Three little words

If you wanted to sum up everything that’s wrong with the United Kingdom but had to do it in a three word phrase, you’d be spoiled for choice. There’s “Scottish democratic deficit”, “Nicholas Witchell reporting”, “Foreign Minister Johnson”, “Ant and Dec”, or “Simon Cowell’s X-Factor” just for starters. But there’s one phrase that perfectly sums up the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of Britain like no other, a phrase that encapsulates how Scotland and the rest of the UK aren’t merely different countries post-Brexit, but are increasingly on different planets separated by the vast airless gulf of the mainstream media, and that phrase is “Lord Nigel Farage”. It’s a phrase which on first being heard is immediately followed by another three word phrase, and that other phrase is, “What the fuck?” Said repeatedly while you bang your head futilely off the press that prints the Daily Mail.

The British government has refused to rule out the possibility that Nige might be granted a peerage for his services to British public life. That would be destroying our relationship with the European Union, hastening the end of the United Kingdom (OK, we’ll give him that one), causing – albeit indirectly – the Conservative party to morph into Ukip, and helping to spark off an outbreak of racist and homophobic attacks because the nutjobs of the extreme right now feel vindicated and empowered. Nigel has taken a state that was already characterised by a drift into right wing nastiness, and pushed it over the cliff of intolerance. We’re taking back control as Torukip spins and twists on our descent.

Nigel’s the grinning face of the new British populism, the millionaire public school stockbroker with the pint and the fag who says he’s standing up for the little guy. He represents the England that’s even smaller than the Little one. He’s standing up against the establishment by strengthening the powerful and empowering the strong. He’s protecting the weak by taking an axe to their support networks and shredding their safety nets. He’s blaming the problems of Britain on those who suffer most from them. He’s the village pond darling of the Alt Right, the frog prince of the neofascists.

The Ukip leader is a new way of voicing old prejudice, just like the Alt Right. Alt Right is the expression of ancient hatred in a digital format. Because it’s high tech it can express low sentiment and claim that it’s edgy and subversive while it seeks to bolster the old establishments. The worst possible crime is political correctness, because it’s offensive to offenders that they’re no longer allowed to offend.

Nige is the hero of the most oppressed people of all, those middle class right wing white men who’re upset that their privileges are no longer to remain unquestioned. Because to an oppressor equality feels like oppression. Nigel needs a reward for his services, because Nigel speaks for oppressed right wing middle class white men. Nigel needs a platform so he can speak with authority on BBC Question Time and influence our laws without having to trouble himself with getting rejected at the ballot box. Nigel needs a title other than the one he’s already got, the title of Buffoon in Chief for Little England and Shit Stirrer Extraordinaire. The Ukip ascendency, just like its Trumpist equivalent over the other side of the Atlantic, won’t challenge the establishment, won’t tear down the elite. It’s a creature of that very elite.

The continuing existence of the House of Lords is bad enough. It’s an insult to democracy, an excuse for legitimised patronage in a political system that likes to claim it’s above the sort of favouritism that marks the politics of lesser breeds. In Britain there’s no need for the secretive and undercover patronage that blights other countries, in Britain it’s institutionalised and dressed up in fancy costumes. There’s no hard evidence to suggest that Farage might be in line for a peerage, other than Theresa May’s refusal to answer a direct question on the topic, but the point is that we live in a state where a peerage for the likes of Farage is a distincy possibility. The anti-elitist warrior will be happy to pose in ermine and lord it over us, and even happier to draw expenses on the public account.

Britain was already a dysfunctional state with a dysfunctional political system. Nigel and Ukip made it worse. They took the good aspects of British society, its willingness to tolerate difference, its acceptance of diversity, and they said that the only things that saved Britain were sinking it. If Farage gets a peerage he’ll be Baron Farage of Dailymailshire, the Lord of the Whinge.

There are still those who argue for a better British state. The mirage of federalism floats in the democratic desert, as out of reach and unreal as it ever was. But it’s just a distraction. Any proposal that relies upon the Westminster Parliament to willingly surrender its power, any idea whose success depends upon limiting the absolute privilege of a British Prime Minister, is doomed to failure. They’re distractions from the real goal, last ditch attempts from a discredited system to save itself by offering pretty baubles that it will never allow us to have. There’s only one way to change things.

It’s clearer now that it ever was that Scotland is on a different path from the rest of the UK. We’re not better people than those in other parts of the UK, but we’ve poured our political energies into the dream of an inclusive and open minded Scotland, a tolerant Scotland, a diverse Scotland that engages with the world. And we’ve done that because we’ve sought to differentiate Scotland from a Britain that’s growing increasingly intolerant and insular. Britain can have Nicholas Witchell oozing sycophancy all over the telly whenever some minor royal waves at a pleb. Britain can have its Brexit. It can have its Lord Farage. It can have the Ukipisation of its politics. It can have its growing metropolitisation of the economy. But it can’t have the Union too. We’ve got three little words of our own “Scottish independence now”.

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

There won’t be any new blog posts for a few days as I’m off to Skye tomorrow to do a talk for Yes Skye. If you’re in the area come along and meet the dug and me at the Sligachan Hotel in Sligachan, Skye on Saturday 19 November between 11am and 1pm.

Audio version of this blog, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-17th-nov-2016


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.


frontcovervol3barkingvol2coverSigned copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 2 3 & 4 are available by emailing me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Price just £21.90 for two volumes plus P&P. Please state whether you want vols 1 & 2 or 3 & 4. You can also order signed copies of all four volumes for the special price of £40 plus £4 P&P within the UK.

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.

You can get your copy of Barking Up the Right Tree Volume 2 for the special advance order price of £1 off the cover price and free P&P within the UK by placing an order on the Vagabond Voices website. Just click the following link.

http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=2709

Oops they did it again

Woo hoo! Labour and the Lib Dems have been defending Scotland’s interests again. Does it not make you so proud that we live in a country where political parties are mature and grown up and don’t play childish games with the lives and opportunities of the people they represent in Parliament. Yesterday there was a vote in Holyrood in which all the parties of Scotland were called on to stand up for what the people of Scotland voted for in a referendum just a few months ago, and to protect Scotland’s membership of the single market. After all, we know how important it is that the results of referendums are respected, don’t we? That’s what the Unionist parties keep reminding us.

However it appears that it’s only the results of the 2014 independence referendum that needs to be respected. Any subsequent referendums only need to be respected insofar as they too respect the results of the 2014 referendum, because the 2014 referendum was the ground zero of electoral respect. Who knew? What we now know is that according to our Unionist parties every subsequent vote in Scotland for the rest of history, irrespective of that vote’s outcome, must be interpreted according to how it “respects” the result in September 2014.

So Scotland’s decision in June this year that we want to remain a part of the European Union, a decision made by a considerably larger margin than Scotland’s decision to remain a part of the UK, only deserves conditional respect. And that respect is conditional on the absolute respect demanded by the Unionists for the referendum in 2014. I don’t know about you, but I don’t recall that the question on the ballot in 2014 was “Should Scotland become an independent country and if not will this decision be thrown back in our faces every time we vote differently from the rest of the UK that we’re being told that we’re an equal partner in? Because you’re not really an equal partner, we’re only telling you that just now in order to get you to vote no.”

Yesterday the Scottish parliament voted on a motion asking the UK government for clarity on Brexit, and demanding that Scotland’s membership of the European single market is protected. In other words pretty much what all the parties with representation in Holyrood, with the exception of the Tories, have been arguing for ever since the day after the EU referendum when Boris Johnson stood before the massed ranks of the press like a guilty schoolboy who had nipped behind the bike sheds for a fag and then accidentally burned down the school.

But of course it was an SNP motion. And because it was an SNP motion none of the Unionist parties could bring themselves to support it. Yes that’s right, the party that proudly describes itself as the most pro-European party in Britain, the party which claims to be passionate about its defence of British membership of the EU, voted with the Tories against ensuring that Scotland’s membership of the EU single market is protected. That’s a betrayal way up there with their spectacular U-turn on student fees, and it completes the Lib Dems’ transformation into the Tory party which is distinguished from the rest of the Tory party by the fact that they don’t like Iain Duncan Smith, only not enough so that they’re going to do anything about it.

The Lib Dems, who spent their recent party conference telling anyone who would listen that they were winning, voted with the Tories. No one who has being paying the slightest attention to Scottish politics over the past few years could possibly imagine that the Lib Dems are winning anything. But then no one who was paying the slightest attention to Scottish politics over the past few years paid the slightest attention to the Scottish Lib Dem’s recent conference. It’s a very strange definition of winning, but what Wullie Rennie actually meant by the word winning was that he managed to get a constituency seat in Fife on the back of Tory tactical voting and didn’t have to go back to driving the number 17 bus to Kelty.

In order to keep on winning, in the Wullie Rennie definition of the term where winning means sooking up to Tories in order to gain their tactical votes and save Wullie’s skin, the Lib Dems voted along with the Tories against defending Scotland’s place in the EU single market. Wullie knows that he’s winning because the Lib Dems are subject to the howls of cybernats on social media. Who knew that being the object of derisive laughter was a recipe for success. The Lib Dems are going to be hearing a whole lot more of it. Wullie will be happy that he’s winning.

Labour didn’t oppose the motion, instead they adopted their usual tactic of standing up for Scotland’s rights, for the defence of the poor and vulnerable, and for social democratic politics, by bravely running away and abstaining. Fearlessly and unflinchingly, in the face of a vote against something that threatens to strip working people of rights and opportunities you can count on the Labour party to heroically sit on its hands and look the other way. It’s very important for the Labour party to protect its hands, because it needs them so that they can wring them uselessly a few months later when they complain about how terrible it is what the Tories are doing. There are open toed wellingtons which have more sense and purpose than the Labour party.

Ian Murray, the honourable member for Red Morningside, illustrated Labour’s uselessness yesterday when he complained about the ill effects of the Tory benefit policies which are throwing thousands of families into penury. Those would be those same policies that Labour didn’t vote against in the House of Commons, they sat on their hands and abstained.

When she became leader of the Scottish branch office, Kezia Dugdale stated that one of the problems that Labour faced is that people in Scotland no longer know what the party stands for, and are no longer listening to it. Nothing much has changed there. We still don’t know what the party stands for because they say one thing and then won’t vote for it when it comes to the crunch. And we’re not listening to them because if when it comes to a vote on protecting the interests of Scotland, or the interests of those dependent on social security, or the interests of the low paid, all Labour does is to abstain, then it’s clear that the party has no opinions worth listening to. They had a chance to change that yesterday, but instead, oops they did it again.

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

Audio version of this blog post, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-16th-nov-2016


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.


frontcovervol3barkingvol2coverSigned copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 2 3 & 4 are available by emailing me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Price just £21.90 for two volumes plus P&P. Please state whether you want vols 1 & 2 or 3 & 4. You can also order signed copies of all four volumes for the special price of £40 plus £4 P&P within the UK.

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.

You can get your copy of Barking Up the Right Tree Volume 2 for the special advance order price of £1 off the cover price and free P&P within the UK by placing an order on the Vagabond Voices website. Just click the following link.

http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=2709

Theresa May’s Brexit strategy revealed – the Easter Island approach

We’re now over four months into the post-Brexit trauma, and Theresa May’s Brexit plans are slowly becoming clear. There’s going to be more opportunities to win than in a box load of scratch cards that you got given for free. Everyone is going to win the lottery of life because being Great is what being British means. We’ve got the baking programmes to prove it, and that’s why there’s going to be cake and Britain’s going to eat it. Britain’s going to divorce the EU but will be keeping the house, the car, and all the assets, but the EU gets to keep the kids, at least those ones that haven’t had their teeth examined by Amber Rudd. And everyone is going to be happy and patriotic, except for gay Olympic fencing judges.

It’s going to be grand, because Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage both say so, and just like the Donald Trump whom they’re competing to sook up to they’d never lie. Let’s get on with cutting all our ties to Europe, they both urge. They’re a bit like the chieftains on Easter Island who called on their tribespeople to cut down the last trees on the island in order to move a big and pointless stone statue, provoking a total collapse of the island’s civilisation and a descent into human sacrifice and a cannibalistic civil war. The difference of course is that the Easter Islanders at least ended up with some big statues to show for their sacrifices, whereas the only beings who will express any interest in a statue of Nigel Farage will be the doos which crap on it. And anyway no one is proposing to throw Nigel into a volcano as a sacrifice to propitiate Donald Trump, which is a bit disappointing really.

I must confess I did get my hopes up slightly when I saw that photie of Nige and the Donald grinning in front of a pair of golden doors which looked like something from an Indiana Jones movie, and was sort of hoping that they’d open the doors and immediately be devoured by giant spiders, and or fall into a tank of ravenous piranhas. But it was not to be. Doors like that are more usually associated with Egyptian pyramids and contain mummies whose brains and hearts have been removed and are stored in jars. Which isn’t a bad description of Nigel and Donald, come to think of it.

Anyway, this week we’ve finally achieved a modicum of clarity on the UK’s Brexit plans, not due to anything that the government has deigned to tell us, but because of a leaked memo. The leaked cabinet memo has highlighted just how well prepared and organised the UK government is for Brexit, if that is by well prepared and organised you mean running around screaming in a panic with your underwear on your head while blaming everyone else for the disaster that’s about to befall us. The reason that Theresa May doesn’t want to reveal her hand is because there’s no plan. There’s no strategy. There’s no definition of priorities.

Over four months on, there’s still no strategy or common plan from the various parts of the British government. They’re still far more concerned with fighting one another than they are with developing a strategy that they can all agree on. Quite possibly because no one wants to be the first to admit that they can agree with Liam Fox on anything. According to the memo, the government may need 30,000 extra civil servants in order to deal with planning and preparation for Brexit. Instead the government has decided to embark upon the tried and tested British method of muddling through then insisting that the resultant cock up was in fact a bold and innovative new jam-like strategy which they had been aiming for all along. And anyway, the mess is all the fault of migrants / Brussels bureaucrats / Jeremy Corbyn /openly gay Olympic fencing judges, delete as appropriate.

The memo has revealed that Theresa May is as much of a control freak as Gordie Broon was, and just like Gordie now that she’s managed to get to the top of the greasy pole of politics she doesn’t have the foggiest idea of what she wants to do next. She’s presiding over a cabinet full of squabbling egos, whose ability is in inverse proportion to their sense of importance. Boris hates David Davis, David Davis hates Liam Fox, and everyone hates Philip Hammond.

Liam has adopted the gunboat approach to diplomacy in his contacts with our EU neighbours, forgetting that we don’t actually have any gunboats. A few days ago he pissed off other EU member states by loftily informing them that they’d have no choice but to allow a post-Brexit UK full access to the single market irrespective of whether Britain rejects free movement or deports Polish people. This is because, said the bold Liam, the EU has negotiated trade treaties with non-EU states who signed up to them on the basis that they’d have access to all the existing member states, and if Britain was outside the single market they’d no longer have access to the UK’s market, so they could sue the EU. It was a cunning wheeze of the sort that has seen self-righteous British colonialists bundled up by the irked natives and thrown into the nearest volacano. Then it was gently pointed out to Liam that since it’s the UK which is voluntarily leaving the EU, it’s the UK which is choosing to withdraw from the single market, and if South Korea is going to sue anyone it’s going to be suing the UK. So that was Liam burned.

Meanwhile in Scotland there are still voices calling plaintively for some sort of deal that will allow Scotland to retain most of the benefits of EU membership even though the rest of the UK has cut down the last tree and set off a cannibal holocaust even without throwing any Tory cabinet ministers into a volcano. Unfortunately for these people, that would be Wullie Rennie and much of the Labour party in Scotland, the only certainty from the UK government about anything related to Brexit is that Scotland isn’t going to get any special treatment. The City of London can get special treatment, Japanese car manufacturers can get special treatment. Parts of the UK which voted heavily to leave will be treated with kid gloves to protect them from the consequences of their Brexit vote, but Scotland will get what it’s given and will be expected to shut up. We’ll experience the full force of the UK’s stupidly selfish incompetence. There’s only one way Scotland can avoid being the sacrificial victims who get thrown into the volcano of Brexit.

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

Audio version of this blog post, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-15th-nov-2016


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.


frontcovervol3barkingvol2coverSigned copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 2 3 & 4 are available by emailing me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Price just £21.90 for two volumes plus P&P. Please state whether you want vols 1 & 2 or 3 & 4. You can also order signed copies of all four volumes for the special price of £40 plus £4 P&P within the UK.

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.

You can get your copy of Barking Up the Right Tree Volume 2 for the special advance order price of £1 off the cover price and free P&P within the UK by placing an order on the Vagabond Voices website. Just click the following link.

http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=2709

Fear of foreign

For the past few days there have been Scottish Unionists on social media congratulating themselves that with their No vote in 2014, Scotland resisted the evil tide that has unleashed the evils of right wing populism and washed up the flotsam of Brexit and the Trump presidency. They’re deluding themselves. The No vote in 2014 was the first victory of that right wing, xenophobic and fearful populism. The No vote was secured on a fear mongering campaign, a campaign of demonisation, of stirring up hatred and preaching odium.

It wasn’t the Yes campaign which spent 2014 stirring up fear of foreigners. It was the Better Together campaign which produced posters and leaflets warning Scots that if we voted for independence our English relatives would become foreigners to us. You’re only going to do that if deep down you believe, or you cynically want others to believe, that being foreign is a bad thing. The No campaign played on fears. The No campaign pandered to stereotypes. The No campaign didn’t just dog whistle, it blasted the fog horn of fear.

It was the No campaign that claimed that people who needed transplants would be left to die in agony. It was the No campaign which asserted that pensioners would be left in penury. It was the No campaign which spoke of border controls and barbed wire and burly men in uniform wielding weaponry. It was the No campaign which outrageously and without a trace of shame tried to insist that Scotland was the only country in the world which is incapable of having any sort of currency at all. I had a elderly neighbour who listened to the horror shows and the fright clowns of the No campaign and sincerely believed that the pound coins and banknotes in her purse would be as valueless as Monopoly money the morning after a Yes vote. Is that an honourable way to win a vote? It’s something that wouldn’t trouble a Farage or a Trump – or a Gordie Broon.

The real fascists, the real sectarian bigots, the real xenophobes and authoritarian figures of fear, they supported the No campaign. Farage campaigned for a No vote. The Orange Order campaigned for a No vote. The BNP campaigned for a No vote. There were no instances of violence from Yes supporters. No Yes supporters ended up before the courts for offences against public order. That was Unionists. It was Unionist fascists who rioted in George Square and embarked upon assaults and attacks in an orgy of destructive rage. It was the No vote which empowered the violent and the thugs in the exact same way that it was the Brexit vote and Trump’s victory which legitimised the anger and thuggery of right wing bigots and set off a rise in attacks on minorities.

So enough of the self-righteous smuggery from Unionist campaigners in the wake of the Trump vote. His tactics were your tactics. The consequences of his victory are yours. The intolerance he preached is yours. The fears he stoked are the same fears you stoked. The hatred, xenophobia, he unleashed is the same as that you unleashed. The legitimisation of fascist violence is the same. Brexit and Trump simply elaborated and built upon on the playbook that the Unionists’ Project Fear created. They laid the foundations for the Yellow Brick Road that leads to the fake tanned wizard of lies and ends in the swamp of despair.

It’s the continuing vitality of a progressive, social democratic, tolerant and diverse Scottish independence movement that gives hope that the Farages, the Trumps, and the fear mongers and xenophobes can be resisted. The Scottish independence movement seeks to build a Scotland that’s accepting of difference, that values all citizens irrespective of their origins, that defines itself in opposition to racism, sexism, homophobia. The Scottish independence movement is the opposite of Trumpism, diametrically opposed to the insularity of Brexit.

Scottish independence is the last great hope of social democracy. The Scottish independence movement is an attempt to construct a modern form of social democracy that engages an active and politically aware citizenry and unites them. The Scottish independence movement doesn’t speak of division, it speaks of escape from a corrupt political system that trades in fear and gives succour to the Faragists of this world.

An independent Scotland will be characterised by the movement which campaigns for it. It will be a Scotland which will be tolerant, accepting, outward looking, internationalist, and which will engage all its citizens. An independent Scotland will be a beacon of liberal values. The hope of the independence movement is that it can create a Scotland in which democracy and participation can flourish. A Scotland which distances itself from the patronisation and inequalities of the past. That’s why we’re doing this, that’s why we’re campaigning. We look to other nations like Iceland, Sweden, Norway or Finland for models of the kind of country that we can become. We’re not so arrogant that we don’t believe that we can learn from the experiences of others. We’re not so proud that we destroy ourselves in a misbegotten attempt to keep the world at bay, we run towards the world, and we accept it with open and welcoming arms.

Brexit Britain will be characterised by the movement which campaigned for it too. It will be bigoted, xenophobic, insular, backward looking and fearful. It will be authoritarian and dictatorial. It will look to the past and seek to ground itself in the dream of a golden age that never existed. And it will disappoint and deceive those who voted for it. When they realise that they were duped the backlash could be violent, angry, and frightening.

Just like Trump, Brexit Britain flees from the foreign and is afraid of it. It tries to build a wall against it. An independent Scotland will embrace the foreign and make it our own. That’s what has defined Scotland throughout the centuries, and it’s what will continue to define us in the future. That’s the opposite of Brexit, the opposite of Trump. If the supporters and backers of the Unionist Project Fear want to know the real face of Brexit, the real motivations behind the movement that swept Trump into power, they won’t see it by looking at the Yes movement. They’ll see it by looking in the mirror.

Audio version of this blog post, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-12th-nov-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.


frontcovervol3barkingvol2coverSigned copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 2 3 & 4 are available by emailing me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Price just £21.90 for two volumes plus P&P. Please state whether you want vols 1 & 2 or 3 & 4. You can also order signed copies of all four volumes for the special price of £40 plus £4 P&P within the UK.

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.

You can get your copy of Barking Up the Right Tree Volume 2 for the special advance order price of £1 off the cover price and free P&P within the UK by placing an order on the Vagabond Voices website. Just click the following link.

http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=2709

Londonavelgazing

Kelvin Mackenzie has been scotbaiting in the Sun again. Or at least in its English edition. Kelvin thinks that he’s allowed to spew anti-Scottish racism, oh sorry ‘banter’, because he’s got some Scottish ancestry. This makes it all just fine. He’s not going to get abused on a London Tube or commuter train when someone hears his Scottish accent, because he’s not got a Scottish accent. The last Scottish accent in Kelvin’s family tree is safely dead, and so is Kelvin’s common decency.

Kelvin wrote a piece defending Trump’s oft-stated desire to build a border wall with Mexico, and to insist that Mexico pays for it. He thinks it would be a grand idea to rebuild Hadrian’s Wall to keep us out, and he wants us to pay for it. Strange thing, these English nationalists are always going on about Hadrian’s Wall even though it runs in its entirety through England. Rebuilding it would cede a large chunk of the far north of England to Scotland. Mind you, Londonavelgazers like Kelvin don’t really know the difference between Scotland and the extreme north of England. They think the north begins at the M25.

Kelvin thinks that England won’t be able to collect on the costs of rebuilding the wall, on account of the fact that Scotland is a penurious basketcase. Oh the laughs. Oh the wit. Oh the bantz. Far more good would come to the world if someone could build an impenetrable wall around the Sun’s offices. I wouldn’t even insist that they paid for it.

The right wing in England is fomenting hatred, not just against the usual suspects, migrants, muslims, and gay people, but increasingly against Scots too. It’s the attitudes and opinions of the likes of Kelvin Mackenzie which led to the SNP’s Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh being booed on BBC Question Time on Thursday night for the temerity of wanting to discuss Scotland in an English political forum. Watching BBC Question time reminds us that we need to be more concerned about the shit over this side of the water rather more than worry about the arsehole over the Atlantic.

“You’ve got to let me talk about Scotland, David,” said Tasmina as she tried to make the point that Scotland voted to remain a part of the EU and our needs and voice must be respected in this supposedly equal partnership of nations that fancies itself as a United Kingdom. The audience groaned and some booed. That’s our reality. That’s our place. Never mind special treatment, never mind a special deal. Even mentioning Scotland provokes resentment. There is no United Kingdom, only a sullen and resentful England and a Scotland that’s told to shut up.

You might imagine that the host, employed as he is by a British Broadcasting Corporation which has as one of its aims and goals to foster cohesion between the nations of the UK might have told the audience to hush, to show some respect and consideration for the fact that not everyone in this disunited kingdom wants to leave the EU. That he might have acknowledged that in this family of nations there are different views. But no. This was David Dimbleby and this was the BBC.

Tasmina was corrected by David who intervened to inform her that she was a representative of the SNP not of Scotland. Well I say corrected, what really mean is patronised and slapped down. She was told that she doesn’t speak for Scotland after all. David knows more about what counts as Scottish opinion by virtue of the fact that he’s a London based broadcaster. I can never remember him intervening to tell a Labour or Tory MP that they were only representatives of their party and not of all of their constituents, irrespective of which party they’d voted for. And the reason I can’t remember it is because it has never happened. There isn’t a constituency in the whole UK where everyone who voted voted for the sitting MP, but in Unionistland the government of Scotland and Scotland’s MPs don’t have the right to voice the opinions of the majority of Scotland’s voters. When they do they are met with groans, and boos, and resentment.

It was resentment about Scotland daring to speak its own mind that led some UKippers to promote a petition calling on Scotland to be voted out of the UK. The petition received significant support, but only because it was hijacked by Scottish independence supporters with a sense of humour. Scotland needs to be voted out of the UK because Scotland no longer shares British values, those would be the values of intolerance, racism, hatred of foreigners, xenophobia, militarism, and the fetishisation of a fleg. After all, if you’re so insecure in your nationhood that you feel the need to prefix everything up to and including a cake show with ‘Great British’, the chances are you’re not going to be very tolerant of parts of the UK that want to do things differently.

The UK government has now officially responded to the petition. The reply speaks of the need to respect the result of the 2014 referendum in Scotland, but it’s silent on the result of the 2016 referendum in Scotland. The majority in Scotland who voted to remain a part of the EU don’t count. Only some majorities in Scottish votes need to be respected. Those would be the ones that happen to agree with what the British state wants, those that don’t receive the Great British Flick Off and get consigned to rot behind the Great British Wall.

Kelvin Mackenzie wants to rebuild Hadrian’s Wall, but there’s already a high wall around Scotland. It’s a wall that contains our opinions and silences our voice. It’s a wall that hides us from view and keeps us out of mind. It’s a wall that guarantees that Scotland’s place is a subordinate one and that we’ll be slapped down if we try to escape its bounds. Kelvin Mackenzie doesn’t need to build a wall to contain and diminish Scotland, the British state and the BBC and the rest of the Londonavelgazing media have already built one for him.

Audio version of this blog post, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-11th-nov-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.


frontcovervol3barkingvol2coverSigned copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 2 3 & 4 are available by emailing me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Price just £21.90 for two volumes plus P&P. Please state whether you want vols 1 & 2 or 3 & 4. You can also order signed copies of all four volumes for the special price of £40 plus £4 P&P within the UK.

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.

You can get your copy of Barking Up the Right Tree Volume 2 for the special advance order price of £1 off the cover price and free P&P within the UK by placing an order on the Vagabond Voices website. Just click the following link.

http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=2709

Not being played by the Trump card

Another vote, and another crushing disappointment for those opposed to bigotry, racism, and homophobia. Another vote, and another victory for the nastiness and the urge to blame the victims of globalisation for globalisation. Another vote, and another descent into a crueller and less compassionate world. Another vote, and another reason why it’s increasingly vital for Scotland to determine its own destiny in this uncertain and unstable world comes into a painfully sharp focus. We either choose independence, or we choose to remain powerless and afraid, a carpet to be tread on, a child that’s neglected, a dog that’s kicked. The shortbread tin we’ve been forced back into won’t protect us from the gales and storms.

An unstable authoritarian narcissistic buffoon, a man who’s incapable of measured judgement, now has his stubby little finger on the nuclear button, and one of the biggest stockpiles of nukes in the world sits just outside Scotland’s largest city. We sit subject to his whims. We are prisoners of his vanity. We are hostages to his self-aggrandisement. If you weren’t Yes before, you need to be now. Scotland can never protect itself entirely, we need allies and friends, and what we know for sure is that Donald Trump and Brexit Britain are no friends of ours. We need to make alliances as an equal partner with nations which treat us with respect. We don’t get that from Theresa May. We won’t get that from a climate change denying Donald Trump who will go to war with our windfarms. If Scotland was independent we could celebrate his accession to office by building a gigantic windfarm right beside his golf course, and paint the turbines in the colours of the Mexican and rainbow flags.

America has chosen to succumb to the same knee-jerk right wing populism that infects the rest of the UK. Just like Brexit, Trump’s victory will only give succour to the bigots and the xenophobes, the racists, the homophobes, and the misogynists. It legitimises their hatred. It gives a veneer of respectablity to their prejudices. The right is emboldened and resurgent. The world is a scarier and more dangerous place. But the TV news is filled with a succession of straight white middle class Trump supporters and Brexiteers who assure us that Trump and Brexit Britain love and support ethnic minorities, gay people, and women. So that’s reassuring. Straight white middle class men are after all the experts on absolutely everything.

The Trump card has played America. The people who voted for Trump did so because they were angry with a political establishment that had ignored their concerns and taken them for granted. The same kinds of people in the UK voted for Brexit for similar reasons. And now they’re going to discover that they’ll still be the victims. Their protest was hijacked by the far right, by tax-cutting business people. The silent majority found its voice, and its voice cried, “We’re going to blame those who’re victimised even more than we are for the crimes of an elite that doesn’t care for us.” And the billionaire businessman who gets his products made in China smiled. He rubbed his little hands with their stubby fingers together with glee, and said it was all the fault of the Mexicans. Let’s build a wall to keep out those who suffer even more than you do, while we welcome those who cause your suffering into the corridors of power. Because that will really stick it to The Man, that will really drain the swamp.

Trump’s victory coming so soon after the earthquake of Brexit has destroyed the arguments that BetterTogether made back in 2014. No longer can it be argued that we need to stay under the tender care of Westminster if we want security and stability. The world is less secure and less stable today than it has ever been. The choice now facing Scotland is a choice between a cold and compassionless Anglo-America or joining on our own terms with an internationalist Europe.

If we want to preseve those parts of the British state that are valuable and good, the only chance we have to do so is with independence. Tolerance, an outward looking internationalism, a respect for difference, the NHS, our belief in public services, free education, all are at risk if we remain subject to the cold icy blasts of an Anglo-America that has no place for society, it only recognises money and power. We can have a social-democracy that we build for ourselves, or we become a powerless and impotent province in a right wing populist state. That’s the choice that faces Scotland today.

2016 has been a terrible year. It’s been a year when public distrust in a political establishment that ignores them turned toxic. Scotland has only been saved from the same descent into an ugly and vicious right wing populism because of the Scottish independence movement which puts forward a progressive and social democratic vision of a better country. If it wasn’t for the independence movement, Scotland would succumb to the same hatred and paranoia that has come to define the rest of the UK and now the USA. That makes it all the more vital that here in Scotland we continue to pursue our dream of a better country, a country that speaks for all its citizens, a country that welcomes and fosters diversity, a country that defines itself by how it treats its minorities, a country that strives for social equality and justice. Because then we can demontrate to the world that there is a better way. That there is an alternative to the vile and nasty populism of Trump and Farage.

We can continue to sit, powerless and afraid, being played by the Trump card and the jokers of Brexit, or we can play some cards of our own. That’s the decision facing Scotland. We need to make the right choice, we need to play the indy card, and we need to do it for Europe and the world as much as we need to do it for ourselves. We can play the indy card and show that there is no place for hatred, that climate change is real, that a nation can meet the needs of all its citizens in an atmosphere of tolerance and respect. 2016 belongs to the xenophobes, the bigots, the sexists, the racists, but the future belongs to us. Scotland won’t be played by the Trump card.

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


frontcovervol3barkingvol2coverSigned copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 2 3 & 4 are available by emailing me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Price just £21.90 for two volumes plus P&P. Please state whether you want vols 1 & 2 or 3 & 4. You can also order signed copies of all four volumes for the special price of £40 plus £4 P&P within the UK.

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.

You can get your copy of Barking Up the Right Tree Volume 2 for the special advance order price of £1 off the cover price and free P&P within the UK by placing an order on the Vagabond Voices website. Just click the following link.

http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=2709

A crooked creep or a creepy crook

The United States goes to the polls tomorrow in the Presidential elections. This year American voters have as their next President a corrupt lying conniving con-man on the one hand, or a corrupt lying conniving con-woman on the other. Here in Scotland, as in the rest of the world, we’re following the events in the USA closely because whoever wins the election will have huge and direct impact on all of us. Although here in Scotland we do have the added interest that comes from us being used to having our fate decided by a deeply unpopular bucket of turd who was elected in a vote in which Scotland’s voice doesn’t matter.

It looks as though Hillary Clinton is narrowly ahead. She’s a deeply unpopular politician in the USA. She has a history of secrecy, of self-interest, and of changing her views to suit her audidence. She’s constantly mired in allegations of suspicious business dealings and corruption. The only candidate she stands any chance of beating is Donald Trump. Meanwhile Trump has a history of secrecy, of self-interest, and of changing his views to suit his audience. He’s constantly mired in allegations of suspicious business dealings and abuse. The only candidate he stands any chance of beating is Hillary Clinton. That’s why the vote is so close. In this US Presidential election the voters have a choice between a creepy crook, or a crooked creep.

There’s no point wishing for a third candidate to come through the middle, it’s not going to happen. It’s like hoping that the Lib Dems or the Greens can win a UK General Election. We’re lumbered with one of the big two. So we get to choose between one self-interested machine politician or another. In this respect the UK is the only country in the world with an electoral system which is even more dysfunctional than America’s, and even the rest of the UK has a political system which is more representative than Scotland’s. At least in the rest of the UK they get governments and EU-referendum outcomes that have attained a majority, even if in the case of governments, it receives a majority of seats on a minority of votes. In Scotland it makes no difference how we vote, we get the government our neighbour votes for.

The only thing that Hillary Clinton has in her favour is that she’s not Donald Trump. The only thing that Donald Trump has in his favour is that he’s not Hillary Clinton. Other candidates are available of course, but they’ve got as much chance of getting elected as the Monster Raving Looney Candidate does in a British by-election. Mind you, in these American elections the scary clown is one of the main contenders.

Not that Clinton is much better than Donald’s scary clown. She represents the very worst of American machine politics. She has the same cynical disregard for principle as her British equivalent. Clinton is a politician very much in the same rancid mould as Tony Blair. She’s hawkish on foreign policy and inconsistent on domestic policy. The only consistency in the political views of Hillary Clinton is that she’ll operate in the interests of the Washington machine and American big business interests.

The only consistency in the views of Donald Trump is that he’ll operate in the interests of Donald Trump. He’ll use the position of president to pursue his own personal agenda, and all those people who put their trust in him because they believed his promises on jobs will be sadly disappointed. For the rest of the planet he promises insecurity and uncertainty.

If Donald Trump becomes President half the world will take to fallout shelters for the next four years. While it’s perfectly likely that Hillary will start some small war in order to pursue her hawkish agenda, Donald is quite likely to start World War Three because someone was rude to him on Twitter. He actually asked why he shouldn’t use America’s nuclear arsenal. Trump might decide to invade Mexico when the Mexicans give him the same response as former Mexican president Vicente Fox when Trump demands that Mexico pays for the wall that Donald wants to build. The exact words of President Fox were “I declare, I’m not going to pay for that fucking wall.” He might nuke Scotland because we decided to build a windfarm offshore from his golf course.

Ultimately it’s because there’s a very real prospect of a Scottish independence referendum that I’d prefer a Clinton Presidency over a Trump one. Well, that and the fact that Trump is more likely to start WW3.

Trump’s opposition to Scottish independence will be personal, bitter, and visceral. He would make all sorts of overt threats to an independent Scotland, all of which would be motivated by his personal disagreements with the Scottish government and planning authorities and his ignorant refusal to accept the reality of climate change. Donald won’t want Scotland to become independent and will oppose our independence loudly and openly. And while there are very few people in Scotland who look up to Donald Trump as a voice of sage wisdom and reason, as President of the USA he would have a very real and threatening authority. The British media will make a huge play of his threats to undermine Scottish independence. And all because we have the temerity to build windfarms within view of his golf courses.

Clinton will also oppose Scottish independence, but she doesn’t have the same personal stake. Although Clinton is quite likely to mouth platitudes similar to those uttered by Obama during the first independence referendum, along the lines of not wanting one of the USA’s oldest allies to be weakened, the truth is that she’s unlikely care one way or the other if she doesn’t think American interests are going to be prejudiced by Scottish independence. And since Scotland would be seeking independence in order to remain a part of the EU, opposition from the US is likely to be muted. Clinton will not embark on a full on campaign of overt threats not to recognise an independent Scotland, to bar us from membership of international organisations, to threaten us with a trade embargo, or to refuse to admit Scottish passport holders into the USA. Trump is quite likely to do all of those things.

So although I hold no candle for Hillary Clinton, I’ll be relieved if she wins tomorrow. A Clinton victory means Scottish independence is more likely to occur smoothly.

Audio version of this blog post, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-7th-nov-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.


frontcovervol3barkingvol2coverSigned copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 2 3 & 4 are available by emailing me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Price just £21.90 for two volumes plus P&P. Please state whether you want vols 1 & 2 or 3 & 4. You can also order signed copies of all four volumes for the special price of £40 plus £4 P&P within the UK.

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.

You can get your copy of Barking Up the Right Tree Volume 2 for the special advance order price of £1 off the cover price and free P&P within the UK by placing an order on the Vagabond Voices website. Just click the following link.

http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=2709