The opposite of blaming the English

The other night on Newsnight on BBC, arch conservative David Frum, a former speechwriter to George W Bush, made the ludicrous claim that Scottish nationalism was being funded by the Kremlin. Being a former speechwriter to the president whose only redeeming feature is that he was merely off the planet and not actually out in interstellar space like Donald Trump, Frum has of course got previous for not dealing with happenings here on Earth.

If Scottish nationalism was indeed funded by the Kremlin, it would save a lot of us bloggers and new media types from having to punt fundraisers, flog our books, or ask for donations. However Scottish nationalism manages to do quite well for itself without any assistance from regressive homophobic imperialist kleptocrats. We have quite enough of those in Westminster and are trying to get away from them as fast as our hairy wee Caledonian legs can carry us without getting into bed with their Russian equivalents. Actually we couldn’t get into bed with them anyway, what with the Russian government being notoriously homophobic and Scottish nationalism being as gay-friendly as a nightclub in Amsterdam.

The argument Frum was trying to articulate is that there is no real cause or basis to the desire for Scottish self-determination, it’s all being stirred up by evil people outside. Frum wants to make out that Scotland is nothing more than a little cog in the gearwheel driving the Axis of Evil. Why the Kremlin would want to support a movement that sees its natural allies amongst the 143 non-Russian nationalities of Russia, Frum didn’t explain.

The chances are that your average supporter of Scottish self-determination is going to be highly sympathetic to the struggles of other small stateless nations to achieve autonomy. You might just think that the successful establishment of an independent Scottish state might make the Chuvash, the Tatars, the Yakut or the Tuva, to name but a few, redouble their own efforts for self-determination and the assertion of their linguistic, cultural, and political rights.

In Scottish terms, Frum is a far right wing extremist. He’d find our Tory party dangerously liberal. In America, a conservative party led by an out lesbian is a contradiction. In American politics Frum is considered a far right neo-conservative, he’s not usually considered swivel eyed, but that’s only because they have Donald Trump as a standard of comparison. His insight into Scottish nationalism is less than that of your average Guardian columnist, but then, there’s no particular reason why he ought to be blessed with any great understanding of Scottish politics. We can just point and laugh.

The Guardian’s Martin Kettle is a different kettle of fishy fallacies. He gets paid very highly to comment on British politics, but as far as Scotland is concerned he’s as out of touch and clueless as David Frum. Today in the Guardian the former acolyte of Tony Blair has submitted a 1000 word article bemoaning the lack of opposition to the SNP and warning that in the future it’s going to be harder than before to blame the English. They get an easy run you know, that SNP that isn’t ever challenged by a Scottish media that is almost entirely united against it.

I’m sick fed up of people who should know better repeating lazy slurs that Scottish self-determination is all about blaming the English. Frankly, it’s racist. It plays on the ancient English stereotype that there is no content to a Scottish identity than a deep seated desire not to be English, that we have no culture, no language, and nothing to distinguish ourselves except a visceral hatred for our neighbours. The anti-Scottish sentiment that exists in England is dismissed as banter, yet anti-English sentiment in Scotland is not merely a dark canker that lurks at the very heart of the Scottish psyche, it’s all that Scotland has and all that Scotland is.

We don’t blame “the English”, Martin, we blame the Westminster parliament, which as a political correspondent you may have noticed is also the parliament of Scotland. The word Westminster is not Scottish cybernat code for England. Westminster is not an English institution, it just acts as though it is and that’s part of the problem. Westminster is the parliament of the entire United Kingdom, yet it’s a parliament in which Scotland’s voice is sidelined, marginalised, and ignored. Pointing that out and seeking a means to correct a lamentable state of affairs in which the highest authority for Scotland serves Scotland badly and doesn’t reflect Scotland’s choices is not “blaming the English”.

We don’t blame “the English”, Martin, we blame people like you. You may be English, but that’s not what we’re blaming you for. We blame you for your arrogance, your ignorance, and your self-regarding egoism that insists on believing that the question of Scotland’s constitutional settlement is all about you. It’s not about you Martin. It’s about Scotland, and what is best for this country that we, not you, live in and understand. It’s about us.

David Frum has an excuse for his asinine idiocy. Martin Kettle doesn’t. But the reason that Scotland’s campaign for self-determination is never going to go away is because as long as we remain a part of the United Kingdom, the ultimate powers that be and the opinion formers that they listen to will be clueless about Scotland, will care little or nothing about us, and will frame our country in lazy stereotypes that suit their own agendas and do nothing to improve Scotland.

Scotland taking responsibility for itself and seeking a means to address the problems in Scotland is the very opposite of blaming the English. It means Scotland will have no one to blame but itself. Scotland and her people will be responsible for our own successes and our own failures. But highly paid commentators in UK national newpapers find it preferable to keep repeating lazy racist insults than to try and understand what is going on in what is, or so they keep telling us, a much loved and valued part of their own country. Maybe the likes of Martin Kettle will come to understand that one day, but that’s only going to happen after the event of Scottish independence. All the Martin Kettles of this world do is give us greater impetus to reach that goal.


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!

The two volumes of the Collected Yaps are in stock again. 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.

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

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

Vote for the plaster, or vote for the cure

Kezia Dugdale finally got around to unveiling the Labour manifesto for Scotland yesterday, and it was received with rapturous applause and a renewed enthusiasm for the peepul’s party from the massed ranks of the Scottish working classes in Kezia’s imagination. That was jist fabby Kezia hen, said one of her synapses. Gaun yersel Kezia you’ve saved Labour’s arse and Jackie Baillie’s career, said another. From the depths of her limbic system came a surge of love and affection for the Labour party and a thousand Iain Greys danced along with a Subway sandwich and laughed and sang with joy for this time the stuffing would be knocked out the Nats. Neil Findlay punned his way across the stage to the uproarious applause and cheers of an adoring crowd, and Anas Sarwar managed to get through an entire debate without being supercilious or snide. Although admittedly that was because Kezia’s grand success had put out the gas on his leadership amibitions and for once he was lost for words. But still.

Former Yes voters got on their knees and raised their hands to the skies shouting, “I have seen the light! Praise the Labour for I have seen the light!” The lost sheep of Lanarkshire returned to the fold and realised that the Daily Record really is holy writ. Red roses cascaded from the heavens, and Kezia walked on a carpet of petals towards the glowing light of the First Ministerial podium. And the angels started to sing the Halleluiah Chorus in Gaelic and Scots until someone pointed out that singing in Scottish is dangerously nationalist and anyway, Scots isn’t a proper language because it doesn’t have a word for halleluiah.

And then Kezia woke up in the gutter of broken dreams alongside the ghost of Jim Murphy’s be-egged shirt, clutching that photie of him with a halo, all crushed in her hand, and she realised it was just a disconnect from reality produced by reading too many articles about Scottish politics in the Guardian. That’s what happens when you listen to puff pieces in the UK media. In the real world the manifesto was received with the sound of one hand clapping, but that just turned out to be James Kelly being slapped.

There’s more energy in a spent AA battery than there is in the Labour party in Scotland, a party which couldn’t even summon up a clap of the Duracell bunny’s cymbals with the aid of the entire wind farm output of Scotland. Ha, Labour would sniff, SNP wind farms are no use when the wind doesn’t blow. But that’s all you get from Labour, the empty wind of a blawbag on expenses and the disappointment of disillusion and deceit.

Labour has no ideas, no talent, and no clue. It doesn’t actually matter what policies their manifesto contains. What matters is the container. When the tin is electoral poison so are its contents, and Labour is a very poisonous tin indeed. They could promise the earth, and even have detailed fully costed plans which don’t involve Jackie Baillie’s arithmetic to show conclusively how they were going to pay for it, and still no one would believe them. When you’ve lied too often no one wants to believe you any more. When you’ve disappointed too often no one wants to trust you any more. When you’ve promised to change but still show the same tired old faces it’s tantamount to telling the electorate that you think they’re mugs. We’re the mugs they use to keep dipping into the trough.

This manifesto, Labour swears blind, is the most left wing manifesto on offer. No, really, honest. Look, it’s got red ink in it and everything. The Scottish leader that wanted the Blairite Liz Kendall to become leader of the UK party has all of a sudden morphed into Karla Marx after making the belated discovery that moving Labour to the right was electorally counter productive. Jim Murphy attempted the same trick, and look how well that turned out. His Guardian photo halo slipped and strangled him. You’d think that if Labour was sincere about moving to the left they might choose to be represented by people who can actually convince as left wingers. Yet here we are again a year on, and they’re still repeating the same mistakes.

The launch was overshadowed by a disastrous opinion poll released on the very same day. According to the poll for STV, the Tories are projected to overtake Labour as the second largest party, but not because the Tories are all of a sudden doing better than a non-EU approved toaster in David Coburn’s kitchen. It’s just that Labour is doing spectacularly badly. If the poll is borne out during the election just a week from today, the party will receive its worst result since the Second World War and the first time it will have come third since 1910. Labour is heading for a defeat of historic proportions, and no amount of manifesto tinkering is going to bring about a recovery in its fortunes.

When you can’t even hold your own against the Tories in a Scottish election, you might as well give up and go home. Yet Kezia maintains that all is well and smiles calmly. If she can keep her head while everyone around her is losing theirs and blaming it on her – perhaps she’s just underestimated the seriousness of the situation.

Labour’s big answer is to raise taxes so Scots can compensate for cuts imposed upon us by a Tory government that we didn’t vote for, a Tory government that Labour campaigned to keep us exposed to. And it claims that it’s offering the radical solution. The real radical solution is to campaign for Scotland never to be exposed to Tory governments that we didn’t vote for ever again. If Labour had included that in its manifesto then perhaps it might have been worth digesting. Instead we get a party that offers to put a plaster on the axe wounds inflicted on Scotland by the Tories, from the same party that held Scotland down while the Tories wielded the axe.

Don’t vote for the plaster, vote for the cure.


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!

The two volumes of the Collected Yaps are in stock again. 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 Union’s hangover from Scotland-Lite

Davie Cameron is in denial. Scotland is gradually slipping its moorings and sailing away from the UK iceberg, but all Davie is interested in is arguing with Boris Johnson about whether it’s better to privatise the ice and sell it off as a ski resort from within or outwith the EU. Of course it’s not really about Europe at all, the real issue here is which spoiled over-privileged public schoolboy gets to be the next Prime Minister, Davie’s ex-bestie Boris or his current bestie George. If ever you suspected that British politics was nothing more than a glorified school playground spat, there’s your proof right there.

Everything else is a bit of an irrelevance, and Scotland is more irrelevant than most. After all, we don’t do Tories here, so have little contribution to make to the Davie-Boris Euro ding dong, and that is the only show in town. Scotland will settle down, thinks Davie, the SNP will be too feart to call another referendum, and the Scots will settle for Scotland-Lite.

It’s not clear what Scotland-Lite is supposed to be. It’s certainly doesn’t sound like the nearest thing possible to federalism (copyright Gordon Brown), or the Home Rule that the No campaign was promising just before the independence referendum. Whatever Scotland-Lite is, it’s a long way from the full fat federalism that Gordie Broon was going on about, and it’s not remotely close to Home Rule or Devo Max.

Scotland-Lite sounds a bit like one of those pretendy alcohol free beers which give you all the disadvantages of an alcohol fueled night on the town but without the giggles. You have to spend a great deal of time and effort getting ready, but it’s ruinously expensive, you get ignored and humiliated by people who are supposed to serve you but who are too far up their own arses to care, you have a constant urge to pee but no relief, then you end up with a hangover, and a bitter taste in your mouth, you’ve failed dismally to pull and the experience didn’t even impart any pleasure or get you anywhere. All you’re left with are shattered expectations and broken dreams and the stale taste of regret. Which come to think of it is a pretty fair assessment of the devolution settlement that came out of the Scotland Bill. Actually it’s worse than that. At least with alcohol free beer you can drive yourself, but the Scotland Bill still relegates Scotland to the back of the bus.

Scotland has been left with a bad taste in its mouth thanks to the Scotland Bill. The British government is now on notice that another independence referendum is just a matter of time. Davie is still fondly hoping that’s it’s an if, it’s not. It’s a when. The next chance of an independence referendum will depend on the outcome of the EU referendum.

Davie Cameron is hoping that the UK will vote to remain a part of the EU, and it very well might even though opinion polls show that it’s too close to call in England. If the UK votes to leave but Scotland votes to remain, we have another independence referendum and Davie is out of a job anyway.

But he needs more than a narrow victory in the EU referendum to settle the question, because if there’s a tiny majority in England to leave but the UK as a whole votes to remain thanks to votes in Scotland, there’s going to be one almighty constitutional crisis. Where’s yer English votes for English laws noo eh? Davie needs England to vote decisively to remain a part of the EU or the question isn’t going to go away and the Tory party will tear itself apart even more than it’s doing at the moment. After all, the Scottish question hasn’t gone away even though the Unionists won the last referendum.

The reason the question has not gone away is because it’s not enough to win the vote, it’s how you win the vote that counts. If you win the vote by making promises that you’ve got no intention of fulfilling, or that you’re going to pretend to fulfil, or that you phrase in such a vague manner that you can interpret them in any way that suits you’ve only created a hostage to fortune. Because if you can interpret your promises in any way that suits you, so can the people you made the promises to. All that does is create a large constituency of pissed off people who feel cheated. Like Scotland. However it doesn’t seem that Westminster is capable of learning any lessons.

But the EU referendum won’t be the only opportunity for another independence referendum. All sorts of pitfalls lie in the path of the Westminster government. With the last Westminster General Election and the likely outcome of the Scottish elections next week, the Union is being put on notice. What these votes ought to tell the Unionist parties is that the people of Scotland expect them to fulfil OUR interpretations of their promises, not the self-serving interpretations that they believe best suit themselves. But there’s as much chance of that happening as there is of getting rat arsed on a bottle of Scotland-Lite alcohol free beer.

The renewal of Trident is looming on the far horizon. Scotland is going to get nuclear missiles imposed upon us despite the fact that the vast majority of our elected representatives are viscerally opposed. There’s the continuing drive to privatisation and the threats to the NHS and the education system in England which have knock-on effects in Scotland. And there’s the appalling prospect that we could have either Boris Johnson or George Osborne as the next Prime Minister.

With every step that Westminster takes, it treads on the hopes of Scotland, and it gets one pace further away from a Union that Scotland can be a contented part of. What the Unionist parties fail to realise is that this is happening because of their own actions, not because of anything that the people of Scotland or pro-independence parties are doing. The Union is being killed by Unionists. It’s being killed by the patronising denial of Davie Cameron who thinks that we’re not worth worrying about, and who believes that we’ll settle not even for second best, but for the pathetic and damaging Scotland-Lite that is going to give the Union one almighty hangover. It’s the Union that’s lite, and it’s floating away.


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!

The two volumes of the Collected Yaps are in stock again. 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.

Jealousy with a halo

Ruth Davidson has been bemoaning the fissures in Scottish politics again, and has been demonstrating her displeasure by sticking a big tank turret into the fissure and waggling her cannon barrel about. From time to time she’ll fire a shell into any scar tissue that seems to be forming. The SNP will do anything to keep the wounds of the independence debate open, said Ruthie, who has done nothing but go on about how opposed she is to a second referendum ever since we had the first one.

To paraphrase HG Wells, Ruthie’s moral indignation at the SNP is just jealousy with a halo. She’s facing a massively popular party with her misbegotten band of sub-Thatcherite electoral rejects, closet citrus fruit flavoured Unionists, and I’m-alright-Jackists who wouldn’t look out of place in the Star Trek mirror universe, and has to seek some moral high ground where she can find it. The fact that her moral high ground is in fact a figment of her imagination is kindly overlooked by a sympathetic press which is desperate to foster any sort of opposition to the SNP.

Still, you can’t really blame her, if she didn’t have the prospect of a second referendum to rail against she’d have to defend the policies of the Tory government at Westminster. That would be the government that cuts taxes for the rich and pays for it by slashing the incomes of people with disabilities, consigning thousands to a life of poverty and misery and blighting the prospects of a generation of children. The Tories preside over an increasing chasm of wealth and opportunity between the rich and the poor, but that’s not a fissure worth bemoaning for Ruthie. She’s just fine with that one, as it’s not the Tory voters in their comfortable hooses that are affected by it.

All the Tory talk of opposing a second referendum that at the moment is entirely hypothetical is the political version of the shell game con. Look at this thing that there are no plans for, says Ruthie, in order to distract your attention from the things that she does have concrete plans for. It gets her a few snappy soundbites in a friendly media, but your real politics are what you do once the soundbite has been delivered. For Ruthie that would be her own plans to impose student fees and prescription charges, and her Westminster government’s plans to privatise the health service and education by stealth. Those policies are the pea under the shell that she doesn’t want you to find.

Opposing another referendum might not be the Tories’ only policy, but it’s the only one that they want to talk about. It’s also vacuous and meaningless as if the people of Scotland vote in a majority party or parties that will bring forward a referendum when the time is right for it, there’s bugger all that Ruthie can do to stop it. You’re not allowed to park a tank in the debating chamber at Holyrood. She can go on until her tank’s tank runs dry about her opposition to another referendum, but if the Unionist parties are not going to fulfil all the promises that they made the last time, they themselves are the ones who will have provided the justification for another one.

Since the Unionist parties believe that they’re the ones who get to interpret the statements made by the SNP and the Yes campaign during the independence referendum, it’s only fair and reasonable that it’s the SNP and the Yes campaign who get to interprety the statements made by the Tories, Labour and the No campaign. Ruth can’t have it both ways, she doesn’t get to be arbiter of both the Yes and the No campaigns. Her hypocritical halo has slipped and is strangling her.

Meanwhile there’s not much sign of Labour’s halo, but the party had been relying on Gordie Broon’s moral compass in order to find it, with predictably disastrous results. Gordie himself has been as elusive as his moral compass of late, and hasn’t intervened in order to save the party from a fate worse than Jackie Baillie’s calculator. When even the famously self-deluded Gordie isn’t deluded enough to imagine that the party can be saved, the outlook for Labour is bleak indeed.

The Labour party in Scotland are due to publish their manifesto tomorrow, just a week before the election. Even the nerdiest politics geek in the history of nerdy geekdom finds it difficult to get excited about Labour’s Scottish manifesto, as always it’s going to be an exercise in over-promising and under-delivery. The only way Labour brings anything to the table is at an all you can eat buffet paid for on expenses. The reason that the party is unveiling its manifesto with just a week to go before voting takes place is because the less time that people have to examine its contents, the less time there’s going to be for the whole exercise in fantasy footering to fall apart.

Labour’s Scottish manifesto is the political version of the Secret Life of Walter Mitty, only somewhat less realistic and with James Kelly instead of a dashing hero who might actually be interesting. This time we have all that plus added Anas Sarwarness, who’s virtually guaranteed a seat on the list in Glasgow. You could ask what was the Labour party thinking when it chose Anas as number one on the Glasgow list, but the answer is that Labour wasn’t thinking about anything other than its internal politicking, mutual back scratching, and tally of favours done and owed. The fact that the so-called people’s party consistently puts the party before the people is the reason that its stock has sunk so low.

Labour’s great new idea is a tired auld retread of all the reasons why we learned to hate them in the first place. When you’re pinning your hopes on Jim Murphy’s number two, you’ve pretty much conceded your irrelevance already. The party hopes to restore its place in the hearts of the Scottish electorate by alternately boring and haranguing us into submission. There’s as much chance of that happening as Walter Mitty winning the Nobel Prize for economics because of all his pretty graphs.

The fissures in Scottish politics will be healed eventually, but only after a successful second referendum. Neither Labour nor the Tories are going to be able to prevent it. Their halos have slipped and are around their ankles like snapped knicker elastic. They’re only tripping themselves up.


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!

The two volumes of the Collected Yaps are in stock again. 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.

Computer says no

God I hate computers. I really hate computers. I spent much of the weekend metaphorically wrestling with a recalcitrant laptop, which on Sunday morning decided to die completely. On the other hand I now have a spotless living room, because as the old saying goes a clean house is a sign of a broken computer. After calling assorted geeks in vain for help, I had to go out and spend a shedload of money that I was saving up for a holiday to go and buy a new laptop. The feelings I have for computers are a real and visceral hatred, an evil contempt matched only by the malignity of a computer’s feelings towards humanity.

Computers are the Labour party of technology, they promise you the earth and leave you with nothing but disappointment and empty pockets after forcing you to waste frustrating hours chasing solutions to your problems that turn out to be useless, producing nothing but a soulless despair at the futility of it all. God I hate computers.

And talking of hate, proof if nothing else that I could get a job writing links for telly presenters if it wasn’t for the fact that the BBC hates me, Michelle the Moan has been moaning again in the papers about how the independence supporting half of Scotland hates her. That’s not true. In order to be worthy of hatred you have to be important or significant, or at the very least impinge onto the consciousness in a meaningful way, like a computer or that really annoying guy from Storage Wars that you’d love to padlock in a storage locker and throw away the key. Michelle, who is to Scottish politics as Joey Essex is to quantum mechanics, just isn’t worthy of hate.

I no more hate Michelle than I hate a wee whining mosquito buzzing about the room. The difference being that the mozzie is harder to ignore, and also probably has better formed views on Scottish politics. Chelle’s expressed belief that the pro-indy half of Scotland hates her is just more attention seeking, and in any case she needn’t worry about Scotland’s yes voters. The half of the country that voted no isn’t too keen on her either.

Scotland has far more important issues to deal with than Chelle’s ego, although you’d be hard pressed to know that by looking at the papers. Faced with the likelihood of a second majority SNP government the Unionist media seems to have collectively demanded their baw back and don’t want to play any more. Which is fair enough, all those highly paid columnists writing their articles about how awfie awful the SNP is and nae bugger pays them a blind bit of notice. There you are, slaving away at your keyboard to unveil all the SNPbadness there is in the world and the only feedback you get from Scotland is a voicemail message saying “We’re very sorry but we’re busy working towards independence right now. Please get back to us so we can ignore you some other time.” It must be a hard life fancying yourself as an opinion former and then discovering that only thing you’re able to form is a surly pout and a pettit lip.

But it’s not just Scotland’s unionist commentators who are feeling ignored. A very real important issue, one which is certainly no laughing matter for those concerned, is the way in which the future of the Clyde shipworkers is being ignored by the Ministry of Defence. Sadly this is nothing new, Scotland has been ignored by Whitehall for generations, and the only time they pay us any attention is when they think that we’re about to vote for independence. You’d think that everyone in Scotland would have learned that lesson by now, but we still have a way to go before it’s got through to everyone. Some people it’s never going to get through to, like Labour party politicians and activists, but they’re heading for extinction even more quickly than the rapidly ageing Tories.

Lie after lie, the promises of the Unionists lie broken and bleeding in the path of Westminster’s disdain. Labour in Scotland is now mounting a campaign to save the shipyards from Tory cuts, that would be the same Labour party which swore blind during the independence referendum that only a no vote could save the shipyard workers’ jobs and mounted a campaign to ensure that the shipyard workers were left exposed to the whims of Whitehall. That would be the same Labour party that campaigned to leave Scotland exposed to the icy gusts of the Tory gales.

It was less than two years ago that Labour was campaigning to keep Scotland exposed to the risk of Conservative rule. They think that we’ve forgotten. They don’t get to run to us now greeting about the evil effects of Tory rule, because it was them who promised and swore blind and vowed in order to allow the Tories to keep destroying the working class communities that Labour claimed to stand behind. But they only ended up destroying themselves. Labour stood behind them right enough, they put the workers in the firing line and sheltered behind them. They campaigned against a solution that would have seen the yards diversify, and insisted that they remain a vulnerable monoculture subject to the MoD. The only use for Labour now is a donor if Scotland needs a heart transplant, Labour’s has never been used. If we wanted to kill ourselves we could climb up the ego of a Labour politician and then jump down to their IQ.

There’s no way back for them now, you don’t get to pose as the party of the workers after you’ve campaigned to leave the workers exposed to a system which doesn’t give a toss about the workers’ jobs, their futures, or their families. If more jobs are lost on the Clyde we’ll know who to blame. And we won’t forget. Labour blaming the Tories for job losses and spending cuts is like the rat blaming the flea for the plague.

The Labour party allegedly has software which is supposed to help it win elections. If at first you don’t succeed you’ve got a lot in common with the Labour party in Scotland. It’s clearly as broken as my old laptop. Computer says no.


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!

The two volumes of the Collected Yaps are in stock again. 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.

Obama’s slam a ding dong

It’s such a shame for those poor Tories and Ukippers who want the UK to leave the EU. There they were twenty two months or so ago, all happy that Barack Obama had intervened in the Scottish independence referendum to tell those uppity Jocks to get back in their shortbreid tin and to close the lid behind them. It was a statesmanlike intervention on a matter of international security, they sagely nodded. Only now he’s intervened in the UK Brexit debate, and all of a sudden they’ve discovered that it’s really not on for a foreign head of state to interfere in an internal UK matter. To which any self-respecting supporter of Scottish independence can only say: ha ha ha, get it right up yese.

Obama thinks that Britain leaving the EU would be an act of self-harm on a par with David Coburn sticking a fork into his inefficient EU approved toaster in an effort to howk out some breid that was sufficiently brown. Although a Brexit wouldn’t have the same comedy potential. I’m just being honest, said Obama, in what was something of a departure for an American politician, as he slapped down Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Liam Fox and Nigel Farage.

Barack Obama hasn’t just intervened in the Brexit debate, he’s not just weighed in with a shovel. He’s weighed in with a JCB. He’s delivered a strong statement that if the UK wants to leave the EU then the USA will relegate it to the back of the queue when it comes to negotiating a trade deal. Only Americans don’t use the word queue, they stand in line. And a post-Brexit Britain will be standing in line with Bolivia, Belarus, and Bhutan waiting for the USA to get around to allowing us to import Hershey bars. Although why anyone would want to import Hershey bars is a bit of a mystery, because Americans don’t just not use the word queue, they also make some seriously boggin chocolate. Be that as as it may, there will be no Hershey bars, Oreos, Twinkies or Cheerios for a post-Brexit Britain. Well there will, but you got the man’s drift. Brexit bad, very very bad.

When Obama intervened in the Scottish independence debate his comments were nowhere near as strong. He only weighed in with the silver spoon that was in Davie Cameron’s gob when he was born, not a piece of motorised earth moving equipment. And he only did that after Davie pressed the spoon on him telling him what a lovely spoon it was and begged him to use the spoon. Because if Scotland were to have marched off, Davie would have risked losing his spoon entirely.

Obama clearly didn’t give much of a toss one way or the other, because what he was was the absolute minimum you’d need to say no to further upset a host who was clearly in some distress. He didn’t say that Scotland would be cast out into the utter Bolivianness. He said words to the effect that he’d prefer the UK to remain united, and then spent more time and energy speaking out against the UK leaving the European Union. It was obvious even then which of the two scenarios he cared more about. The United States would find it a lot easier to accommodate an independent Scotland that wanted to be an active and willing participant in international organisations than it would a UK that wanted to exist in a pouty xenophobic huff in glorious isolation.

As we all know, it later transpired that the US president had only said anything at all about the Scottish independence referendum because he’d been prevailed upon to do so by a desperate Davie Cameron. On the other hand it’s pretty clear that Obama’s opinions about Britain remaining within the EU are his own, not his host’s. Otherwise he’d probably have kept his gob shut in order to avoid pissing off Liz and Phil, who according to the Sun are in favour of a Brexit. Which is a peculiar stance for a German and a Greek to take, but still.

It’s unlikely that people are going to be swayed in their view on how to vote in June by what the American president says. But it’s still funny to watch the discomfort of Tories and neo-conservative Little Britons who were quite happy for him to intervene when he was on the same side as them during the Scottish independence referendum but now they’re upset because he doesn’t share their opinion on Europe and are discovering that their so-called special relationship with America isn’t really that special after all. The USA only has a special relationship with the UK in as much as the UK does the USA’s bidding, and the USA sees its interests being best served by a UK that’s a member of the EU.

The only people who ever speak about a special relationship between the USA and the UK are British politicians. It doesn’t even figure on the radar of the average American, most of whom are not of British descent and have no particular emotional or historical ties to the UK. The idea that Britain can leave the EU and form some sort of close relationship to the USA is a fantasy. No one in America is interested. On the rare occasions that the UK impinges on the consciousness of the average American, they think of bad teeth, royalty, and driving on the wrong side of the road. And if you’re Scottish they don’t even think that you share a common language, because as I discovered to my chagrin You. Can. Talk. To. An. American. Like. This. But they’re still going to think that you’re speaking German.

For the USA the value of the UK is as a part of a strong and united Europe. That’s what they’re concerned about, and a UK which left the EU would result in a weaker Europe and a weaker UK. But they don’t care that much whether that united Europe consists of the current 28 member states, or if it increases to 29 with the addition of an independent Scotland, as long as it stays united.

But then if the UK does leave the EU, then Scotland may very well accede to the EU as an independent state in its own right. And the USA will be quite happy with that, at least.


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!

The two volumes of the Collected Yaps are in stock again. 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 healthy majority

One of the more bizarre features of a UK politics which is defined by its bizarreness is that parties whose entire raison d’etre is attaining an absolute majority in the Westminster parliament claim that a party attaining an absolute majority in the Holyrood parliament is an unhealthy thing. Or more exactly, it’s a bad thing when it’s a purely Scottish party which gets an absolute majority the Scottish parliament, if they were to get it themselves that would be just jolly and British. But then the collective term for Unionist politicians is a hypocritical whine. Duplicity is their stock in trade. You know Wullie Rennie is two faced, but you can’t help wondering why he’s always wearing that one.

Getting an absolute majority in the vastly more powerful Westminster parliament, where under the pauchle known as first past the post it’s possible to get a majority with less than a third of the vote, doesn’t offend the supposedly democratic sensibilities of the UK parties as much a party getting a majority in Holyrood under a broadly proportional system. In Scotland, a party can only get a majority when it does actually receive almost half or more of the votes cast, yet this is what is supposedly the affront to democracy. They’re not too bothered by the fact that we’ve currently got a majority Tory government which is savaging public services and attacking the poor and the vulnerable on a mandate consisting of a mere 36.8% of votes cast.

Scotland has a single Conservative MP who has more power than all the other 58 MPs combined. Fluffy Mundell decided to block all the amendments put forward by the SNP to the Scotland Bill by standing up in Westminster and telling the Parliament everything he knew about everything, which took up all of fifteen seconds. Thankfully for him he had a privatised train load of Tories from the English shires to block the democratic will of Scotland’s own representatives. It’s English votes for Scottish laws.

This doesn’t bother our Unionist parties, but the fact that voters distrust them so much that all the Unionist parties together will still end up as a minority bothers them exceedingly. But it still doesn’t bother them enough for them to accept that it’s their own fault. It’s the fault of the SNP. It’s the fault of the electoral system that they designed. It’s the fault of the media for not holding the SNP to account, no don’t laugh, some of them really do say that. It’s everyone’s fault but their own. If the Unionist party leaders were about to give a hefty boot in the arse to the person most responsible for their parties’ problems, none of them would be able to sit down for the duration of the next Scottish parliament. But Scotland’s Unionist politicians will find an excuse to get out of anything except office.

Sadly for Ruth and Kezia, being leader of a Unionist party in Scotland is like being in charge of a cemetery. None of the people you’re in charge of are listening to you, your support is decomposing, and all you’ve got are memories of former glories and a future digging holes for yourself.

You can put an old dog turd in a new tin and call it progressive politics, but it’s still an old dog turd in a tin. The Unionist parties in Scotland will continue to be in the doldrums until they change what they put in their tins. They could start by becoming Scottish parties instead of adjuncts to parties based in London. They could put the interests of Scotland first and foremost instead of serving up Westminster dog turds. But that’s not going to happen. Instead they’ll continue with the comfortable nostrum that it’s all the fault of the nasty SNP, and it’s all the fault of voters for supporting them. The truth is, and it’s a truth so obvious that it really shouldn’t need to be stated, that when a once dominant political party is reduced to such an extent that the best it can hope for is a fight for a distant second place, that’s the fault of the political party. It’s the party that needs to change, not the voters.

This week a new poll shows that Labour and the Tories are tying for a very poorly placed second position. It’s sparked off a new round of speculation about whether the Tories can overtake Labour to become the official opposition. That’s the best that either of them can hope for, that’s how low their stock has sunk. Labour has utterly lost its way. Once upon a time it was the socialist hope of Scotland, now the only socialist thing about it is that its representatives have no class. The Tories were once the establishment, the only party ever to gain more than 50% of the vote in a Westminster election. Now they scrape along the bottom of Scottish politics with more predictions of a second coming than a tired auld lecher who buys viagra online.

These are the people who tell us that the SNP dominance of Scotland is such a terrible thing for Scottish democracy, yet both of them have had their own turns at dominating Scottish politics, both have screwed it up utterly, and both have learned nothing from the experience. Both still hope to dominate again, a prospect which is receding into the distance even faster than a red-shifted galaxy 13 billion light years distant.

There’s only one thing that warps and deforms Scottish politics, and that’s the fact that Scotland is a nation that isn’t allowed to be a proper nation, a country that can’t act like a normal country. The Unionist parties want that state of affairs to continue indefinitely, and that’s far more unhealthy for Scottish politics than the temporary dominance of one political party. I’d far rather have a majority government which was dedicated to the proposition of ending the sickness that warps Scottish politics and Scottish society, that promises a way out of the cage, that offers a realignment of political parties with independence. We need a Scottish majority to get there, and we’re only going to achieve it with a majority party.

The dominance of the SNP is a sign that Scotland is getting better, it’s a sign that we’re seeking a cure. It’s a healthy majority. It’s the old ways of Labour and the Tories that are an illness that leads only to the graveyard.


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!

The two volumes of the Collected Yaps are in stock again. 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.