A storm in a D-quip

According to some people, over the weekend Ruth Davidson was the victim of an outrageous homophobic attack which puts a lie to the claim that the independence movement is tolerant and civic. She was cruelly subjected to being referred to as Dykey-D, a word so evil and horrible that you’re not allowed to say it even if you are in fact a D-word yourself. This will come as news to my lesbian friends and acquaintances, all of whom use the word all the time. They also have been known to refer to me as a queen, a big baldy poof, or a queer, and I’ve been distinctly uninsulted when they did so.

I’d put money on the likelihood that Ruth has used the D-word to describe herself or her friends too, because that’s the kind of thing that us gay folk do. In the exact same way I will cheerfully refer to myself or to other gay men by words which if they came out of the mouths of straight people might be interpreted as vicious attacks. But generally I’ll restrict my use of those words to when I’m in LGBTI company. When around other gay people, the meaning and import of my words is clear. In other contexts, things can be more problematic.

Language is contextual. Meaning depends upon the context in which a word is used and an inescapable part of the context of a word is the person who utters it, what their intention is at the time, and what they’re doing while they do so. A word used by a gay man to refer to another gay man in a friendly conversation can very easily be an insult when used by a straight person under otherwise similar circumstances. And it’s certainly going to be interpreted as an insult when the straight person in question is wielding a bottle as a weapon at the time. Context is everything. When you yourself can potentially be victimised by a particular word, the power play involved in uttering it is very different than if you are not potentially victimised by it. That’s why a gay man can call other gay men queens, but straight men don’t have the same right to do so.

Over the weekend Ruth Davidson figured in a comedic rap performed by a group of women during a show for the Scottish Independence Convention. The rap was written by a lesbian, and at least some of its performers were lesbians. If a group of African American rappers had performed a rap during which they referred to Barrack Obama by the N-word, would that be racist? As a white man, I don’t think it’s for me to say. It’s certainly not a word that I have the right to use myself, and it’s not for me to judge people who are themselves potentially victimised by that word but who choose to use it. Equally I don’t think it’s for straight right wing journalists to tell me that what a lesbian rapper said was homophobic. I’ll be the judge of that, thank you very much.

I came out as gay in the 1980s, when the AIDS crisis was killing gay men in our thousands. I’ve been gaybashed twice, been subjected to more homophobic verbal attacks than I can possibly remember, been subject to sexual harrassment at work, and have been campaigning for LGBTI rights for decades. I know what homophobia really is, I’ve been on the receiving end of it. And I will not be lectured on gay rights by people who write for homophobic rags like the Daily Mail. So if you’re a right wing heterosexual journalist who thinks they can tell me what is or is not homophobic, I’ll be telling you to fuck off you cynical opportunist. Your concern here is not for the equal rights of the LGBTI community, you’re just seeking any excuse you can find in order to launch an attack on the Scottish independence movement, and your transparent opportunism is sickening. People who give a platform to bigots who oppose equal marriage have no moral ground to stand on when it comes to berating anyone about supposed homophobia, least of all a lesbian performer.

My own feeling is that the use of the word wasn’t homophobic because of who was using it. It was being used by a lesbian performer. Lesbians have the right to use the D-word without being judged for it by straight people. Effectively what the straight Unionist media is telling us is that as LGBTI people we have no right to use the words which are used to attack us and to reclaim them for ourselves. Because it’s only by reclaiming these words that we can divest them of their power to hurt us.

I interpreted the performance as a way of pointing out that the sexuality of the Conservative leader is being used to mask her reactionary politics. It’s as though we fought the campaign for LGBTI rights just so that some of our number could be as reactionary as those we once campaigned against. Ruth once famously said that she couldn’t remember the Thatcher era, and we should get over it. But I remember it. I remember how Thatcher and her allies demonised the LGBTI community in the exact same way that the modern Conservatives seek to demonise supporters of Scottish independence. And I remember the sacrifices that LGBTI people had to make so that Ruth can enjoy the power and privilege that she enjoys today. Ruth’s sexuality is used by the modern Conservative party as a tool to help it maintain power and privilege for a few at the expense of the many. It masks the party’s reactionary nature with a veneer of progressiveness.

Unfortunately the use of the word in the context in which it was used left it easily open to misinterpretation. If the same rap had been performed at an LGBTI event in front of an LGBTI audience, there would have been no accusations of homophobia, however it was used before a predominantly heterosexual audience who are unfamiliar with the nuances of Queer Theory, or indeed gay humour. Moreover it was an audience containing a number of hostile journalists who were on the lookout for things to be offended by. It was easy for them to portray its use as a justification of homophobic name calling. And if they can possibly show the indy movement in a negative light, that’s exactly what they’ll do.

The use of the word in the context of a performance at an event about Scottish independence was misjudged because we’re now discussing the use of that one word instead of all the other thousands of words in support of Scottish independence that were uttered at the same event. As supporters of Scottish independence we must, sadly, always be conscious that anything we say or do will be leapt upon by the Unionists if there is any possibility of twisting it into an attack against us.

We can see that in how the story has morphed. A lesbian SNP MP who was in the audience said on social media that she was not offended by another lesbian using the word to refer to a third lesbian. Now the story is that the SNP MP has to apologise for the use of a word that she herself didn’t say, yet the headlines are worded to imply that she did. It seems that the arbiters of what lesbians and gay men must find offensive are heterosexual journalists. I find that pretty offensive.

LGBTI rights, anti-racism, and opposition to misogyny and discrimination against disabled people are integral and vital parts of the Scottish indy movement, and always will be, because those struggles inform the modern independence movement about how to build a fair and just Scotland. The truth that the Unionist establishment can’t accept is that the struggles for LGBTI rights and for Scottish national rights are both grassroots movements which strive to empower ordinary people, and to teach them their own strengths. That’s why right wing Unionists demonise the independence movement now just like they demonised lesbian and gay people back in the 80s. We challenge their power.  We scare them.  And we’re going to defeat them.

Audio version of this blog article, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/a-storm-in-a-d-quip-wee-ginger-dug-19th-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 tide that washes away Ruth’s line in the sand

On the anniversary of the independence referendum the leaderene of the Scottish Tories informed us that she has a vision. Ruthie’s had a dream, a bit like Martin Luther King’s but without the imagination, the humanity, or the inspiration. Some leader’s dreams are grand dreams, dreams of a better nation, dreams that inspire a people, but Ruthie’s dream is a small dream, more of a dwam really. It’s a dream of a shortbread tin wrapped in a Union fleg. Ruthie doesn’t ask for much, or more precisely, she doesn’t ask for much from the Westminster establishment. From the Scottish people she asks a great deal, she asks for us to put up and shut up and eat up whatever stale cereal we’re served, without complaint.

Ruthie is still bumming up the hauf-airsed powers of the new Scotland Act as proof that the British establishment takes Scotland seriously, even those those powers were gleefully described by her own stuffed toy Scotland Secretary as a trap for the Scottish Government. Look, she says, look at all the fabulous things we get due to the generosity and goodwill of the UK Government! Scotland can even have control of road signs, at least as long as you don’t put them in Gaelic because then Jackson Carlot is going to complain.

It’s perfectly reasonable for the Tories to complain about any public manifestion of Scottish culture and they’re doing so because they’re proud Scots. After all it’s a well known fact that road signs in Gaelic cost ten million quid per letter and have to be accompanied by a harpist, and that’s really dangerous on a narrow road with passing places like the A9. Besides, if people in Scotland realised that we have languages and a culture of our own, then they might just start imagining that we’re more than just a region of North Britain. And that would never do. Scotland striding into a future confident and self-assured in the knowledge of its own nationhood creates uncertainty, the sort of uncertainty that Tories don’t like. That would be the kind of uncertainty that makes it more certain that Scotland won’t ever be governed by Tories.

Scotland’s facing a future of uncertainty and that’s a bad thing says Ruth. Although it’s just the uncertainty caused by the prospect of independence that’s a bad thing. The much greater uncertainty caused by a Brexit that’s the fault of a selfish Tory party and that Scotland doesn’t want is merely a potential. That’s good uncertainty, because it’s the kind that makes it more certain that Scotland will still get Tory governments irrespective of the fact that all Ruthie’s posing on a buffalo that’s driving a tank still can’t make her party into a potential Scottish Government.

Anyway, the modern Union is a partnership, says Ruthie. It’s a partnership between a Scottish population that refuses to vote Tory, and a Tory government in Westminster which we didn’t vote for that tells us what to do. What we have now is a modern partnership, totally different from the bad old days of the 1980s when we had a Tory government in Westminster which we didn’t vote for that told us what to do. That’s why Brexit isn’t a cause of uncertainty even though that Tory government in Westminster still doesn’t have a plan A. Because it’s a partnership. It’s an opportunity to forge a new Scotland in partnership with a Tory government that we didn’t vote for telling us what that new Scotland is going to look like, a Scotland where our civil and employment rights depend on authoritarian Conservatives unconstrained by any opinions originating from the Scottish electorate. How anyone could possibly confuse that with the bad old days when Scotland didn’t have any say in its own future is quite beyond Ruth. It’s a flexible and loose fitting Union she says, as Scotland is strangled by a xenophobic and isolationist Tory ideology that a large majority of people in this country hold in contempt.

This is a modern and forward looking partnership where the people of Scotland make their views clear at the ballot box, and Westminster shrugs its shoulders and says suck it up. Then they lecture us for daring to create uncertainty. The future that Ruth looks forward to is a future where Scotland is forever condemned to constitutional navel gazing while we beg for crumbs from the Westminster table. This Tory government that we’re in partnership with doesn’t even think that Scotland merits a pissing hour long news programme of its own, and yet we’re expected to put all our faith and trust in it to determine our life chances and opportunities and those of our children and grandchildren.

Ruth’s vision is as contentless and substance free as the Vow that was signed by her boss back in September 2014. She’s promising nothing, just vague waffle that will convince no one. She claims the Union is evolving, but constitutional evolution in Scotland within the Union consists of Scotland’s demands remaining unmet. It consists of the Unionist parties perverting the democratic aspirations of the Scottish people into short term party political gain. That’s the arrogance and hubris that destroyed the Labour party, and it’s the same arrogance and hubris that ensures that the Tories will forever be a minority who only enjoy prominence because they have support in the rest of the UK.

Anyway, argues Ruth, there’s no mandate for another referendum. The fact that the SNP clearly spelled out in its manifesto just a few months ago that a Scotland being dragged out of the EU against its will would be a trigger for a second indyref, then went on to become the largest party by far, and that together with the Greens there is majority support for the policy, that’s all irrelevant to Ruth. It’s wrong of Scotland to seek to hold the Tories to account.

There’s a line in the sand here. Says Ruth. No, here. No it’s back here now. Oh wait, no, it’s just over there. But it’s definitely a line in the sand and there can be no crossing it. There will be no second referendum in this modern partnership, because one side in it gets to dictate what the other side gets.

Then the tide of a new referendum comes in and washes Ruth’s line in the sand away, and there’s nothing she can do to prevent it. Ruth isn’t presenting a vision, she’s telling us her fantasy.

Audio link to this blog post, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-19th-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 hourglass turns again

Two years ago Westminster danced and cheered as the Union hourglass was turned over and they thought the sands had run out on an independence movement. They’d bought themselves a reprieve at the cost of a Vow, and words are cheap. Gordie Broon’s hot air comes at the price of an ego massage. Clap those hands stuck in the expenses till, rattle your crown jewels, wave your fleg. The Union was safe and all it took was another set of promises that meant nothing, another set of commitments with no intention to follow through. It had always worked before. This time they had to up the ante, to threaten more and promise more, but they got the result they wanted. Just.

It was a wee bit of a scare, but Scotland had given permission for the Unionist parties to get back to business as usual. So they danced and they cheered and they expected Scotland’s indy movement to crawl under a rock and hide from view as it withered and died. A Union flag fluttering on its grave. Respecting the will of the Scottish people became the mantra of parties who had no intention to respect the will of the Scottish people. Respecting the will of the Scottish people became the rallying cry of parties who refuse to accept there’s a Scottish nation to respect. The won their referendum by a bawhair and then thought they had licence to kick Scotland in the baws.

All that the Unionist establishment won two years ago was another pile of sand in the hourglass of the Union. They could have spent that time wisely. They could have shored up their support by delivering on their promises. They could have secured Scotland’s place as a leading member of a family of nations. They could have firmed up the sand and built the foundations of a lasting Union by delivering the home rule they had promised, by keeping Scotland safe within Europe. Instead they sneered and thought they’d been given a blank cheque. They told us that Scotland’s summer of self-realisation was really all about England, and they gave us English votes for English laws and English votes for Scottish laws too. They took their hourglass and hammered a great big hole in the bottom of it as the sand poured out and buried them. They’re the agents of their own destruction and the smell of their fear hangs over the land. They’re not dancing now. We are.

In 2014 there was an explosion of energy, enthusiasm and self-belief in a country that for generations had buried its hopes and dreams in a box marked memories of a history long past. Scotland changed forever in the summer of independence when the prospect of a different and better country shimmered on the horizon, so close you could almost touch it. We dreamt it into being with the force of our own will. A generation whose communities had been battered and beaten down by the gales of Thatcherism and the cynicism of Blair discovered that they could hope and dream. We learned that aspiration to a better life was possible for us too. We learned that if we wanted it we needed to do it for ourselves. It was a summer of life and a summer of learning. We learned our own power and the potential of the Scottish people. We changed this country. We changed ourselves.

But the Unionist parties didn’t change, and that has been their undoing. We stand on the brink of another independence referendum, the prospect of a better Scotland once more shimmers on the horizon. And it’s all down to the selfish self-interest of a Unionist establishment that couldn’t think further than its own short term interest. The took our hopes and our aspirations, and they twisted them to suit their own party interests.

Two years on and it’s the independence movement which is dancing. Two years on and it’s the movement to change Scotland into a self-assured self-determined nation that’s in the ascendancy. The leaders of Unionism aren’t dancing now, they’re howling with anger and frustration as they look upon the ruins of a post-referendum settlement that they broke themselves. They’ve been reduced to the lonely voice of Fluffy Mundell telling Scotland to embrace the opportunities of being torn out of Europe in a future that we have explicitly rejected. All that the UK offers is a future of disillusion, of deception, and disappointment, where Scotland’s wishes and needs are drowned in a vat of Tory bilge.

Two years ago we were promised a Scotland whose voice would be heard, which would be respected and self-respecting, which would govern itself and make its own decisions in partnership with close allies. That’s what the Unionists promised us. That’s not what they have delivered. It took just twenty four months for them to dissolve in the corrosive acid of their own deceit.

So here we are. An independence movement that’s refreshed and tempered in the heat of campaigning, hardened in its resolve and stiffened in its determination. We go into a new campaign with the support of half the population and the experience and skills to organise ourselves in the biggest grassroots movement that Scotland has ever seen. We have a digital media that’s active and vital, a thousand voices and a thousand songs. And we face a Unionist establishment that’s broken and discredited, tied by their lies and compromised by unkept promises.

Tomorrow on Glasgow Green, people from all over Scotland will come together in a peaceful and joyful gathering to show our support for a new Scotland, a better Scotland, a Scotland where the voices of Scotland are heard and the opinions of its people matter. We want a country where our political masters can be kept to their word because they will be accountable to the people of Scotland and no one else. We want a country where more than lip service is paid to social justice and equality. We want a country whose resources and skills are used to work in the interests of Scotland. And we’re going to build that country for ourselves.

The hourglass has turned again. The sands are running out on the Union.

Audio version of this blog article, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/the-hourglass-turns-again-wee-ginger-dug-17th-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.

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

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 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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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 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.

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 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.