Ruthie skewers herself

It’s a tough life being the hero of Scottish Unionism, a position more hyped than an X-Factor contestant’s new single and generally equally short-lived. The current incumbent is Ruth Davidson who receives plaudits in the press that you more generally associate with the discoverer of a cure for cancer, the guy who single handedly brings peace to Syria, and the woman who solved the world hunger crisis, all rolled into one. Ruth might not walk on water, but she certainly goes for a walk on a buffalo, and that’s the next best thing. Ruth took over from the last Great Shite Hope of the Union, Jim Murphy, who likewise was going to single-handedly defeat the forces of separatism and deliver Scotland into the sunny uplands of a bunting bedecked Royalist street party. That turned out well, didn’t it.

This week the papers were full of the heavenly sound of praise for Ruthie’s performance in an opinion poll. She’s actually more popular than the person who cured cancer solved Syria and defeated hunger. And she’s doing a better job than Nicola Sturgeon too. Which is grand. All over social media there were Unionists crowing that Ruthie was putting the boot into the SNP and she was more popular than that evil splittist Nicola. It’s only a matter of time before Scotland realises it’s been terribly misled all this time, and will stop with all this nonsense of imagining that it could possibly become a normal country that’s capable of doing things for itself. Look, there’s a photo op of Ruth with a big fish, and she’s just sent a funny tweet on Twitter. That proves it.

The only problem with this scenario is that if you want to compare something and you want to offer an objective as opposed to a subjective opinion, you really need to compare like with like. That’s one of those basic tenets of science, the kind of thing that our Unionist masters rarely bother their bullafo riding heads about. Yet the question in the opinion poll didn’t do that. Respondents were asked whether they thought Ruth was doing a good job as leader of the Tories, but were also asked whether they thought Nicola was doing a good job as Furst Meenister.

Directly comparing like with like would have been to ask respondents whether they thought Nicola was doing a good job as leader of the SNP. Since the SNP is considerably more popular than the Tories, that might have produced a very different result. Actually Vlad the Impaler was more popular than the Scottish Tories, and he’d probably have scored very high in a Transylvanian opinion poll about how well vampires thought he was doing his job. Say what you like about that Vlad, but he once impaled an entire brigade of palace guards on sticks for going for a wee wander about the village instead of guarding his castle. Brings a whole new meaning to the term a wee daunner kebab so it does.

The job of Furst Meenister is a complex and demanding task requiring the juggling of many different subjects at once, all of which are equally vital to the well being of an entire country and its political future. By comparison the job of leader of the Scottish Tories involves posing for photo opportunities and snarking once a week at FMQs. The only similarity is that both jobs are held by politicians. You’d be as well asking who was doing a better job, a neurosurgeon or Vlad the Impaler, because both involve inserting implements into parts of the human anatomy. When you don’t compare like with like a comparison is as meaningless as just about anything that issues from the beardy gob of the Fluffmunster, and as irrelevant as Wullie Rennie’s views on anything other than the bus timetable of the number 17 to Kelty.

Sadly for Ruth, she did exceptionally poorly in her job this week. That’s the part of her job that involves Furst Meenister’s Questions, not the bit that entails posing on the backs of ungulates or shooting off witty 140 character ripostes. That NHS is pure rubbish, so it is, Ruth said accusingly at Nicola. Here’s this report that says that parts of the service are facing meltdown, said Ruth with an expression that would fry a pound of mince at sixty paces. Then she sat down all smug in the expectation of the SNPbad headlines that would most assuredly follow.

Unfortunately, the report that Ruth was relying on wasn’t about the NHS in Scotland. It was about the NHS in England. Those areas of meltdown that she is so concerned about, the service that’s teetering on the verge of collapse, that’s all entirely down to the mismanagement of the health service in England by her own party. Oops. Vlad the Impaler is much better at skewering.

As the realisation dawned, Ruth still had a face that could fry a pound of mince at sixty paces, on this time her ire was directed at whatever hapless aide had fed her the information in the first place. If you could hear the sound of distant screams in Edinburgh yesterday, that’s probably what it was. You’d think that if Ruth really was doing such a great job, she’d have checked before making a very public fool of herself. Still, now we know that the NHS is in crisis and near meltdown under Tory management, because the leader of the Scottish Tories has told us so. During a session of Parliament, no less. She really should stick to the buffalos, or at least the impaling of eejit aides.

The Unionist establishment is desperately in need of a hero, because Unionism is such a joyless, dreary and miserabilist ideology. Ruth is merely the current holder of the crown, but it’s likely that her shelf life will be as short as the previous holders. As a Tory, Ruth is incapable of appealing to a majority of Scots. Ever since the Holyrood elections she’s been exposed as the apologist for the failures of her colleagues in Westminster to respect the will of the Scottish people. This week’s spectacular own goal from her showed that her expertise lies in photo ops and press calls, and that’s where it’s going to stay. Scotland is going to continue its movement towards independence, and there’s nothing Ruth can do to stop it.

Audio version of this blog article, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/ruthie-skewers-herself-wee-ginger-dug-16th-september-2016

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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 Union service broadcaster

According to the Tory Culture Secretary speaking on Thursday in the Commons, a key part of the renewed BBC charter is “supporting greater cohesion between the nations of the UK”. You might think that the words culture and Tory were mutually exclusive, because that certainly seems to be the case as far as Scotland is concerned. The Scottish Tories spend their time either denying the existence of Scottish culture, or denying that key parts of Scottish culture like our own languages are deserving of state support. The only culture that the Tories are interested in is the culture of privatisation, the culture of educational segregation, and the culture of money.

It also seems to be the case that the BBC isn’t especially comfortable with the existence of Scotland as a nation and a culture. Normal countries which are self-governing or autonomous have their own public service broadcaster as well as the service proper to the state as a whole. The BBC thinks that Scottish culture and politics can be more than adequately served with a series of hauf-airsed opt-outs from the “main” service. As far as public service broadcasting is concerned, Scotland only exists as a set of minor divergences from a Great British menu.

It’s reasonable to ask how a public service broadcaster which has a key goal to support greater cohesion between the nations of the UK can properly cover a population which doesn’t want to be a part of the UK at all. How can a broadcaster dedicated to the principle of greater cohesion between the different countries of the UK accurately and fairly report on an independence campaign in one of those nations? The answer is, it can’t.

Already sources in Westminster, according to the Herald, have confirmed that because of the new charter commitment, proposals for a Scottish Six news programme are dead. Because the BBC is dedicated to the principle of erasing any Scottish distinctiveness, we’re not even going to be permitted to have an hour long news programme that’s an opt-out from the main 6 O Clock news. Instead we’re to sit through interminable discussions of educational and health policies which are of minor relevance to Scotland, a whole lot of verbiage about the progress of the England cricket team, and a weather map that makes Scotland look smaller than Dorset.

The Scottish Six was only ever a sop, even though it was described by a certain Unionist commentator as the holy grail of the Scottish independence movement. Because what all those SNP, Green, and Rise party members, what all those people who work their socks off in Yes groups and CommonWeal groups up and down the land are really striving for is an extra half hour of Jackie Bird. We were permitted to discuss the possibility of an extra thirty minutes of news about the UK and the rest of the world presented from Scotland as a distraction from the real question. Why doesn’t Scotland have a national broadcaster of its own?

What was confirmed today is that the UK and the Westminster parliament refuses to countenance any news or current affairs production in Scotland that is not controlled and mediated by them. We can have our parochial little productions about items of strictly local interest, but when dealing with the wider world we have to go through London. Scotland cannot and will not be permitted to develop its own perspective on the world. We are to remain firmly an adjunct of a BBC controlled and produced from London. Remember your place Scottish people. Get back into the Great British shortbread tin.

It cannot be stated often enough. I’ve said it before frequently. Other self-governing nations have their own public service broadcaster, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are the odd ones out. It’s not unreasonable, it’s not outrageous, it’s not unconscionable for Scotland to demand something that other self-governing countries take for granted. It’s a symptom of how much we’ve allowed the Unionist parties to control the debate on this topic that there isn’t greater public pressure in Scotland for something every other self-governing country possesses.

So screw yer Scottish Six BBC, we want an SBC. We want a Scottish Broadcasting Corporation that’s based in Scotland, funded by Scotland, broadcasts to Scotland, and is answerable to Scotland. We don’t want a Scottish Six. We want an SBC that broadcasts in English to the whole of Scotland. We want a Scots language TV service to sit alongside our existing Gaelic channel. And we want what the Catalans have got – we want a 24 hour, 7 day a week Scottish news channel.

Catalonia has its own broadcasters. The Basque Country has its own. Galicia has its own. The 60,000 people of the Faroe Islands have their own public service broadcaster. The 30,000 Sámi speakers in the far north of Norway have their own dedicated broadcast service. Even the tiny autonomous territory of Gagauzia, 150000 people in the poorest corner of Moldova, the poorest country in Europe, on a scrap of land smaller than Ayrshire can have their own national broadcaster. And yet the 5 million people of Scotland, with our rich culture and ancient history and rich heritage and political distinctiveness, in what we’re always being told is one of the richest countries in the world, well we can make do with a half hour of murrderrs, fitba and wee cute kittens after the really important news about educational policy somewhere else that doesn’t affect us.  That’s not a public service broadcaster.  That’s taking the piss and making us pay to be pissed on.

The only reason Scotland can’t have its own national broadcaster is because Westminster and the Unionist parties don’t think it’s in their own interests to allow us to have one. Again, as so many times before, the Unionist establishment and the Unionist parties put their own interests and their own needs before those of the people whom they claim to serve. The truth is that they only serve themselves, and they serve themselves at our expense. When you vote Unionist, you’re voting to for a party that puts its interests before your own. You’re voting to be held in contempt. You’re voting to be sidelined. You’re voting for irrelevance.

Of course we all know the real reason why the Westminster establishment refuses to countenance even the token recognition of Scotland as a nation that a Scottish Six represents. They claim that a Scottish Broadcaster would be under the thumb of the SNP, and that’s why it shouldn’t be allowed. But by making that claim they implicitly acknowledge that the BBC is under the thumb of the Unionist establishment, because under the Westminster system an SBC would be set up and governed by a similar charter to the charter the BBC operates under. The BBC is the propaganda arm of the British state. It’s what allowed the Better Together campaign to determine the narrative of the last independence referendum, and that’s exactly what Westminster intends to do the next time too. The BBC is not a public service broadcaster. It’s a Union service broadcaster.

Audio version of this blog article, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-15th-sept-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.

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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 melting of the special little snowflake

During the independence referendum campaign, the Yes side was pressed on every tiny detail of what would come to pass in an independent Scotland. What would be the price of a first class stamp? How many council houses were going to be built? Will there be a posthumous album from Fran and Anna – will Jock not stop whistling after all? Even an answer to these questions would only provoke further questioning on a greater level of detail. Ah yes, well the independence movement might very well give a commitment to build X number of council houses in the first five years of an independence Scotland, but they still can’t tell us what the furnishings are going to be like and whether that nice glass topped table and blue fascia fronted storage unit from IKEA will still be in stock. The uncertainty! Where are people going to put that new CD from Fran and Anna that the SNP still can’t tell us is going to be released? The Unionist press was full of outraged reports that the SNP expect people to accept independence without these questions being answered.

While the massed ranks of Alicsamministas were being forced to dig around in Coatbridge to discover the lost bootleg Fran and Anna tapes, the Better Together campaign wasn’t being asked for any detail at all on its claims for what would happen if Scotland voted No. During the last week of the campaign when the British establishment was in full on panic mode because there had been a poll showing independence was ahead, the infamous Vow was published. Deliberated worded in a vague manner, it could have meant just about anything. Despite this, the Better Together campaign was not pressed on detail. Instead it was allowed to puff up its content free Vow so it could be presented as all things to all people. We all know how that turned out. It turned out that the Vow only meant all things to the Unionist parties. It meant bugger all to Scotland.

And now here we are in the aftermath of another referendum, and there’s still no certainty about anything at all. It’s only Scottish independence supporters who need to provide answers, if you’re a member of the British establishment we’re expected to trust you. We’re expected to trust a governing class which has a centuries long history of lies and deceit. They don’t call it Perfidious Albion for nothing.

We went into the EU referendum without any details of what Brexit was going to mean. Months later after the Brexit vote we still don’t have any details of what it’s going to mean. Are British goods and services going to have free access to the single market? No one knows. Are EU citizens living in this country and UK citizens living in EU countries going to be allowed to remain? They’re being held hostage to the fortunes of an uncaring Tory party. Will we still enjoy freedom of movement throughout the EU? No one can say. The only certainty that we do have is that the promise that the Brexit campaign made to invest in the NHS wasn’t actually a promise after all. It was more of a fond hope, a fond hope that isn’t going to come to pass. The official position of the UK government months after the EU vote is a pathetic confused mess where cabinent ministers are free to express their own opinions because the UK government has no opinion of its own. These are the broad shoulders of the UK. Broad shoulders, but no brain. Broad shoulders, but no understanding or compassion or care. So that’s broad in the sense of coarse and thick then.

The Tory government can’t tell us what their plans are, and now are attempting to tell us that the fact they don’t know is really a strategy. They’re telling us that they’re keeping it secret so Britain don’t reveal its hand in negotiations. And if you believe that I’ve got a Vow for you. Can you imagine how the Unionist parties and the friends in the press would have reacted if the Scottish government refused to reveal any plans for independence, claiming that it was vital to keep the details secret so as not to reveal Scotland’s hand in negotiations? Ruth Davidson would park her tank on the lawn outside Holyrood. Mind you she does that anyway.

The Tories are still holding out for an a la carte Brexit even though the EU has told Britain that it’s a take it or leave it deal. If Britain wants free access for British goods and services to the European market, then it’s got to accept free movement of people. That’s a concept that’s simple enough even for the most obstinate Tory to grasp, but they still persist in their arrogant fantasy that Britain is special and normal rules don’t apply.

And now Nigel Farage is reduced to complaining in the EU Parliament that the EU has appointed negotiators that Nigel doesn’t like. The only negotiators who are acceptable to the Brexiteers are the Brexiteers themselves. Because Britain is special. Britain is great. Britain is a unique a la carte menu in the cafeteria of life. And Johnny Foreigner just jolly well ought to do what Britain tells him. Large parts of the British right never wanted to be a full and committed part of Europe anyway, they just wanted a substitute for Empire and are in a huff because the rest of Europe isn’t rolling over and cooperating.

That attitude is precisely why there are so many people in the rest of Europe who’re really quite happy to see the UK leave the EU. ¡Ya nunca! they’re shouting as Britain goes out the exit door. That’s Spanish for good riddance. They’re not in the mood to do the UK any favours. Britain’s been a difficult pain in the arse in the EU for decades, they’ll be delighted to be rid of it. Britain’s going to get no favours from the EU, the special little snowflake will melt in the heat of EU negotiations. But a Scotland that has voted to remain a part of Europe and that votes for independence, that’s a Scotland that’s going to encounter an ocean of goodwill from the rest of the EU.

Audio version of this blog article, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-14th-sept-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.

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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.

The law of double standards #FreeWings

Stu Campbell of Wings Over Scotland is in many ways the Marmite of Scottish politics. He’s got a legion of fans, and he’s got a legion of haters. I don’t always agree with him, but what can’t be denied is that single handedly he does considerably more for the cause of Scottish media accountability than the Independent Press Standards Organisation, the BBC Trust, and the combined complaints departments of every single Scottish newspaper. Now Stu’s Wing’s account has been suspended from Twitter. The suspension was allegedly after complaints from a so-called journalist who was upset that she’d been called out on insulting inaccuracies in an article she’d written for a gutter rag that passes itself off for a newspaper, and that Stu had described to her in a Tweet as “an utter disgrace”.

Stu Campbell is rude, opinionated, loud mouthed, and often insulting, but’s he’s right about the Express. The article he was complaining about was a travesty of reporting which bore no relationship to the reality of the independence campaign and which was a blatant attempt to stir up the more atavistic supporters of Unionism. It was irresponsible journalism at its very worst which was a bawhair short of an incitement to violence. Stu Campbell was right to call the newspaper and the reporter who penned it out for it. He’d have been failing in his core mission if he hadn’t. If Twitter is going to suspend everyone on their platform for expressing a perfectly valid opinion in a non-abusive manner, they’d be as well just to close the entire thing down.

What the entire episode smacks of is abuse of power by the mainstream media. Because Stu’s comments were directed against a journalist who writes for a national print publication her complaints were given more attention by the heid bummers of Twitter than a complaint by a random punter. Well I say complaint. Greetin like a wee spoiled wean who’s been told off for unacceptable behaviour is a more accurate description. Getting your critics removed from Twitter simply for daring to criticise you is exactly what the phrase “an utter disgrace” describes.

So far we’ve yet to see the Scottish mainstream media come to his aid. There is a marked double standard in the Scottish mainstream media when it comes to abuse. The practictioners of Unionist media are free to say what they like in print or elsewhere about the independence movement, unconstrained by anything that approaches good taste, common decency, or even reality, but any push back from independence supporters who feel that they’ve been traduced and insulted counts as abuse. It makes no difference how justified it may be.

In recent weeks we’ve seen allegations that STV’s digital editor Stephen Daisley, who spent his online time on Twitter trolling independence supporters, was bullied and silenced by an SNP MP. Daisley was well known for making repeated unfounded accusations that the independence movement is motivated by anti-English racism, for his hauf-airsed ignorance about Scottish languages, for general snarkiness, for promoting the notorious misogynistic troll who goes by the pseudonym Brian Spanner, and for displaying a blatant right wing bias that might be acceptable in the print media but which isn’t in a broadcaster with a statutory obligation to balance.

Daisley seemed to interpret his role as being to provoke some individual independence supporters into verbal overreactions, and then he could claim how appalling the independence movement as a whole was. Funnily enough he never does this with the more extreme and unpleasant supporters of Unionism. Poor Stephen got articles of support written in assorted newspapers and media outlets because an SNP MP complained about him, and we were all invited to sympathise with the poor dear and his struggle against the one party state tendencies of the SNP. All this transpired even though there was and is no hard evidence at all that Daisley has been sanctioned by his employers in any way at all. What his supporters were objecting to was the mere fact that one of their own had been criticised by an SNP MP.

We had a similar outbreak of officially sanctioned sympathy when the Conservative Unionist commentator David Torrance flounced off of Twitter in a huff. Davie is the man who is famous for being able to turn every subject into an SNPbad story. He’s one of the people who propagate the insulting notion that Scottish politics have been Ulsterised. Even his report on a Donald Trump rally in the USA was turned into an attack on the SNP. It’s quite a remarkable talent really. Wee Davie had made a clumsy attempt on a telly interview to fend off a Scottish Six news programme, which independence supporters immediately leapt on and ripped the pish out of in a typically Scottish way, ridiculing the idea that Scottish people can’t have a telly news programme because we cannae operate cameras. David went into a beardy sulk and announced he was leaving Twitter. He got a piece in the Times to breathlessly describe the abuse he’d suffered as a Christlike martyr to the cause Scottish Unionism. But on the third day his Twitter account rose again.

We saw double standards in the Daily Mail’s shameful “outing” of so-called cybernats and doorstepping ordinary members of the public for daring to support Scottish independence on social media. We’ve yet to see the same amount of attention given to the legion of foul mouthed trolls who spend their online time traducing and insulting and abusing in support of the Union. Just yesterday I blocked a troll on Twitter who claimed that the Spanish dictator Franco was more liberal than Nicola Sturgeon, a gross insult to Nicola Sturgeon, but more importantly also to the hundreds of thousands of victims of Franco’s death squads and concentration camps. That was just an everyday and unremarkable occurance of a not very witty insult – but remember the paroxysms of outrage from Unionist politicians in the mainstream media when some independence supporters referred to them as quislings. Quisling was a Nazi, they pouted in horrified disgust. It’s the same sort of behaviour, yet only one side is to be castigated for it.

As long as the double standards exist we need people like Stu Campbell. As long as the independence movement is held by the mainstream Unionist media to standards which the mainstream Unionist media refused to abide by itself, or which it doesn’t expect of Unionist supporters, we need people like Stu Campbell who will fearlessly prick the bubble of their arrogance and entitlement. Get your act together Twitter. #FreeWings

Audio link to this blog article, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-12th-sept-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 rag that’s lost the rag

Is it possible for a newspaper to go insane? There are only two possible explanations for the stories about Scottish independence that have been appearing in the Daily Express of late. Either the newspaper has gone insane and lost whatever tenuous grip on reality that it might once have possessed, or it has descended into a hate filled disregard for truth that makes the hysteria fuelled propaganda sheets of a fascist totalitarian regime seem like the dry and sober reporting of the minutes of the Auchterarder Allotments and Vegetable Growers’ Society. Admittedly those possibilities are not mutually exclusive.

The Express was one of the most avid proponents of a Brexit, and ever since the EU referendum has been one of the most fervid deniers that there might be any negative consequences for the UK flowing from the result. Over recent weeks it has been publishing increasingly personalised attacks on Nicola Sturgeon for her wilful refusal to rule out a Scotland that refuses to meekly roll over and accept the Brexit result that we didn’t vote for. The articles have been using the sort of language that even Owen Smith would recognise as dangerously approaching a misogynistic call to violence against women.

Now the paper has ballooned into the stratosphere with its hot air. The rag has lost the rag. According to an article which verges perilously on defamation, Nicola Sturgeon is geeing up independence supporters for a campaign of violence against the Union. The sheer effrontery of the hateful rag is breath taking. This is not journalism. This is not reporting. This is a blatant and shameless attempt to stir up the more atavistic supporters of Unionism and create a self-fulfilling prophecy of violence, and the blame for any such violence will then be conveniently laid at the door of the independence movement.

There were indeed some instances of violence associated with the 2014 independence referendum. There was the shameful assault of an elderly independence supporter in Edinburgh, allegedly carried out by a Unionist woman who disagreed violently with his peaceful message. The old man ended up with a broken arm, his alleged assailant was never caught. Then there was the accusation of assault against a pro-independence canvasser outside a polling station in Shettleston in the East End of Glasgow. Her alleged assailant was none other than the Labour MP Marie Rimmer. The court case is still on-going. And finally, and most disgracefully, there was the mass attack by Unionist supporting fascists against peaceful pro-independence demonstrators in George Square during the aftermath of the referendum result. The indy crowd was charged by dozens of extreme right wing Unionists who attacked men, women, old and young indiscriminately. The Express article was illustrated by a short video of this attack, labelled “Nationalists and Unionists in wild clash”.

See a pattern here? A child could see a pattern here. A five year old could readily assign due blame. The Express can’t. Or more accurately, won’t. According to the Express the violence is all the fault of the independence movement and its supporters. It’s like saying that homophobic attacks are the fault of gay people for being openly gay. It’s like saying that misogynistic violence is the fault of women who were asking for it. It’s like saying that racist beatings are the fault of ethnic minorities for being willfully foreign in a public space. This is not journalism. This is abuse of a public platform. This is abuse of an entire nation. This is a newspaper which recognises that it’s destined to find a more socially useful role as lavatory paper and so helpfully it’s already covered with shite and dripping with pish when it’s purchased.

The fact is that the Scottish Police Federation issued a statement just before the independence referendum dismissing claims that the country was a hotbed of aggression and on the verge of violent outbreaks. Brian Docherty, chair of the Scottish Police Federation, condemned the No campaign for its irresponsible exaggerations. The Express never got the message. It’s still exaggerating, still demonising the yes movement. And the moment that some violent fascist bully with a grudge takes out their insecurity on a harmless independence supporter, the Express will be the first to condemn the yes movement for creating division and violence.

There was another video illustrating the article too. Titled “Aggressive Scottish protesters intimidate ex-Labour …” it showed the stramashette in St Enoch when Sean Clerkin and a couple of his pals ranted at Jim Murphy. That was the occasion when Jim Murphy deliberately walked into a placard being waved by Sean and then claimed he was being abused. The entire event was a set up by Labour. Clerkin’s merry little band later claimed that they’d been tipped off by someone in Murphy’s local party. It was blatantly obvious that Murphy wanted to create the impression that Scottish independence supporters were violent and extreme, and so someone in the Labour party got in touch with a notorious fringe group, the Scottish Resistance. A group that’s so fringe and so uninfluential in the independence movement that there are actually more photographs of prominent Unionists ironically wearing Scottish Resistance T-shirts than there are members of the Scottish Resistance.

The difference of course is that whereas the violent Unionist right wing extremists who attacked the peaceful independence supporters in George Square are never to be associated with the mainstream of Unionism, the entire independence movement is tarred with the brush of Scottish Resistance in reports in the Unionist press.

We still don’t know when there’s to be another independence referendum, and already that end of the Unionist press which is deeper in sewage is spewing its cacophony of cack. Because they know what we know too. They know that the next time Scotland goes into an independence referendum the yes campaign will be able to count on the support of half the population. They know that the political case for the Union has been destroyed by the actions of the Unionists themselves. They know that the Union is in its final days, and that they’re responsible for ending it.

What we’re hearing now is the high pitching howl of a fatally wounded animal. The howls are only going to grow in intensity, because Scotland is heading for independence. And there’s nothing the Express can do to stop it.

Audio version of this blog article, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-10th-sept-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.

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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.

Friends in high places

It must be a difficult psychological cross to bear, being a knee-jerk Unionist on Twitter. Scotland is shite. We couldn’t possibly afford it. We’re rubbish. It will all go horribly wrong. Anyway everyone hates us. After all, if you define love as the way that the Tory party treats us, then hate must be a very frightening prospect. Although thankfully Scotland won’t get the opportunity to be hated by Europe, because we’ll be vetoed by Spain, Malta, and that chorus line of Slovenian drag queens who were responsible for their Eurovision entry a few years back. Scotland scores null points in the Eurovision scoreboard of life.

The European Parliament has just appointed the former Belgian PM Guy Verhofstadt as its lead negotiator on Brexit. Guy’s the guy who said that Scotland’s desire to remain in the EU should be respected and that we’d be allowed to remain a member if we vote for independence before Brexit negotiations are concluded. There’s no big obstacle to Scotland remaining a member, Guy said just after the Tory’s Brexit galactofuck inserted itself like an alien anal probe into the body politic of Scotland. Later he remarked that Scotland wouldn’t have to go to the back of any queue. Our membership of the EU would be seamless and unproblematic.

Guy’s the man who slated UKIP for racism and extremism after the Brexit vote. He condemned their abuse of an image of Syrian refugees. After the EU referendum said that the silver lining was that at least the EU would get rid of the biggest waste in its budget – the salary and expenses of Nigel Farage. After Nige’s failed attempt to become an MP, Guy mocked his return to the EU Parliament telling him “Welcome back to the big election loser.” You can see why UKIP and the Tory right isn’t happy that he’s been appointed as the EU Parliament’s chief negotiator on Brexit. Scotland’s got friends in high places, and one friend in particular who is deeply sympathetic to Scotland’s desire to remain in the EU and deeply antipathetic to the Tories’ Brexit project. That’s got to hurt.

Now you might imagine that the person who’s going to be negotiating with the British government on behalf of the EU Parliament might know a thing or three about Scotland’s real prospects of remaining a part of the EU, but apparently this is not the case. At least not if you’re a dedicated Unionist user of social media. Being an avid reader of the hate filled diatribes of the Daily Mail, the increasingly demented rantings of the Express, and the bilious frothings of the Telegraph gives you a far greater insight into the operations of the European Union and its institutions than being an EU parliamentarian of many years’ standing and the leader of its grouping of liberal MEPs. It doesn’t matter what Guy says, some guy on Twitter says that Scotland’s going to get vetoed by Spain, and we’ll have to adopt the Euro. And he ended his Tweet with End Of. So that settles the matter definitively.

I’ve already detailed on this blog why Scotland isn’t going to be vetoed by Spain in order to discourage the Catalans. That’s because a Spanish veto of a Scotland that achieves independence peacefully and fully in accord with what passes for a British constitution will only inflame Catalan opinion and make the position of Madrid untenable.

In fact since the Brexit vote even figures at the highest level of the Spanish government, which is no fan of separatist movements, have changed their tune and have been speaking considerably more sympathetically about the possibility of Scottish independence. Just a few weeks ago the Spanish foreign minister, José Manuel García-Margallo said that he expected that within four to five years the UK would return to England’s 16th century borders as a result of Brexit. He said that’s what happens when a ruling party falls under the influence of political extremists like UKIP, and he expected Scotland to seek another independence referendum as a consequence. So much for a Spanish veto then. Although he did threaten to veto Westminster’s Brexit if they want to include Gibraltar, which means the only explicit veto threat that Spain has ever made in connection with the UK, Scotland and the EU has been a threat to veto Westminster and the Tories, not Scotland. Ouch.

Spain would still prefer that there was no Scottish independence movement, but the morning after a Yes vote in a Scottish independence referendum the newspapers in Spain will be headlining a statement from the Spanish government saying, “We’ve said all along that Scotland is a totally different set of circumstances from Catalonia.”

Now one of the main representatives of the EU in negotiations with the UK is a man who is deeply opposed to giving the UK and special deals or privileges, and who is committed to the principle that the single market cannot be separated from the free movement of people. He has also said that it’s wrong for Scotland to be taken out of the EU when it voted to stay, and that if Scotland wants to stay, it can stay. He’s happy to discuss Scottish membership of the EU with Nicola Sturgeon.

The EU Parliament is only one of the three main EU institutions which will be represented in the Brexit negotiations. The EU Commission and the EU Council will also be represented and arguably have more influence than the EU Parliament. But the point remains that Scotland has friends and allies at the very highest levels of the EU, and the next time we go into an independence referendum it’s going to be a whole lot harder for the Unionist parties to argue that if Scotland votes for independence it’s going to be thrown out of the EU and sent to the back of the queue. Mind you, that won’t stop them from saying that, the difference is that there won’t be figures like Barosso making statements favourable to the UK’s position, because if an EU representative makes statements favourable to the UK’s position, then by definition they’ll be making statements detrimental to the EU’s bargaining position. That puts Scotland in a very strong place.

Some people in this country still prefer to believe that Scotland is friendless and isolated, and that we must throw ourselves on the tender mercies of Theresa May and her right wing cabal in Westminster. The truth is that Scotland has more friends in Europe than Westminster does.

Audio version of this blog article, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-9th-sept-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.

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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.

Ruth’s permascowl and the law of karma

Ruthie’s really annoyed. She’s got her angry face on, the one that she uses whenever anyone says the magic words that are guaranteed to irk her. Those words would be “carpetbagging careerist on a tank”, “I think Murdo Fraser would have been a better leader,” or “Scottish independence”. It’s the last two words that are getting her goat of late, since the only people who say that Murdo Fraser would be a better leader of the Scottish Tories are Murdo Fraser and his immediate family, and in any case being a Tory is pretty much a synonym for being a carpetbagging careerist, the tanks being optional.

Ruth’s very very angry these days because the words Scottish independence are being uttered with a frequency which is alarming to a knee-jerk Unionist. Actually, them being uttered at all is alarming to a knee-jerk Unionist, which goes a very long way to explaining the permascowl on Ruthie’s tanksitting face. It’s the kind of look you normally associate with a urinary tract infection.

Mind you, the one person in Holyrood who mentions independence more than anyone else is Ruth Davidson. Funny how she’s convinced that there’s no demand for it and that Scotland will never vote for it, yet she devotes all her time and energy to pulling faces about it. This is not unrelated to the fact that if she didn’t constantly go on about independence, she might find herself having to defend the policies of a viciously rightwing UK government that enjoys the support of a single stuffed toy of a Scottish MP.

On Thursday it was Furst Meenister’s Questions, and Ruthie was demanding to know what Brexit terms would make Nicola call off a second referendum. It’s a bit like if Nicola was to ask Ruthie just how many promises the Unionist parties need to break before Ruthie will admit that Scotland’s never going to get a fair deal as long as we’re governed by people who remain unaccountable to us. The only answer you’re going to get from Ruthie would be a photo opportunity on a tank. Or possibly some Great British bull, which amounts to much the same thing.

The Brexit terms that would make Nicola call off any possibility of a second referendum would be for Ruthie’s party not to take Scotland out of the EU against our will. That’s not going to happen, as Ruthie well knows. It’s only the outcome of the 2014 referendum that needs to be respected for a generation, the outcome of the 2016 referendum can be brushed under the carpet and have a tank parked on it. Then Ruth can pose for her gaggle of adoring press fanboys and pretend that she’s got some policies.

The Tories are the infants of Scottish politics. They’re still struggling with the concept of causality, although to be fair even tiny babies have a rudimentary understanding of the idea that one action will cause another one. The Scottish Tories are like a toddler in a high chair who keep dropping their rattle on the floor in the expectation that next time it might not be susceptible to gravity. The simple fact of the matter is that Scotland is where it is politically right now because the Conservatives haven’t kept the promises and commitements that they made to Scotland two years ago. Another independence referendum is on the cards, and it’s entirely the fault of the Tories. All the dropped rattles in the world won’t change that fundamental truth. That’s why Ruthie’s got a permascowl, which is merely a more adult version of a toddler tantrum.

So if the Tories want the independence movement to drop the idea of holding another independence referendum within the next couple of years, it’s very easy. All they need to do is to demonstrate that they were telling the truth to Scotland. That means acknowledging that Scotland is a respected and valued partner in the supposedly most perfect partnership of nations, and not a recalcitrant northern province that should do what it’s told. It means granting Scotland the Home Rule that they vowed to give us in the fag end days of the referendum campaign and that in turn means the Scottish parliament should be receiving far more powers than the hauf airsed and hauf heartit tweaks of income tax and minor benefits that were finally conceded. It means the MoD placing an order for 13 type 26 frigates on the Clyde. It means saving the jobs of the 3000 tax office workers in Cumbernauld and East Kilbride. It means investment in Scotland’s renewable energy industry. It means no Trident renewal. It means no Brexit. Because all those things were promised to Scotland in 2014, and all those things were denied to us. But then if you’re a Unionist, it’s only the Scottish government that needs to be held to account. Westminster gets to do as it damn well pleases, and Scotland is expected to suck it up.

Of course there are those of us, like me, who believe in Scottish independence and who will never stop arguing for it and campaigning for it. The point however is that we’re only finding an audience a mere two years since the last indyref because the Tories, along with Labour and the Lib Dems, stared into the face of their worst nightmare, the end of their precious Union, and then presented with a narrow victory decided it meant that they could go back to business as usual. Back to ignoring Scotland. Back to dismissing Scotland. Back to patronising Scotland. Their problem is that they didn’t change, but Scotland did.

If the Tories had kept all the promises made to Scotland by the Unionist parties during the 2014 indyref campaign, we wouldn’t be here now. There would be no real appetite or demand for another independence referendum. What the Unionist parties are learning now is a lesson in causality. Or karma, as the Buddhists put it. It’s their own actions that have led us to this point. Ruthie dropped her rattle, and the rattle has hit the floor with a resounding noise that’s woken up a country. She can scowl all she likes but she’s only got herself to blame. That’s the law of karma.

Audio version of this blog post, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-8th-sept-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 Schrodinger’s cat of nations

Yesterday the Scottish Government revealed its plans for the new session of parliament and announced a consultation on a draft referendum bill. The consultation on the bill is to be launched before July next year, meaning that it could potentially be put before Holyrood late in 2017 or early in 2018. By that time, the UK government should have activated Article 50 and Brexit negotiations will be underway. Everyone who’s not a Lib Dem or Kezia Dugdale knows by now that the only way that Scotland can preserve its EU membership is by seeking independence. The Unionist parties responded by angrily accusing the SNP of being obsessed with independence. Which to be fair, isn’t exactly untrue. Seeking independence is ever so slightly the entire point of the SNP, it’s their raison d’etre.

It’s hardly the fault of the SNP that the Unionist parties lied through their collective teeth in 2014 about the kind of United Kingdom Scotland was voting to remain a part of. The UK they promised us in the summer of 2014 doesn’t exist, if it ever existed. You can argue that if a political party doesn’t follow through on a manifesto commitment, then in five years time there will be another election and the voters have the opportunity to punish that party for its failure. The Unionist parties don’t want to fulfil the promises they made during the referendum campaign, and don’t want the Scottish people to have any recourse to punish them for their failure. Taking Scotland out of the EU against the will of the Scottish people is just the final straw. The Unionist parties have only got themselves to blame that another independence referendum is on the table again. If they’d been as obsessed with being honest and trustworthy as they are obsessed with accusing the SNP of being obsessed with independence, we wouldn’t be here now. Hell slap it intae thaim.

Angrily accusing the SNP of being obsessed with independence is like acting all surprised that the Greens are all about protecting the environment. Demanding that the SNP cease to focus on their goal of independence would be like going along to a Weight Watchers meeting and getting upset because no one is offering third helpings of cream cakes and fish suppers. But then that’s what the Unionist parties are all about, they’d far rather Scotland blocked its arteries and grew unhealthy on the poor diet of Westminster than have us do anything about it. A healthy Scotland is a Scotland that can stand on its own two feet.

The SNP is obsessed with independence in the exact same way that Ruth Davidson is obsessed with photo opportunities while her party screws over the poor and the vulnerable, in the exact same way that Labour politicians are obsessed with attacking and undermining the real enemy, which is other Labour politicians, or in the exact same way that the Lib Dems are obsessed with the timetable of the number 17 bus to Kelty. Although in the interests of balance it should be pointed out that the Lib Dems are also obsessed with complaining about what they perceive as the dishonesty of the other parties while excusing the dishonesty of Lib Dems.

Mind you, while the Unionist parties are upset that the SNP sets out to do what it was founded to do, there’s also a significant segment of Unionist opinion that’s convinced that the SNP doesn’t really want an independence after after all. While the Scottish media reported this week that Scotland is taking a step closer to another independence referendum, the Guardian’s Severin Carrell was claiming that Nicola Sturgeon had put off an early referendum and was quietly shelving plans to hold a ballot. That’s the early referendum that she never promised to have in the first place, in case you were wondering. The supposed early referendum that only ever existed in the mind of the Guardian.

I seem to recall we had a similar meme floating about during the first independence referendum, when many Unionist commentators managed to convince themselves that Alicsammin didn’t really want independence at all while at the same time he was obsessed with it. I’m not really sure how that works, and neither does the Unionist media. It’s a species of denialism. Now we’re seeing it again, as many Unionist commentators rush to assure their readers that there won’t be a second independence referendum because the SNP which is obsessed with independence doesn’t really want independence after all.

But then holding contradictory ideas simultaneously is what Scottish Unionism is all about. Scottish Unionism rests upon simultaneously believing that Scotland – which they’re terribly proud of, by the way – is a country but at the same time isn’t. Scots are the Schrodinger’s cats of nations, simultaneously existing but not existing while we remain locked in the shortbread tin. Scottish Unionism means convincing yourself that only a desire for Scottish independence counts as nationalism, but a knee jerk fleg waving love of the Great British state isn’t nationalist at all.

What the Unionist commentators who claim Nicola Sturgeon doesn’t want another referendum are really doing is setting up their readership for outrage when there is actually a second independence referendum. Oh that SNP, first they said they wanted one, then they said they didn’t, and now they do after all. Cue mutterings about untrustworthy jocks and subsidy junkies.

The boring truth of the matter is that Scotland remains exactly where it was before in relation to another independence referendum. But then, “Evil SNP does exactly what it said it was going to do” doesn’t make for a very exciting headline in a Unionist newspaper. A second independence referendum remains the most likely outcome of Westminster’s failure to keep its promise to Scotland that only a No vote in 2014 could secure our EU membership, but the Scottish government has to been seen to exhaust all other options before going for a second referendum. Everyone knows that. Probably even Wullie Rennie knows that. It’s not difficult.

And that’s exactly what the Scottish government is going to do. There will be a second referendum on independence, and when we go into that referendum supporters of independence will be able to state in all honesty that all other options to keep Scotland’s EU membership have been exhausted. But then honesty with the Scottish electorate is an alien concept to the Unionist establishment. Scotland will have its second referendum, and then the Schrodinger’s cat of nations will open the shortbread tin and we’ll realise that we’ve never been more alive.

Audio link to this blog post, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-7th-sept-2016?in=occamshaver/sets/wee-ginger-dug-blogs

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.

Scottish sovereignty is a creative act

Who is sovereign in Scotland? According to Scottish tradition and to the Scottish Claim of Right that would be the Scottish people. The Westminster doctrine that sovereignty in the UK rests with the Crown in Parliament was famously ruled in 1953 by the Lord President of the Court of Session to have no standing in Scots law. Lord Cooper of Culross gave his legal opinion stating, “the principle of unlimited sovereignty of Parliament is a distinctively English principle and has no counterpart in Scottish constitutional law”.

Be that as it may, successive Westminster governments have a very different view. They uphold the doctrine of the absolute sovereignty of the Westminster parliament, and their absolute right to overrule the rights of the Scottish people. The only person in the whole of Scotland who is sovereign is Fluffy Mundell, and he does what the Tory Prime Minister tells him. You might think Mundell is two faced, but ask yourself, if that was true why’s he wearing that one? We think we live in a democracy, but it’s the strangest democracy in the world, where the party which gets just one seat gets to call all the shots and complain that the majority party wants a one-party state. British democracy is four Tory wolves, three Labour jackals and a Scottish sheep voting on what to have for dinner.

We might fondly imagine in Scotland that the Scottish people are sovereign, but that’s not how it works in practice. That’s how come we can get Theresa May appearing on the Andrew Marr show telling us that Scotland shouldn’t have a second independence referendum. When you’re told that you require permission from a Prime Minister that no one elected and whose party has only one MP in your country, it’s a safe bet that the establishment wants you to believe that the principle of popular sovereignty doesn’t apply to you. Scotland, you’ll do what you’re told and you’ll be happy that you live in a free country. British democracy means that in this most perfect partnership of nations, the small nations get to do what the big one tells them.

Later this week Patrick Grady, the SNP MP for Glasgow North, has arranged a debate in Westminster on the Scottish Claim of Right. The Claim of Right states that the Scottish people have the right to determine the form of government most suited to their needs. Westminster Tories and their Labour pals are going to tell us that the form of government best suited to Scotland’s needs is the form that Labour and the Tories tell us is best for us.

When you have a debate on the popular sovereignty of the people of Scotland held in the parliament that fetishises its own absolute sovereignty, the result is predictable. Westminster’s going to tell us that the only sovereignty in the UK is the sovereignty of the Westminster parliament. They’re going to tell us that if we want another independence referendum that we need their permission. And they’re going to tell us that we shouldn’t have one. Why do you want a Scottish independence day, Westminster asks, because when you live under Tory rule there’s fireworks every day.

The thing about popular sovereignty is that if you have to ask for it, then you can’t have it. The people are sovereign only when they start to act as though they are. A sovereign people don’t need permission in order to campaign for independence. We don’t need permission from a political party. We don’t need the blessing of the Scottish parliament. And we most certainly don’t need the permission of a Westminster parliament that denies that we have it. By organising ourselves, by starting our campaign, by acting as though we were already independent, then we achieve sovereignty. Sovereignty comes from deeds, not words. Scottish sovereignty is produced by the people of Scotland taking their future into their own hands and campaigning for a destiny that we determine for ourselves. We don’t need anyone’s permission.

This week we learned from Nick Clegg that during the coalition government the Tories cynically screwed over the poor and the low paid in order to curry favour with the rich and the better off. They had no concern or care for the human consequences or the victims of their policies. And that was when the Lib Dems were supposedly holding them in check. Now we have a majority Tory government there’s no check or restraint on their self-serving pursuit of power and their ability to punish the weakest in society. With a Tory majority government, the popular sovereignty of the Scottish people isn’t just something that would be a good idea, it becomes a moral imperative.

In a Scotland where the people, all the people, are collectively sovereign, it becomes a betrayal to punish the poor to benefit the rich. A country where the people are sovereign is a land which is governed in the interests of all, not the interests of a few. It’s a country which forsakes itself if it allows inequality to grow, if it permits the children of less advantaged families to fall behind. Yet all these things happen in the UK as a matter of Conservative policy because in the UK the only imperative is the need to get reelected under an unfair and skewed voting system that the Tories are about to skew even more blatantly in their own favour. If we vote to remain a part of the UK, we’re voting to consign ourselves to the gutter, we’re voting to reduce ourselves to the detritus that can be swept aside. Because we won’t be sovereign.

So let’s act as we mean to go on. By joining a Yes group or a CommonWeal group, by becoming an active member of a party that supports independence, you’re declaring your own personal Scottish sovereignty and you’re engaging in the active creation of a better country, a country that belongs to us all. Scottish sovereignty means putting all of us first. Scottish sovereignty is a creative act. The only way it’s going to come into being is if we believe in it, we act on it, and we create it. Scottish independence and Scottish sovereignty don’t require the permission of Westminster. They require ours.

Audio version of this blog, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-5th-sept-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


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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.

Get ready for the National Yes Registry IndyApp!

Guest post by Jason Baird of the National Yes Registry

Hello Wee Ginger Duggers and thank you so much to the WGD (and Paul of course) for allowing me this opportunity to describe what the National Yes Registry IndyApp project is all about before we finally launch it for public download on September the 18th. The IndyApp is a bespoke networking tool for the Yes movement. It is FREE to all participating groups and designed to allow those grass-root groups to work effectively together, share resources, experience and campaigning ideas. It will allow mentoring and mutual support among pro-Indy activists, encourage new community groups to form and dormant groups to reform.

Our aim is to encourage activism and community participation in the Indy movement through increased membership of each of the autonomous groups as these local groups make up the backbone of our non-party political Yes movement. Once up and running, support for the development and running costs of the App will be through voluntary micro donations from the individual members.

All this will be achieved through 5 key IndyApp functions.

1. The ‘Front Doors’

Each group will have a public ‘Front Door’ on the App. This will display information such as, group name, Google map location, meeting times, venue, events, campaigns, donate button and contact button. So, on FREE download of the IndyApp, interested members of the public with no previous experience or contact with the movement can simply type in their postcode and the App will direct them to a selection of their nearest Indy group ‘Front Doors’, to peruse, contact and be warmly welcomed into the grass-roots.

2. The ‘Local Forum’

This allows an entire Group membership to network with one another easily, 24hrs a day. Each group member can also read what’s going on in the ‘National Forum’. This means folk can dip in and out of local activism as and when they can. If that means picking up messages and sharing local or national campaigning ideas after work or late into the night then the App is there to facilitate things.

3. ‘Resource Buttons’

These allow each group to archive their local resources, such as membership skill sets, equipment, suppliers, venues, media contacts etc. In this way the groups give their entire membership easy access to campaigning information.

4. The ‘National Forum’

This allows each local group (collectively) to post campaigning ideas, and network as a group just as effectively as an individual member can on their own ‘Local Forums’. The ‘National Forum’ also has its equivalent national ‘Resource buttons’ to allow groups to share any of their own local resources that they feel are suitable for country wide applications.

5. ‘Committee Rooms’

These are used for developing and practically enacting new campaign ideas, once they have been identified by or proposed in the Forums. They allow individuals locally and groups nationally to organise themselves across the country * for more details on the importance of the committee room function follow this link

http://nationalyesregistry.scot/the-committee-room-function-on-indyapp/

Please remember, this is an App and it has been carefully designed for simplicity and ease of use. Five point articles trying to explain it in any detail are by their very nature much, much more complex than the IndyApp is itself!

I hope this outline of the basic functions of the IndyApp has helped make clear the ambition and scope of the NYR project. Through the capabilities of the IndyApp, each individual local group, and group member, becomes networked nationally, fully aware of where that national grass-root movement is flowing and able, in their turn, to influence and help that movement with their own practical ideas, skills and enthusiasms.

And now for the hard sell… 😉

We are currently crowd funding for this project

https://igg.me/at/nyr-indyapp

and are standing at 24% funded with only 4 days remaining… GULP, so if you want to see this 2 year long grass-root network building project reach fruition on the 18 th of September please, please, please give what you can. All and any word of mouth recommendations to encourage support would also be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks again from all at the NYR.