Fàilte gu Poblachd na h-Alba

In a shameless display of artificial outrage, Labour’s Ian Murray and the Tories’ Jackson Carlaw have declared that they are angered and appalled by the admission from the SNP’s Humza Yousaf that most people in his party would support getting rid of the monarchy. That’s a bit like expressing shock and horror that people in Edinburgh don’t put vinegar on their chips, or that exemplars of the species Ursus arctos feculate in sylvan sectors of substantial arboreal coverage.

There haven’t been any recent opinion polls on the topic in Scotland, as far as I can ascertain. The last seems to have been the ITV debate in the late 1990s which showed that Scotland was the only part of the UK where there was a majority in favour of a republic. Certainly judging from the spectacular lack of enthusiasm shown in Scotland whenever there’s some royal non-event or other, the SNP’s republican tendencies are pretty mainstream in this country. It would be fantastic if just for once when the Windsors were having some family event that they kept it private and only invited close members of the immediate family. Mind you, then Prince Harry wouldn’t get to go.

Scots are not enthralled by the magic of monarchy to anything like the degree that people in other parts of the UK might be. Announce that there’s to be some major royal event that is going to dominate our TV screens for mind numbing days on end, and the only mass enthusiasm you’ll find in Scotland is for booking a holiday in the Canaries that week so you can avoid it.

We’re a pretty bunting-phobic bunch. For some bizarre reason, Scots are not convinced that the best way to choose a head of state is on the basis of descent from a mediaeval robber baron who claimed to have a magic sword, a circular dining table, and a resident wizard. Most Scots remain of the view that if you want a head of state who understands the struggles of ordinary people it’s better to have one whose mother was on food stamps, rather than having one who had her head on postage stamps. Like thousands of others of my compatriots, I resent the fact that the BBC employs a professional royal sycophant and expects the rest of us to pay his wages so he can witter on inanely about irrelevant crap that no one with an IQ in double figures gives a feculance about and invites us all to be joyful because some inbred moron who has never done a day’s work in his over privileged life has waved at some people who do have to work for a living. And then without a shred of irony or self awareness the BBC cuts to a piece about North Korea and tells us about the uncritical and fawning coverage its leadership gets.

Jackson Carlaw might state in pursey lippit tones that a desire for an elected head of state puts the SNP at variance with most people in Scotland, but he doesn’t actually have a shred of evidence to back up his claim that love of the monarchy extends much beyond the Tory party and neanderthals in sashes and bowler hats. BBC Scotland news reports showing a gaggle of reporters outside Craithie church doesn’t count as mass popular support for the monarchy, and the views of members of the Tory party aren’t exactly representative of mass popular opinion in Scotland. The only people who love royal weddings or births more than the BBC are dictators in Commonwealth countries. It’s a convenient time to repress a few oppostion figures without attracting too much attention.

If anything, such evidence as does exist contradicts Jackson’s claim that Scots are as monarchist as the editors of Royal Walkabout Monarchygasm Magazine. Not even the deeply conservative people in the doucer parts of Edinburgh can be arsed enough to have a party when there’s a royal wedding or a new royal sprog, much to the desperation of BBC Scotland as it fails dismally to find any spontaneous outbursts of public joy to film for its bosses in London. To be fair, there was a wee spurt in sales of gin, but that was on Deeside so probably doesn’t count. If we’re going to be really honest about it, those of us of a Republican persuasion should recognise that giving birth to a royal wean is the only time that any of them have to do any labour. It’s also considerably more difficult and painful than giving birth to a commoner, on account of the silver spoon.

As for Ian in his Union Jack suit, when the Honorable Member for the Morningside Soviet is not trying to score a few political points, and let’s be honest here Labour needs all the help it can get in that department, he knows just like the rest of us do that there’s no great affection for the Windsors in the Labour party either. Labour posing as the great defender of the monarchy is about as convincing as its recent conversion to home rule.

The question of how Scotland chooses its head of state is entirely separate from the question of whether Scotland should become an independent nation or not. That’s why when the SNP announced the last independence referendum they did so on the basis that the monarchy would continue if Scotland voted to become independent and return to its rightful place in the international family of nations. Scots were not being asked to decide how we should choose our head of state, we were being asked who we thought had the right to decide the question. On that occasion we narrowly voted to allow the Westminster parlie the right to continue choosing for us. Next time we won’t make the same mistake.

It is only when Scotland becomes independent that the Scottish people will have the right to decide how we choose our head of state. Then Jackson will find out just how little popular support his fawning obsequience actually enjoys. He might like the idea of living in a backward looking ruritania, but the rest of us want to join the 21st century. We’re already a republic in our imaginations, it’s only a matter of time before the law catches up. Scotland’s future is as an independent republic, and then the Gaelophobic Jackson will be welcomed home by a sign on the border that says Fàilte gu Poblachd na h-Alba.


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.

BBC, licenced to shill

The BBC charter has been renewed, and now BBC Scotland is going to stop being a branch office of the Union. It will accurately reflect the fact that half of the population want independence and will be independent of London and wholly controlled and funded within Scotland. In other news, Ruth Davidson has admitted that her party came a very distant second in last week’s election and she doesn’t have any power to do anything, least of all block a second independence referendum, Kezia Dugdale took the pledge of allegiance and added a caveat swearing blind that she’d never say SNP bad ever again, and Wullie Rennie has been taken seriously.

It turns out that very little will change now that the BBC charter has been renewed. Despite the Tory culture secretary’s claim that the BBC will become more accountable to the devolved nations, it’s a long way short of giving Scotland what every other self governing nation in Europe outside the UK has, its own national broadcasting channel. As long as Scotland is without its own national public broadcaster, the claims of the Unionists that Scotland has the most powerful devolved parliament in the world are meaningless.

As this blog is forever pointing out, Catalonia has five TV channels of its own including a 24 hour news channel. Scotland gets 30 minutes of murrdurr, fitba and wee cute kittens after the news where we aren’t. Even tiny Gagauzia, a self governing territory in Moldova, with its 150,000 people is capable of sustaining a national broadcaster yet it’s one of the poorest parts of the poorest country in Europe. The Faroe Islands with their 49,000 population have a national broadcaster too, as does Greenland with its 56,000 people.

The only reason Scotland with its rich culture and economy and 5 million people doesn’t have its own national broadcaster is because Westminster is terrified of the idea of a public broadcaster that it doesn’t control. It’s got nothing to do with Scotland’s ability to run a public broadcaster, of course Scotland has the wealth of talent and skills. It’s got everything to do with politics. The real reason that Westminster won’t allow Scotland to have its own public broadcaster is because it was control of the airwaves that won it the last independence referendum. It’s as simple and as cynical as that.

We’re now promised that Scotland is going to become a BBC centre of excellence. Whatever that means. What it doesn’t mean is that Scotland will get a national broadcaster that will accurately reflect the range of opinions and views in this country. What it might just mean is a tacit admission from the BBC that BBC Scotland has been anything but excellent up until now. However BBC Scotland becoming a centre of excellence most likely means that we’ll get pedigree kittens and those nice middle class murrdurrs with posh people killing one another terribly politely like you get on Midsomer Murders. The fitba will still be rubbish though, this is Scotland after all.

The biggest change is that the BBC Trust made up of middle class British nationalist appointees who are not democratically accountable is to be abolished and replaced by a board made up of middle class British nationalist appointees who are not democratically accountable. You’ll still get Strictly, those inane game shows involving people in lycra throwing themselves at inflatable bouncy castles floating in a pond, and lots and lots of royalist sycophancy. There will still be lots of programmes with Great British in the title, trying to make out that everything from pottery to sewing is somehow uniquely British. Because they don’t make china in China, and haut couture is really based in Swindon. And if you’re a politics junkie, don’t worry, you’ll also still get Question Time and David Dimbleby being sneery about independence supporters.

You can also be certain that another thing that won’t change is the utter inadequacy of the BBC’s stonewalling policy, otherwise known as its complaints department. The BBC doesn’t respond to complaints as its definition of impartiality is when it gets complaints from everyone. Complaining to the BBC is the very definition of futility. In many billions of years, when dark energy has stretched out the universe into infinite nothingness, there will still be people waiting for an adequate response to their complaint that BBC Question Time is as reflective of Scottish opinion as a UKIP party meeting in Kent. The BBC doesn’t care, because it doesn’t have to. Their complaints department consists of a brick wall for you to bang your head off of.

Criticisms have been made that the Tory government intends to appoint almost half of the new board members directly and that this is a threat to the independence and impartiality of the corporation. I’d be a whole lot more worried about the independence and impartiality of the BBC if it was actually independent and impartial, but from the perspective of an independence supporter in Scotland, the BBC is the propaganda arm of the British state. That’s not about to change either.

What will change is that the licence fee will be imposed on people who watch TV online. So there can be no escape from the British propaganda tax. We might get a few sops thrown our way, like a Scottish Six. But unless there’s a root and branch overhaul of how the BBC is structured and the licence fees paid by Scots remain in Scotland, what we’re likely to end up with is a glorified version of Reporting Scotland or the replacement to Scottish Newsnight that no one watches.

As long as we have a BBC that’s controlled outside of Scotland it’s going to be force-feeding us a British agenda and will treat the independence movement as the enemy without. It’s licenced to shill for the British state. A corporation that sees itself as the voice of Britain and the sustainer of British identity is institutionally incapable of dealing with a democratic movement that rejects Britishness and defines itself as Scottish. That’s why Scotland needs a public broadcaster that reflects Scotland, not one whose goal is to impose a British identity on us all. The point of a public broadcaster ought to be to give a platform to the voices in a nation, not to shape its debates in a particular direction. Scotland isn’t going to get that as long as we remain a part of the UK. In the UK we’re always going to have the voice of Britishness telling us what Scottishness is supposed to be, and a Scottish population that increasingly treats the BBC like the BBC complaints department treats complainers, as something to be ignored.


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.

How many interventions is that now then?

Gordie’s been intervening again. He didn’t bother intervening during the recent Holyrood election because even he could see that his party was going to tank, and not because Ruth Davidson was sitting on it posing for a photo shoot for the Scotsman. His old seat of Kirkcaldy has turned into an SNP stronghold and what’s left of the Labour party in Scotland couldn’t rustle up the couple of cooncillors and the three pensioners who’ve been party members since 1945 that the Scottish media likes to tell us counts as Gordie meeting the public. His no-show certainly wasn’t because he was feart he might be asked difficult questions about how his vow has been working out, because this is the Scottish media we’re talking about here.

The Scottish media holding Gordie to account, oh how we laughed. They’re far too busy taking photies of Ruth on the back of a coo and claiming that Scotland’s politics have been Ulsterised. The Ulsterisation of Scottish politics is difficult to distinguish from its near anagram clusterfuckisation, that being the contribution of the Labour party and their particular political specialisation. Find a foot belonging to a Labour politician and the party will already have shot itself in it. It’s a bit like kneecapping, only self-inflicted. Ulsterisation is exactly the same as blusterisation, it mostly consists of false Unionist claims and media hot air, but it comes with added bull. That last being courtesy of Ruthie’s photo op partner who is apparently the new list MSP for Tayside. The Tories like to claim that independence supporters are like sheep, but they have got the cattle vote sewn up.

But back to Gordie. This time Gordie’s intervening in the EU debate from the safe distance of somewhere in London where no one cares about his vow, his vainglorious claims to have saved the world and Scotland, or about how he’s prone to wearing a hole in a decent piece of Axminster. Although to be honest, the state of the carpet weighs more heavily on the mind of your average Unionist politician at Westminster than the state of Scotland does. That’s unfair of them, since Westminster walks all over Scotland on a regular basis you’d think that they’d give us at least as much consideration as a shag pile. The nearest Scotland gets to a shag pile in Westminster is when they all pile in to screw us.

Anyway, despite what all the papers are trying to tell us, Scotland’s new parliament is of a decidedly pro-independence hue and is dominated by politicians who are about as convinced that Gordie’s vow has been fulfilled as they are that Ruthie is going to make a positive and helpful contribution to the new Scottish parliament instead of screaming SNP bad every Thursday. Mind you, that’s what she thinks holding the SNP to account means, that and getting her photie taken for the papers with something bovine. You know, like Jackson Carlaw.

Another reason Gordie has been steering clear of Scotland is because advice from the man who did more to destroy the Labour party in Scotland than Maggie Thatcher doesn’t really go down well in working class communities north of the border. Leaving the EU will provoke a race to the bottom, said the man who along with Tony Blair presided over a boom in zero hours contracts and whose lasting contribution to politics is to lumber future generations with a mountain of PFI debt to pay for shoddily built schools that will have collapsed long before the debt is paid off. There are carpets which have lasted much longer than buildings built under Labour’s PFI programme.

The truth is, at least according to opinion polls, Scotland doesn’t need to be persuaded that it’s better to remain a part of the EU. Scotland has always been one of the most outward looking and European minded parts of Britain, that’s what comes from being a small country which has a land border with a much larger and more powerful neighbour. Small countries are always more international minded than large ones if only for the simple reason that when you come from a small country most of the interesting places are somewhere else. Gordie’s intervention is probably as useful to the Leave campaign as Boris Johnson coming here to tell us why we’re better off out of the EU with him as the next Prime Minister is to the Remain campaign. We don’t need Gordie to promise that he personally will hold the EU commission and parliament to account to make sure that they’re nice to the UK, because we’ve heard that kind of thing from him before. It didn’t work out too well then either.

For Scotland Brussels is a useful counterweight to the gravitational pull of a Westminster which sooks up all our resources, our capital, our skills and our talents and in return we get ignored and sidelined, a cultural cringe, and some guy who produces graphs showing that we’re poorer than Greece. That’s the kind of value for money that you normally only find in a Labour PFI scheme. If Gordie really wants us to remain a part of Europe, probably the best thing he can do would be to shut up and go and crawl back under the rock he’s been hiding under since Labour got pumped in 2015. Because if he is insistent on showing his face, the very least he could be doing is to fulfil his promise to ensure that thon vow of his is carried out.

From swearing blind that Scotland is the most devolviest country in the history of devolution, which isn’t saying much since devolution is a constitutional arrangement found only in the UK since the late 1990s, Labour is now admitting that perhaps they really should be arguing for real Home Rule after all. So much for Gordie’s vow then. Seems we’re not the most devolviest devolvement in the history of devolving after all. Well who knew? Apart from just about everyone in Scotland who voted for independence and a large chunk of those who didn’t.

The next best possibility for an independence referendum would be for England to vote to leave but Scotland to vote to remain. Gordie’s intervention probably brought that a lot closer to reality. He should get back under his rock.


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.

Photo ops and a whole load of bull

Flushed by their spectacular ground breaking victory which broke the mould of Scottish politics forever by coming such a distant second behind the SNP that you need binoculars to see the buffalo that Ruthie is sitting on, the Ruth Davidson Photo Op Party are dizzy with excitement about all the things they’re going to be able to do now that they don’t have any more power than they did before Thursday’s election. For starters they can have more photo ops, this time with a buffalo on a tank. Plans are even afoot to shatter the hopes and dreams of the independence movement with a photo of a buffalo abseiling down the side of Edinburgh castle draped in a Union flag. That’ll put those seps in their place.

Listening to the Tories and their supporters, you’d think that they’d become the governing party. This is despite the fact that they’ve got fewer seats than Labour had until Thursday, and as far as the SNP is concerned the second biggest party just got a whole lot smaller. But the Tories are going to do what Labour wasn’t able to do, and that’s to scream SNP bad at such a pitch that windaes will shatter throughout the land. What they’re not going to be able to do, despite their claims to the contrary, is to block another independence referendum if the SNP introduce a bill for one in Holyrood.

The Tories wouldn’t have been able to block another referendum if the Greens had abstained, because there’s no way on this green Earth that the Greens would have voted along with the Tories to prevent the people of Scotland deciding their future for themselves. Now that Patrick Harvie has clarified that the Greens would support another referendum in the event that the UK leaves the EU, all the Tories can do is to stamp their wee feet and sulk about the SNP not having a mandate for another indy ref.

In order to prevent another independence referendum, our merry band of buffalo riding runners up would have to rely on Westminster to block it, and that’s really not a good look for any Scottish party, not even a Tory one. The one way to guarantee independence is for the Tories at Westminster to refuse to allow a referendum after the Scottish parliament has voted for one. Everything else is just photo opportunities and sound bites for Tory self-publicisists.

Adam Tomkins can complain all he likes that there’s no mandate for another independence referendum, but there’s bugger all he can do to stop it happening if the SNP and the Greens vote for one. Adam Tomkins is just a Glasgow list MSP, no one voted him the referendum referee. This is not a law class where you’re the professor, dear. You’re just an also-ran from a party that came a poor second. He’ll do just fine as long as he bears in mind the important legal doctrine memora quod perdidisti, which is Latin for “Remember that you lost.”

Admittedly it’s hard for Adam to remember that his party lost when the leader of his party is acting like the reincarnation of her tank-posing heroine Thatcher who’d just won her third election in a row. It’s the SNP who have just won a third election in a row, not Ruthie, although you’d be hard pressed to realise that from reading the papers. Imagine what it’s like being Adam, and living in a wee bubble of Torydom where Ruthie’s buffalo walks on water and the newly beardy Fluffy Mundell is a respected senior authority. Wee Fluffy has grown a beard because now that he’s come out as gay he can be open about being a bear. Sadly for him that bear is Paddington, although it must be said that there are marmalade eaters deep in the jungles of Peru who are more in touch with Scotland than the Fluff.

In her first attempt to single handedly lead Scotland out of the foul clutches of a party that got more seats than the entire Unionist cabal put together, Ruthie has told the other Unionist parties that she’s head girl now, and she’ll be the one picking the hockey team. The other Unionist parties have responded with another of Adam’s legal doctrines, quod rectum erit, which means “that will be right” and not “stick it up your rectum”, although that works too. Wee Wullie Rennie is too busy telling everyone that he won the constituency seat into which he threw most of his party’s resources and that totally makes up for the 47 Lib Dem lost deposits and the fact that his party now languishes in fifth place behind the Greens. Meanwhile the Labour party is just miffed that Ruth has intruded on their private grief and is in no mood to compound its misery by being seen to do more deals with the Tories like the Better Together deal that has reduced them to a rump. Although many would argue that Labour’s been acting like an arse for years now.

For all the claims from the Tories that Scotland has passed peak Nat, the truth is that it’s the Tories who have nowhere to go from here. They don’t command anything like enough support in Holyrood to actually affect any legislation. Since they can’t change anything, all they can do is screech SNP bad from the sidelines while the pressure is put on them to defend the actions of their pals down south.

The independence movement has a plan A, to call a referendum if there’s a vote to leave the EU from the UK as a whole but Scotland votes to stay. There’s a plan B, to work on the case for independence while the Tories tear themselves apart in the aftermath of a remain vote, and there are the gathering clouds of legal threats about the election expenses that produced Tory victories in some seats in last year’s General Election and throws into question the legitimacy of the Tory government. And all the while Ruth is going to have to justify the cuts imposed on Scotland by her pals in the Treasury as her party is mired in sleaze and corruption. Ruth doesn’t have a plan A, never mind a plan B. All she’s got are photo opportunities on the backs of big coos, and a whole load of bull.


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.

Union balls

We should expect it by now, the Unionist media in Scotland is a kind of British nationalist lottery machine. It feeds on the hopes and aspirations of the voters of Scotland, and it spews out a load of balls. I said before the election that if the SNP loses its overall majority, the only narrative in the Unionist press would be a crowing triumphalism that the wheels have come off the independence bandwagon and the Union is resurgent, and that’s precisely what they’ve done.

It has been said that you should never underestimate a person’s powers of self-delusion. The powers of self-delusion of the Scottish Unionist media would put a plastic surgery addict to shame. It looks in the mirror and sees itself handsomely balanced and well proportioned. The rest of us look at it and see something freakishly artificial that bears little resemblance to reality. It’s just a load of Union balls.

The sad thing is that so many in the Yes movement have accepted the balls and are juggling them with enthusiasm. They’re occupying their time and energies bickering about other independence supporters. It’s toxic, it’s damaging, and the only beneficiaries are the Unionists and their botoxed silicon implanted assessment of the Ruth Davidson We’re Not Really Tories Vote Ruth Davidson Look at Me Sitting on a Tank Party. The more we attack one another, the more that the focus is removed from the fact that it was the Yes movement which won the election. Gaunie jist gie the attacks on other yes supporters a rest. This is the kind of pish that’s makes me glad I’ve given up on Twitter. Twitter is Facebook on crack, when you have to distill your comments into 140 characters, the nuance is the first to evaporate and all you’re left with is the snark. No wonder it’s so bad tempered and seems to be full of people who are looking for something to be offended about.

The dust is settling now, and despite all the triumphalist hype from predictable Unionist sources, let’s remember that the Ruth Davidson Buffaloes for the Union I Wasn’t Even Born When Thatcher Was in Power party did not actually win the election. The SNP did, the wider Yes movement did. Let’s not lose sight of that. The Yes movement is fighting over different paths to a positive outcome. It’s not helping that we’re acting like we lost, by doing so we’re only playing into the hands of the Unionist balls machine. We won an election and we’re acting like the Labour party which is only capable of opposing itself.

Let’s remember the numbers. The Tories clawing their way back to where they were after the voters had decimated them after the Thatcher era is not a ringing endorsement of the Union. The SNP all by themselves have 63 MSPs and outnumber the Tories, Labour and the Lib Dems who between them can only summon up 60. If there’s going to be a bid to have another independence referendum within the next five years, the maximum vote against that the Unionists can hope for is 60. It might not even be as many as that as it is widely rumoured that certain Labour figures are not as opposed to independence as their party hierarchy is. As James Kelly (not the Labour one who is to charisma as Joey Essex is to quantum mechanics, the opinion polling one) pointed out in his Scot Goes Pop blog, the six Greens are not going to vote down a bill for a second referendum. Scotland’s parliament is still just as capable of delivering a bill on a new referendum as it was before the election.

The problem with a second referendum isn’t that the parliament might not be able to deliver it, the problem is that as things stand it’s by no means guaranteed that we’d win it. And if we’re spending all our energies attacking one another then we will certainly not win it. All we’re doing is damaging one another.

Over the coming months and years we need to work on weak No voters to persuade them of the case for independence, we need to work on solutions to the weaknesses in the yes argument that contributed to us losing the last referendum. We need an answer to the currency question, we need to demonstrate that our economy is more than just oil. We need to focus on the reality that independence means nothing more and nothing less than putting the levers of choice and change into the hands of the Scottish people. We need to build on our vibrant and diverse new media and increase its penetration into the sections of Scottish society that don’t access the internet. That’s the real job ahead, not attacking other yes supporters for a supposed lack of ideological purity, posing as the sole authentic voice of the working classes, or settling personal scores because someone was a dickhead on Twitter.

Let’s kick the Unionist balls off the field. The reality is that the independence movement is a broad church. We agree on the goal of independence, but we don’t agree on what we want independence for. The independence movement contains people from across the entire spectrum of politics, it contains people that some of us might not like and whose views on some subjects we find disagreeable. It contains a strand of student politicians who preach ideological purity above all else. It contains people who will never admit to being wrong about anything. It contains people who are living proof that ego is a renewable energy source. All we agree on is that the Union serves Scotland badly and our country needs to take charge of its own destiny. We don’t agree on what we want to do when we get there.

Instead of attacking one another, we need to turn our fire on the Tories who are now the main faces of Unionism, and we need to start building a consensus in Scotland that independence is the only way ahead if we want to protect our public services, not the vacuous photo-ops of a Conservative party that stands for austerity, privatisation, and the destruction of Scottish civic society. Let’s kick the Union balls off the park and get on with the real job, winning independence.


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 Tories are still toxic

As was so boringly predictable, the narrative that our no-really-we’re-not-biased media are promoting since the results of Thursday’s election became clear is that the Tories have been detoxified in Scotland. It’s a strange definition of detoxified, there is still more of a chance that Murdo Fraser might discover he’s a Celtic fan and a republican than there is of the Scottish Tories having any realistic expectation that they could ever form a government at Holyrood. In terms of the percentage of votes it received, at 22% the party isn’t even back to where it was in the UK General Election of 1992 when it had already been battered by the voters for imposing Thatcherism on a reluctant nation and turning a deaf ear to demands for devolution. They managed to get 25% of the vote in that election.

Still, it’s churlish not to concede that the Tories made gains under Tank Girl, but then Churlish is my middle name. Scotland has still not welcomed the Tories back into our hearts, by an overwhelming majority Scots have still not forgiven them and we’ve not forgotten what they’re like. They might have won more seats, they might have garnered some votes from the better off and the diehard unionists, they might have benefited from Unionist tactical voting, but the Tories are still toxic in Scotland. When the best you can possibly do is to manage to secure just 22% of the vote, you’re still a minor party. You’re still to be held at arm’s length like a foul smelling privatised sock.

The Tories fought the Holyrood election on a platform of pretending that they’re not Tories at all, that the dastardly deeds of Iain Duncan Smith and George Osborne and the sneer of Davie Cameron were nothing to do with them, but they’re going to have to spend the next five years in the Scottish parliament defending their Westminster colleagues.

Having successfully rebranded themselves as the Ruth Davidson No More Referendums Except EU Ones Ruth Davidson Holding the SNP to Account by Being Ruth Davidson We Don’t Like to Admit We’re Tories Ruth Davidson Party, Vote Ruth Davidson, the buffalo girl’s merry band of tub thumpers for the Union are about to discover that being held to account cuts both ways. They’re going to be held to account for everything their pals at Westminster do. They’re going to be asked if they support the way in which their colleague Jeremy Hunt is rampaging through the English NHS, they’re going to have to defend their party’s assault on the disabled, they’re going to have answer for Osborne’s refusal to go after corporate tax evaders with the same zeal that his government assails benefits claimants. The Tories are still toxic.

They’re going to have to do all this without having sufficient clout in the Scottish Parliament to get any traction for their agenda of privatisations, resisting land reform, punishing the poor while rewarding the rich, and displaying their traditional spectacular ignorance of and direspect for Scottish culture and linguistic history.

I was a bit down about the result of the election on Friday, but having had a few days to consider it I’m a whole lot happier now. Parties which support independence were returned with a greater share of the vote, even if the SNP lost its overall majority. And now Unionism is revealed in all its ugly conservative gory. And no, that’s not a typo. The main party supporting the Union in Scotland stands for austerity, for slashing public services, for handing over what remains to private companies, for glorifying the military and indulging in convenient foreign wars, and they’ve got a nasty xenophobic strain in them an imperial mile wide. The dog whistle racism that characterised the Conservative campaign for the mayor of London came from number 10, and their campaign in Scotland was every bit as cynical and every bit as servile to the goals of our Etonian masters. With the Tories as the main voice of the Union in Scotland, Unionism is now going to be unable to escape the ugly taint of reaction, of subordinating Scotland to goals that few here share. There’s no longer a vital Labour party to put a progressive gloss on the corpse of Westminster.

It has been argued that a second independence referendum is now off the table for the foreseeable future. That’s probably true, unless something dramatic happens like the UK voting to leave the EU next month but Scotland voting to stay, there probably won’t be another independence referendum for a while. However I’m not going to lose sleep over that, and neither should you. There’s only one thing that I want more than another independence referendum, and that’s that we win the next independence referendum. What the election has shown us is that in terms of persuading a secure majority of the people of Scotland of the independence cause, we’re not quite there yet. We still have work to do. Rushing into a second independence referendum and then losing it would really knock the prospect of independence off the table for the foreseeable future.

Instead of arguing with the Labour party for the soul of Scotland, the independence movement now needs to focus its fire on the Tories. They’re going to be a much easier target. It’s now going to be easier to persuade people that the choice facing Scotland is between an independent nation that values public services, a national health service, and prioritises skilled and secure jobs, or a Union that’s in thrall to the doctrines of austerity, privatisation, and low paying insecure jobs. A Tory Scotland is not the kind of Scotland most of us want to live in, but that’s what the Union offers.

Over the coming months and years, Ruth Davidson is going to have to put some substance to her photo calls. She says she’s going to hold the SNP to account, but few are going to be impressed if holding them to account means putting forward policies that are only going to benefit the better off and the privileged, that are only going to entrench the social divisions that already scar this land. The only practical difference her victory is going to make is that she’ll be called on first to ask questions at Furst Meenister’s Questions, and she’s going to be the first to have her arse handed to her on a plate as she attempts to defend the policies of her pals down south.

The Tories are still toxic, and all the photo-opportunities in the world aren’t going to change that. We still have to persuade a secure majority of Scots that independence is the way ahead, Ruthie’s gains have made that task much easier.


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 curate’s egg

Well that was a bit of a mixed bag, wasn’t it. The election was the proverbial curate’s egg, good in parts. On the one hand we can be relieved that the Scottish parliament still has a majority of pro-independence MSPs and we’re going to get another SNP government which this time is going to have to rely on the Greens and that should ensure that it tacks to the left and takes a firmer line on issues like land reform or opposition to fracking. This is a good thing. On the other there’s the horrible rise of the selfish Tories, the party of austerity, of privatisation, of cuts, of tax breaks for the rich. The party of cereal eating, stale cereal at that.

The SNP was bidding for a third term in office, and that’s always a big ask for any party. They didn’t only ensure that they were returned to office, they also increased the number of votes that they received. That’s pretty amazing. The SNP continues to defy political gravity and the independence movement has not been sidetracked or set back. But they were buggered by the voting system. This time the SNP didn’t break it.

The Greens have overtaken the Lib Dems as the fourth biggest party and now form a second pro-independence bloc in the Scottish parliament. It’s going to be harder now for the media to pitch the independence campaign as a fully owned subsidiary of the SNP, and that’s only going to benefit the indy movement as a whole. It’s not clear yet whether the SNP will do a formal deal with the Greens in order to govern, or they will govern as a minority administration propped up by the Greens as necessary. Either way, the Greens are going to be a much more important player in the independence movement than they have been to date. Rise, despite the hype on certain pro-independence sites, went nowhere.

Labour was all but annihilated. They’ve done far worse than predicted. Kezia Dugdale, interviewed on the telly as the counting tables were packed away behind her, said that it was always going to be a long struggle to renew the party. It seems that she’s renewing them by packing them away entirely. The truth is that you can’t renew something that’s already dead. Perhaps someone somewhere knows what the point of the Labour party in Scotland is, but it sure as hell isn’t anyone in the Labour party in Scotland.

All Labour have proven over the past few years is that they are incapable of forming a government, and they are incapable of providing an effective opposition to any party other than themselves. South of the border they continue to tear themselves apart in their internecine warfare between Corbyn supporters and the Blairites. There’s no prospect of them replacing the Tories as the government in Westminster any time soon, and that means that their remaining supporters in Scotland need to ask themselves whether there is any point in continuing to resist independence or substantial home rule that actually means home rule.

The only possible role left for Labour is as a party that supports Home Rule in the original sense of the term, a Scotland that is self-governing in all aspects with the exception of foreign affairs and defence. But Labour’s support for devolution has been grudging, half-hearted and characterised by a dedication to Labour’s self-interest and not what the voters of Scotland want. Even if Labour did announce it was going to go full out for real Home Rule, the chances are no one would believe them.

Kezia Dugdale claimed that she was trying to move the constitutional debate on, but you can only do that when people are content with the settlement you’ve achieved. The hauf-airsed Smith Commission clearly hasn’t pleased anyone. One lot of Labour voters don’t think it goes far enough and went off to the SNP or the Greens, another lot want Unionist retrenchment at any cost and have opted for the self-harming choice of the Tories.

There’s only so long that any party can waffle on about how it’s going to listen to the voters and renew itself. Eventually there comes a point when it needs to start making some gains. Labour hasn’t managed that, instead it just gets worse and worse for them. They need to start opposing the Tories instead of their constant repetition of the SNP bad mantra. The austerity that they claim to oppose doesn’t come from the SNP, it comes from the Tories. Labour needs to remember that.

But we now have the truly appalling prospect of five years of the Ruth Davidson for Leader of the Ruth Davidson Don’t Mention We’re Tories Until After the Election Ruth Davidson Party. The increase in votes and seats for the Scottish Tories is even more disappointing than the news that Boaty McBoatface isn’t going to be the name of the new Antarctic research vessel after all. And we should also be relieved that we might finally get a stop to the ongoing nonsense about Scotland being a one party state. Although I’m not going to hold my breath.

It’s a salutory lesson for the independence movement that you can have the highest of ideals, the most noble of notions, you can ask people to think of the future of their nation, and there’s always going to be some folk who will think about the price of their car insurance instead. There’s always going to be a fearful and negative vote, there’s always going to be a vote founded in selfishness and self-interest. The Unionist movement in Scotland is now coalescing around a reactionary conservatism.

It is no coincidence that the Tories made their gains in the better off parts of Scotland, the parts of the country where people do reasonably well out of the current settlement and who are more concerned abour preserving what they have got themselves than they are about addressing the inequalities and and injustices that scar our land. And without a shred of irony, these people, who seek to deepen and profit from the divisions within our country, are the very same people who decry the independence movement for dividing Scotland.

Progressive liberal forward looking independence, or backwards looking, negative regressive Unionism. That’s the choice facing Scotland now.


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.