Tony Blair’s tombstone teeth

The Chilcot Enquiry has been going on so long that it has given its name to a geological epoch. It’s seen mountain ranges rise and erode, continents move across the face of the planet as the tectonic plates dance on magma, and the mass extinction of much of Iraq spreading across the Middle East and North Africa. And all the while Tony Blair of the tombstone teeth, deliverer of deception and disturber of the peace, has profited from the chaos he created by offering his dubious servicing of sanctimonious sleaze to assorted dictators and strongmen.

His former foreign secretary Jack Straw, who never saw a back that he wouldn’t stab, is also going to come out of the report badly. Which is fair enough because he went into it badly. Jack Straw never saw a conspiracy that he wasn’t up to his neck in. It has been said that when an event can be explained either by cock up or by conspiracy, it’s invariably the cock up that happened, except of course when Jack Straw is involved. Jack’s idea of diplomacy is to give a person a hole in their head and calling it an open mind.

Now, if reports are correct, what’s left of their shabby reputations is about to be left in shreds by the Chilcot Enquiry. They took Britain into a war because Tony had decided in advance with George W Bush that there was to be a war to avenge the attacks of September 11 2001. It didn’t matter that the target of their warmongering wasn’t involved in that attack. All that mattered was their own desire to strut the world stage and act as avenging angels. Then they spent the next few months and years contriving every possible excuse in order to bring war about. Blair and Straw followed the advice of a man who once said, “the people don’t want war. But … all you have to do is tell them they’re being attacked and denounce the pacifists for a lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” That man was Hermann Goering.

Blair and his pals set out to manipulate and deceive public opinion, with dodgy dossiers and 45 minute missiles. They cited weapons of mass destruction that were as mythical as Tony’s honesty. They took us to war on a lie and decried those who protested.

The Chilcot Enquiry was set up under the auspices of Gordie Broon, a man who was the second in the UK government when Tony made his decision to go to war, who funded that war and defended it. Sir John Chilcot was chosen to head the enquiry despite his cosy relationship with many leading figures in Blair’s government, and has apparently bent over backwards to give Blair, Jack Straw and head bummers in the British military establishment the chance to get their retaliation and excuses in first. The entire sorry process has dragged out longer than the war it set out to investigate, allowing those involved to slink off into well renumerated retirement.

Yet despite all these factors in their favour, and despite the traditional reluctance of the British establishment to blame the British establishment, according to the Sunday Times their reputations will be beyond recovery after the Chilcot Report has been published. If this is what it’s like for them after fifteen coats of Ronseal have been applied, after every benefit of every doubt has been granted, after it’s been scented and prettified by experts in turd polishing, just imagine how nasty the unvarnished truth must be. The stench of decay surrounds the corpse of Blair’s reputation like flies flying round body parts in a Baghdad street.

Warmongering is bad enough. An aggressive war is a crime against humanity. But worse than that Blair and Straw, aided and abetted by the rest of the Labour cabinet, and supported by the Tories, took the UK into a war that they had not properly planned or prepared for. All they wanted was the quick fix of a short war and the gushing headlines of a grateful press. They didn’t want to bother their vanity with the hard work of rebuilding a country that they chose to shatter. That’s boring, that’s dull, that doesn’t have the glamour of a video shot from a drone, blowing up a bridge in a land far away.

Blair and Straw have the same attitude to international diplomacy as a gang of weans who put fireworks through a neighbour’s letterbox and run away giggling when they hear the bangs. Then they claim that the fact the house burned down was nothing to do with them. It was going to burn down anyway, no really. Nothing to do with them throwing a lit match into a mountain of dry tinder because someone else entirely had mounted a terrorist attack in the USA. All because they wanted a pretty bang and flashing lights that would light up their names in the press. Look at us, we’re doing something. The fact they were doing the wrong thing wasn’t relevant to them at all. Never mind that, just look at the headlines in an adulatory press.

We’re still suffering the consequences. We count it in lives lost and limbs lacerated. We count it in the wars that go on to this day. So-called Islamic State only gained traction because Bush and Blair were the midwives of chaos in the Middle East. They started a war and thought that it was over once they’d destroyed the fabric of Iraq, without a single thought about what might replace it, without caring about or understanding the tensions and divisions that were already there.

The Chilcot Report is due to be published early in July, but it’s not enough that Blair and his cronies are criticised. They have to be castigated too, they have to suffer the consequences, they have to pay the price of justice. If no action is taken against them, it will be the final admission of moral bankruptcy from a British state that is nothing more than the Pentagon’s whore. If the rich and the powerful don’t face justice we no longer live in a state that has any right to call itself a democracy. The people of Iraq and Syria and Libya bear the cost of Britain’s self importance in blood, in the tears of the old woman on the Turkish shores while Tony Blair smiles with his tombstone teeth.

The e-edition of Barking Up the Right Tree is now available for Kindle and other electronic reading devices. Click here to buy it now on Amazon for just £4!

Vagabond Voices are presenting an evening with Jim Sillars at the Yes Bar in Glasgow on Tuesday evening from 7pm. All welcome.


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 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 Don Quixotes of the Arran ferry

The great Spanish writer Miguel Cervantes gained literary immortality for his novel Don Quixote, the tale of an errant knight who famously battled against windmills which he claimed were monsters, something he had in common with Donald Trump. Don Quixote tried to compensate for the low esteem in which his compatriots held him by winning mighty victories against imaginary enemies. But you don’t have to go back to classical Spanish literature in order to see delusion in action, there are more modern examples of the serially incompetent who claim to win imaginary victories in order to compensate for the contempt in which the public hold you. And here in Scotland we have the Labour party, its cheerleaders in the Daily Record, and the Don Quixotes of the Arran ferry.

Back in the dim and distant past in 2005, when Scotland was too wee and too stupid to have a proper government and we just had a Scottish Executive instead, back when the d’Hondt electoral system was working as its designers intended and was producing Labour Lib Dem coaltions, back when the Unionists had the power to convince the public that their victories over windmills really were the defeat of monsters, the CalMac contract came up for renewal. Our Labour masters put the contract out to tender, as they were obliged to do under EU law. The Daily Record didn’t mount a campaign to save CalMac, the Labour party was only doing what the law told it to do. The executive put out a press release saying that you can’t have a government breaking the law now, can you. We’re as upset about it as you are, but our hands are tied. It’s not our fault. And since the SNP wasn’t in power at the time, they couldn’t blame the SNP for it, so that was that.

Fast forward a decade, and the CalMac contract came up for renewal again. Cue Labour wailing and weeping and gnashing of teeth and the appearance of a monstruous windmill in the shape of an SNP government that Labour claimed was hell bent on selling off a beloved Scottish institution whose contract Labour had put out to tender just a few years before. “The SNP want to sell off CalMac to Serco, the basterts!” cried Don Quixote from the bar of the Stornoway ferry, pitching and rolling and staggering even though the Minch was for once as smooth as Wee Dougie Alexander’s baby bum like cheeks. It’s just that pitching and rolling and staggering is Labour’s normal means of locomotion these days.

Labour then started a campaign to pressurise the Scottish Government to do what Labour wouldn’t do ten years earlier because Labour said it was illegal. How very dare you not break what we told you just a wee while back there was the law, they said, hoping that since that uncomfortable fact wouldn’t be mentioned in the pages of the Daily Record that no one would be able to remember something that happened not that long ago. However since Scottish Unionism is the political philosophy that is dependent on the public forgetting what Unionist politicians were promising just last week, you can understand why they thought it was a reasonable step to take.

After all, Ruth Davidson fought an entire election campaign on the basis of trying to get people to forget that she’s a Tory and an apologist for Davie Cameron and £7 billion extra of cuts to the Scottish budget. When you have the collective amnesia of the Scottish Unionist press on board, you can try to make any leaky auld ship look like it’s a brand new ferry. Ruth Davidson’s little band of buffalo riders and their pals in the press have been acting like they won the Scottish election even though they came a very distant second. They’re about to discover that their boat won’t float and they’re doomed to spend the next five years screaming SNP bad. The only ship that’s been torpedoed here is their own.

You can bet a ticket to Rothesay that if the SNP had indeed said that it wasn’t going to put the CalMac contract out to tender and it was going to break the law, that the Labour party would have cheerfully got into the same boat as the Tories to fire a broadside at the illegal actions of the Holyrood administration would have done their utmost to sink the entire Scottish Government. The truth of the matter is that all that the Labour party is interested in is in scoring a few cheap political points using whatever it is that comes to hand at the moment. They don’t have a long term strategy, unless incompetence counts as a strategy. It’s their incompetence that has reduced them to their current dire straits.

Labour are serially incompetent, so they need to find imaginary victories in order to have any victories at all. They are now in such a state that they couldn’t score a victory against a light bulb. How many Labour MSPs does it take to change a lightbulb? All 23 of them. One to arrange a PFI contract to get a company his mate runs to lease a bulb from and then charge the public through the nose for generations to come for a new light fitting, five to make excuses for the new light fitting falling out of the ceiling, ten to claim it on expenses, and the rest to blame the SNP for James Kelly falling flat on his face in the darkness.

It now transpires that there was no real threat to CalMac’s contract as the private company in contention admits that its bid was not realistic. That hasn’t stopped Labour and its pals in the Daily Record crowing that it was them wot won it. Sure they did, they tilted at a windmill and told us it was a mighty monster. The original Don Quixote had his faithful servant Sancho Panza to burst his bubble and bring him back down to earth. Labour and the Tories don’t have that, all they have is the puffery of a Unionist media. But their bubble has already burst, and all the hot air in the world won’t float the Don Quixotes of the Arran ferry. They’re on their way to the bottom. Unlike Cervantes’ great creation, these Don Quixotes are destined for oblivion.

The e-edition of Barking Up the Right Tree is now available for Kindle and other electronic reading devices. Click here to buy it now on Amazon for just £4!

Vagabond Voices are presenting an evening with Jim Sillars at the Yes Bar in Glasgow on Tuesday evening from 7pm. All welcome.


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 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 consequences of deceit

Auntie Annabel Goldie, fresh from smoothing down the hair and wiping the torn faces of the new Tory MSPs with a hankie damp with spit, has opined that Nicola Sturgeon thinks having a bad hair day would be a trigger for a second independence referendum. She then went on to blame the SNP for having that terribly divisive referendum in the first place. How very dare they, upsetting the cosy Unionist consensus with their democracy and public engagement and stuff.

If Nicola had a shred of decency she’d know that some questions should never be asked, because they are deeply upsetting to middle aged and elderly middle class Conservative net curtain twitchers who’ve been used to getting things their own way for all of their entitled lives. Questions like – Why should we continue to live in a nation which is run from London for the benefit of middle aged and elderly middle class Conservative net curtain twitchers?Questions like – Don’t you think it’s about time that Scotland became a normal country and took responsibility for itself and cared for all its citizens equally? Questions like – Should Scotland be an independent country?

Auntie Annabel wants the SNP to stop with the divisive democracy stuff and put all that silliness behind it. She wants them to accept the Tory hand of friendship and get on with things as they jolly well ought to be, sensible shoed and nicely turned out, governing the country in the interests of middle aged and elderly middle class Conservative net curtain twitchers in a golf club blazer sort of way. Auntie Annabel wants an end to all the nonsense, nonsense like working class people having views and opinions, nonsense like Scotland imagining that there might be a better future, nonsense like the silly notion that democracy isn’t just a spectactor sport with the unwashed masses watching the professional blazer wearers.

What Tories really mean when the pontificate on the need for conciliation and a healing of the referendum wounds is that they want the independence campaign to shut up and go away. The Tories want conciliation in the same way that both sides in innumerable armed conflicts say that they want peace, what they really mean is that they want total victory and the utter defeat and humiliation of the other side. For Tories, conciliation is a one way street, it means that the supporters of independence must reconcile themselves to the certainty of Tory rule forever and the Tories reconcile themselves to having everything their own way.

Maybe if Auntie Annabel really wanted reconciliation she might have phrased her own remarks in a rather more conciliatory manner. Instead she chose to imply that there can be no real justification for another independence referendum. It’s only the independence campaign and the SNP who need to be held to their word, not the Tories or the Union. It’s only the independence campaign and the SNP who need to be conciliatory and understanding of the sensitivities of the other side. The Tories don’t do sensitive, they do photo ops on tanks, Union flag waving, demonising immigrants, punishing the poor, and whisking away the crutches of the disabled.

But perhaps more than anything else, the Tories do rank repugnant hypocrisy. They complain about the supposed divisiveness of the referendum campaign but they’re the single party that has done more than any other to create and deepend divisions in society. The Tories thrive on division, they foster fear, they spread hate because it’s the dung in which their strangling weeds grow. They put forward pursed lipped motions decrying the Gaelic and Scots languages, because Tories can only prosper in a nation that is ignorant and afraid of itself and which flees from its own history and culture. They whip up fear of the foreign, seek solace in militarism, they encourage those who are getting by to blame all their ills on the poor so that the rich can benefit. They’re the party of selfishness, of I’m alright Jackism, the party that speaks of the enemy within. They’re the party of austerity and slashing public services, of selling off the state to their pals in the private sector. The party of 21 century slavery, ensnaring us all in debt and poverty so that a few can enrich themselves.

The Conservatives are a party which requires division, which digs the chasms into which the low paid can fall, which measures the widening gap between the haves and the have nots in terms of house prices and shares options for directors. And they’ve got the nerve to preach about conciliation. The Tories idea of conciliation is to say that they’ll only hit us about the head with a hammer twenty times instead of twenty two.

If the Conservatives were serious about conciliation they’d be offering olive branches to Scotland. They’d have fulfilled and exceeded the promises that they made during the independence referendum campaign. Instead all we’ve seen is a litany of Westminster failure, of deliberate contempt, job losses and the gleefully bouncing Fluffy Mundell announcing that the Scotland Bill was a trap. The Tories didn’t present an olive branch to Scotland, they offered us a cup of hemlock and then they act offended when we’ve refuse to drink deep and let our hopes die.

Just over two years ago the Tories could have practised the reconciliation that they preach and allowed a question on devo max on the referendum ballot paper. They refused, and instead decided to gamble on a yes no question to independence alone because they mistakenly believed that there would be a crushing victory for the Union and they could consign the independence campaign to a footnote in the history books. Then in the closing days of the campaign they realised the magnitude of their error and were forced to make all sorts of vague promises which they knew all too well that independence supporters would interpret as a commitment to devo max. Then they went back on those promises and instead of devo max they delivered what they themselves described as a trap. Now they’re complaining that the independence movement isn’t satisfied, they’re complaining about the consequences of their own deceit.

They’re learning now that there can be no reconciliation with liars, no one can trust a word that the Tories say. We’re not going away Auntie Annabel, if you really want reconciliation, the devo max ball is in your court. But the Tories don’t want reconciliation, they want us to give up and go away. And that’s not going to happen. As other Scottish aunties might say, hell slap it intae ye Annabel, because you’ve only got yourself to blame.

The e-edition of Barking Up the Right Tree is now available for Kindle and other electronic reading devices. Click here to buy it now on Amazon for just £4!


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 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.

Let’s wave goodbye to the Queen’s Speech

I tried to watch the Commons debate on the Queen’s Speech this afternoon, a parade of vacuousness and entitlement in fancy dress and monarchical waving. Watching Tories in the Commons is like getting drowned in a vat of sewage by some really smug people who think the entire process is an audition for an amateur stand up comedy slot at a public school fete where there’s a prize for the best impersonation of a donkey. All that I could think the entire time was does Davie Cameron not have a face that cries out to be slapped? But saying that probably counts as an example of the extremist radicalism that the Tories want to make illegal. That’s the kind of remark that will get a Home Office drone outside your bedroom window making a note of all the times that you share subversive pics of LOLkats on Twitter.

As well as introducing new measures to crack down on the perfectly legitimate desire to slap Davie Cameron about the chops with a wet fish, the delights of Torydom that we were promised in the speech include a commitment to a British Bill of Rights. We need British rights because common or garden human rights are a bit too humane for the Tory party, and besides, realising that we do in fact share the same needs, desires, and wants as the rest of the human race is dangerously foreign and might lead to demands for a proper living wage, maternity rights, and a decent amount of annual holiday leave because that’s what they get in Germany.

For the Tories, the really great advantage of a British Bill of Rights is that unlike its European equivalent it’s entirely within the power of the Westminster parliament to make changes to it whenever it feels like it. A British Bill of Rights is a Tory Bill of Rights. It enshrines your human rights in the same way that PPI payments protected your consumer rights. The only rights it enshrines are the rights of the Westminster parliament.

The Queen’s Speech came with a raft of measures designed to allow Tory voters not to feel like the enablers of a shower of basterts that they actually are. When you were a wean your maw taught you that you are put on this Earth to help other people, Tory voters are the ones who think other people were put on this Earth to help them. They have the same attitude about governments. Governments are there to help Tory voters get a second house and a second holiday, not to help people who are worse off than they are.

Adoption law will be loosened, and there are plans to turn every school in England into an academy. This was billed as a liberalisation of the education system when in fact it’s an attempt to introduce privatisation by the back door and reduce even further the already diminished power of local authorities. It increases the influence of organised religion and business in schools, and reduces the power of parents.

Reforms of prisons in England and Wales were announced, although the reforms turn out to be plans to build more jails to replace the overcrowded Victorian prisons but not actually to take any steps to reduce the prison population. The UK has one of the highest rates of imprisonment in Europe. But then the private companies who run much of the prison service nowadays have a vested interest in keeping the prison population high while spending as little as possible on the care and rehabilitation of inmates. That’s not going to change as long as we have a prison policy that’s driven by headlines in the Daily Mail and the Express, newspapers which have the same relationship to truth as the Tory party does to compassion and humanity. We shouldn’t be surprised though, this is a country where if you rob from a bank you go to jail, but if you rob an entire banking system you get a peerage and an advisory post with the Treasury. When you’re ruled by thieves and liars theft becomes normal and lies become the truth.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn’s response to the speech was an exercise in how not to get people engaged with politics. He droned on for approximately the same amount of time that it took for humanity to evolve sentience from apes then de-evolve and lose it again in the Tory party, refusing to allow any interventions from the braying wannabe stand up comedians on the other side. What was needed was a witty, excoriating, and passionate denunciation of the iniquities of Tory rule, and what we got was a presentation from a semi-retired planning officer about the disadvantages of relying on the private sector to implement traffic flow measures in Maidstone. And there weren’t even any graphs. However Jeremy did demonstrate that he cares deeply about his own personal flow and never once gave way. God how we wished that he had done.

I’m sure there were highlights in the Labour leader’s speech, but along with the rest of the country I lost the will to live and stopped paying attention and went off to do something more interesting. Navels don’t defluff themselves you know. The only part of his speech I caught was his announcement that Labour would oppose the devolution of business rates to English local authorities. That’s the Party of Devolution for you, or more exactly, the Party of Saying No to Devolution.

There was bugger all in the Queen’s Speech about Scotland apart from some waffle about completing the process of disembowelling the Smith Commission proposals. Scotland no longer matters to Westminster. As long as they don’t think that we’re about to declare independence, they don’t have to think about us at all. They can leave us to be managed by Fluffy, ignored and sidelined until the next time that they realise with terror that we might just walk out of the UK. Watching the Queen’s Speech only confirms that Scotland is another country, that our concerns are no concern of Westminster, that there is nothing in this sorry charade that speaks to us. The day is coming when Scotland will wave the Queen’s Speech goodbye.

The e-edition of Barking Up the Right Tree is now available for Kindle and other electronic reading devices. Click here to buy it now on Amazon for just £4!


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 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.

Slaves to ukonomics

You want to know the price of the Union? Following the news that the infamous Glasgow Effect is a by-product of decades of Westminster inspired social engineering, a study carried out by Sheffield Hallam University has found that by 2020 Scotland is going to suffer from £1.1 billion worth of cuts to the social security payments received by its already battered residents.

Across the UK people who rely on state support in order to eke out a living are facing a total of £13 billion in cuts. Under the Tory-Lib Dem coalition, Westminster slashed £5 billion from the funds spent on housing benefit, under this government that figure is set to double. We have to do this to balance the books, says George Osborne, because the global financial crisis was caused by poor people and by the homeless. Meanwhile the incomes of the richest continue to soar because it’s unfair that a company director can’t afford a third or fourth holiday home. This is because of the fundamental Tory law of economics that says that in order to be encouraged to be more productive the poor must be whipped, but the rich must be cossetted. That’s ukonomics that is.

The areas worst affected by the new round of cuts will be the same areas which were assailed by the deindustrialisation which Thatcher employed as a deliberate strategy to castrate the Unions. In other words, after creating cities and town full of people suffering from ill health, disabilities, shortened life expectancies and curtailed life choices in an effort to destroy organised working class resistance to their rule, the Tories are now punishing the poor and the marginalised even further by cutting the pittance it pays to keep them in misery.

Don’t expect Ruth Davidson of the Ruth Davidson Holding the SNP to Account Vote Ruth Davidson Party to do any holding to account while any of this is going on. All Ruth is concerned about is a second independence referendum that’s not on the horizon. Besides, it’s her pals in the Tory party who are punishing the poor. Ruthie’s so relaxed about that that she’ll go and pose for a photo-op while sitting on a buffalo that’s driving a tank.

This is Scotland remember, and it’s only the SNP who need to be held to account, not the people who have their paws on the levers of macro-ukonomic control and who have dug their claws into the backs of the poor, the low paid, and the vulnerable. People who can barely take ten steps but who have now been assessed as fit for work thanks to the DWP’s changes to disability assessments aren’t able to make it to Ruthie’s photo ops. People are being forced to food banks, into desperation and despair, but as long as the Tories can pose for a nice photie and hold the SNP to account for Gaelic road signs, the press cameras can forget about the devastation that Ruth’s friends wreak on our society.

The cuts are UK wide of course, people in Liverpool and Manchester and Newcastle and Swansea are going to suffer too. That must be that pooling and sharing that Gordie Broon told us about. Doesn’t that make you feel great to be British? This is a country where solidarity means that we all get our throats slashed together. But not quite all together. Funnily enough the cuts are not going to be felt in the south and east, the regions of the UK where people are most likely to return a Tory MP. No doubt this is entirely coincidental. Places like Scotland and Wales and the urban areas of the North of England where people are less likely to vote Tory are going to bear the brunt of the cuts, and Glasgow is one of the 40 districts worst affected. This is of course a mere accidental by product of Treasury calculations. And if you believe that you probably also believe that Ruth Davidson posing on a tank for fan boys in the Tory press is actually a well articulated policy position.

Ukonomics means the property bubble of London, the yawning chasm between rich and poor, it means emigration from Scotland is presented as a Union benefit while benefits for the disabled, the elderly and the chronically ill are slashed to the bare bones of a starvation income. It means newspaper features about lifestyles where the well off and well connected pay outrageous sums for the latest superfood berry, handpicked by Peruvian grandmothers in a cloud forest in the Andes, while the poorest worry if they can afford a tin of beans in an E-numbers sauce and the self righteous tell us that things are so much worse in Chad or Syria so we must not complain. But we don’t live in the third world, we don’t live in a war zone. We live in what we’re always being told is one of the richest and most successful countries in the world. So why is it still crap?

The new Scottish Parliament gets underway properly this week, a parliament which can look forward to some limited powers over social security. The powers come as part of the deal which was grudgingly granted to Scotland by Unionist parties who were determined to deliver as little as possible of the frantic promises that they made during the last few days of the independence referendum campaign. The SNP has promised to use the new powers to restore housing benefit to young people, increase carer’s allowance, and improve the way in which disability benefits are assessed. But any increased payments made in order to ameliorate the cuts that are being enforced by Westminster will only have to come out of some other part of the Scottish budget.

The new powers don’t prevent Westminster from lopping off a Scottish limb, they just give the Scottish government the choice of which limb is to be amputated. And now the Scottish Unionist media can concentrate its fire on criticising the Scottish government for its choice of limb, while ignoring the people who are demanding the amputations in the first place. The Scottish parliament doesn’t have control over the powers required in order to stimulate the Scottish economy and create jobs and growth which could prevent the need for any cuts in the first place. We’re still tied to a Tory agenda, we’re still slaves to ukonomics.


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.

Showing the Union a real Glasgow effect

My grandfather never reached pension age, he wasn’t alone. It’s not uncommon for Glasgow men to die in their 40s or 50s. It’s called the Glasgow effect, the city’s residents have poorer health outcomes than can be predicted from statistics on unemployment or poverty. Other cities with similar problems to Glasgow have better health.

A new report explains the reasons, Scotland’s largest city is being killed by the policies of the Scottish Office and implemented by the Labour party, and the Tories when they controlled the city council. The United Kingdom is killing us. Thanks to decades of systematic under-investment, of a policy of malign neglect, Glasgow was to be managed to death. It was Westminster social engineering, and Glasgow was to be engineered into an early grave.

We pay the price of Union in ill-health, in disability, in lives cut short. The fit and healthy, the educated and the talented, were to be encouraged to leave to make their lives elsewhere, leaving behind a city whose services are doubly stretched, trying to cope with a higher proportion of people with illnesses and disabilities, with people who buckle under the strain of poverty and self medicate on drugs or alcohol, sooking up resources and locking us into a vicious spiral of decline and decay. Services stretch to breaking point so even those whose own lives are cushioned by a higher standard of living run into the brick wall of the Glasgow effect.

The Glasgow effect is a Union benefit. Vote to stay a part of the UK and your countrymen and women pay the price in shorter lives. Vote British, vote for mortality in Milton, vote for corpses in the Calton, vote for death in Dennistoun. That hacking cough you hear on the bus in Parkhead is the anthem of the Union.

It’s not that the Scottish Office and the Westminster parliament deliberately set out to shorten the lives of Glaswegians, to reduce their life expectancies, to make them live out curtailed lives blighted by disease. They just didn’t care. Our ill health is a price they were prepared to pay for their other priorities, priorities which don’t include providing a decent quality of life for the inhabitants of Scotland’s largest city, priorities which don’t include nuturing a city whose heart beats to a radical drum. The city was to be allowed to dwindle in a managed decline. Left to die in apathy and despair. Left to die in a quiet distant corner of the BBC weather map. That’s the price of Union. A city that the UK has written off doesn’t matter when it comes to decisions about where to site nuclear warheads. Glasgow doesn’t matter, Scotland doesn’t matter. We don’t matter. Your weans don’t matter.

The damp houses in a hillside scheme, the cooncil that destroys communities to build roads while the city with the highest proportion of homes without a car waits an hour in the bus stop in the rain for a privatised bus service that costs £2. The hollow eyes of the man who’s given up on the hope finds his solace in the bottom of a bottle. The mother whose best hopes for her weans is that they get as far away as possible. The curtains that never open because there’s nothing that can grow in the sunlight. That’s how a city dies, and it sings its swan song in a hacking cough. That’s the song of Union, that’s British phlegm.

When I was a wean I thought it was normal for kids to go to sleep with coats on their beds because warm blankets were unaffordable. The grim and dirt of Shettleston road was normal. It was just how life was, it was all we deserved, and all we could aspire to was to escape. But it’s not normal at all. In a normal country a people can aspire to a better life within their own community. But that wasn’t to be permitted to the people of Glasgow by the middle class Unionists in the Scottish Office. Glasgow was to be allowed to die, encouraged to die. Then Scotland would lose its radical soul, and the Union would be safe.

A smaller Glasgow is a safer Glasgow, just not safer for the people who live in it. Glasgow was to be allowed to die, but when you kill a city you kill the people who make their homes in it. The Union takes our skills, our talents, our children, and it repays us in heart disease, cancer, and type two diabetes. The ciggies and bevvy are locked away out of the reach of impressionable minds, but the pornography of Union is on open display in the racks of newspapers. The Glasgow effect is its abuse.

The pornmongers of Union blame the victims of Unionism for the diseases that the Union has inflicted upon them. If you struggle in poverty it’s your own fault. If you live on a low income and can’t afford healthy food it’s your own fault. When you live a life that knows no hope you self medicate on drugs or alcohol, you manage your frayed nerves with tobacco, and that’s your own fault. And when the poverty is perpetuated down the generations, that’s your own fault too. It’s not the fault of the Unionist establishment who are doing quite well out of the current settlement thank you very much.

The Union is killing us, and the Union doesn’t care. But we care. And we’re not going to go down quietly. No more a hacking cough, Glasgow rings with the death rattle of the Union. We’ve had enough of this crap. Last year we evicted the Labour MPs that have sat on their hands for generations, filling their pockets at our expense. This year we cleared out the MSPs. Next year it’s the council’s turn. We’re going to change this city. We’re going to change Scotland. We’re going to change the world. We’re going to show you a Glasgow effect that is going to ruin the Union’s health, we’ll take back the levers of power and control. And this time it’s not the people of Glasgow who will suffer from a short life expectancy, it’s the United Kingdom whose days are numbered. We’ll show the Union a real Glasgow effect.


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.

A very Tory referendum

The EU referendum is getting even more heated, which is a bit like saying that the Labour party in Scotland is getting even more pointless or that Ruth Davidson is getting jolly hockey stickier. In the past week alone we’ve had dire warnings from Davie Cameron and George Osborne for the Remain campaign that leaving the EU would provoke the outbreak of World War III and, a prospect which is unimaginably worse for the Tories, would reduce house prices. Meanwhile the Leave campaign’s Boris Johnson has claimed that the EU project has the same goal as Adolf Hilter, by which he presumably meant that Brussels wants to invade Poland and weaponise the boy scouts.

If we leave the EU we’ll never win Eurovision again, although we’ve not won Eurovision since we first voted in 1997 and Europe thought that the UK was going to start acting like a normal European country. They were to be sadly disappointed and it’s been null points ever since, even from places where there’s a large expat British population. As far as the hate figure of Europe goes, the UK is right up there with Russia, only unlike Russia we don’t get votes at Eurovision because no one is afraid we’re going to invade them and hopes that we can be assuaged by voting for our tuneless paean to love and peace. Anyway, the UK only invades the places that America tells us to.

Next week Boris is preparing a speech in which he warns that if we remain a part of the EU every British child will be compulsorily enlisted in the orc armies of Sauron, while George Osborne is counting on a report from the IMF conclusively proving that the UK financial services industry will be carbonised by a fire breathing dragon. The week after that they’re going to start threatening things that really are ridiculous.

Unlike the Scottish referendum where we had the No campaign’s project fear up against a relentless positivism from the Yes campaign which made the Waltons seem like a dark dystopian drama of a shattered and dysfunctional family, there’s very little that’s happy or clappy about the EU referendum from either side. Instead of project fear we’ve got project my fear is way scarier than your fear. According to the Remain campaign if the UK leaves the EU then there will be war, terrorism, economic ruin and the collapse of British industry, with nothing but utter misery for ordinary working people while the fat cats profit at the expense of the poor, whereas according to the Leave campaign if the UK stays in the EU there will be war, terrorism, economic ruin and the collapse of British industry, with nothing but utter misery for ordinary people while the fat cats profit at the expense of the poor. Surprising as it may seem, both sides are quite correct, as both sides are assuming that we’re going to have a Tory government for the foreseeable future.

We’re in for misery whatever happens. This EU referendum is really a proxy war for something far more important, at least something more important to the leaders of the Conservative party, and that’s who’s going to be the next leader of the Conservative party. Whether it’s Boris Johnson, or whether it’s George Osborne, the future for the UK is deeply depressing. Whatever happens we’re in for austerity, public service cuts, creeping privatisation, and the demonisation of the poor, the disabled, the chronically ill, and the marginalised.

It’s not even like there’s a Labour party which is able to prevent it. Labour is currently far too busy opposing itself to organise an effective opposition to the Tories and can’t even land any effective blows on a Conservative party that is openly at war with itself. Well I say currently, it’s been like that for years and will be like that for years still to come. When Labour isn’t tearing itself apart in one of its decades long bouts comradely back stabbing, it’s aping the Tories in an effort to appeal to swing voters in Middle England, so providing an effective opposition to Tory policies isn’t on anyone’s agenda. At least not outwith Scotland. We’re stuck with the unremitting gloom and the depressing vista of grey miserablism stretching ahead of us as long as we’re stuck in this so-called United Kingdom.

George Galloway is on the same side as Nigel Farage and Jeremy Corbyn is on the same side as David Cameron, the best you can say is that at least that’s an improvement on the Scottish referendum when all four of them were on the same side, the four horsemen of the acrapolypse. It’s impossible for anyone to mount a happy clappy campaign with wish trees when the very best you can wish for is that George Osborne stops Boris Johnson from becoming leader of the Tory party. Nae wonder that this is a campaign that’s not exciting much in the way of public enthusiasm. It’s more whoo-pish than whoo-pee.

God, I’m depressed already, and the vote is still more than a month away. By this time next month the very words Question Time will cause half the population to crawl into bed in the fetal position and pull their duvets over their heads while they rock themselves to sleep amidst the tears at the inanity of it all. Although admittedly it has that effect on most of Scotland already.

The Scottish referendum campaign was characterised by top down control freakery on one side, and a mass blossoming of Scottish wild flowers in a grassroots meadow on the other. It was joyous, participatory, and energised a nation. The EU referendum is characterised by top down control freakery from both sides, and it sucks out all life and and enthusiasm from anyone who looks at George Osborne standing with his legs apart or Boris Johnson’s tousled faux-clownery long before Joe or Josephine public come close to engaging with the issues. Both sides have embarked on a campaign to scare us all into submitting to their point of view, battering the obedience into us with threats, scare stories, and nightmares. Don’t think, just be afraid. It’s a very Tory referendum.


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.