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


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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.

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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

Extrahitis urinam

It’s the start of Boris Johnson’s Titanic success, May’s Brexit plans have collided with the iceberg of the courts. The High Court has decided that Britain isn’t a dictatorship after all. The Court has ruled that Theresa May doesn’t get to decide that Brexit means Brexit means whatever she wants it to mean all by herself. Parliament must get a say and must be consulted. It wasn’t merely that the Court found against the Tory government, they dismissed the Government’s case in the strongest possible terms, citing the legal doctrine extrahitis urinam, which is Latin for “you lot are taking the piss.”

Having spent the last few years demanding that Britain must leave Europe because it compromises the sovereignty of the Great British Half-Baked Parliament, the Daily Mail is now furious that a judge who’s an openly gay former Olympic fencer has ruled that the British Parliament must really be sovereign after all. For the Mail, the most salient aspect of the judge’s decision isn’t the fact that he’s a judge. It’s not the fact that he’s spent years practising law. It’s not the fact that he sits in the High Court. It’s the fact that he’s openly gay. Perhaps the Mail wouldn’t have a problem if he was a sad and lonely closet case, hiding away without any friends and trying to pretend he was something he wasn’t. Which is pretty much what Britain will be like after leaving the EU. Friendless, isolated, and trying to pretend it’s really a great and influential power alongside the USA.

If you want to know why homophobic attacks have soared along with racist assaults since Brexit, you need look no further than the rancid pages of the Mail and the other right wing rags which preach a venemous and hate filled variety of intolerant British nationalism.

Some more reasonable voices have expressed concern that the decision of the people in a referendum might be overturned by a court decision and members of Parliament. There is a serious debate to be had about where sovereignty lies in the UK and how it should be manifest. But this current situation has arisen because the EU referendum was not legally binding. And if it’s not legally binding can the office of the Prime Minister undo statutary law and the legal rights and obligations of citizens which flow from those laws without debating the matter in parliament. The High Court has said no.

If the government had wanted to make the EU referendum legally binding there was nothing to stop it doing so when the referendum bill was going through the Commons. All through the EU referendum the Brexiteers cried that they wanted British sovereignty, they wanted the sovereignty of the Westminster Parliament, and now the High Court has delivered that to them they’re greeting that that’s not the way they wanted it. Naturally the most unappealing government in recent history is going to appeal.

The only thing guaranteed to send a right wing Brexiteer into a fit of apoplexy more than a gay fencer judge who’s ruled against Theresa May’s right to be an absolute monarch is when the Scottish Government intervenes. And that’s exactly what’s happening now, as the Scottish Government has signalled that it’s planning to participate in the appeal in order to ensure that Scottish MPs get a say on Brexit in the Commons. Let’s just ensure that the Scotland is represented by a gay, or even better, a Muslim lawyer during the proceedings, all the better to wind up the Daily Mail. Aamer Anwar, your country needs you.

David Davies, the Tory Secretary of State for Frothing About Europe, is very angry about all this, although it’s difficult to tell when he’s very angry about something in particular since being frothing mouthed is his baseline status. Davie is furious because he thought that Brexit means Brexit means Laws Do Not Apply. Brexit means Brexit means Davie and his pals were supposed to be allowed to define what Brexit means Brexit means all by themselves. Now he’s very upset because the courts have just told him that what Brexit means Brexit means needs to be debated, discussed, and voted upon by members of parliament. That’s the same parliament that Davie was determined to secure sovereignty for last week, just in case anyone has forgotten. Because Davie certainly has.

The UK Government is taking an appeal to the Supreme Court. The case will probably be heard next month. However given the strength of the ruling against the government today, there can be no guarantee that Theresa May will get her way. She’s still insisting that she’s going to push the big red Brexit button in March next year, but a defeat in the Supreme Court could seriously derail her timetable. It means that Parliament might have to get a debate and a vote, and Theresa May will have to reveal to the country the broad details of her plan. That’s the plan that she says she’s keep secret so as not to give away her negotiating tactics, but which everyone else strongly suspects doesn’t actually exist. The Brexit plan is as mythical as Gordie Broon’s reputation as a respected statesman.

The real reason that Theresa May and her merry band of Europhobes don’t want a vote in Parliament on Brexit is because that would expose the intellectual bankruptcy of her government. There is no plan. All there is is the fond wish that somehow the EU27 will roll over and allow the UK to pick and choose those parts of the EU that it wants to retain after leaving the organisation. The truth is that Brexit means Brexit means what the EU wants it to mean, not Theresa May. And they’re not in the mood to do Britain any favours.

Brexit will still go ahead, but today’s ruling means that Theresa May and the right wing of the Tory party are not going to get everything entirely their own way. There’s now a better chance than there was yesterday that we could have the so-called soft Brexit with the UK leaving the EU but retaining access to the single market and the common customs area, keeping freedom of movement and preserving many of the rights we have as European citizens. That’s a good thing.

Audio version of this blog post, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-3rd-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

The annual rant about poppies

November has begun, which means the official commencement of the annual season for opinion articles about poppies. Although like Christmas, poppy-shaming has been starting earlier and earlier every year. Poppy shaming now starts so early that it has managed to go back in time and now starts before the actual start of WWI in 1914. This has caused a rupture in the space-time continuum and led to a paradoxical universe where sense and reason have broken down and we get ridiculous outcomes like Boris Johnson becoming Foreign Secretary and Liam Fox’s political career being rehabilitated. But they wear their poppies with pride.

Sense and reason has already broken down with the poppy fetish. What started as an emblem of mourning, a national outpouring of remembrance that war is destructive, meaningless and wracked with pain and grief, has over the years been coopted into a symbol of nationalistic glorification of the military. It’s become a recruiting tool for the armed forces and it gets painted on warplanes. That’s a bit like painting a peace symbol on a live nuclear warhead and claiming it represents CND. Oversized poppies are waved by children in army recruiting adverts while they wear t-shirts bearing the legend future cannon-fodder. It’s no longer a symbol of the horrors of war, it’s a symbol to glorify the militarism that breeds wars. The symbol that once spoke for the generation that fought the war to end all wars is now a symbol to attract young people into the army. Poppies have been hopelessly coopted by an establishment which reserves to itself the right to have another war if it thinks it’s in its interests.

Poppies have long since lost touch with their original meaning, but this year we’ve reached peak tastelessness with the poppy fetish. You can now buy a poppy crafted out of genuine First World War shell cases. Commemorate your ancestor’s life with a little part of the bombs that blew him to buggery for bugger all. Remember the dead with the implements of their destruction. It’s like commemorating the Holocaust with jewellery made from cannisters of poison gas, or selling little miniature hammers lovingly crafted out of Peter Sutcliffe’s weapon of choice in order to raise money for a women’s refuge. Inappropriate doesn’t even begin to describe it. Wear your WWI shell poppy, and you’re wearing on your lapel a little piece of something that maimed and killed.

The reality for ex-servicepeople in this land of the poppy fetish was described in the House of Commons on Wednesday by Jeremy Corbyn. Ex-serviceman David Clapson died alone without any food in his home after being sanctioned by the Job Centre. He died without food in his stomach alone in the dark after his benefit was stopped because he’d missed a meeting at the job centre. As a diabetic his life depended on ensuring that his diet was carefully regulated, that the insulin upon which he depended was kept refrigerated. All the poppy pride in the world won’t put food in your stomach. It won’t provide a decent job or standard of living. It won’t ensure dignity for the living, and it certainly won’t ensure that we end wars.

The tragic tale of David Clapson isn’t an isolated instance. Thousands of former service people are in crisis. Thousands depend on charities which are increasingly forced to supply those basic needs that the state is no longer willing to meet. That same state that’s happy to put on military parades so politicians can bask in reflected glory, covering themselves in pride like a fake tan while they preside over a system which has institutionalised petty cruelty and punishment, which condemns hundreds of thousands, both those who’ve served in the forces and those who have not, to a marginal life of desperation dependent on the whims of assessors who don’t assess compassion or care.

According to a report published a couple of years ago by the homelessness charity Crisis, one in ten of those who are forced to sleep rough in doorways and alleyways are former service people. Britain glorifies its military with parades, with flags, with poppies, but it won’t give former service people what they need in order to maintain a basic level of dignity. They are forced to rely on charity handouts. Once they’ve left the services they’re all too often cast adrift in a benefits system that’s more capricious and cruel than a bullying sergeant and they end up dying, starving and alone in the dark, sacrificed by an uncaring state that claims it always commemorates their sacrifice.

We can commemorate the dead and honour the sacrifice of those who died in order to protect this country that’s becoming ever more cruel, and ever more lacking in care. A country where compassion is a weakness and empathy is a sin. A country which refuses to accept responsibility for the damage that it wreaks and the suffering that it causes as it turns away refugees and demands that they open their mouths so that their teeth can be examined.

The truth is that if the sacrifice of the dead means anything it should mean that we remember that they fought and died in the hope that the world would become a better place, a kinder place, a place where compassion and love are prized above a military parade.

But it’s easy to commemorate the dead, unlike the living they don’t cost money and don’t make demands on your social security system. The dead don’t need houses or food on their tables. They don’t need jobs, they don’t need medical care, they don’t need emotional support. Dignity comes cheap when you’re dead. But best of all you can hang any message you like on the dead because they can no longer speak for themselves. You can take the symbol created by those who fought the war to end all wars and you can use it to recruit new soldiers who can fight and die in new wars. And then you can claim that you’re honouring the sacrifice of those who are no longer with us.

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