The anchovy on the stale pizza of Scottish Unionism

David Cameron is an embarrassment. It’s not just his government’s axing of the disability benefits that our multimillionaire PM claimed for his own disabled son. It’s not his toe-curling rendition of a Scawtch accent in a pathetic attempt to ingratiate himself with a Scottish audience of political cringers. It’s not even his hammy amorous episodes with porcine friends. What’s really embarrassing is the way he tried to play the underdog, and thought that voters in Scotland are so thick that we’d see the Tories our saviour from one-party statedom.

The Tories have an absolute majority in Westminster, despite the fact that less than 15% of Scottish voters support them and despite the fact that they received only 36.9% of the vote in the UK as a whole. They’re bent on ensuring that they retain a majority government in the UK, by redrawing the constituency boundaries in their favour. This is designed to make it easier for the Tories to obtain an absolute majority even though a mere third of the population vote for them. And then the leader of this party comes to Scotland to complain about another party that secured a majority of seats under a proportional voting system. That’s like Dracula complaining about unfair competition from an NHS blood bank.

Convinced that they’ve got a winner in Ruthie Davidson on her tank, the Tories plan to put her on every ballot paper in the land. When you vote Tory, you’re voting for the Ruthie D SNPbad fan club. Sort of like the teenage girls who’re obsessed with One Direction, but without the same emotional maturity or willingness to drop a grudge. It’s not exactly well rounded politics, more One Dimension.

While Labour are that creepy stalker ex-lover who keeps telling you that you’re still engaged even though you’ve long since thrown out the cassette compliation tape they made you and married someone else, the Tories don’t even rate that high. The Scottish Tories are the spotty weirdo with no social skills who has a wee shrine to you and tells everyone you’re coming back to them even though your sole interaction with them was that they once delivered you a take away promotional pizza which was inedible and had to be thrown in the bin. Ruthie is the stale anchovy on that pizza. The best you can say about the Tories in Scotland is that at least they are really cheesy.

For a few short weeks, the Tories in Scotland allowed themselves to believe the hype of their professional zoomers in the Scottish media. Scotland is the only country in the world where we have more Conservative journalists than we have actual Conservatives, and the brave wee band of boosters managed to convince themselves that everyone loves Ruthie as much as they do. The truth is that Ruthie’s appeal is very limited. You can dress up a Tory party however you want, you can give it a young female gay leader, but you’re still just putting lipstick on Davie Cameron’s pig. It’s not the packaging that’s the problem for the Scottish Tories, it’s the rank decay of their content.

That Scotland has become a one party state under the SNP is a constant trope from the Unionist parties. It’s a comfort blanket for parties which have been stripped naked by their own inadequacies. For the Tories and Labour, that nightmare where you need to make a speech only to realise that you’re standing there in the scud comes true every single day. That’s the best explanation you’re going to get for that permanent expression of revolted horror on Fluffy Mundell’s face. He knows we all see through him, through the pretence that him and his party are respected and respectable.

When you look at the Scottish Tories what you see is a bunch of unelectable chancers who’re riding the back of electoral support in another country, and then they blame the voters for not electing them. You don’t look at the Tories to see a reflection of Scotland. They are not a mirror of this land. You look at the Tories and you see Thatcherite dinosaurs, climate change deniers, pensioned off Morningsiders, unreformed sash-singers, militaristic monkeys, pursed lipped puritans, free-market yoonatics, brexiters, golf club bores, off-message journos, and social inadequates in ill fitting suits. You see people who think Liam Fox is a role model. You see a fringe party that in a normal country wouldn’t get close to power.

But this isn’t a normal country. This is Scotland, where a fringe party that obtains the support of less than 15% of the voters and which is set to come third placed in the Scottish Parliament elections gets to decide Scotland’s overall budget, gets to decide whether Scotland goes to war, gets to decide whether we get nukes based just outside our largest city. The Tories set your benefits, determine your pension age and your pension. The Tories get to decide to slash the subsidies to renewable energy industries while they invest millions in nuclear and support fracking in national parks. They set your taxes, but allow bankers and corporations off without paying. The Tories get to gerrymander Westminster constituencies to ensure they’ll be in power for ever. They decide what powers that the Scottish Government is allowed to have, they impose their will on Scotland with a majority of English MPs but restrict the right of Scottish MPs to vote on matters they deem to be English. They do all this with 14.9% of the popular vote and a single Scottish MP. And then without a shred of irony or self awareness this party that Scotland can’t get rid of despite the hammering we give it every single time there’s an election has the cheek to complain about how Scotland is a one party state.

Scotland will reject the Conservatives yet again in May. Yet again the party will fail to make any breakthrough, but that won’t stop the Scottish Tory press going on about how next time round, Ruthie will make a breakthrough on her tank.

You don’t get to complain that Scotland is a one party state just because you are so rubbish, so bereft of credibility, so lacking in public trust, that you can’t find anyone to vote for you. Unless that is, you’re an anchovy on the stale pizza of a Scottish Unionist party.

And finally: It seems my article the other day about the symbolism of the BBC weather map has attracted the opprobrium of Better Together’s favourite academic Tom Gallagher. According to Tom I’m divisive, howling, and greedily demanding a diet of caviar because this blog comes with the temerity of a donate button. How dare I ask people to donate to this blog if they choose to and don’t restrict their access to it in any way if they don’t. How demanding and selfish is that eh?

Och Tom poppet, if I’d spent a career in academia studying the manifestations of sectarianism only to discover that politically I’d ended up on the same side of an argument as the Orange Order, I’d be bitter too. xx


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 wilful yoonidity of a mind that thinks small

Some things look small because they’re far away. Some things look small because the BBC chooses a perspective that makes them look small. Some things look small because they are small. And some small things are small because they have to fit within the brain case of a yoonatic journalist. Atoms are tiny, but they’re made up subatomic particles called protons, neutrons and electrons. Protons and neutrons are themselves made up of even more miniscule elementary subatomic particles, like quarks, antiquarks, and leptons. And elementary subatomic particles are made up of the tiniest thing in the known universe, the intellect and imagination of a Westminion.

Today on social media, the usual suspects in the spannerbag of Scottish media yoonettes mocked an SNP MP for pointing out that Scotland looks disproportionately small on the BBC weather map. How stupid is he, eh eh, they joked with one another. Of course it’s small because the world is a globe. How dumb is that? But your TV screen isn’t a globe, it’s a two dimensional surface, and there are recognised ways and means of representing the surface of a sphere on a two dimensional surface. When you spend your career looking for ways to attack the Scottish government, it’s easy to miss out on geometry lessons, never mind cartography.

For reasons best known to its metrocentric self, the BBC has chosen to use a non-standard map projection for its weather maps. This has the effect of making Scotland and the north look tiny and making London and the south look much larger than they really are. On the BBC weather map, the south of England is disproportionately large. This annoys some people who are convinced it’s part of a BBC plot to diminish Scotland. It’s not a plot. However the BBC weather map also annoys more reasonable people who are convinced that it was just some BBC graphics wheeze to represent a globe implemented by a corporation which didn’t give a toss that what they were doing was presenting a point of view to the rest of the country which privileged the south of England, and then calling themselves a national broadcaster. Symbols are important, you’d think that a media corporation ought to know that, and the BBC’s southern-centric weather map has become a symbol of the centrally controlled BBC’s London-centric attitudes.

Map projections are means of displaying the surface of a three dimensional sphere on a two dimensional surface like the page of a book, or indeed a television screen. If you tried to stick the surface of a sphere down on a flat surface, you’d end up with a crease the size of the arsecrack into which the Labour party in Scotland has so recently vanished. To get around this, the map can be distorted in various ways. Some map projections like Mercator stretch out areas as the map approaches the poles so that Greenland appears larger than Australia when in fact it is smaller. Other projections show equal areas at the expense of foreshortening. The BBC’s weather map doesn’t use a projection familiar from an atlas, it uses an idiosyncratic projection which some geek in their design department thought looked modern.

And here’s where our small minded yoonidities only show their own ignorance when they mock those who point out that Scotland looks small on the BBC weather map. But it’s a sphere they say, and go off on tired riffs on a Father Ted sketch. What they forget, or more plausibly never understood in the first place, perhaps because they’re genetically programmed to knee-jerk scottiscoff, is basic geometry. From the point of view of someone looking down on the surface of a sphere, any point on the surface of that sphere can be equally distant – it all depends on the point of view which is chosen in the first place. But then it’s easy to overlook that when your chosen point of view is a cringey one. Since their default position as Scottish yoon media loveys is that the Scottish media is too wee too poor and too provincial to report on global affairs, then grasping the properties of a globe is clearly going to be beyond them. We should be kind, because it is cruel to mock those with learning difficulties.

The BBC chooses to display a map showing a view of the UK from a point in space somewhere off the southern coast of England. They could, if they wanted, have chosen to depict the UK from a point in space somewhere above central England, northern England, or even Scotland. But they didn’t want to do that. They chose a view which gave prominence to those parts of these islands which are most important to managers in the BBC, and that would be London and the south of England. Scotland looks small on the BBC weather map because it’s far away from London.

The BBC weather map isn’t very important in the cosmic scheme of things. It’s a symbol of the lack of consideration that the BBC has for the places that the news announcers call “where you are”. The BBC spends risible amounts on ‘regional’ broadcasting, and artificially boosts the amount which it does claim as spent on ‘the regions’. Network programmes are packaged as ‘regional’ and the BBC claims that this counts towards fulfilling their commitment to producing Scottish programming. That’s how shows like Waterloo Road, about an English school following an English curriculum full of English kids and English teachers, just happens to be set in Greenock.

From the weather map perspective of the BBC, Scotland is very much a small and insignificant region, a tiny place far far away. The weather map itself isn’t important, but what the BBC weather map has come to represent is the lack of consideration for Scottish broadcasting, the lack of funding for Scottish broadcasting, and the London control of Scottish broadcasting. The perspective of the BBC weather map symbolises all those things, and they are very important indeed. Ignoring that, and focussing on the map itself, that’s the typical wilful yoonidity of a mind that thinks small because it is small.


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.

Dancing on a full head of spin

A couple of weeks ago Labour peer George Foulkes wrote to Nicola Sturgeon in his capacity as chair of the Labour Movement for Europe to complain that despite the stated intention of the SNP to campaign for the UK to remain in the EU, the SNP are still really, really bad. As an unelected, indeed unelectable politician and member of the House of Lords, George trades on the fancy names and titles given to him by his cronies for services to greasy pole climbing. The proper title for the erstwhile MP for Keir Hardie’s old constituency of Cumnock is Lord Auld Socialists Are Birling In Their Graves, and his Native American name is Dances With Polis.

It has been Labour party policy to abolish the House of Lords since Keir Hardie first stood as MP for Cumnock. But George has plenty of good socialist pals in the Lords, stalwarts of progressive politics like George Robertson who nowadays rejoices in the titles Lord Killing Nationalism Stone Dead or Lord But We Don’t Have A Culture, and the Labour party’s very own interior designer Lord Sets Fire To Curtains who thought that the decor of an Edinburgh hotel could be vastly improved with a dash of arson. The upper house is stuffed full undemocratic appointees with power but no accountability in a system that would have made even General Franco blush with its naked contempt for the electorate.

The existence of the House of Lords makes the UK the only country in the world where you are rewarded for services to democracy by being allowed a free pass on democratic accountability. It’s a bit like rewarding brain surgeons with a free lobotomy, and when you look at the denizens of the Lords you might well believe that their decision making skills could only be improved by lopping off their frontal lobes.

The Lords is the totem of the unreformability of Westminster. Labour came to power in 1997 with a massive majority on a promise to reform the Lords and introduce proportional representation. However after democrats like Jack Straw and John Reid counselled that a PR system would mean the Labour party would likely lose the humungous majoritie it achieved on a mere 35% of the vote, the idea was filed away in a deep dark basement along with Jack’s common decency, John’s empathy, Gordie Broon’s moral compass, and Tony Blair’s honesty.

Replacing the unelected House of Lords with an elected chamber threatened to put the hems on the untrammelled exercise of power of Blair and his pals, so the Tombstone Toothy one decided to replace the hereditary principle in the Lords with the only thing worse. An entire chamber of hand picked appointees who owe their positions to patronage. This week, Labour’s ghosts of elections past were joined by their Tory colleagues like Lord Forsyth of Zombie in picking over the bones of the Scotland Bill like vultures, seeking a morsel that they hope the SNP can choke on. This is how politics works in the UK, the politically undead feed on the living. It’s not about you and me, it’s not about the electorate, it’s not about what’s good for the country. It’s about short term political advantage for the ruling parties, always has been, always will be.

It doesn’t matter what the issue is, it doesn’t even matter whether Labour and the SNP are on the same side for once, where Scotland is concerned the only important consideration for the walnut sized brained diplodocuses of the British establishment is getting a few digs in at the SNP.

This week’s issue for SNP digging is the decision of the SNP to allow local councils who so choose to raise council tax on properties in the highest bands. It’s the SNP’s response to Labour complaints about the squeeze on local authority budgets threatening education. The money raised on increased council tax on the most expensive properties is to be ring fenced for education. It’s not exactly the most thrilling political proposal, but then it’s not designed to be.

Previous attempts to abolish the council tax were mired for months in mud slinging, and no party which hopes to gain an absolute majority under a PR system designed to make it as difficult as possible for a party to gain an absolute majority is going to go into an election with a policy designed to piss off large segments of the voting public. You can just imagine the headline in the Unionist press if the Scottish Government had decided to replace Council Tax with, say, a land value tax. It would be the SNP’s garden tax and an all out assault on your herbaceous border. Yoonatic journos would pen articles warning that the SNP’s attack on rose beds was another example of anti-English discrimination. Even JK Rowling’s hedge wouldn’t be safe from those evil Nats with their taxation secateurs.

Despite the fact that it was a Tory controlled council which wanted to raise council tax a few weeks ago, the Tories immediately denounced the SNP attack on Middle Scotland, which apparently is like Middle Earth but with John Swinney instead of orcs. Although we could all agree that Davie Mundell makes a convincing hobbit. Meanwhile Labour, having complained for months that the SNP’s council tax freeze meant that Labour local authorities had their fiscal hands tied behind their backs and demanding an end to the freeze, all of a sudden discovered that the council tax is a terribly unfair taxation system.

There are plenty of reasons why the council tax is unfair. There are plenty of reasons for arguing that it should be abolished and replaced with a more progressive tax like land value tax. But Scotland’s Unionist opposition parties are not the people to make those arguments with any degree of plausibility. That’s the big problem in Scottish politics these days, not the dominance of the SNP, but the fact that the Unionist parties are incapable of mounting any sort of opposition. If Scotland is a one party state, it has become so due to Unionist inadequacy. Just look at George Foulkes, a discredited has been who never was in the first place, dancing on a full head of spin and attacking the Scottish government instead of UKIP and the Tories. That’s all the evidence anyone needs.


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.

We’re not going back to sleep

The Scottish public will wake up to the SNP eventually, is the soothing mantra that the Unionist commentariat tell themselves so they can get to sleep at night. Soon, soon, it’s just around the corner. Won’t be long now. Won’t be long. Hush now Daily Mailster and don’t cry. It won’t be long until Scotland returns to the fold like the good sheep we want them to be. They’re mad cultists, those Scots, say the establishment Westminions as they pray for salvation by a Messiah who delivered Scotland into EVEL. They lie tossing and turning, praying for redemption.

But they have no gods and their precious few heroes sold their souls for an ermine robe and a seat on the board. Stop listening to the spin say the spiders casting webs of lies. Wake up to the SNP, wake up to the SNP, count the Labour sheep and dream. Do as you’re told. Do what we say. Listen to your betters far far away in a place that’s not parochial and inward looking like you are. Now watch this display of royal pagentry. Coo at the photie of Willnkate’s baby. This is the UK, you’re privileged to be a part of the best non-nationalist nationalism the world has ever seen. Watch the Dave and Boris show, Punch and Judy puppets fill the press while the crocodile of capitalism devours your future. Michelle Moan has a peerage, she’s one of yours, why are you not grateful.

And this, this miserablist vision of narrow prospects and greedy avarice, is the best it’s ever going to get. This is the UK. It’s never going to change. It ate your grandparents and it will eat your children. Be obedient. Be humble. Defer to the lords and ladies. That’s how the UK works, that’s how it’s always worked. That’s what makes Britain grate your nerves.

We woke up from the nightmare. We were asleep years ago, when we were soothed by the fairy stories and somnolised by the lullabies of Labour, as a nation went sleepwalking off a cliff into the chasm of despair. Just one more General Election, just one more Labour majority, and our numbers would come up in the lottery of life. Tony Blair swore it was true. It was a restless sleep, a fevered dream, enchanted by the magic of lies. The only numbers we see are the numbers of the dead in illegal wars, the numbers of the increasing debt, the numbers sanctioned, the numbers going hungry as they trudged to the food banks, that’s winning the lottery of Westminster life means.

We woke up in the summer of 2014 and we’re not asleep any more. We’re alive and awake to the confidence tricksters, the false promisers, the perverters of hope and destroyers of the future who abandoned Scotland in the cold dead vacuum of vowter space. Our eyes are open, our minds alert, our feet stand firm under an open Scottish sky, and the landscape lies before us for the taking. We didn’t go away that depressing September day, it wasn’t a defeat it was a pause for breath, a taking of stock, a call to redouble our efforts, the alarm bell that woke a nation. The 19th of September 2014 was the day that half of Scotland said – Naw, I don’t think so. Your card is marked. Yer tea is oot.

The people who call for Scotland to wake up to the SNP are the same ones who want us to return to our slumber. The want us to surrender to passivity, to accept powerlessness and revel in impotence. They have no answers, no solutions, just the constant cry that the SNP is bad. They call on us to cringe more, complain about Gaelic signs and Scottish news programmes, be the co-dependent in their addiction to power as a route to preference and privilege and enrichment for the few. The only strategy they have is the vain hope that by convincing people that the SNP is as shite as they are that we’ll return to their self-serving embrace.

They miss the point. We all know that the SNP has its shortcomings. We are not blind. We are not asleep. But we want transformation and change, an escape from the politics of poverty of hope and beggaring of aspiration. The SNP can deliver that. Why vote for Labour or the Tories’ promise to reshuffle Westminster’s stacked deck when you can vote for a whole new game with a new pack of cards. When the gemme is a bogey you don’t vote for those who want to keep playing by the same unfair rules. Why vote for mitigation and paying twice to make up the shortfall for Westminster’s Tory cuts when we can vote for a fair game.

Devolution was supposed to be a means for Scotland to forge its own path within the UK, not a sticking plaster on the stumps left of the legs that Westminster has cut from beneath us. The only choice they want you to have to is vote Tory to cut your own throat, or vote for Labour to hold you down while the Tories cut your throat. That’s British democracy. Progressive can only mean progress along the path that Westminster decides, the British Parliamentary Road to Socialism that ended in the despair of Blair. But Scotland is hacking its way through the uncharted growth of self-determination, and with every step we take we see a vision of a better country come more sharply into focus. So clear we can touch it, beautiful and shimmering in the light of imagination. All things are possible when you forge your own path, free from the blinkers of those who ride on our backs and whip us. We are climbing the mountain to a better life, and we’re doing it ourselves.

There’s another tsunami coming in May. Another wave of wakefulness to wash away the lies, another ocean of awareness to drown the deceit. We’re awake. We are alive. We’re terrifying the Westminions and keeping them awake at night.

And we’re not going back to sleep.


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.