Let’s face a future that we determine for ourselves

A poll out this week shows that Jeremy Corbyn is leading in the Labour leadership contest by a crushing margin. Jezza enjoys the support of 62% of Labour members according to this week’s YouGov poll, with Owen Wossisname trailing on a meagre 38% giving Jezza a lead of 24%. Jezza’s commanding lead is, by coincidence, exactly the same as the margin by which Scotland voted to remain a part of the EU, yet we’re going to be dragged out of the EU anyway if Jezza and the Tories get their way.

A polling lead of 24% counts as a crushing victory, except for viewers in Scotland. In Scotland it can be overruled if the rest of the UK doesn’t agree. In Scotland a lead of 24% in an actual ballot is a reason to respect the wishes of those who voted to leave the EU and to remember that opinion is deeply divided. The only crushing majority there’s ever been in Scottish politics was when Better Together won 55% of the vote.

Jeremy Corbyn understands the politics of Nicaragua better than he understands Scotland, and he cares more about Nicaragua too. The Tories understand the politics of the Daily Mail and they care more about the Daily Mail too. Labour in Scotland think they’d do better if they understood the politics of the Daily Mail as well, and so Kezia Dugdale has appointed that well known proponent of socialism Alan Roden, the Scottish Daily Mail’s political editor, as her new communications guy. The only way Labour manages to get elected these days is by hoovering up the second preference votes of Tories. Labour in Scotland has become the choice of Conservatives who know that their own party is unelectable and who prefer instead to vote for candidates who declaim the politics of Gramsci. Although to be fair, most Scottish Tories think that Gramsci is a contestant in the X-Factor.

Having very firmly hitched her rickety wagon to the wandering star of Owen Wossisname, Kezia was relying on a Corbyn defeat in order to maintain her equally rickety grasp on the leadership of the Scottish branch office. Owen’s starry prospects are collapsing in on themselves more comprehensively than the black hole of Gordie Broon’s reputation as an influential statesman, and Kezia’s left staring at a national party that’s led by a man she’s said publicly that she’s got no confidence in. Now Kezia is going to have to persuade the douce wee Tories of Ayrshire to support the Sandinistas of Saltcoats.

The harsh truth for Kezia and Jezza is that none of their politicking is going to matter. Neither of them is electable, and the harsh truth for Scotland is that the UK is faced with Tory governments for the foreseeable future. The so called moderate wing of Labour, you’re not allowed to call them Blairites anymore because apparently that counts as abuse, plans to spend the next few years sniping on the sidelines and doing all it can to undermine Jezza’s leadership, such as it is. Jezza might have his heart in the right place, except where Scotland is concerned, but he’s clueless as a leader and he’s going to be savaged by the Alan Rodens of the UK media. He’d be happier with Labour as a protest movement against the evils of Tory rule, but he’s pretty much ensuring that we’ll get Tory rule for decades to come.

The heirs to Blair are either going to wait for the party to be annihilated in the next Westminster General Election, or some of them are going to split off and form a new party – which will split the opposition and guarantee Labour’s annihilation at the next General Election. Admittedly those two possiblities are not mutually exclusive. Either way, Labour has as much chance of becoming the next government of the UK as James Kelly MSP has of developing something that could pass for charisma.

The Tories claim that Brexit offers the UK the opportunity to become one of the world’s great trading nations – by leaving the world’s largest trading bloc. That would be the same party that systematically destroyed the UK’s manufacturing industries. The future they have in store for us is a low wage low rights economy presided over by an authoritarian Conservative party which will be able to introduce undemocratic measures like May’s Snooper’s Charter without having to worry about being kept in check by Europe. What employment and personal rights we still enjoy will be whittled away in the name of making the UK more attractive to global corporations. Austerity will become a way of life, an ideological tool for the Tories to destroy what’s left of our public services and sacrifice them on the altar of privatisation. Our future will come with a G4S logo.

That’s what’s in store for Scotland, even though it’s a vision of the future that we have consistently rejected in every vote – including the independence referendum of 2014. Back then we were promised a forward looking internationalist UK, the security of EU membership, investment in Scotland’s renewable energy industry, and safer faster devolution. In 2015 Scotland voted overwhelmingly for SNP MPs as means to hold the Unionist parties to account and to hold them to the promises that they’ve failed to deliver, and we did the same in the Holyrood elections earlier this year.

It ought to be clear by now that as long as it remains a part of the UK, Scotland can’t protect itself from the ravages of the Tory party or a Labour party that can only get elected by aping the Tories. We’re facing a Tory Brexit and a Tory future that we’ve persistently rejected at the ballot box, unless we use our vote to do something about it. We can’t do that as long as we vote to remain a part of a system that systematically works against our interests, we can only do it by voting for Scotland to rejoin the family of nation states. Then and only then will we get governments that we vote for which work in our interests. The political case for independence has never been stronger. Let’s face a future that we determine for ourselves.

Audio version of this blog, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-31st-august-2016

If you’d like me and the dug to come and give a talk to your local group, email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com


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

If you’d like to make a donation but don’t wish to use Paypal or have problems using the Paypal button, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for details of alternative methods of donation.


frontcovervol3I’m now taking advance orders for Volumes 3 and 4 of the Collected Yaps. For the special price of £21 for both volumes plus £4 P&P you can get signed copies of the new books if you order before publication, scheduled for mid-July. Covering the immediate aftermath of the independence referendum until the Yes campaign’s destruction of the Labour party in the 2015 General Election, it’s a snarling chronicle of Scottish history.

To reserve your copies, just send an email to weegingerbook@yahoo.com giving your name and your postal address and how many copies you wish to order. You can also order signed copies of all four volumes for the special price of £40 plus £4 P&P.


Signed copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 and 2 are available by emailing me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Price just £21.90 the pair plus P&P. Copies of Barking Up the Right Tree are available from my publisher Vagabond Voices at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993 price just £7.95 plus P&P. The E-book of Barking Up the Right Tree is available for Kindle for just £4. Click here to purchase.

The plaything of Gordosaurus obsolescens

Gordosaurus obsolescens, one time Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, former leader of the Labour party, erstwhile saviour of the Union and the world, and vower extraordinaire, has been wearing holes in carpets again this week, pacing up and down before an invited audience that is contractually obliged not to jeer or heckle. Although they can’t be guaranteed not to fall asleep. The subject of his orations is the constitution following the Brexit vote. Yes, Gordie’s been intervening again. Well, it’s not like he’s got anything else to do.

Gordie infamously promised during the fag end of the 2014 independence referendum campaign that he would personally assure the introduction of the nearest thing possible to federalism, what he described as Home Rule. With a brass neck that would put one of those tribal women from Burma to shame, Gordie is now demanding that if the Union is to survive the changed circumstances of Brexit it requires the introduction of Home Rule. You know, that home rule that he vowed we’d get if we voted no in 2014. Gordie now wants all the things that he promised the last time that he’d personally hold the party leaders to uphold, threatening them with his morose presence on the backbenches where he had no power and influence, only then he buggered off and got a very high paid position as a consultant with a bank while the Tories introduced English votes for English laws. But not before Gordie had issued a press release claiming that his Vow was fulfilled.

Somewhere in the depths of the deepest trench in the Pacific Ocean, there’s a bottom feeding creature without a central nervous system subsisting in the ooze in the permanent blackness. It’s got greater self-awareness than Gordie has, and it also has more ability to affect the constitutional settlement of the United Kingdom. Gordosaurus obsolescens could have done something about securing a stable and lasting constitutional settlement for the United Kingdom while he was actually Prime Minister and in a position to do something about it.

But instead he preferred to utter meaningless platitudes about Britishness while showing that his only talent had been backstabbing and briefing against other members of the Labour party in an effort to get the top job, but once he’d got there he didn’t have the foggiest idea of what to do with it. Then after leaving office he prowled the carpets of conferences rooms, telling other politicians who weren’t answerable to him what they should do. Gordie suffers from the peculiar delusion that they are in fact answerable to him, and that they hang on to his every word. The only people who do hang on to his every word are the management team of BBC Scotland news.

He’s only been saved from the misfortune of going down in history as the worst Prime Minister since the Suez Crisis because he was followed in office by Davie Cameron who accidentally took the UK out of the EU in an attempt to settle a playground spat with Boris Johnson. The fact that Davie is the only holder of the office more incompetent and clueless than Gordie doesn’t actually grant Gordie any statesmanlike status. Gordie is the closest thing that the Labour party in Scotland have got to a big hitter, which by itself tells you how far and fast they’ve fallen from grace. There are small clumps of moist tissue with more weight and substance.

What Gordie is proposing now is a new constitutional settlement giving Scotland something far closer to the Home Rule envisaged by the founders of the Labour party than he was proposing the last time he was proposing something that he called Home Rule. Now he thinks that Scotland should get control of everything except defence, security, the pensions that he spent 2014 scaring pensioners about, and currency. He wants Scotland to be able to make its own international agreements on those areas controlled by Holyrood, although he’s vague about how that would work in practice. What he is a bit clearer on is that Scotland should pour a big bowl of Brexit cereal and eat it up without complaint. We can sell out our EU membership for an additional £750 million a year for the Scottish Parliament. Because that will make everyone happy.

Back in 2014 it was Brown’s own party which supported the absolute least amount of powers to be transferred to Holyrood. The self-proclaimed party of devolution was even out-devoed by the Tories. Gordie’s own party didn’t listen to him in 2014, and no one is listening to him now. All his statement proves is that the constitution of the UK is as bankrupt as Gordie’s reputation.

As long as Scotland remains a part of this Union we’re doomed to Gordie’s interventions and doomed to constant navel gazing and speculation about how to make the unworkable British state workable. Being Scottish within the UK is to continually ask how to ride a bicycle with square wheels. How can we be equal when we are kept subordinate. How can we be a country that isn’t allowed to act like a country. How can we be a nation that isn’t permitted to fulfil its nationhood. How do we determine our destiny when it is chosen for us by others.

There are only two answers to the questions posed by the anomaly of Scotland within the UK. Either we concede and accept that Scotland is little more than a glorified county, a bit of North British colour in the pageantry of the Union, Prince Charles’ kilt at the Braemar Games. We can concede our obsolescence and be the plaything of Gordosaurus obsolescens, allowing our future to be the endless meaningless carpet pacing of Gordie Broon, grand ideas which no one listens to, which no one cares about, and which no one is going to implement, or we take our destiny into our own hands and shape it for ourselves. Then and only then can we stand beside the other nations of this continent and these islands as equals in respect and equals in dignity.

Audio version of this blog post, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/plaything-of-gordosaurus-obsolescens-30th-august-2016

If you’d like me and the dug to come and give a talk to your local group, email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com


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

If you’d like to make a donation but don’t wish to use Paypal or have problems using the Paypal button, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for details of alternative methods of donation.


frontcovervol3I’m now taking advance orders for Volumes 3 and 4 of the Collected Yaps. For the special price of £21 for both volumes plus £4 P&P you can get signed copies of the new books if you order before publication, scheduled for mid-July. Covering the immediate aftermath of the independence referendum until the Yes campaign’s destruction of the Labour party in the 2015 General Election, it’s a snarling chronicle of Scottish history.

To reserve your copies, just send an email to weegingerbook@yahoo.com giving your name and your postal address and how many copies you wish to order. You can also order signed copies of all four volumes for the special price of £40 plus £4 P&P.


Signed copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 and 2 are available by emailing me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Price just £21.90 the pair plus P&P. Copies of Barking Up the Right Tree are available from my publisher Vagabond Voices at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993 price just £7.95 plus P&P. The E-book of Barking Up the Right Tree is available for Kindle for just £4. Click here to purchase.

Cutting the number of Scottish MPs to zero

We’ve got far too many legislators in this country, according to the Tories. More specifically, according to the Tories we’ve got far too many elected legislators who aren’t Tories. This is terribly unfair and an affront to democracy, although the Tories being offended by an affront to democracy is like the composer of the Birdy Song being offended by an affront to musical good taste. Mind you, you’d think that a defiency of Tories needn’t be a problem for the Tories as far as Scotland is concerned, because they’ve only got the one MP here and yet they still get to call all the shots and overrule the 58 Scottish MPs who aren’t Tories.

The single Tory they do have is David Mundell, who’s a deficiency all by himself. Fluffy has recently grown a beard in an attempt to convince us all that he’s a bit of a bear. It’s just that the bear in question is Paddington, and we were all convinced he was a stuffed toy to begin with. So it does kind of beg the question of why he bothered. Unless it was because he wanted something to snack on.

Anyway, seeing as how the Tories have about the same chances of increasing the number of their elected representatives as Ruth Davidson does of passing a tank without leaping on it for a photo op, the party has decided to remedy the situation by cutting the number of seats held by the parties which don’t belong to the Conservative and Unionist Party. Or to give them their official name, the DurrtyConnivingToryBasterts. Because the Tories trying to make themselves more popular is a bit like a cholera bacillus trying to win friends at a conference of water bottlers, another tactic is required. If you can’t make yourself more popular, you can at least screw over your opposition. This is something that the Tories are experts in.

In order to achieve their goal of winning a majority in the Commons forever and a day, the Conservative government is embarking upon an electoral pauchle to decrease the number of seats in the House of Commons to 600, but will ensure that most of those seats that vanish will be Labour ones, and to a lesser extent, SNP ones. But only to a lesser extent because there are fewer Scottish seats to begin with. Remember that respect agenda that David Cameron said he had for Scotland, oh how we laughed, well they’re showing their respect by cutting Scotland’s influence in Westminster even more than they’ve already cut it.

It’s not just that the Tories are cutting the number of seats in the House of Commons and disproportionately cutting Labour and SNP seats, they’re introducing a new method of deciding the size of constituencies. The goal is that all constituencies should have approximately 75,000 electors, which sounds just fine and dandy. But historically the population size of a constituency has been decided on the basis of how many people are actually living in the constituency, as counted by the census. The change that the Tories are making is to base constituency size on the size of electoral register. Now if you’re not registered to vote, you don’t count as far as determining the size of your constituency is concerned, even if you are a British citizen who is eligible to vote.

This comes on top of recent changes made by the Tory government which make it more difficult for people to register on the electoral roll to begin with. There are already certain groups in the population who are less likely to be registered to vote, poor people, people on benefits, students, and the young, all of whom are statistically less likely to vote Conservative. The changes that the Tories want to make to the voting system disproportionately hit those groups who are less likely to vote Tory. And if you’re surprised by that you probably didn’t expect that at the end of Finding Nemo that they’d actually find Nemo.

Funnily enough for all their talk of making the system fairer, the Tories don’t seem to be overly concerned by all the unelected legislators that they keep appointing to the House of Lords. It’s only legislators who are actually directly elected and accountable to the voters whose numbers need to be reduced. And it’s only people who don’t vote Tory whose right to representation needs to be curtailed in the interests of Toryfairness.

Currently there are 796 members of the House of Lords who have the right to scrutinise bills, investigate government activity through committee work, and question government ministers. This figure doesn’t include those who were announced in Davie Cameron’s resignations dishonours list. 90 of these are hereditary peers, 26 are bishops, and the remaining 680 are appointees for services to the community, as a retirement perk, or giving big wads of dosh to political parties. There are no plans to reduce the number of members of the House of Lords despite the fact it doesn’t even pretend to be democratically representative, and despite the fact it’s the second biggest legislature in the world. The Chinese National People’s Congress is the biggest legislature in the world, but it represents a population of 1.4 billion. Mind you, even it doesn’t contain any representatives who snack on their beards during lulls in the proceedings.

The boundary changes which favour the Tories are due to be implemented in 2018. With the unfair first past the post electoral system, British representative democracy was always hanging by a shoogly peg, but these new changes only make a bad situation even worse. The intent is to lock in a Tory majority in the Commons, and to make it far more difficult for the Labour party to gain a majority and unseat them from power. Although to be fair Labour is making it all but impossible for it to unseat the Tories all by itself.

In Scotland we’ve already unseated all but one of the Tories, and there’s not much more unseating that we can do. Nevertheless it looks like we’re going to be stuck with Conservative governments stretching out into a dim and unpleasant future for as long as anyone cares to predict. There’s only one way out into the light. And it’s one which doesn’t involve the Westminster parliament. Every change the Tories make just gives us one more reason for independence. We can have a proper representative democracy when we reduce the number of Scottish MPs at Westminster to zero.

Audio version of this blog, courtesy of @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/cutting-the-number-of-scottish-mps-to-zero-august-29th-2016

If you’d like me and the dug to come and give a talk to your local group, email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com


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

If you’d like to make a donation but don’t wish to use Paypal or have problems using the Paypal button, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for details of alternative methods of donation.


frontcovervol3I’m now taking advance orders for Volumes 3 and 4 of the Collected Yaps. For the special price of £21 for both volumes plus £4 P&P you can get signed copies of the new books if you order before publication, scheduled for mid-July. Covering the immediate aftermath of the independence referendum until the Yes campaign’s destruction of the Labour party in the 2015 General Election, it’s a snarling chronicle of Scottish history.

To reserve your copies, just send an email to weegingerbook@yahoo.com giving your name and your postal address and how many copies you wish to order. You can also order signed copies of all four volumes for the special price of £40 plus £4 P&P.


Signed copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 and 2 are available by emailing me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Price just £21.90 the pair plus P&P. Copies of Barking Up the Right Tree are available from my publisher Vagabond Voices at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993 price just £7.95 plus P&P. The E-book of Barking Up the Right Tree is available for Kindle for just £4. Click here to purchase.

A question of respect

Having won an EU referendum on the basis of preserving the absolute sovereignty of the Westminster Parliament, Brexiteers are now doing a happy dance at the news that MPs aren’t going to have a say on Brexit after all. Our entirely unelected Prime Minister has announced this week that she’s going to press the Brexit button without going to the bother of getting the consent of Parliament after all. According to legal advice, the referendum result is the only authority required.

A Scotland which voted to remain a member of the EU by a much larger margin than it voted to remain a part of the UK isn’t doing a happy dance because our MPs will have no opportunity to voice their protests or influence the Brexit negotiations, even though we’ve got a much better sense of rhythm than Nigel Farage. Although to be fair there are arthritic dads at weddings with more rhythm than Nigel. Scotland’s MPs will not be able to make Scotland’s case for remaining a part of the EU, nor to argue for the admittedly distant prospect of a Scotland that can remain a part of the EU while also remaining a part of the UK.

The reason for the announcement is to pull the rug out from under the Labour leadership contender Owen Thingummy who has been arguing that Brexit can be blocked by a vote in Westminster. With a tiny majority, the Conservatives can’t be certain that some of their more EU inclined MPs, and they do exist, might vote with the opposition or abstain.

So because of a short term party political difficulty, the arch-Unionist party has yet again grievously weakened the Union that they claim to defend. It’s all about short-termism and putting the interests of the party before the interests of the country with Westminster. It always is, it always has been. It was Cameron’s short-termism that got us all into this mess to begin with, and now May is repeating the same shoddy tricks. And this is the bunch of chancers who know nothing about Scotland and who care even less who tell us that they can govern Scotland better than people who live in this country and love it.

But we shouldn’t be too upset. In order to get Theresa May out of the short term difficulty that there’s a majority of pro-remain MPs in Westminster, our Tory masters have now established the principle that a referendum result is binding and cannot be contradicted by Westminster. They’ve also taken another step towards ruling out definitively any possibility that Scotland might be able to do the so-called reverse Greenland, a dance step requiring far more rhythm than Westminster possesses, and stay in the EU without a second independence referendum. All the Strictly Come Dancing appearances in the world by Labour politicians won’t teach them the deftness of foot they require to pull that one off.

May’s decision to go ahead with Brexit without bothering with a Parliamentary debate brings another Scottish independence referendum closer. Without any ability to argue for a special deal for Scotland allowing us to preserve our EU membership within the UK, the only way that we can remain an EU member is by becoming an independent country. And since the Tory government has just decided that the result of the EU referendum is binding and it doesn’t require parliamentary consent in order to go ahead with Brexit negotiations, then it’s going to be far more difficult for them to argue that negotiations following a Yes vote in a future Scottish referendum can be blocked by Westminster.

The Scottish Government’s long awaited Initiative for Independence is going to begin next week. Between now and sometime before the Brexit negotiations conclude, independence supporters from the SNP, the Greens, RISE, Labour supporters who are pro-indy, and non-party groups need to address the shortcomings in the previous campaign for independence, and build cross party support for a Scotland that decides its own place in the world.

Right now we’re in a phoney war. Brexit hasn’t started yet, and a second independence campaign hasn’t begun either. As the real consequences of Brexit begin to be realised, as businesses seek to relocate to EU countries, as agriculture and other sectors see the end of EU subsidies, it’s going to become easier to make an economic argument for an independent Scotland. That’s vital, because Better Together chose to fight the last independence campaign almost entirely on economic grounds. They did that because the political, cultural and social arguments for independence were unanswerable last time, and that’s even more the case now. There’s no longer a strong Labour party in Scotland that’s going to be able to do the Tories’ job for them and hide a reactionary and conservative union behind the fig leaves of promises of progressiveness. After they won the indyref in 2014 the fig leaves were dropped and we saw the pricks beneath.

Now it’s independence supporters who will be able to argue that it’s independence which will preserve and create jobs, it’s independence which provides security, and it’s remaining a part of the UK that will cause uncertainty and job losses. It’s independence which is the outward looking and internationalist choice, it’s remaining in the UK which is the narrow parochial nationalism. The arguments of the last independence referendum campaign will be stood on their head.

Meanwhile each and every promise and commitment which is made by the Unionist parties in the next referendum campaign can be countered by the simple statement – but you said that the last time and it turned out to be a lie. Preserving our EU membership? A lie. The most powerful devolved parliament in the world? A lie. Ship building on the Clyde? A lie. Scotland being a valued and respected part of the UK? A big fat ugly lie. The Unionists demand that the result of 2014 must be respected, but they demonstrate no respect for the people of Scotland.

The next independence referendum is going to be a stark choice between a progressive outward looking Scotland that wants maintain its connections with the rest of the world, and a reactionary Conservative party with minority support in this country which harks back to a nostalgic golden age of a Britain that never existed. We can have the fantasy of the Tories, or we can have a reality that we build for ourselves. That’s the choice that’s going to face Scotland. We can remain under the thumb of those who have no respect for us, or we can have the self-respect to do things for ourselves. If Scotland wants respect, we’re going to have to take it. That’s what the next referendum is really about. It’s a question of respect.

Audio link to this blog post, courtesy of @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/a-question-of-respect-28th-august-2016

If you’d like me and the dug to come and give a talk to your local group, email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com


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

If you’d like to make a donation but don’t wish to use Paypal or have problems using the Paypal button, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for details of alternative methods of donation.


frontcovervol3I’m now taking advance orders for Volumes 3 and 4 of the Collected Yaps. For the special price of £21 for both volumes plus £4 P&P you can get signed copies of the new books if you order before publication, scheduled for mid-July. Covering the immediate aftermath of the independence referendum until the Yes campaign’s destruction of the Labour party in the 2015 General Election, it’s a snarling chronicle of Scottish history.

To reserve your copies, just send an email to weegingerbook@yahoo.com giving your name and your postal address and how many copies you wish to order. You can also order signed copies of all four volumes for the special price of £40 plus £4 P&P.


Signed copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 and 2 are available by emailing me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Price just £21.90 the pair plus P&P. Copies of Barking Up the Right Tree are available from my publisher Vagabond Voices at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993 price just £7.95 plus P&P. The E-book of Barking Up the Right Tree is available for Kindle for just £4. Click here to purchase.

Getting the Band Back Together (the Dug does Denny)

Recently I went and gave a talk for the local Yes group in Denny. It was a great evening.  Phantom Power films were on hand to record the event and have produced this short video of the occasion which also features an interview with Michael Greenwell of the Scottish Independence podcasts.

 

You can listen to the full talk I gave in Denny here, http://phantompowerfilms.podomatic.com/entry/2016-08-12T11_00_12-07_00

Phantom Power Films are currently fundraising for an ambitious new project to produce a series of films documenting Scotland’s progress to independence.  It’s well worthwhile digging into your pockets and giving a couple of quid to help see this great idea realised.  https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/perspective-scottish-politics-arts#/

The dug is visiting a lot of towns around Scotland over the coming months. Upcoming events include

Dumfries – 26 August, 6pm Aberdour Hotel, 16-20 Newall Terrace, Dumfries DG1 1LW
Alyth – 30 August, 7.30pm Ogilvie Rooms, Commercial St, Alyth,
Eastwood – 1 September, 7pm Thorntree Hall, Main Street, Thornliebank
Forres – 5 September, 7pm for 7:30pm at the Mosset Tavern, Gordon Street, Forres
Largs – 9 September, 7.30pm the Lounge, Main Street, Largs
Brechin – 13 September, 7pm for 8pm The Caledonian Hotel, Southesk Street, Brechin
Edinburgh South – 16 September, 7pm Yes Edinburgh South cafe and hub, book tickets at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/wee-ginger-dug-with-paul-kavenagh-at-the-yes-cafe-tickets-27067852676 This event is fully booked!
Glasgow Green – 18 September, rally for independence
Irvine – 23 September, 7.30pm Tidelines Book Festival, Puffers Cafe, Scottish Maritime Museum, Irvine KA12 8QG
Girvan – 24 September, 8pm Queens Hotel, Montgomery Street, Girvan KA26 9HE
Arbroath – 29 September, 6.30pm for 7, St Andrews Church, Hamilton Green, Arbroath

More are scheduled for October and November. If you’d like me and the dug to come and give a talk to your local group, email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com


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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If you’d like to make a donation but don’t wish to use Paypal or have problems using the Paypal button, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for details of alternative methods of donation.


frontcovervol3I’m now taking advance orders for Volumes 3 and 4 of the Collected Yaps. For the special price of £21 for both volumes plus £4 P&P you can get signed copies of the new books if you order before publication, scheduled for mid-July. Covering the immediate aftermath of the independence referendum until the Yes campaign’s destruction of the Labour party in the 2015 General Election, it’s a snarling chronicle of Scottish history.

To reserve your copies, just send an email to weegingerbook@yahoo.com giving your name and your postal address and how many copies you wish to order. You can also order signed copies of all four volumes for the special price of £40 plus £4 P&P.


Signed copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 and 2 are available by emailing me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Price just £21.90 the pair plus P&P. Copies of Barking Up the Right Tree are available from my publisher Vagabond Voices at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993 price just £7.95 plus P&P. The E-book of Barking Up the Right Tree is available for Kindle for just £4. Click here to purchase.

I’m backing Team DGB

I’ve spent the last two weeks trying to avoid the Olympics and the obligatory Great British cheerleading. To no avail. No matter how thick the duvet cover you pull over your heid you’re still going to be assailed by Clare Balding gushing over some person, whose name you’ll forget within five minutes, who managed to win a lump of base metal on a ribbon for a dancing horse, falling into water gracefully, hitting things with sticks, or covering 26 miles in just over two hours.

A significant percentage of the population of Fife have managed to cover 26 miles in just over two hours but never got a medal for it, when they were unwitting passengers on Wullie Rennie’s number 17 bus to Kelty. You’d think that all of Scotland deserves a medal for putting up with Wullie Rennie, but I’ve yet to see Clare Balding effuse over the forebearance of the Scottish people for putting up with the crap doled out to us on a regular basis by Unionist politicians and the broadcaster that employs Clare Balding.

Anyway, now that the Olympics are over the deep wounds of the Brexit vote have been healed and Scotland is grateful to be a part of this glorious Union, because, you know, dancing horses, falling into water, and hitting things with sticks. Be happy and grateful peasants. You might be staring into a dark void of poverty without a pension while Philip Green sails off into the sunset on his latest luxury yacht, you might have all the job security of a hamburger salesman at a vegan conference, you might be struggling with benefits sanctions because you were a couple of minutes late for your jobcentre appointment, but you can rejoice because Tom Dailey fell off a high diving board in an artistically pleasing manner.

The games allegedly demonstrated what a great country this is, because Britain prioritises getting base medal tokens for a handful of elite athletes in sports no one plays over dealing with a childhood obesity epidemic while it presides over the mass closure of school playing fields and selling them off to developers who go and build kebab shops on them. What they really demonstrate is that the UK always puts the needs of the elite over the needs of the many.

Team GB’s much vaunted success at running, jumping and hitting things with sticks comes because vast amounts of lottery cash have been thrown at a handful of top performers. That’s the lottery cash we were told was going to go to good causes. Well now you know that a good cause isn’t ensuring that all children have access to sporting facilities, it’s not even about providing a better bus service to Kelty so that kids can get to sporting facilities, a good cause is paying a tiny number of top performing sportspersons in sports that few have the opportunity to participate in so that once every four years our Westminster masters and the BBC can have a red white and blue themed nationalistic sportagasm. Oh sorry, it’s British isn’t it. So it’s not nationalistic, it’s patriotic. So that’s alright then.

Despite managing to miss most of the Olympics, I’ve come back just in time to witness that other regular red white and blue themed nationalistic sportagasm which is the annual release of the GERS figures, the government expenses and revenues figures for Scotland. Unlike the Olympics, where Team GB doesn’t always get to win and sometimes its a foreign dancing horse that goes home with a medal, Team GB always gets to win the GERS games because that’s what they were designed for. As infallibly as Jackie Baillie’s calculations on a back of a fag packet, the GERS figures prove that Scotland couldn’t possibly manage to survive without Team GB kindly managing our money for us.

The point of GERS is very much like the point of Clare Balding in the Olympics. It’s to demonstrate the superiority of Britishness. Without of course being nationalist about it, because it’s only foreigners and Scottish people who are guilty of nationalism. It’s just patriotic. Every year the British government tosses the Unionist media a juicy bone in the shape of a set of figures about UK government spending on in or on behalf of Scotland which are based on estimates from the UK treasury and every year the Unionist media uses them to rubbish the case for independence.

It can’t be repeated often enough, because it never gets much airtime in the UK media, but if the GERS figures do indeed prove that Scotland is dependent upon a subsidy from the rest of the UK and is incapable of funding itself, then that can only be the fault of successive UK governments which have failed to develop the Scottish economy so it’s self-sustaining. If Scotland is indeed staring into a fiscal black hole that’s deeper than the dark void that passes for a soul in the Conservative party, then that’s the fault of Westminster. The supposed basketcasery of the Scottish economy is not an argument for continuing Westminster rule, it’s an argument for getting away from Westminster as fast as we possibly can.

Yet instead of Unionist politicians shamefacedly confessing to the economic ruin that their parties and their policies have wrought on this Scotland that they are always telling us they’re so proud of, they crow exultantly about the poverty and ruin that they’ve created like it was a good thing. They’re proud to be dependent, proud to beg, proud to be incapable. That’s not a form of pride most sensible people would recognise, but apparently it’s patriotic and not nationalist. It’s wrong and nationalist to desire to live in a country which can pay its own way and support itself. It’s also deeply wrong to want to live in a country where politicians don’t think that they can crow and rejoice when economic figures are released which allegedly show that they country that they govern is poorer than Greece and less economically viable than Malta.

As far as both the Olympics and GERS are concerned I support Team DGB – that’s Team Don’t Give a Bugger. I don’t care about the Olympics, and I don’t care about the GERS figures. The Olympics tell us as much about the general state of public health and happiness as the GERS figures tell us about the general state of the health of public finances in an independent Scotland. They tell us nothing at all.

Audio link to this blog post, courtesy of @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/im-backing-team-dgb-24th-august-2016

 


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Donate Button

If you’d like to make a donation but don’t wish to use Paypal or have problems using the Paypal button, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for details of alternative methods of donation.


frontcovervol3I’m now taking advance orders for Volumes 3 and 4 of the Collected Yaps. For the special price of £21 for both volumes plus £4 P&P you can get signed copies of the new books if you order before publication, scheduled for mid-July. Covering the immediate aftermath of the independence referendum until the Yes campaign’s destruction of the Labour party in the 2015 General Election, it’s a snarling chronicle of Scottish history.

To reserve your copies, just send an email to weegingerbook@yahoo.com giving your name and your postal address and how many copies you wish to order. You can also order signed copies of all four volumes for the special price of £40 plus £4 P&P.


Signed copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 and 2 are available by emailing me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Price just £21.90 the pair plus P&P. Copies of Barking Up the Right Tree are available from my publisher Vagabond Voices at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993 price just £7.95 plus P&P. The E-book of Barking Up the Right Tree is available for Kindle for just £4. Click here to purchase.

It’s quiet…too quiet

A guest post by Samuel Miller

Other than the daily white noise of Essenpee badness, has anyone else noticed the lack of serious political news out there? Maybe we all got spoiled in May, June and July when daily we were bombarded with the Scottish elections, EU referendum and the Brexit result fallout. As for the effects of the latter on her majesty’s guv and their ‘honourable’ opposition? Popcorn sales shot through the roof in Scotland as the Conservative and Labour parties serialized the political equivalent of the latest summer disaster movie.

The grand Tory pissing contest of Brexitmageddon had everything a Hollywood producer could ask for as lead characters and parties were thrown into full on chaos. You didn’t dare leave your screen, even for a pee break, as resignations, back stabbings, retirements, sackings, abdications and coronations flew everywhere and seemingly all at once. And now? Now it’s so quiet out there… you could hear a fish fart.

Cue the traditional silly season of ‘news’.

Oor meeja (bless em), presenting a daily diet of stories constructed from ingredients so thin you’d struggle to come up with an appetizer, let alone a three course meal. ‘Course that doesn’t mean that nothing is happening out there, simply that it’s being carefully managed and the government press office have their cell phones on mute. As readers will recall, we’ve recently theorized why both Prime Minister Theresa May and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon need time on their side right about now. It’s a safe bet to say, that however quiet it appears to be, governments north and south of the border are more than likely a hive of activity. The clock is ticking down and between you and me I’m guessing it’s PM May who is feeling that autumn is approaching way too quickly for comfort.

We may not know when article 50 and the ongoing omnishambles that is Brexit negotiations will be enacted, but we do know that the autumn budget isn’t that far off. Philip Hammond’s ‘fiscal reset’ will be the public’s first clue as to the immediate future of the UK’s economy post referendum and for many it may well prove a cold hard shock to the system. Not so much of a shock for anyone familiar with Conservative austerity ideology or its effects to be sure, but I’m guessing that’s all about to change. For some folks out there it’s probably a good day to make sure you’re sitting comfortably with all breakable objects of any value safely out of reach.

The one bright light on the horizon for the PM is that Labour’s leadership stooshie should overlap this impending ‘bad day at work’ quite nicely. Readers are well aware by this point of the struggle between the two factions for the soul of the Labour party. Depending on how the leadership vote unfolds and concludes, there is a very real  possibility that the Labour party, as we know it, will face a darker and longer night in the wilderness than anyone could have possibly imagined. If some permanent schism does occur? I’d be stunned if titles supportive of Conservative government didn’t hit the rinse and repeat button messily and all over the place right through Mr Hammond’s autumn budget statement.

So what is the one thing common to all of the above and how is it pertinent to Scotland and the readers of this site?

That’s right! No one in Scotland, not in the street or in public service, has any say or control over party and parliamentary events that will have very real consequences for all of us. The party of government and their loyal opposition are probably in the middle of the worst legislative systemic failure in the UK’s post war political record and the Scottish electorate basically have to wait for them to get their collective shit together.

Or do we?

We know the Scottish government have been busy on the Brexit front. They have assembled their committee for assessing options. They’ve hit the road consulting with relevant bodies in Europe and they’ve set in motion preparations for an indyref bill  (just in case). First Minister Sturgeon has recently held a Q&A session with EU nationals to keep those concerned as appraised of the ongoing situation as possible and the SG have even scraped together a few quid from last year’s underspend to help out the economy. No, it’ll be nowhere near enough in the end, but if it saves just one business, one job?  They are now however, at that point where they are restricted in actions they can take as a government until Brexit is actually triggered.

What of Scotland’s electorate?

Well, those who continue to support the current political union and the Westminster system of government will have to simply sit on their hands and hope for the best. That’s pretty much all they can do.

Then there are those who support the idea that a Scottish electorate is best served by a government in Scotland.

If, as many suspect, the finding of the SG’s consultative committee is that remaining a member of both unions is at best extremely problematic and at worst a constitutional impossibility? Then its highly probable that as soon as article 50 is set in motion the Scottish government will move to pass that referendum bill through Holyrood. This will allow the Scottish electorate to resolve for themselves the current constitutional crisis and you can’t say fairer than that.

In which case, this could prove a fairly busy and productive period as pro YES groups seek to ‘put the band back together’. That’s the thing about political engagement in a popular sovereignty. There are always places to be, things to do and LOTS of people to talk to.

What do you think?

N.B. This will be my final post before the heid honcho gets back. I’d just like to thank folks for visiting the site whilst Paul’s been having a well earned break and also for the excellent contributions to the threads. Much appreciated.

Audio version of this blog article, courtesy of @lumi_1984