custodians of that future. In short, to leave behind a better place for future generations, or at least not to feck it up so badly its of no use to anyone. I also believe in interdependence, NOT DEPENDENCE, that Scotland rejoining the family of nations and adding its own distinctive voice would be a friend to the world and a source of strife to none.

Doesn’t seem hard to understand and to me it doesn’t seem like a big ask for all politicians and parties in Scotland to accept as a concept with some merit. Yet this is NOT the system of government the population of Scotland currently lives under and so, unsurprisingly, I personally support a movement and parties who aim to rectify this state of affairs and return Scottish government to what I consider its natural home, into the hands of its own population. Again, not a hard concept to grasp.

So why don’t I listen to politicians from established political parties such as Labour, Conservative or Libdem anymore? Bearing in mind that upon a time I did, what changed?  Where would you start with an answer? My own lifetime personal observations and experiences, (as an ordinary bod), of politics as it is practiced in the UK is a good catch all. However, best to put some meat on those bones. Starter for ten: None of those parties believe in the premise of an independent Scottish government, nor even true equal partnership, home rule via FFA (shrugs). Apparently their only interests as fully paid up members of the Westminster establishment is limited devolution as decided by a fairly loaded, anti democratic and self serving system of central government. This system decides the disposition of our sovereign powers, our economy and our resources in a parly where our representation is a bit on the outnumbered side when it comes to voting on constitutional issues and/or day to day legislation. Even if almost every single Scottish MP decided FFA was a good thing (which they did), the nature of the chamber, the system and the vote under the current constitutional arrangement would ensure it was an option that never came to pass. Ohhhh wait….

Simply listing the Westminster system’s abuses against its own population could wear your fingers down to stubs. Illegal wars, decades of mis managed economy, expenses scandals, cash for access and questions, patronage for favour, an unelected chamber, government compromised by the corporate world, political ideologies creating wealth disparity on an eye watering scale. Oh and let’s not forget to mention naked party political manipulation of the population and democratic process. Playing one section of society, or voter demographic, against another simply for electoral gain. All of the above affect the UK and its constituent parts both separately and as a whole. The parliament and its system is figuratively and literally broken and may as well exist on the moon as far as the bod in the street is concerned, so divorced are the decision makers from the lives of the population. Just a thought mind, but perhaps a parliamentary sovereignty operating on elitism and patronage isn’t the grandest starting point for any kind of democracy? Still, pretty much acceptable business as usual for an entire class of professional politician. All of which neatly leads me back to having a government that is directly answerable to its electorate, a popular sovereignty.

The poorly managed deindustrialisation of Scotland in pursuit of a rust free, greed is good, finance sector driven economy and ‘trickle down’ theory may top a personal list or two for readers. A shift in economic ideology that left one time working/manufacturing communities employment free deserts which spiralled slowly and painfully into lasting poverty. Moving through the years, the misrepresentation and squandering of Scotland’s resources and contributions may get others top spot (‘family of nations’, right?). Imposition of the poll tax, the introduction of the crippling PFI schemes, Bedroom Tax,  Benefits ‘reform’, sanctioning, the growth of food bank culture… A never-ending litany of ill conceived and what felt like, most times, punitive legislation. All of this topped off with a constant reminder by our politicians and our media that we simply weren’t good enough to manage our own affairs. I’m sure readers could add literally yards of their own examples to the list.

The Scottish electorate turned out repeatedly, loyally and hopelessly over the years to vote time and again. There was no one else to vote for you see, no other system in place or even possible for long enough and people wore disappointment, depression and apathy like an old jacket. It came to the point where we simply expected to be the butt of the joke. Yet after the inevitable failure to tackle any damn thing with anything other than scapegoating and half arsed, short term policy or sound bites, not a single party of government, (which would invariably be either Conservative or Labour), could or would simply hold their hands up and say, we got it badly wrong. They never felt they needed to I suppose. We were, for all intents and purposes, a captive audience.

Decade after decade of these parties doing what they wanted, not what they were asked, or what should have been expected. No, they were too busy jockeying for political power. Too busy using, manipulating and abusing the public trust and perception in a system where the public became pretty much electoral coin, and a means to an end. Decades of Scotland’s electorate only rarely achieving a share in a government it actually voted for thanks to a massive and obvious democratic deficit. Most times? Living with ill suited or downright harmful legislation passed by self interested members with only the smallest of mandates. Legislation ‘debated’ and voted upon in a chamber where the Scottish electorate’s representation was not only hopelessly outnumbered, but the overriding perception was that historically they were more than content to follow a wider ‘party line’ than defend the interests of their own electorate. That would be the very definition of politics as it is practiced in the UK then.

The question, I believe, isn’t why don’t folk listen to those political parties and their media advocates anymore, but why SHOULD they?

Amazingly though, the politicians and the media commentariat are confused, hurt, enraged and outraged that their electorate/readerships/viewers/listeners are increasingly ignoring and abandoning the traditional in search of other more reflective representation and/or sources of information.

The Scottish referendum, to me anyways, was a heads up for the public. The hugely one sided flow of ‘information’ from the media shocked and horrified an independence movement who literally begged them for fair representation. The media’s willingness to give near unchallenged access and column space to proponents of the pro union campaign and their much criticised negative narrative, left a bad taste and bitter memories for the independence vote post referendum. During the campaign, it wasn’t simply that they were poorly represented by the press, but badly and sometimes cruelly misrepresented by both elements of the media and their campaign opposition, with absolutely no thought for collateral societal damage. That campaign strategy would come back to haunt both establishment parties and the mainstream media in the 2015 general election.

Again the question isn’t why aren’t people listening anymore, but why should they? Why should people support a party political system and media that abandoned them, that clearly holds them in contempt and supports political and constitutional views that are polar opposites from their own? A system that saw no problem at all with its actions during that period and in one particularly famous case of more recent times, (an excellent example of media and politics UK style in action), didn’t have a problem printing unsubstantiated leaked information from high office in an attempt to undermine an opponent and affect public opinion during a general election campaign. Ayup, ‘politics as it is practiced… etc.’.

The answer would seem fairly self evident to me. The independence movement and that would be near half the Scottish electorate, have absolutely no reason whatsoever to listen and both establishment politicians and the media achieved this sad state of affairs all by themselves.

How they change this is up to them, but the current cunning plan of constantly shouting ‘you’re stupid and/or deluded’ ever louder, doesn’t appear to be a winning strategy.

Links:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-33146586

http://www.thenational.scot/politics/snps-ffa-amendment-is-voted-down-by-labour-and-the-tories.4647

https://www.holyrood.com/articles/editors-note/still-raising-eyebrows

http://www.newsnet.scot/nns-archive/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7403:musicians-anger-after-newspaper-is-cleared-in-saltire-swastika-row&catid=6:general&Itemid=89

Or just google Tartan Stalinists, McMess, Cunning Nats, Most Dangerous Woman in Britain, One Party State, SNP BAD etc, etc, etc, etc. (again SIGH).

Don’t look over here…

A guest post by Samuel Miller

Right then. George Osborne’s recent history in the No.2 chair.

Since November last we’ve gone from this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-34922394

to this:  http://www.thenational.scot/politics/george-osborne-warns-of-more-austerity-as-18bn-hole-looms.15008

and now as of yesterday, this: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/osborne-budget-stinkers_uk_56e96801e4b03fb88ede7e6b?utm_hp_ref=uk

Just so we are crystal clear, Osborne and ‘his’ OBR missed their target (yet again) and have come back to the ‘bank of the helpless’ to tap those least able for the funds to put a sticking plaster on the UK economy. In fact, and I’m happy to be corrected, but I don’t think Osborne has met a single forecast target since rolling into office in 2010.

This is the real upshot of six years of Conservative government and austerity economics. Catastrophic record of deficit and debt reduction targets missed and not one OBR forecast met, but six years of an ideology where the welfare state (what’s left of it) gets disassembled before the public’s eyes. Six years of tax breaks for some, six years of heartbreak and hardship for far too many to count. Oh and don’t get me started on Osborne’s shameless trolling of the Scottish benches during his speech. His praise for Sir Nick Macpherson and his contribution to the civil service was beyond bilious. http://www.civilserviceworld.com/articles/news/george-osborne-pays-tribute-sir-nick-macpherson-treasury-perm-sec-marks-final-budget

So are we now all perfectly clear on what Conservative austerity ideology is all about?

Now, you don’t suppose that this is the reason for the media and establishment doom fest over the recent release of this years GERS do you? Surely nobody would be so crass and transparent as to paint a picture of Scotland as a financial basket case, just so George and Westminster look  good by comparison? Why that’s crazy talk.

Could it be that George, once again doing his best impersonation of a robber baron, may have dented the better togetherness bubble somewhat? After all, Scotland rejected Conservative government quite comprehensively in May 2015 and yet we WILL still feel the effects of that government’s economic legislation for years to come and that is whether the union continues or not. Near as I recall, this is a government that promised broad shoulders in times of economic hardship, job security and opportunity, pension protection and a ‘nothing off the table’ approach to devolution and partnership. Has the reality lived up to the hype? Too harsh to say, not even fecking close? This ladies and gents is what’s known as yer DEMOCRATIC DEFICIT. Government by a party the vast majority of your own electorate rejected. Are we feeling better together today?

Just something to think about, but when the media and establishment parties say, ‘don’t look over here, look over there’? Look anyway.

Okay then. Yesterday is yesterday and today we have to live with the reality of ongoing austerity. Most folks on the pro yes side of the debate in the run up to the 2014 referendum feared that this is exactly where we’d be today in the event of a no vote. Well here we are and yes it’s bad and probably set to worsen even over the period of this parliament. Well poverty and hardship doesn’t care how you voted in the referendum, or even if you voted and a lot of people are going to need help. I know we have a lot of demands on our pockets these days for many worthy causes, not to mention just making ends meet ourselves.  If its possible though, don’t forget every wee bit helps those local charities. A bag of food for your local food bank, old clothes, rag bags, even time if you have any to spare for whoever needs it.

What is happening now is bad, but folk can make a difference simply by giving a damn and that’s something this readership has proven time and again. Give generously where you can folks.

On the fast track out of the Union

It’s the budget day tomorrow. George Osborne has been spending the last week like Scrooge, working out new ways in which he can extract a few more pennies out of Bob Cratchet in order to benefit the bank. Already over the past couple of weeks the Tories have cut benefit payments for people with disabilities and slashed tax credits for the lowest paid. Tomorrow it’s expected that there will be yet further cuts to the social security system, reducing what was once a safety net to a few frayed threads. But not to worry, there will also be tax breaks for the rich and funding for three more major transport infrastructure projects.

There are to be improvements to the M62 motorway across northern England, and Scotland’s taxes will have to contribute to two new railway projects even though the new rail tracks will hit the buffers long before it gets within a hundred miles of the border. There will be untold billions on yet another Crossrail for London, and HS3, a High Speed railway line between Manchester and Leeds. There’s a metaphor for Scotland’s place in the UK right there. We’re not on the fast track. We’re not even on the slow track. We’re not on the track at all. We’re just tracked down when the bills come in, so Scotand is helping to pay for a British road to nowhere.

Scotland’s getting new train services, but our railway system is already bursting at the seams. Some lines are going to require major investment and rebuilding if they’re going to be able to cope with increased services. Large scale investment in transport infrastructure in England is regarded as a UK national project and Scotland has to pay towards it without receiving any compensation by way of Barnett consequentials. Large scale investment in Scottish transport infrastructure is paid for by Scotland alone. That’s why it’s taken almost 50 years for the gap in the M8 between Glasgow and Edinburgh to be upgraded to motorway standard. That’s why it’s taking so long for the A9 to Inverness to be dualled. We’re paying for the new Forth Bridge ourselves.

Scotland’s transport comes out of Scotland’s budget, and when those pretty Unionist graphs show the Government expenditure so graciously bestowed on Scotland by the benificient UK, they also include a portion of the costs for London’s local commuter rail and trains that only reach Birmingham. You want an explanation as to why Scotland supposedly has such a massive deficit worse even than Greece? Greece doesn’t pay for the Istanbul metro.

London’s on its second ruinously expensive Crossrail project involving drilling tunnels under a congested city, but Glasgow’s modest proposal for a Crossrail project involving existing railway lines remains a distant dream and it’s only now that the main line between Glasgow and Edinburgh is being electrified. A high speed railway connecting Scotland with the rest of the UK and via the Channel Tunnel with the European high speed network remains as unlikely as George Osborne announcing in his budget that he’s going to raise taxes on bankers and company directors in order to increase benefits for people with disabilities.

Of course Scotland will benefit from Osborne’s new projects say the Unionists. These are major UK transport infrastructure projects which will benefit the entire UK. Scots travelling across the north of England will find travel time reduced as they zoom down the road amongst the speedier traffic on the M62. Scots travelling between Manchester and Leeds will zoom there in thirty minutes. Scots going across London will zoom across the city on the new north-south Crossrail 2. It’s a bit like saying that Scotland benefits from increased services on the Paris Metro because it makes it easier for Scottish people to get across the French capital when they go there on holiday. C’est ci un bénéfice de la Union.

The only zooming going on here is the attempt by certain Unionists to claim that Scotland benefits from English transport projects that Scotland has to help pay for. Still, we shouldn’t complain too much. This time there’s no new London sewer project which Scotland has to pay for like the last major upgrade to London’s sewer network operated by privatised water companies. The best that can be said is that at least the UK government can claim it’s not literally taking the piss this time, it’s just taking it metaphorically. And that’s about as good as it’s going to get.

The Chancellor is going to have to find a further £4 billion in cuts if he is to achieve his stated aim of balancing the books before the next general election. You can be certain that money won’t be found by increasing taxes on those who are already well off. It’s going to be found by cutting the social security of those who are most in need. Britain is an ugly country that’s getting uglier and crueller. There will be more poverty porn on the telly, inviting the better off to treat the poor and the vulnerable as entertainment. It’s the modern equivalent of the guided tours of the lunatic asylum two hundred years ago, and we’re the ones chained to the wall. We’re under the control of ignoramuses who claim we don’t even have a language, it’s just a made up pretend slang.

The Union is dying. An opinion poll out this week showed that a majority of Scots will vote for independence if the rest of the UK votes to leave the EU. The Union is dying because Scotland’s on the wrong side of the tracks. The Union is dying from a thousand cuts. The Union is dying because it’s being killed by Unionists, Unionists who have piece by piece dismantled all the bricks of the British state and gouged out the mortar that held them together. And then they stand shocked and surprised at the very idea that anyone would want to escape the rubble that they’ve created. What they don’t understand is that the more that they attack the fabric of the welfare state, the more that they privilege London infrastructure above everyone else’s, the easier that they make it for us to leave. Scotland is on the fast track to independence, and it’s down to the Unionists.

This will be the last post from me for two weeks as I am off to the USA to visit with my significant other, who I’ve not seen since December. Sam Miller (Macart) will be taking over the blog in my absence. I’ll be back on March 30. The dug is going to stay with friends in Glenboig, so he’s going on holiday too.


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.

Making the beautiful dream walk and dance

There are few certainties in life, only three worth mentioning, death, taxes, and Scottish independence. But whereas the first two will happen in all circumstances, Scottish independence is still something we need to work on. That’s the message of this weekend’s SNP party conference, Scottish independence is not going to be handed to us on a plate, we need to wrest that plate out of the cold dead grasping hands of the zombie politicians of Westminster. We need to make the case for independence to the 55% of Scots who were not convinced the last time.

We’re never going to convince everyone. People who sit on social media copying and pasting graphs which allegedly prove that Scotland is more indebted than Greece are never going to be convinced. They’ve already made up their minds and have an emotional commitment to the Union that is not going to be overturned by facts or logic. Interestingly, these are generally the same people who insist the most vehemently that they’re making a logical and fact-based argument. But show me a person who makes major life decisions based purely on logic and I’ll show you a fictional character from a television sci-fi show. There is a decided lack of pointy ears amongst the zoomiest supporters of the Union, although the jury is out on the number of fingers and toes they might have. Facts and logic are vital of course, but they’re not enough by themselves. We also need to make an emotional case for independence.

There will be another independence referendum, maybe sooner rather than later, and we have the advantage of the experience of the last time to build upon. As someone who was born cynical and has only got even more cynical with age, the happy clappy fluffy bunniness of the official Yes campaign last time seemed to try and counter the inevitable negativity of the No campaign with an unremitting positivity. Next time we need to go on the offensive, and be less afraid to be offensive about the negativities of remaining a part of the UK, Project A’ll Gie Ye Project Fear. I want to see fewer wish trees planted but more wish trees uprooted and used as battering rams to break down the doors of Westminster.

We need to be more explicit and forceful about the downsides of remaining a part of the UK, about the continuing and widening gulf between rich and poor, the certainty of more foreign wars, the waste of public money and the risk to our safety of nuclear weapons. It’s not enough to talk up the positives of an independent Scotland, we must also speak more loudly of the negatives of a UK that is run for the benefit of the financial industry of the City of London. That’s a UK where the BBC weather map shows a literal depiction of Scotland’s place and importance.

One of the biggest errors made the last time was the currency issue. Former governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King recently admitted that of course there would have been a deal on currency allowing Scotland to continue to use the pound, and that video clip should be played on a continuous loop next time round. However the problem during the last campaign was that by punting the currency union issue the Scottish government was depending on cooperation from the British government. While the British government would certainly have cooperated after the event, the very last thing they were going to do during a tightly fought independence campaign was to admit to it.

The lesson to take from this episode is that we must fight the next campaign on a basis of zero cooperation, and that means we start from a position of establishing a new Scottish currency and telling Westminster that we’ll take on that part of the UK national debt that suits us, not the part that suits them. We start off from the position of a Scottish pound, and stick yer UK national debt up yer arse. Then the campaign is fought on the basis of a Westminster that is reliant on the cooperation of the Scottish government and not the other way about.

There also needs to be greater certainty about the constitutional shape of an independent Scotland. The Scottish government needs to start now on developing a consultation process to draw the broad outlines of a new Scottish constitution. A constitution that is based on the sovereignty of the Scottish people, a constitution that states explictly that Scotland is free of nuclear weapons, a constitution that has at its heart the issue of land reform, social equality, and justice. There is no place in a modern independent Scotland for the Highland Lairds and their vast estates bigger than some Scottish counties.

A referendum on the monarchy needs to be a part of the package, and we should not remain with the default case of retaining the Queen. The Queen might be terribly concerned right now about her constitutional neutrality during the EU referendum, but she didn’t have the same consideration for Scotland during the last Scottish independence campaign. She allowed herself to be used by Cameron and the Unionists, and in so doing she lost any claim to the title of Queen of Scots. The next independence referendum should make it plain that the future of the monarchy depends on the support of the Scottish people, or she’s going to be Queen Elizabeth the Last. Shut up or you’ll be put out, Liz.

The dream of an independent Scotland is a beautiful dream, a dream that will not die. Scotland should be a country where access to health, education and childcare should be guaranteed on a basis of need, not on a basis of ability to pay. The massive resources of this land and the limitless talents of its people must be put to the service of the people of Scotland, not to the service of the City of London. We must make this a land which attracts people to come here to make their homes and to contribute to our society, and escape from the British model in which Scotland is a reservoir of labour for the economy of the south.

The dream is alive, we need to make it alive and kicking. We have work to do and with our skill and our talent and our passion we will make the beautiful dream walk and dance down every street in this land. Scotland’s day is coming.


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 lost city of Yes Dundee

What is the point of BBC Question Time being held in a different city each week if the audience isn’t representative of that city? The programme would be as well basing itself in London every week. It wouldn’t be any less representative than it is now, and besides it would make it easier for its favourite guest Nigel Farage to get home after filming.

This week the programme obstensibly came from Dundee, although you’d have been hard pressed to notice. On Thursday the National had a front cover showing the lost city of Cadzow, dug up by archaeologists working on the M74 improvements. We desperately need some political archaelogists to dig up the lost city of Yes Dundee, because BBC Question Time dismally failed to find it. What they found instead was some mythical settlement where yes voting working class Dundonians are as rare as unicorns.

It would appear, according to whoever it is that decides the audience for BBC Question Time, that Dundee is disproportionately inhabited by weel spoken middle class types of a decidedly Tory persuasion, and failed Labour party candidates. It was however marginally better than David Cameron’s visit to the Tory party conference the previous week in that no one felt the need to put on a Scottish accent. Watching the programme I was struck by just how much the Dundee accent had changed since my last visit to the city. Although to be fair, it was a terribly long time ago and linguistic change can happen at a surprisingly fast rate. I just hadn’t expected it to change that much since January this year.

My personal highlight was someone who looked suspiciously like the failed Labour candidate Kathy Wiles, presented to the viewing public as an ordinary punter, demanding that the SNP apologise. For you know, general SNPbadness. Kathy was forced to resign as a Labour candidate after making a comment on social media comparing young kids at a protest against BBC bias during the independence referendum to the Hitler Youth. She had to apologise for her offensive tweet, so clearly she’s an expert in apologising.

Another Labour staffer also asked a question during the programme. Since it’s well known that the Labour party in Scotland has a membership which is about one twentieth of that of the SNP, you’d imagine that there were 20 times as many SNP members in the audience. But no. There were 20 times as many Tories instead. This was clearly some sort of Dundee existing in a parallel universe which had fallen through a hole in the interdimensional fabric of space time in order to appear on the BBC. This is the best explanation you’re going to get for the composition of the audience, as some of the questioners were very clearly not of this planet.

BBC Question Time is a programme whose idea of a representative panel in yes voting Dundee is three Unionists, two independence supporters, and a Conservative journalist. Conservative journalists are obligatory whenever Dundee, or indeed any working class Scottish settlement, is the venue, because it fulfils the BBC’s notion of balance. After all, Scotland has more Conservative journalists than it has actual Conservatives. Just who the hell is Tim Stanley anway, and why should we believe that this Conservative journalist from Cumbria have any particular insight into Scotland?

Of course he doesn’t. His purpose was to make up the Unionist numbers and ensure that yes voters were heavily outnumbered on the panel. The BBC is more concerned about the criticisms made against it down south of left wing bias that it cares about the more justifiable criticisms made against it in Scotland of Unionist bias. Naturally the BBC is a Unionist institution. It’s one of the very few British institutions left. Westminster has sold off or privatised all the other British institutions, so it’s down to the BBC to prop up an ailing sense of Britishness amongst a population that no longer cares.

The BBC is institutionally incapable of giving a fair representation to the Scottish independence movement, a political movement which attacks the very foundations of Britishness. We are the enemy, and that’s very plain in Question Time’s composition and in the Dimbleby’s demeanour. John Swinney never managed to complete a single sentence without being interrupted.

So in a yes supporting city we had a panel on which yes supporters were out numbered four to two plus the clearly anti-yes Dimbleby, answering questions from an audience which seemingly was made up of former Labour candidates and imported Tories. BBC balance at its very finest. Still, at least it was representative of 55% of the population, just not the population of Dundee. Next week BBC Question Time will be coming to us from the Tory voting depths of Buckinghamshire, where there’s a greater chance that the audience will actually contain someone who comes from Dundee.

The programme was an example of full on metropolitan trolling, the sort we’ve come to expect from the BBC. It tells us that the proposals for a Scottish Six news programme are doomed to failure. That won’t be because of a lack of talent in Scotland, or because of a lack of potential stories for a Scottish Six to tell. It certainly won’t be because there is no need for a Scottish based and produced daily news programme giving world and national news from a Scottish perspective. It will be because BBC management will starve the programme of investment and resources and will use it to propagate the BBC’s brand of biased Britishness. The BBC is not in the business of putting Scotland in all her glorious diversity on the screen.

The BBC as an organisation is rapidly losing what credibility it has left in Scotland. It’s a top heavy, sclerotic institution driven by metropolitan concerns which makes lip service at best to the point of view where London isn’t. Question Time is a programme which is no longer fit for purpose, produced by a broadcasting corporation which is no longer fit for purpose. Scotland, and the rest of the UK, deserve a public broadcaster which truly reflects what we’re always told is the bestest and most perfectest union of countries in the history of the multiverse. And they only way to achieve that is for control of broadcasting to be devolved to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and for the BBC in England to be decentralised.

A Scottish national broadcaster is long overdue. The farce of BBC Question Time only confirms that Scotland will not be reflected accurately or fairly on the television screen until Scotland, like every other self-governing nation, has its own dedicated public service broadcaster. The BBC is a colonial institution with an empire mentality. And all empires are overthrown in the end.


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.

Ruining to stand still

It’s GERS week, the annual release of the Government Expenditure and Revenues figures for Scotland, a set of data which bears the same relationship to the economy of an independent Scotland as a graph showing the economic impact of the damage done to Westeros by dragons. The release of the GERS figures are the excuse for the ritualistic self-flagellation of ProudScotsBut, those Unionists who are proud to be Scottish and even prouder when Westminster tells Scotland that it’s a basket case.

The GERS figures were first introduced as a political wheeze by then Tory governor general Ian Lang in 1992 as a means of staving off calls for devolution. Despite the nakedly political intent of the figures, they are invariably seized upon by gleeful Unionists in order to produce pretty coloured graphs showing that Scotland is poorer than Greece. The news of Scotland’s penury is cheerily broadcast far and wide across the nation, with the subtext that we ought to be grateful to the kind dragons of Westminsteros. Bow down before your lizard overlords is rarely expressed in a less subtle manner.

This year’s figures are worse than last years because of the fall in oil prices. According to the Unionists the case for independence depends entirely on the price of oil, although funnily enough they were still against independence when the price was high. The GERS figures do indeed show a fall in tax receipts from the oil and gas sector, but they also show an increase in economic activity in non-oil and gas sectors, boosted by the lower price of fuel. This increase is almost equal to the fall in oil receipts. So there are other stories to take from the GERS figures. You could take the story that Scotland’s economy is so resilent that it’s unaffected by the drop in the international oil price, you could take the story that Scotland’s economy is broad based and well able to absorb shocks.

But these are not the stories that appear in our Unionist media. A 0.1% drop in government receipts and allegedly the case for independence is “shattered”. The only thing that is shattered is the remaining shreds of Scottish Unionist credibility.

It’s one thing to be told that your country is an economically incompetent near-basketcase, it’s quite another to receive the news with rapturous glee. There’s something very dark and twisted at the soul of Scottish Unionism when news that Scotland allegedly teeters on the brink of financial ruin should be the cause of such unalloyed joy. It’s masochism as a mechanism of rule. And that’s the essential truth of Unionism, it requires Scotland to be incapable and unable to make its own way in the world, because then the Unionist cause is justified.

Here we are then, according to GERS, after 300 years of munificent Westminster rule, guiding Scotland by the hand, looking after us despite our base nature, and still this country with its plentiful resources, its fertile soils, its functioning institutions, and its educated populace is unable look after itself. We’re supposedly facing a budget black hole of £15 billion, and the people who have created that budget black hole remain the best people to look after us, despite the fact that in Scotland they were handed the best raw material imaginable for the creation of a prosperous and peaceful democracy.

What the Unionists never explain is just what is special about Scotland. What is it about Scotland that makes it unique amongst the countries of North West Europe? All the others are able to manage their affairs successfully, to grow their economies and supply decent standards of living for their people, to provide levels of public services that are often well in excess of anything we get in the UK. Yet an independent Scotland would, according to the pretty coloured graph of the unravelled wool of an armchair economist, be poorer than Greece or the former-Soviet republics.

I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating. Scotland is blessed with natural resources that any country would envy. We have an embarrassment of energy resources, both fossil and renewable. We have a fertile country that is more or less able to meet its own food demands. We have a sizeable chunk of Europe’s fisheries. We have water in such enormous quantities that domestic water consumption is not metered. We have whisky. We have a huge tourism industry. We have a highly educated English speaking population with four of the best universities in the world. We have a world class record in invention and innovation. We have impeccable democratic credentials and institutions which are relatively uncorrupt. We are situated in a geo-politically quiet corner of the planet. This is the recipe for a peaceful, prosperous, democratic country. Raw material for independent states do not come any better than Scotland.

Yet we’re facing a massive budget black hole. We struggle to provide public services. Pensions for our elderly are threatened. Why’s that then? Who’s been in charge of Scotland for the past 300 years? Who has had their hands on the levers of macro-economic control? And why do you think that that bunch of incompetents are the ones we should entrust our future to? Because all the pretty graphs show is that Scotland has been mismanaged by Westminster. That’s not an argument for Scotland remaining in the Union. That’s an argument for independence.

None of this gets an airing in the Unionist press, too busy climaxing in a masochistic orgasm. We’re screwed! Isn’t that great! That will show those pesky cybernats. Scotland’s poverty is to be celebrated by the ProudScots with a poverty of spirit and a poverty of imagination.

Bow down before your Unionist masters, they know what’s good for you. What’s good for you is what profits the Scottish upper classes. What’s good for you is what benefits the owners of the landed estates. What’s good for you is being kept in fear and remaining ignorant of your strengths. Bow down before the lizards. You’re being ruined for your own good, ruining to stand still.


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.

Screw this for a gemme o sodgies

The cost of Union is £2 billion, at least that’s the cost in cash. The cost in self respect is incalculable. According to the think tank IPPR Scotland that’s the amount that the Scottish budget will be cut by over the next few years due to the policies of a Tory government that Scotland didn’t vote for. Increasing austerity is Scotland’s reward for voting to stay a part of the UK. Punishing the poor and the low paid, rewarding the rich and big corporations. It’s the British way that means that public services will be slashed to balance the books that were unbalanced by bankers betting our houses on profits that could never materialise. So Scotland faces cuts, increasing poverty, and a widening chasm between rich and poor.

Everywhere else in the UK the Labour party campaigns against Tory budget cuts, but in Scotland Labour talks only about SNP cuts. Search amongst the press releases of the Labour party in Scotland for condemnation of Tory cuts, and you’ll find only the tumbleweed between the ears of James Kelly MSP. This is that Labour party, remember, which wants to sell itself as Scotland’s best defence against the Tories. The same Labour party that abstained on Tory austerity.

Cuts are on the way, imposed by a Tory government and these cuts will of course be presented to the Scottish public by the Unionist media as SNP cuts, eager as the Tory boys are to boost the Labour party in Scotland as their only hope of avoiding the inevitable slide towards independence. It’s one of the strange ironies of Scottish life that the Unionist media which campaigned so bitterly and fervently for Scotland to remain a part of the UK treats Scotland’s finances as though we were already independent. They never look to London when the topic of discussion is the Scottish budget, blame starts and ends in Edinburgh. The Scottish budget is determined in a vacuum, this time one which isn’t between James Kelly’s ears.

The only thing that Scotland’s Unionist parties are interested in is what the Scottish Government can do to ameliorate the policies of the Westminster Government. Never mind the mad Tory axeman chasing Scotland’s public services with a hatchet, the only important point is how many plasters Holyrood is going to put on the wounds. You might have though that devolution meant Scotland having the ability to make its own way within the UK, but apparently it means Scotland getting the ability to raise its taxes or axe its public services in order to deal with cuts that Westminster makes. Westminster’s still going to punish us, Scotland gets to choose the between the methods of punishment. But we shouldn’t complain about Westminster’s generosity, every new power for Scotland comes with a free gift of handcuffs and a muzzle.

It’s not so much devolution as it is 50 Shade of Grey as a constitutional principle. Scotland only gets to decide whether it wants George Osborne to whip us or whether we’ll suffer the cuts. Either way we’re still in shackles, still on a lead. Apparently this is the home rule that they promised us, a dog on a slightly longer leash that still doesn’t run free. Holyrood can still be called to Westminster’s heel any time the Tories or their Labour enablers choose.

I’m fed up with this. Fed up with Scotland’s legitimate desire for self-government being used as a plaything by Westminster parties and a means to beat up the SNP. Fed up of waking up of a morning and turning on the news only to learn of another way in which the rich and powerful and well connected are screwing over the weak and the poor. All they ever do is to take the piss.

The settled will of the Scottish people means nothing, it’s all just fuel for a game between rich men in a pretendy parlie far away, where invented traditions and fancy costumes act to disguise the naked power grab of an elite that’s accountable to no one. It’s the mother of parliaments, the great parade of British democracy, the pretence that your vote makes a difference. Clean for the Queen while the rich clean up and you’re left in the gutter.

Here we are, a few weeks out from a Scottish Parliament election, and the press is obsessed with a turf war between two cheeks of a Tory arse. It’s the Dave and Boris show, two spoiled rich kids using the future of you and me to settle a teenage argument. A century ago British politics revolved around the interests of the landed gentry, 100 years on and nothing has changed. A century ago Scotland was promised home rule, 100 years on and we still don’t have it. A century ago the Labour party promised to abolish the House of Lords, 100 years on and it’s stuffed full of Labour peers. Do you need any more proof that the British state is incapable of reforming itself?

And the price tag for the privilege of our domicile in this dysfunctional disaster of Downton politics is a cut of £2 billion to the Scottish budget. Here’s your real choice, you can tug your forelock, defer to your betters. Accept the future that Dave and Boris decide for us. Swallow the swill and smile gratefullly. Down in the garbage there’s a place for you. Just don’t get ideas above your station, don’t imagine that this land that is yours is run for your benefit. And don’t think that it’s going to be any better for your children, who’ll be born into debt and remain indebted for the whole of their lives. The payday loan and the student debt are the slave collars of the 21st century.

Or you can say screw this for a gemme o sodgies. There’s got to be a better way, and there is a better way. The better way is to shake of the powerlessness of union and take the future into Scotland’s hands. In May you can vote for a party that won’t play by Westminster’s rules. Vote to break the shackles. Vote to empower yourself. Vote Scottish.


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.