Hope springs and the dance begins anew

Nicola Sturgeon has announced a national conversation about Scotland’s future, and already the usual suspects are in full froth. You can’t have another independence referendum they cry, because obviously there was a rider to the question asked of us in September 2014 which said that if we voted to remain a part of the UK it was to be for all time, under all and any circumstances, and irrespective of whether the Unionist parties fulfilled any of the promises and commitments they made to secure a No vote.

This piece of small print was written in a special Unionist red white and blue ink that only becomes visible in the headlamps of one of Ruth Davidson’s tanks, so it’s understandable if you missed it. But never fear, Ruthie and her pals are here to point it out for you. It was written with the same special ink as the clause that allowed Ruthie’s party to plunge the entire UK into the economic and political uncertainty of Brexit, but at the same time gives her licence to claim that anyone who proposes a permanent solution for Scotland is committing the sin of creating uncertainty.

Meanwhile Kezia and Wee Wullie Rennie are implacably opposed to another referendum too. At least to a referendum of the Scottish variety. They’re open to the idea of another referendum on the EU. So when they say that they’re open to means of Scotland maintaining its membership of the EU what they really mean is that they’re open to the idea of revisiting referendum questions which haven’t been answered to their liking. For some reason, the mainstream media is very keen to give us the opinions of minor players like Wullie, but give less prominence to the views of a party which has more seats in Holyrood and beat Wullie’s into fifth place. This just might be related to the fact that the Greens are currently more gung-ho for a second referendum than the leadership of the SNP, and their enthusiasm for a second vote makes it very clear indeed that independence is not all about Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP.

What’s been announced today isn’t a campaign to persuade former No voters to change their minds. It’s a vital precursor to a full throated independence campaign. Before you can persuade someone to change their minds about independence, first of all you have to find out what their concerns about independence are. First you listen, only then can you persuade. This is the first step to indyref2 and if you start your journey from a position of knowledge then you will be surefooted throughout.

We live in a country which has been traduced and lied to for generations, which has been told by successive Westminster governments and their Scottish branch offices that we’re parochial, that we’re too poor, that we’re dependent on the largesse of a British government that’s not noted for its humanity and generosity. We’re a country which has been told for decades that aspiring to adequacy is a bit of a stretch. We’ve even been told that we don’t really exist, that there’s no such thing as Scottish culture other than an atavistic hatred of England, and that anyway nations are artificial constructs and so aren’t real or meaningful. Anything to get us to stay in our cereal box and to stop asking the difficult and unanswerable question – just why can’t Scotland do what every other European nation can do? Why can’t we be normal too?

Look about. See the grey drawn faces of mothers who wonder how they’re going to get through the week with food on the table. See the old man with a walking stick who’s deciding whether to top up his electric or to buy food. See the young man who’s never had a job self-medicate on cheap wine to stave off the black well of hopelessness that consumes his days and swallows him at night. See the young family whose dream of a home of their own recedes into the distance as house prices and rents rise but wages stagnate. This is the Scotland we’ve been taught is normal. It’s a Scotland where even small dreams are unattainable. Then look to the hills and see the vast estates and the countryside we’ve been cleared from. In this big country dreams stray from you.

And see the politicians who tell us that this is the best we can aspire to. See the politicians who tell us that we can’t afford to give our elderly a decent standard of living, that we can’t afford to give every child the same chance to succeed. But we can afford the obscenity of Trident. We can afford to bail out the banks. We can afford to allow big corporations to get away without paying their fair share. Well this isn’t normal. This isn’t right. This isn’t justice. We deserve better. And we can attain it. All we need to do is to believe in ourselves and create a system where those politicians are answerable to the people of the Scotland that they condemn to the half-life of abnormal normality. The solution is within our power, within our grasp. All it takes is a pencil marked X. Say yes to yourself. Say yes to the right to hope.

In 2014 the biggest grassroots movement in modern Scottish history established the principle that independence is perfectly possible. We took the notion of independence from the margins of Scottish political discourse and not only put it slap bang in the centre of the mainstream, we made it the most important question around which Scottish political discourse revolves. We established Scotland’s right to normality. We need to take that message to the places it didn’t reach before, to show that there is a better way, that we can aspire and dream of a Scotland where hope isn’t an alien concept. And we can make that Scotland a reality.

We’ve only just started. The indy band is striking up again, hope springs and the dance begins anew.

Audio version of this blog post, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-2nd-sept-2016

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37 comments on “Hope springs and the dance begins anew

  1. Tinto Chiel says:

    Look about. See the grey drawn faces of mothers who wonder how they’re going to get through the week with food on the table. See the old man with a walking stick who’s deciding whether to top up his electric or to buy food. See the young man who’s never had a job self-medicate on cheap wine to stave off the black well of hopelessness that consumes his days and swallows him at night. See the young family whose dream of a home of their own recedes into the distance as house prices and rents rise but wages stagnate. This is the Scotland we’ve been taught is normal. It’s a Scotland where even small dreams are unattainable. Then look to the hills and see the vast estates and the countryside we’ve been cleared from. In this big country dreams stray from you.”

    So true, Paul. What’s it going to take for 50% of us to see the bleedin’ obvious?

  2. Dan Huil says:

    Well said, yet again, WGD. Project Fear is all the britnats have. Aye, a dance for independence! Grab your partners [ooh matron!] Wallflowers no more!

  3. garret lanark says:

    What does this mean, taken from an article about Quebec.
    “.The Canadian government, however, had a different reaction. In its secession reference to the Supreme Court it asked if it would be possible for any province to secede, unilaterally, from Canada. The Court, with Solomonic wisdom, replied that while there was nothing in international or domestic law that would allow a province to secede unilaterally both sides would be obliged to negotiate if a clear majority of Quebecers expressed their preference for independence in response to a clear question. The federal government responded with a Clarity Act, which set out the terms of any future referendum on independence. The legislation says that any referendum about self determination must refer to independence and only independence and not to any other constitutional arrangement, it must be won by a clear majority (which has subsequently been interpreted in other referendums to mean 60% support) and a Yes vote would be treated as necessitating an amendment to the Constitution, which would mean all the provinces would need to be included in the eventual negotiations. Some of the language in the Clarity Act and the tactics behind it appear similar to that behind the UK’s approach to the Edinburgh Agreement.
    ” Do we have to get 60% this time?

    • weegingerdug says:

      No, we don’t have to get 60% in a future referendum. I’m not sure what other referendums the article is referring to when it says “subsequently been interpreted in other referendums to mean 60% support”, but it has no legal force in Scotland and there’s nothing in the British constitution which demands 60% support. The UK is now being taken out of the EU on the basis of the 52% who voted for it.

  4. fairliered says:

    See Kezia and the no.17 bus conductor don’t seem to understand the difference between a national conversation and a national lecture. But then, they don’t understand why folk don’t vote for them any more.

  5. Walter Hamilton says:

    Yes but we really need a mouthpiece, a quick witted person that can come back at an interviewer, have all the counter blows, able to fight our corner. Let them always be the one on the radio/television so there is no confusion about the message. We have great people on the front bench, great at their individual job in government, but are hopeless at getting their message over, on radio or television.

    • A truly inspiring fiery piece, Paul. Thank you.

      Don’t forget, Walter Hamilton, we shall have 56 very able WM MPs campaigning with the rest of the YES movement for Independence this time.
      Angus Robertson, Joanne Cherry, and many more bright intelligent professional people who won’t sit back and be ‘Yes But’-ed by the Unionist broadcasters every time they expand a point.
      Today the Unionists got caught sitting on the throne in the smallest room in the house with their knickers around their ankles only to discover that there was no toilet paper.
      Nicola’s exceptional speech, and the announcement of the survey to begin the Independence conversation, demonstrated how much more mature and sophisticated the YES Movement has become.
      We have clearly learned a valuable lesson from the Sept 18th ’14 dummy run. We are no longer dummies.
      Get your retaliation in first.
      The Unionists were blindsided. They arranged for the Times Yougov poll to coincide with NS’ speech, and it backfired badly.
      I find it laughable that Postal Votes Davidson tried to get the Electoral Commission to muzzle the survey. They were told where to go.
      Now the Herald leads on line with Davidson’s petition, hastily cobbled together in London, in a panic reaction to the SNP Survey.
      It is notable that the FM and her team managed to keep the content of her speech and the idea of a survey underpinning a national conversation so hush hush. That takes some doing, in Scotland, with Fifth Columnists everywhere.
      Well done the printer, and the IT Team who devised the online version.
      It is clear that the SNP and the YES movement are so far ahead of what’s left of the Better Together Team, that Ruth, Kezia, and Polyester Man got caught with their kegs ‘roun their ankles like this.
      There is a rumour that 100,000 have completed the survey online already, with a 98% YES return.
      Or so an ‘insider’ would probably have told me if I had asked.
      BTW. Always the smartass, I see that HS runs with the story that any Scottish Welfare Payment top up to Disability, Unemployment, Pension,. and so on, would be taken into account as income under the WM Universal Credit Scheme, leaving Scots no better off than recipients in rUK.
      I made this observation about seven or eight months ago, when IDS was trying to explain the failed UCS launch and justify the hundreds of millions of pounds wasted.
      So much for Fluffy’s devolved tax and welfare powers shit.
      I have a sense that Independence will soon render all this chat about WM Austerity Cuts pointless.
      ‘Bye, rUK.

      • Robert Graham says:

        Good thoughts and a timely reminder of some things the tories are up to and won’t be widely publicised by the BBC and the usual suspects , I wonder if there is a petition against ruthies petition ha ha ,her and her crew of liars r us have got a brass neck complaining to the Electoral Commission while around 30 Tory MPs are under Police investigation for suspected election expenses fraud , as usual all the media have been struck dumb and blind on this wee inconvenient fly in the ointment , the survey that has got her foaming at the mouth has already been done by SNP members weeks ago that one was more detailed than this present one that ruthie ( i am not a tory) is trying to strangle at birth oops missed the boat on that one dear thousands of people have completed it already better luck next time dear .

        • I see Ruth Davidson and Jackson Carlaw have cut North Yorkshire NHS Trust’s budgets so severely that obese patients and smokers will be refused operations, a strangely 1984 morla judgement to cut costs.
          Well, let’s hope that Ruth, or Kezia, or Jackson, or the Pieman, don’t find themselves in a minor accident while touring the people’s Republic of North Yorkshire any time soon.
          The Red Blue and Yellow Tories are destroying our society by degrees.
          First they came for the obese and the smokers, and I did nothing…
          Ruth Davidson is as much an enemy of the Scottish People as May, Johnson, Corbyn, or Hammond. These are UK Tory Party policies, which Kezia, Ruth and Polyester Man endorse in full. We are Better Together.
          There’s no hiding place now, ScotsButProud Tories of all three gravy train parties.
          You are as responsible for the collapse of services in England as your WM bosses are. My party right or wrong, and all that crap.
          You are out to destroy our society for party politics.
          Too late.
          Make sure you’re wearing a seat belt as you pass Scotch Corner heading South Guys..

      • hettyforindy says:

        Great article thanks. Regards ‘Welfare’, there is a bit of leaway with that, as for most, say carers on Carers allowance, income support and housing ‘benefit’, there is a clause whereby, £15-20 is discounted, when it comes to earnings/income allowed.

        Otherwise yes, they will remove any amount above this, £ for £. At present, carers allowance is removed from income support, £ for £, leaving only the amount the ‘ law’ says you need to live on, if a carer on ‘welfare’ it is £114.00 a week, shamefully.

        With such a tiny income, at poverty level, even £20 a week is better than nothing, I know from experience.

        Come to think of it, why is the £20 discounted, not applicable in this case, bit like when Gordon brown took off child benefit from income support, £ for £, when it was neither earnings, not classed as income, it was a con and left many in total poverty, disgraceful. I think some challenged it, and recouped some of it, but not sure if that was the case or not, basically they thieved a lot of money from the very poorest and most vulnerable, single mothers mostly.

  6. Les Bremner says:

    Paul, it’s a very good article, and just as good on the second reading which happens immediately after the first one.

    • weegingerdug says:

      Yeah for some reason it pasted twice when I copied it from the text file in WordPad where I wrote it. It’s fixed now.

    • Les Bremner says:

      Delete that from the record, m’Lord. I see that you corrected the duplicate as I was typing my hilarious, droll and awfy clever comment which is now total drivel. Have a nice evening.

  7. jimnarlene says:

    It’s comin yet, still an on, for aw thair leein an disdain, oor Scotland wad be a nation ance again.

  8. Iam Scott says:

    If Ruthie & Kez want another EU ref but not an Indyref why not give them one?

    The question on the Union referendum ballot paper would be –

    Scotland is currently a member of 2 unions but due to ‘Brexit’ Scotland can only remain a member of one of these unions.

    Which union should Scotland remain a member of.

    1. EU
    2. UK

  9. […] Wee Ginger Dug Hope springs and the dance begins anew […]

  10. Bill McDermott says:

    The Rev has a great piece on the history of mismanagement of Scotland’s oil. Required reading to take into the conversations Nicola is calling for.


  11. Mike Annis says:

    So true and thoughtful. Seems some chunks have been repeated though, think a wrong button pressed 😀😀😀

  12. Dunks says:

    Wow…Simply inspiring Paul.

    How I’d love to hear an SNP politician speak with such passion.

    • hettyforindy says:

      Inthink many do, you just don’t get to hear them, at least not on london state run media ie the bbc, or even stv for that matter, have to go look at Holyrood FM questions, or UKparliament tv, which btw is free, ie you do not a license to watch parliament tv!

  13. jamie macdonald says:

    Thanks for another great piece Paul -a vital spark is ignited methinks.. although I thought the repeat was meant- especially when it came after ‘and the dance begins anew’! I read it again, twice as fine! Muckle treats fur the dug..

  14. Jan Cowan says:

    Thanks, Paul, for a greatly appreciated piece. We must certainly look to the hills in the Highlands. In some estates these times are critical due to the move towards “wilding”. Some owners appear totally blind to the fact that most of the people were cleared from the glens in the 19th century and are now hell bent on removing the few who remain. Time to get to grips with this “control” over our land…..before it’s too late.

  15. Maria F says:

    Excellent article Paul

    I absolutely loved your

    “This piece of small print was written in a special Unionist red white and blue ink that only becomes visible in the headlamps of one of Ruth Davidson’s tanks”

    Totally hilarious!

    But sadly it was this one which really hit home and hard:

    “Meanwhile Kezia and Wee Wullie Rennie are implacably opposed to another referendum too. At least to a referendum of the Scottish variety”

    There has been a few articles in Newsnet attempting to establish the possibility that you could still support independence if you continue supporting Labour. Your comment makes it clear once again, at least to me, that this is not the case. When the Scottish leader of the Labour party so openly opposes even at the democratic exercise of consulting her fellow Scottish people’s will, because that is what a referendum is, then you are fooling yourself if you think you can support labour and Scottish independence.

    Every time that Kezia rejects a democratic exercise for the people of Scotland to decide their future, when it is obvious the change in circumstances from 2014 to now, she is ensuring that we are all well aware that you cannot support her party if Home Rule is your option of choice for the future of your country. Listening at her, It would even begin to question if you can really support her party in its current state and expect Scotland’s democratic voice to be listened and respected ever again.

    What I find most disconcerting is that it is becoming obvious that Ms Dugdale and Ms Davidson are willing to ruin their own country so they can serve their party’s England Headquarters needs. How big of them! I am struggling to process how they can first fight tooth and nail for Scotland to remain in the EU and then all the sudden change their mantra and expect the people that followed their advice and voted to remain in the EU to forget all what they were advised by them
    before, ignore the fact that a 62% of those voting in Scotland voted to remain in EU and start to get ready to depart from the EU?

    Those of Ms Dugdale and Ms Davidson’s are not real politics. They are pretend politics: just whatever waffle suits best their parties’ headquarters in London at the time.

  16. […] Hope springs and the dance beg… on Wee Ginger Dug […]

  17. Guga says:

    Yet another excellent article WGD.

    We, the people, need to get out and ensure that the younger Scots, in particular, are fully informed about the facts and how we would be better off without the dead hand of Wastemonster slowly killing us off. We need to show them the road to Damascus.

  18. bedelsten says:

    “See the politicians who tell us that we can’t afford to give our elderly a decent standard of living, that we can’t afford to give every child the same chance to succeed.” See the politician who says he does not consider himself to be wealthy, and him with an income, allowances and his old-age-pension probably heading towards £150,000 p.a. i.e. about four times the average salary of £27,600 (and the median may be £6,000 less).

    See the German company quite happy to indicate country of origin with a saltire on the strawberries and see the British company which is feert of an English backlash if it does.

    See the Arab news organisation which quite happy to state of the FM, “a woman regarded by political friends and foes alike as one of the most talented politicians of her generation” and see the British Broadcasting Company which, feert of an English backlash, bakes a cake.

    See the political overlords who seem to be unware, or don’t care, of the inherent hypocrisy when barring our public sector from running our railways but it’s OK if it is some other country’s public sector that does

    See if you can fathom the logic where Scotland pays part of the cost of nice new shiny railway lines in Englandshire but Englandshire does not extend the same courtesy for our nice new shiny railways lines or Aberdeen bypass or dualling of A9 or electrification of the Edinburgh to Glasgow railway.

    Aye, well, indeed, this shouldn’t be considered normal, it’s not normal, we deserve better than that. We think we can do much better on our own thank you and, if that’s your attitude then, we will be off. Byee.

  19. gerry parker says:

    Great article Paul.

    Other readers, there’s a by election in Coatbridge North and Glenboig ( holiday home of the dug).

    It is happening on 22nd September. Know anybody there? Urge them to get out and vote for a party that supports independence.

    • weegingerdug says:

      Well I have a vested interest there, since the dug’s foster dad John Wilson is standing for the Greens in that by-election. John’s committed to independence, to social democracy, to protecting the environment, and above all else he’s one of the good guys.

      • gerry parker says:

        You’re right there about John, was talking to him yesterday about indyref2 Paul.

        Anyone in the Monklands hospital catchment area? There’s a meeting in Coatbridge High School to discuss the implications of the orthopedic department closure.
        7:30 this Tuesday.

  20. Smallaxe says:

    The weegingerdug savages the “British” bulldog once again.Ruth,kezia et
    al may sound Scottish,but their English ideology betrays them,as they betray their country! Excellent dissertation Paul,as always.

    Peace,Love and a biscuit for the Dug.

  21. Macart says:

    Good mornin’ Paul.

    Did you catch May on the Marr show?


  22. Guga says:

    For the edification of any remaining Red Tories in Scotland, I see that Corbyn has, once again, illustrated where his mind is concentrated, and his total ignorance of Scotland and its needs.


    • hettyforindy says:

      I won’t go to the Graun site, can’t stand them especially as they pretend to be lefty! This is obvs a joke from JC, if not he is even more of an establishment, pretendy lefty waste of time than I thought.
      I know, he is not joking, and people in places like NE england should be livid, yet they support him, they have nowhere else to put their faith, or vote, this really is a nightmare and surreal, remininscent of 1984, many are blind to it, perhaps that is a blessing, not!

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