The people’s party that chose to stand against the people

Well now we know. The only thing that Labour in Scotland stands for is defending the Union, and they’re even prepared to go into coalition with the Tories in order to do so. Mind you, we knew that already, but this week we had confirmation that Labour doesn’t exist in order to protect working people from the depredations of the Tories. It exists in order to protect the Unionist political settlement that leaves working people vulnerable to the depredations of the Tories because if there’s no such settlement then Labour can’t claim that it exists in order to protect working people from the depredations of the Tories.

It’s a bit like Van Helsing going into a coalition with Dracula to stave off the villagers with the torches and pitchforks because in a world without vampires vampire hunters are needed as much as the Workers’ Revolutionary Party needs Ruth Davidson to stand outside a branch of Primark on a wet Saturday morning flogging copies of its newspaper. Or indeed needed as much as anyone on the planet needs Michael Gove anywhere, anytime. When push comes to shove, the Van Helsings of the Labour party in Scotland are on the side of the vampires, not the peasants. Labour is a vampire enabler. Without the threat of blood sucking Tories, Labour is pointless. The don’t want a cure for the condition that sickens the Scottish body politic. They want it to remain chronic, with frequent relapses, because then they can claim that they’re the medicine that provides temporary relief.

According to reports in the papers this week, internal polling for the Labour party in Scotland shows that support for the party has collapsed in what used to to be its traditional heartlands. A large number of former Labour supporters have switched to the Tories instead. Those would presumably be those for whom red white and bluenoses, royalty, and hating immigrants are more important than silly little things like social justice, equality, and challenging discrimination and bigotry.

But Labour has only got itself to blame for the haemorrhaging of its support to the Tories, because if it’s going to pitch itself as a Unionist party which puts the Union first and foremost then its voters who put the Union as their main priority are likely to switch to a party that’s even more hardline Unionist than Labour is. No one knows what Labour stands for except opposing the SNP, least of all Labour itself. There’s no point to the party. Except as a job creation scheme for Labour politicians. They told us to vote No in 2014 so that they could deliver social justice and pooling and sharing throughout the UK. But that proved to be a bust so now they want us to prop up Unionist parties in local authorities instead. They’re no longer that fussed about the content of the Unionism, it’s the fact that it’s Unionist that’s the only important consideration. Labour has no intention of standing up for the majority of Scots who voted to remain a part of the EU. They’d rather throw their lot in with a Tory party that’s reinvented itself as Ukip.

Unsurprisingly, the party is now making Wullie Rennie look like he’s got his finger on the popular pulse. It is polling so poorly in councils where it was formerly unchallengeable that the leadership has allegedly decided to concentrate funding for the local election campaign in those districts where there’s a chance that Labour can form a coalition with the Tories. Anything, but anything, to avoid going into coalition with the SNP and the Greens. Anything, but anything, so that they can keep warning about vampires. Labour would rather complain that the SNP government with its budget that is fixed is passing on Tory cuts to Scottish local authorities than complain about the Tory cuts. And Labour is one of the main reasons that the Scottish government’s budget is fixed in the first place and that it has no option but to pass on the cuts to its budget imposed on it by a Westminster government. That’s exactly how Labour arranged it. That’s exactly how Labour designed it.

Labour’s paying the price now for its hypocrisy and deceit. First they were defeated in Holyrood, then they were destroyed at Westminster, now they’re going to lose control of their last remaining councils. Scottish politics are a battle between the progressive social democratic and green politics of the independence movement, and the reactionary conservatism of the Union. Now Labour is reduced to pleading for the introduction of home rule and a fully autonomous Scottish branch office, all those things that they told us they’d achieved years ago. Vote Labour, vote for a lie. Vote for a promise that never fulfilled. Vote for deception, vote to bang your head against a brick wall that’s been built by company whose boss is a crony of your local Labour cooncil leader.

Labour chose the Union. They chose reaction. They chose conservatism. They chose to wave a red white and blue fleg and claim that they’re not nationalist while seeking to defend and protect one of the most viciously nationalist and xenophobic political systems in Western Europe. But you don’t stop being a nationalist just because you claim that you’re not a nationalist. You don’t become progressive just because you say you are. You have to act that way too. Labour’s actions, its repeated abstentions when it comes to protecting the poor and the vulnerable, its decision to attack Jeremy Corbyn instead of attacking the Tories when they were divided and leaderless, all prove that Labour’s unfit for purpose. Unless that purpose is keeping out of power a party with which they agree on most issues except the constitution. But the truth is that they’re not even any good at that either.

Now Labour is paying the price for the votes it borrowed, the false promises it made. The tectonic plates of Scottish politics are completing their realignment, and crushing the life out of what remains of a party that has long since lost any sense of what it stands for. You can have the Union, and the Union is a Tory creature, a xenophobic reactionary dystopia that looks out for the bosses and the rich, or you can have progressive social democratic politics which look out for the poor and the vulnerable, but you can’t have both. The people’s party chose to stand against the people. Labour chose the wrong side, and with its demise we’re one step closer to independence.

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Complaining that a shark is a shark

Rejoice! Huzzah! BBC Scotland’s got a new boss. Ken MacQuarrie is off to pastures new in his new role as pantomime villain in a production of No Good Scottish News Please We’re British. Now that there’s a change of leadership there’s going to be massive changes at Pacific Quay, in exactly the same way that there are massive changes to a branch of Scotmid when it gets a new assistant manager. The tripe and offal will still be on display, they’re just going on a new shelf.

Scottish audiences consistently report the lowest level of trust in the BBC out of any of the nations of the UK. This is of course the fault of the perceptions of the Scottish audience, and has nothing at all to do with a BBC whose spending priorities mean that Scotland gets the lowest proportion of BBC spending on programme making out of any part of the UK. There’s nothing wrong with the BBC. It’s our perception of it which is at fault. The problem with the BBC isn’t that there’s a problem with the BBC. It’s that people have noticed that there’s a problem with the BBC. So that’s alright then. All that needs to be done is to strap on the red white and blue tinted spectacles and all will be well.

A national institution is failing, but it’s the nation which needs to change. We’re just looking at it squinty and we jolly well ought to stop. Sit up straight and be happy that you’re being noticed at all, Scottish people. Nicholas Witchell is coming along to drown you in royalist treacle.

The loss of Scottish confidence in the BBC most certainly, absolutely, positively has nothing at all to do with a BBC which consistently reports on Scottish politics and the largest and most vital independence movement in the UK from a decidedly British viewpoint. It’s wrong of Scottish audiences to be upset by this, but the BBC is concerned to put Scotland’s concerns to rest, and it proposes to do so by sticking its fingers in its metropolitan ears and going la-la-la Strictly Come Dancing and oh look, there’s some flour based programming which is going to replace the Great British Bake Off. Crumbs. And if we’re really lucky, we might get an edition of Question Time from that part of Dundee that voted No in the referendum. The Scottish independence referendum that is. No one who counts cares how Scotland voted in the EU one. Only those Scottish votes which please the British establishment need to be respected.

So far it seems that the BBC in Scotland is going to adopt the same strategy that the Labour party in Scotland adopted when it discovered that it was having problems finding a receptive audience. It’s going to carry on doing exactly what it did before, only more loudly, more vociferously, and with even more oppobrium being poured on the independence movement. Because that worked so well for the Labour party. They’re going to listen. They’re going to learn lessons. They’re going to engage. And then they’re going to carry on doing exactly what they were doing before. Because they’re a branch office and their bosses haven’t given them permission to change.

You see, in the view from those down in the large and important end of the BBC weather map, which is the only viewpoint that actually matters, there’s not a problem with anything that the BBC in Scotland is doing. There’s just a problem with how they explain themselves to a bunch of ingrates who have unaccountably failed to appreciate just how damn lucky they are to be a part of this United Kingdom which has been so great to those in managerial positions down at the important end of the weather map. Which is another way of saying that us Caledonian types are too thick to appreciate all the wonderful red white and blue Great Britishness that the BBC bestows on us in an effort to raise us from the swamp of primitivism to which we’d be condemned without all those edumacatit types pointing fingers at us and then screeching that they’re being oppressed when we point out their short-comings. So that augurs well for the future of broadcasting in Scotland.

But to be fair, independence supporters complaining that the BBC is a decidedly British institution which is biased against Scottish independence is a bit like complaining that a shark acts like a shark and doesn’t respect the aspirations of fish. The BBC’s job is to preach Britishness and to maintain the British state. It’s the last remaining British civilian institution after the British establishment privatised all the others so it’s got the entire responsiblity of saving the Union’s arse. The Scottish independence movement has as much chance of being fairly represented by the BBC as there is of the Tory party extolling the benefits of socialism and Adam Tomkins tweeting something that isn’t snide.

As a British institution whose goal is to promote Britishness, the BBC is genetically incapable of understanding why so many of us want to get away from being an equal partner in this most perfect union. That’s because we’ve learned from decades of BBC programming that Scotland is equal in the sense that a chair, a sofa, and a toilet are all equally things for sitting on. It’s just that only one of them is regularly crapped on.

Despite the fact that the Scottish Parliament is supposedly one of the most powerful devolved parliaments in the world, it doesn’t have control of broadcasting. There’s a reason for that. If the BBC really was as neutral and unbiased as we’re constantly being told it is, then there shouldn’t be any problem in devolving control of broadcasting to Holyrood and allowing Scotland to run its own neutral and unbiased public service broadcaster alongside the BBC. The same checks and balances which supposedly ensure the neutrality and lack of bias in the BBC could just as easily be applied to a public service broadcaster based in Edinburgh or Glasgow to one based in London. The fact that the Unionist parties fight tooth and nail against allowing Scotland to have what ever other self-governing devolved country or territory has – its own public service broadcaster – is because they know as well as we do that the BBC is an agent of the British state.

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Having a weary Brexmess

A huge thanks to Macart for keeping you all entertained in my absence with his great blog articles. That’s me back from a trip to soon-to-be Trumpland, where the prospect of the Donaldmaggedon had got everyone I met even more depressed than a black gay muslim EU immigrant at a Ukip Christmas party. Admittedly I was in liberal New England, but for every Trump sticker or poster I saw, I saw five Hillary ones and almost as many Bernie Sanders ones. On the way there and back I had a stop over in Dublin airport, and in the space of just a few hours no less than four Irish people and a Dutch guy unprompted and unasked told me that they hoped that Scotland would vote for independence and assured me that everyone in Ireland was supporting us. Admittedly it’s hardly a representative sample of European opinion, but it was nice to feel loved and wanted. It’s all a very big contrast to what you feel being Scottish in the UK.

It was a nice wee ego boost because I’m pretty depressed myself, as depressed as an American viewing the impending car crash of a Trump unpresidency where US foreign policy will be determined on the basis of whatever it is that gets planning permission for a new hotel or golf course. I had a wonderful time with my significant other only to have to leave him and then come back to an empty bed in a cold and wet Scotland where Ruth Davidson is spouting pish about Spain maybe vetoing Scottish membership of the EU. Sigh. Some people should stick to the photo opportunities with open mouthed fish. Although she’s less likely to do that now that Michael Gove’s career is going much the same way as post-Brexit Britain.

Mind you, Ruth of all people ought to know what the Partido Popular is planning, since before the last independence referendum she was meeting with them in private in order to discuss ways of putting the hems on Scottish ambitions. There’s a word for people who conspire with foreign forces in order to damage the interests of their own country, and it’s not a pretty word, but then Ruth’s party isn’t a pretty party. However even Ruthie should know that the supposed Spanish veto threat has been done to death and beaten over the head with a battered merluz and then diced up, fried and served up with a side order of humble pie, but mere facts won’t stop a Tory politician with a Union to save. Especially when it’s a Union that the Tories themselves have broken.

But for the benefit of Ruth, I’ll spell it out as simply as possible so that it can even be understood by someone sitting atop a tank. If Spain vetoes Scottish membership of the EU, after Scotland achieves independence having negotiated it with Westminster, Madrid will not discourage the aspirations of the Catalans. Madrid will instead destroy its own argument against Barcelona. Because Madrid’s argument against Catalonia rests upon constitutionality and the claim that a Catalan referendum and independence is contrary to the Spanish constitution. If Madrid were to veto Scotland “just because”, it would not discourage the Catalans. It would merely give the Catalans evidence that Madrid’s claim that it opposes moves towards Catalan independence because they’re unconstitutional are simply a convenient excuse. And that would give the Catalans the justification that they require in order to internationalise their dispute with la Moncloa (the seat of the Spanish government).

What’s going to happen in what seems to be the increasingly inevitable event of Scottish independence is that the morning after a Yes vote in a Scottish indyref2, the Spanish government will announce that it has said all along that Scotland’s circumstances and Catalonia’s circumstances are completely different from one another and Scotland’s vote has no bearing on what happens in Spain.

What is making Scottish independence ever more inevitable is the behaviour of the British government. While I was away we discovered that Theresa May is indeed capable of giving careful consideration to things within an incredibly short measurement of time. That’s a nanosecond, which is somewhat longer than the amount of time that passes between Boris Johnson’s gaffes. You might have imagined that with the long delays in Theresa giving any information on what her plan for Brexit might consist of, that she needs months and months in order to consider the implications of important decisions and takes forever to process all the relevant facts. But no. Theresa has actually got more processing power than a Samsung Galaxy Note7, and is equally prone to self-combusting. Having promised that she’d give careful consideration to the proposals of the Scottish government to find some means of reconciling Scottish membership of the UK with Scotland’s vote to remain a part of the EU, Theresa sat down, carefully considered it, and then within a Boris gaffe’s worth of time announced that she’d given it all the consideration it required, which was none at all.

If the British government had a milligramme of commonsense, it would grasp at the proposals from the Scottish government like a drowning man grabs a lifeline. But it doesn’t have a milligramme of commonsense because milligrammes are an unBritish European unit of measurement and we’ll be having none of that nonsense in a red white and blue Brexit. Knee-jerk opposition to anything that comes from Holyrood is the default position of the British government. Scotland is a part of a Union which it doesn’t get any say in determining, which is increasingly indistinguishable from being a colony.

Accepting the proposals of the Scottish government would mean that Theresa May could stop calls for a second indyref and then blame any failure for the plans to be realised on Brussels, by which time Scotland along with the rest of the UK would be outside the EU. Instead she decided to reject them out of hand, demonstrating that Scotland’s supposed position as an equal partner in this most perfect United Kingdom is as mythical as Ruth Davidson’s reputation as a political giant or Michael Gove’s ability to drink a glass of water without looking like a malfunctioning host from Westworld. All of which has only made a second independence referendum far more likely than it was a week or so ago. The rejection from May, that is. It’s nothing new that Michael Gove acts like a malfunctioning android, although one with considerably less processing power than a Galaxy Note7.

So here we are, going into 2017 with a UK government that’s even less competent than the previous one, something which no one who had ever so much as glanced upon David Cameron could ever have thought possible. But it’s equally recalcitrant, equally arrogant, and equally dismissive of Scottish aspirations. Their weary Brexmess is the best Christmas present the Scottish independence movement could ever have wished for.

We’ve got work to do, to take the existing support for Scottish independence and turn it into a substantial majority. 2016 will go down in history as the year that the union was broken, 2017 will be the year that Scottish independence became the will of the majority of the people of Scotland.

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

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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frontcovervol3barkingvol2coverSigned copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 2 3 & 4 are available by emailing me at 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 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.

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It’s good to talk

A guest post by Samuel Miller

When I sat down to have my final rant before our host gets back, I had this idea of highlighting and talking about of the latest dubious Labour and Conservative press releases on the Scottish budget. Y’know, the ones  where they claim that the Scottish Government has ripped £327 million away from local authorities and that a tax freeze has magically morphed into a tax hike, but I’m not going to do that. I’ll do exactly as I said I would in my last post and let the experts handle that one.

You see, when I sat down and started gathering the usual quotes and links and such, I started laughing. Couldn’t stop really. I simply marveled at the acres of hypocritical bullshittery a few simple clicks of your average pad or mouse could bring to your view. How impossible it is for the establishment parties to hide the latest policy reversal or a gaff in today’s modern communications and media environment.

The most prominent recent example of course, is the sheer acreage of column space devoted to the selling point of the ‘most powerful devolved parliament in the world’. A parly with the most sooperdooper raft of powers to fix everything from that annoying leak under your sink to the total reversal of Tory austerity policy and the economic omnishambles that is Brexitmageddon. Yet only recently we’ve been told by Labour in Scotland that what is really, really, really required is a really, real move toward a federal UK…REALLY!

We’re also well aware by this point of Mr Mundell’s often quoted sound bite on our current devolution settlement.  “As a result, the Scottish Parliament will become one of the most powerful devolved parliaments in the world.” David Mundell MP

Zattafac Mac? How does that statement measure up in practice when the constitutional and economic poop hits the fan, as it has over Brexit? Does the Scottish electorate have a powerful parly, which is regarded as an equal, valued and respected partner?

Not according to the case put forward by Lord Keen on behalf of the Westminster government in the Supreme Court just recently. He appeared quite certain of just what constitutional status and powers Scotland has within the better togetherest union in the history of unions. According to Mr Keen the Sewel convention is a mere serving suggestion and the Royal prerogative trumps any and all notion that the people of Scotland or their parly have a say in much of anything.

Or perhaps we could ask their gaffer, Prime Minister May and ask what she thinks about Scotland’s parliament, its powers, how its opinion may be regarded over important constitutional issues: “Because we voted in the referendum as one United Kingdom, we will negotiate as one United Kingdom, and we will leave the European Union as one United Kingdom.  There is no opt-out from Brexit.  And I will never allow divisive nationalists to undermine the precious Union between the four nations of our United Kingdom.” (‘divisive nationalists’ – EPIC LOL)

Maybe not, eh? Best leave it lie.

As I say, a few clicks and you are deluged by a flood of contradictory, misleading and oft times, just plain deliberately confusing bumf. So what powers do we have? Is there a line in the sand? Is the settlement THE settlement, or isn’t it? Is our parliament powerful and near autonomous in a union of equals, or powerless and requiring more powers to become more, but still not quite, equal? Not a week goes by without a U-turn (partial or full fat), a flip or a comical attempt to square a circle and shoe horn one ill-fitting narrative onto another. If you didn’t laugh at the day-to-day of ‘politics as it is practised’ you’d burst into tears of frustration.

Just to be absolutely clear though, a quick recap of the general thrust. We have the most powerful devolved parliament in the world, which is part of the oldest, most successful political union and ‘family’ of nations ever. Righto then.

It may be helpful however, if someone in heid office W1 could please explain a few things, because the mixed messages we’re getting from your branch offices and the meeja aren’t terribly clear. Ta much.

Whilst they’re at it, if we are an equal nation partner, maybe they could clear up just why a nation doesn’t get to freely set its own fiscal policy in its entirety, have its own broadcast media, choose its own foreign policy? Why can’t it freely decide which unions and treaties it prefers to keep, or how they choose to keep and honour those treaties? ‘Cause, y’know, that’s what an empowered parliament, an empowered government and an empowered people get to do. I mean we saw only recently (see under EU referendum), a parliament freely decide to hold a referendum on significant constitutional change and I don’t recall them asking the EU for special permission. Just a thought.

Common sense should at this point tell the reader exactly just how ’empowered’ Holyrood really is. In the face of the constitutional and economic challenges thrown up by the political upheavals of 2016, it appears oor parly is perhaps looking decidedly under powered and constrained at this point. The queries above are rhetorical to be fair, for the answers are out there and easily accessible to all.

That is the power of modern communication though, isn’t it?  It’s why people don’t have to simply take for granted an unquestioned narrative spoon fed to them through, let’s face it, a fairly corporately and politically invested mainstream media anymore. When a story appears, a world of knowledge is merely a click or two away. The basis for a story can be examined, along with facts, figures, context, extenuating circumstances and either confirmed or ruled out. A policy wonk’s nightmare.

There is of course another aspect of modern communication which is particularly unhelpful to those and such as those. Near instant communication between people.

In other words, you lot being chatty!

You and how you communicate with others make the real difference. Access to a library of facts and opinion coupled with an active and engaged population who can instantly disseminate what they find in equally rapid fashion. Indeed it’s not uncommon these days to find stories can literally be verified or debunked before the ink is dry on the hard copy publication. You can chat across the interwebby, social meeja, yer soopersmertphone thingies in a heartbeat. You even discovered that it was possible to come together and create a new media which reflects your opinion and gives you access to the wealth of expertise, talent and life experience of others.

Who knew that people being curious, interested and engaged could effect so much change? People willing to reach out, sharing ideas and opinion… talking.

Amazing really.

As I said above, this will be my last post before our host returns. I’d like to take the opportunity to thank readers for their visits and their kind comments. I’d also like to take the opportunity to wish everyone the very best for the festive period. A Merry Christmas and Happy New year one and all.

Another day at the office

A guest post by Samuel Miller

Look, I know some readers may want to hear some hugely technical and in-depth feedback on yesterday’s budget, but that’s not really going to happen m’kay? Seein’ as how I am to budgets, what Shrek is to ballet, I reckon its best to leave that one to the experts. However, I can sum up the proceedings in short order and NO, you don’t need a master’s degree in economics to follow what happened.

The SNP government did what they pretty much said they were going to do in their manifesto with the higher rate, which was…wait for it… nothing.

“We will not implement the tax cut proposed by the Tories through the increase in the Higher Rate threshold. Instead, we will freeze the Higher Rate threshold in real terms in 2017/18 and increase it by a maximum of inflation until 2021/22. We will set out the exact level of the Higher Rate threshold each year in the budget process.” SNP 2016 Manifesto

Freezing a tax IS NOT hiking a tax. That of course hasn’t stopped the Conservative party from trying to sell it as such, but then this is a party not terribly well-known for its honesty at best of times. Oh, and sections of oor meeja haven’t covered themselves in glory on that point either.

Ruth Davidson apparently had the mother and father of all car crash FMQs with an embarrassment factor which may have reached all the way up to toe curling (ooft!). Finally, this from Reform Scotland who put it far more succinctly and with less swerry wurds than I would:

The Scotland Act 2012 devolved 10p of income tax across all bands to the Scottish Parliament (the Scottish Rate of Income Tax). This comes into effect from 2016/17. The proposed Scotland Bill 2015/16 will devolve the rest of income tax to Scotland, in addition to Air Passenger Duty and Aggregates Levy (we have not included any assigned revenue from VAT as control over the tax has not been devolved).

However, despite this, the Scottish Parliament will control less than 30% of all tax income raised in Scotland.

More importantly, 71% of all tax revenue raised by the Scottish Parliament will come from a single source – Income Tax.

Reform Scotland believes that with tax income so overly reliant on a single tax, it is likely to be impossible to introduce coherent tax reform that would encourage economic growth. It is a blunt tool, and therefore further devolution is required.’

In short, why would the Scottish Government fall into the ridiculous tax bear trap laid out by a Tory government in the Scotland Bill settlement? Why would a Scottish Government pass on the effects of austerity ideology and the Brexit galactostooshie brought about by the actions of successive UK governments, unless and until it had absolutely no other options to hand? Why should the Scottish electorate constantly pay for the screw ups of central government and why oh why should the devolved government in Holyrood constantly have to mitigate and offset? Because Ruth and Kezia say so? Is that it?

So much for the current Conservative and Labour meme of ‘no more excuses’. I’d like to know what Ruth and Kezia’s excuse is for constantly demanding that their own electorate pay for their head office’s lemming like predilection for clown footed political and economic idiocy? Would make for an interesting read. ‘Most powerful devolved parliament in the world’…..(mutters)

Moving on…

It’s always what’s not reported well by the press which may have the biggest impact isn’t it? Take the other day for example. It turns out that Scotland’s former First Minister, Alicsammin (TM), had a short meeting with one Jean-Claude Junker, President of the European Commission. That would be the commission which has just been put in charge of Brexit talks I believe. This of course, was prior to a function where Mr Salmond received the inaugural Mauritis Coppieters award for services to Scotland in Europe. In fact, as far as I know, only one title saw fit to make the event front page news.

A direct quote from Mr Junker: “Scotland has earned the right to be heard and listened to”

Now bearing in mind both the EU’s stance on pre negotiation over Brexit and the UK government’s stance on Scotland, devolution, Brexit consultation and pretty much everything else? I’m sure the reader can reach their own conclusions on what that may mean. It’s also worth noting that on the world stage, words by ‘serious’ senior political figures are chosen very, very carefully indeed.

The award ceremony speech didn’t miss an’ hit the wa’ either and if the reader has a moment to spare, it’s perhaps worth listening to what Mr Salmond had to say:


Remember those heady days when some folks guffawed at the very idea of Scottish Government visitations to the various EU bodies post Brexit vote? Aye, they thought that meeting officials on varying panels and committees was quite the laugh. I mean it’s not as if they were heads of state or anything, right? In fact, remember those now far off indyref days where policy wonks and meeja metro types queued up to spin anything and everything uttered by an EU official into an indy bad article? AND NOW?

Near deafening silence.

Perhaps, just perhaps, those efforts by the current Scottish Government on our behalf weren’t wasted after all?

Hunting season

A guest post by Samuel Miller

A few questions on a disturbing phenomenon which only the reader can answer in the privacy of their own thoughts.

How has it come to this? What curse do ordinary people live under that we have to put up with the metric tonnes of what seems to be utter bullshit, fed to us by toxic politics and an ever more toxic media?

When did it become acceptable to hound and hunt people as a political strategy? To ‘claim scalps’ (is that the term?), make their lives and by extension ours, a living nightmare of sound bite statements, cherry picked factoids, half-truths, manipulation and misdirection?

When did we allow politicians and the media to talk to us in the way that they do? Is it possible we became so lazy, so apathetic, so disenfranchised that we allowed others to do our thinking for us? To make decisions for us? And when things go wrong, or even when they haven’t, to tell us who to blame?

That does make it easier though, doesn’t it? Having a finger pointed for us so that we know who to hate, or punish. Takes away that whole responsibility for individual thought thing. Worse, or perhaps better depending on your point of view, it takes away the public’s collective responsibility. Makes us feel a bit better about hating the stranger, the other tribe, the benefit scrounger, the immigrant, the furriner, the sweaty whinger in Holyrood.

I’m sure most readers of this site are only too familiar with media campaign rhetoric generated in last year’s general election. Who could forget ‘Tartan Stalinists’, ‘What a McMess’ or ‘The most dangerous woman in Britain’? Clearly we all identify with Stalinism, dangerous wummin and political carnage in Scotland (sigh). My own personal favourite and possibly the most classic/infamous example of media and political attempts to influence opinion (which happily went totally south), remains ‘Frenchgate’.

I mean, if you’re struggling for examples of the phenomenon, simply Google this: ‘Sturgeon slapped down’ (kicked, hammered, blasted works equally well), or perhaps this ‘Fury over SNP’, or simply even ‘Salmond’ (pretty much anything Salmond). If you really want to have sleepless nights, try these – Benefits Scrounger or Hard on Immigration.

As a more recent example – Scottish Transport Minister Humza Yousaf’s current political and media woes, are apparently the latest in a very long and very tiresome line of such antics. Again, a simple search for Mr Yousaf under ‘News’ (steady now), and the blaring headlines which will greet your search, will tell you all you need to know about the sheer amount of column space which can be dedicated to a subject when both political opponents and the meeja get the bit between their teeth. Fair enough as far as it goes. He is, after all, a public figure in a position of responsibility.

To be honest, I have no idea about rail services in the Uk today and its been a long time since I’ve used them t’boot. It may even be the case that some criticism is warranted (shrugs), but blanket coverage for weeks on end? Seriously? Has the entire structure of Scotland’s rail network collapsed? From the coverage given you’d think so. I can however confirm (by looking oot the windae), that no major extinction level meteors have struck Scotland in, ooooh, at least the past several months and that our transport infrastructure still appears reasonably intact.

If I were the average reader at this point, or perhaps a journalist (shudders), I’d maybe research an expert or two and ascertain their opinion. If I were interested enough that is. Also as an engaged reader, and in absence of such information, I’d maybe cast my eyes about for other stories on the subject matter to try to provide some comparison, perspective, context or balance.

For instance, I hear that rail services in England are currently having their own woes and yet I see a somewhat skewed percentage of titles being hyper critical of PM May’s Transport Minister, Chris Grayling. That’s pretty much a ‘red flag’ moment right there you’d think?

It appears however, that some in the new media arena are willing to ask the questions we should all be seeking answers to and even provide some of that sourced evidence stuff. Which seems to me, to be a fairly sensible and logical way to go about things and how perhaps this whole informing and enlightening the public should work.

Back to the general thrust of the subject in hand though. Another question or two may occur to the reader at this point. Just how many scalps have been gathered and how many careers have been made or ruined on the back of this fairly savage political and media environment over the years? How many justly and more importantly, how many needlessly? Quite scary stuff really, when you do start to think about it.

Before the finger-pointing, before the hounding, before calling for resignations, there should be the questions. There should be critical analysis and there should be a weighing of evidence gathered. It should be a lorry load of information with context and possible extenuating circumstances present and/or accounted for. It should be innocent till proven guilty. It should be,…but apparently it’s not.

If you were a bit leery of some folks motives in the meeja, and it’s a safe bet that supporters of an independent Scottish parliament have some reason to be, you could say it’s perhaps needlessly inflammatory headlines. It’s the barely and oft-times, completely unsubstantiated sound bite (see under Frenchgate). It’s politics and it’s agenda. It’s innuendo and character assassination. It’s calculation and strategy. It’s the self-interested and deliberate directing and management of public opinion. If you were leery like.

More depressingly though, it’s seems to be always hunting season. There is always some scalp that someone wants for whatever reason and whatever the cost.

A never-ending hunting season where political and vested media interest do the hunting and the public are perennially used as their hounds.

You can start having those private thoughts now.

A matter of pride

A guest post by Samuel Miller

I see both Mr Brown and Mr Darling have endorsed Kezia Dugdale’s musings on a constitutional convention and a call for movement toward some ambiguous form of federalism then. This in spite of the fact that the recent government submission in the Supreme Court kinda casts our ‘devolution journey’ and our political relationship within the union in an entirely different light. We’ve covered why we think that may have not been the best timed intervention on the subject of devolution previously, so we’ll leave that aspect where it lies shall we?

Still, some of Ms Dugdales comments did have one or two laugh/cry out loud lines worth mentioning and considering a little further.

“More than two years on, those of us who fought for the UK shouldn’t be embarrassed about winning – we should be proud.” Kezia Dugdale (Fair enough)

There were of course other classic gems by Ms Dugdale such as this beaut: “I was proud because it was a Labour argument I was making.” That would be a Labour argument enhanced by a Conservative/Libdem government, enabled by a somewhat helpful amount of Westminster machinery, promoted with only the bestest astroturf window dressing money could buy (or bus in) and megaphoned the length and breadth of the UK by an extremely helpful mainstream media. Righto then.

Or this:

The UK provides the redistribution of wealth that defines our entire Labour movement and it provides the protection  for public finance in Scotland that comes from being part of something larger.”

Redistribution of wealth ye say? Jings! And don’t get me started on ‘protection for public finance’ after the detriment/no detriment fiasco that came with the Scotland Bill settlement and several successive and catastrophic austerity driven budgets. Oh and whisper it quietly… Brexit and fiscal reset. (shudders)

“Something good. Something worth fighting for.”  (NOW THAT really is purely in the eye of the beholder at this point)

Still and all, its nice of Ms Dugdale to note that the UK togetherness she campaigned for, including the Scotland Bill settlement, which she has just generously declared proud part ownership for (she’s still proud of winning right?), isn’t apparently settled at all. Who knew?

One wee questionette. Just for the sake of clarity, are we now to believe that we don’t have the most powerful devolved parly in the world and that the ‘VOW delivered’ isn’t really fit for purpose? Surely not, I hear you say. (cough)

But that’s enough laughs for one post I think.

Firstly, let me be perfectly clear that those ordinary folks who campaigned for and those who simply voted for, a no vote in 2014 should not be ’embarrassed’ about participating in such a historic ballot. In our politics, as in anything else, we can disagree, we can argue, we can hold a massive diversity of varying viewpoints and then we can make a choice. This IS a democracy and freedom of choice is an inalienable right of our electorate. NOTHING is more precious than having and enjoying the freedom to choose. We are also however, by the same token of such rights and freedoms, free to change our minds as and when new information is made available, or events dictate or necessitate a change in our viewpoint.

Sometimes when we make the big choices we get lucky and things work out for the best. Sometimes however, that choice carries unfortunate consequences we did not foresee and/or we may come to regret. Sometimes our choices are misinformed, or coloured by poor or misleading information. Information from people or institutions we may, upon a time, have held in some regard or with a degree of trust. For those who feel the period since September 2014 hasn’t gone swimmingly, or that the promised Betterthegitherland hasn’t exactly turned out as billed? Well that would be one of those times where the aforementioned rights and freedoms come in handy. As for being embarrassed about winning? I don’t think embarrassment is exactly what some voters may be feeling about now.

2016 anyone?

Now we come to those who should be embarrassed at the nature of their ‘win’. No, scratch that. We’re going beyond embarrassed to utterly bloody ashamed of themselves. Had they any empathy or sense of conscience, they’d be walking around the centre of every city, every town, every village in Scotland wearing sack cloth and ashes begging forgiveness of ALL Scotland’s electorate.

We speak, of course, of the orchestrators of the Better Together campaign, the leaders and politicians of the affiliated political parties, their heid office counterparts in Westminster and the massed weight of the UK meeja.

The propaganda war they waged in Scotland during the independence referendum of 2014 was beyond appalling. In my view it was reckless, dangerous and shameful in the extreme. I’d say the narrative they unleashed and indeed which continues in use to this very day, didn’t just divide people politically, but appeared fully intended to divide a society/vote in any way that would protect the integrity of the system of government and party affiliations they served.

In the post indyref period, the infamous Project Fear has been well dissected, discussed, documented and now, ghoulishly, emulated  as a political strategy. Even during the referendum it came under fire as being deliberately one of the most negative, divisive and harmful campaign strategies ever conceived. So, embarrassed? I don’t think that word covers what those responsible should be feeling. The truly sad part is, they’re not. Not in the slightest. As professional sharks in suits, they probably are quite proud of what they achieved. The collateral societal damage? A mere bagatelle, I think you’ll find. After all, a win IS a win, yes?

These… individuals… (Look I’m struggling to be diplomatic, RIGHT?) took what should have been a people’s referendum and turned it into a party political beauty contest. They personalised our referendum and made the primary focus of their whole sorry strategy the demonization of the SNP government and Alex Salmond in particular. What those people went through and indeed continue to go through, at the hands of establishment parties and the media? No one should. As for tarred by association? The entire YES movement was subjected to that treatment. We were supposed to feel what? Guilt and shame for supporting the principles self-determination, independence, choice?

I don’t bloody think so! Not now and not ever!

The positivity and enthusiasm of the grassroots YES movement, then as now, is a source of pride as far as I’m concerned. The passion, the humour, the sense of inclusion and family (always looking to get bigger). It’s all still there y’know. There may be a few sad memories and some hard lessons learnt from the past two years, but still and all their continued engagement is nothing short of amazing and surely, SURELY to be applauded.

In the main, the electorate of Scotland should not be embarrassed in the slightest. No, that embarrassment, that shame lies elsewhere. In terms of participation and voter turnout, no more could be asked of the electorate. For that alone, the vast majority of voters on BOTH sides of the debate should be rightly and immensely proud.

Long may that level of engagement continue. I suspect its going to be needed.

A big boy did it… a cautionary tale.

A guest post by Samuel Miller

You’d think they’d learn by this point wouldn’t you? Politics by sound bite and policy by media forum has worked out so wonderfully well for the peoples of the UK. Manipulating and driving the opinion of the masses using dog whistle, short termist strategies and the politics of expediency. Nothing has done more to divide our society, break the chains of trust in our public institutions and send levels of societal trust in each other back to the stone age than the freakish love affair between our meeja and the political class. ‘Course its all about the ‘R’ word y’know? The word they whisper in the darkest corners of the darkest cludjies in Westminster…


When pooh hits the fan in politics, as it has big time over the ongoing galactostooshie that is Brexit, then the ‘go to strategy’ (as always), is deflection and/or projection. A casual scan of the pages of the right-wing media in particular over the course of 2016 is a depressing lesson in living colour of both. No one and I do mean NO ONE, wants to own responsibility for what is shaping up to be the worst bout of political, economic and societal self harm in the UKs recent history.


It came as a surprise to me to find out over the course of the summer and autumn, that the EU will seek to punish the UK for its Brexit vote. Instant early doors response on first encountering this phenomenon was along the lines of … Whit?

(Needless to say, the list of such articles is endless, so we’re going with one link OK? Also, I don’t have enough eye bleach to hand to go wading and archiving through the likes of the usual suspects.)

Aye, it turns out (after a bit of reading) that those furren devils are going to punish the UK for opting to leave the EU by the nefarious means of not changing their own charter to suit the UKs needs. Seems they’re intent on, y’know, sticking to the club rules n’ such. Those being – You don’t enjoy membership privileges if you’re no longer a member. Oh, the infamy! Oh, the irony!

But just to recap – The Uk, without any requirement to ask the permission of Brussels by the by, decides it wants to hold a referendum to determine whether they wish to exit the EU or not. The EU basically says… Are you sure about this? The UK says… Ayup! The EU replies…Well ok then, if you’re sure.

(We’ll ignore the whole whys, wherefores and Tory power play, pissing contest kerfuffle for the sake of brevity at this point.)

There then follows one of the most dismal and shameful campaigns in UK electoral history. It was like watching two BT campaigns on steroids tear into each other and compete to see who could tell the biggest lie, terrify the most people, or get the biggest scare on the day. Safe to say that the UK’s political process did not come out of this covered in glory. TRULY  AWFUL!

Anyroads, unsurprisingly after decades of media manipulation and political deflection tactics, the almost inevitable happens and the rest is very recent history. Stunned shock engulfs a fair chunk of the political class and both the party of government and their ‘honourable’ opposition decide NOW is the time to indulge in some freeform backstabbing for a few months. The meeja commentariat meanwhile go into meltdown, the pound falls off a cliff and sections of the financial sector start wearing underpants on their heads and run around in blind panic looking for capital flight strategies. Fear, anger, uncertainty and doubt grip the public to become the order of the day and decades of negative politics and idiotic media narrative become a runaway train.

The tactics, the language used by the politicians and overly invested media, it was all too familiar to me and I’m sure to readers of this site. More to the point, the impact on the public from those tactics all too predictable. So…, cause and effect? Wrongful punishment? All depends on the bill of goods being sold and who needs their arse or collective arses hauled out of the coals really. You decide.

Brexit and Indyref1 are prime examples of what happens when politicians and the more politically compromised sections of the media deploy the well-worn tactics of manipulation followed by deflection in search of particular agenda or advantage.

When a situation is perceived to go south big time, the general theme will ALWAYS be the same in every release, and in every medium on such occasions. The volume will be turned up or down depending on the political investment of the organ of choice, but it’s always going to be the ‘go to strategy’ – In case of emergency, break glass and deflect or project. Rewrite history 101 for dummies and the cycle of abuse continues.

Politics and the media. A symbiotic relationship where each feeds off the other and the waste they produce can poison populations. Today’s UK is their creation, no doubt about it.  Sadly, the public, whether unwillingly or willingly, played their part too. They need us you see, to underwrite their actions.

It was a big boy did it and ran away.

No, it really wasn’t.

Here is a quick reminder of something I wrote a few months back:

“The written word is powerful. People can be moved to acts of great kindness and humanitarian aid, or they can be moved to acts of intolerance and great inhumanity. They can be motivated to feel true empathy, humour, regret, hope, aspiration even. Or they can be made to feel doubt, uncertainty, anger, fear and hatred. In the hands of a true wordsmith it is a tool or a weapon that can influence the emotions and opinions of individuals and populations alike for good or ill.

The medium of newsprint is a tool, as are radios, TVs, tablets, laptops etc. They lie there harmless to all until someone starts to speak to you through them. It is the intent of the user, the nature of the platform from which they speak, which determines whether they remain tools, or become weapons.

THAT is the power of the media.”

And don’t the political establishment just know it?

So why go over this well discussed history now, I hear you ask? Simply bear this all in mind as January and the Supreme Court ruling rolls into view. I suspect that what follows shortly thereafter will make 2016’s media output look like a dog and pony show as the next chapter of Brexit unfolds. Watching carefully what our politicians and the media say and HOW they say/sell it in the coming months will never be more important.

This is the week

A guest post by Samuel Miller

This is the week where Government, political class, nations and their electorates divided in a court room. This is the week where Scotland found out the true meaning of devolution, better togetherness, pooling and sharing and the nature of political union under the ‘Mother of Parliaments’.

This is the week where Gordon Brown’s carpet cruising vision was finally put to rest as it met with the reality that is the United Kingdom establishment. A quick refresher from 2014 –

“We’re going to be, within a year or two, as close to a federal state as you can be in a country where one nation is 85 per cent of the population.” (Yeah ‘country’ I know, but he said it not me, OK?)

“There is now an all party agreement that they will bring in big changes after the referendum. I believe that there is no alternative but to introduce these changes, which would be taxation powers for the parliament.” (Epic LOL!)

“It would mean that there would never be anything like a poll tax or a bedroom tax or rail privatisation imposed on Scotland against its will. There is a mood that too much power rests in London” but that this is about to change.” Gordon Brown (UH HUH!)

Spookily, HMG and Lord Keen, (HMGs chief counsel for the stomping of rowdy neighbours), disagrees with Mr Broon’s devovision and assurances. As covered by this site only yesterday, in exceptionally colourful and easily understandable detail, the government’s stance is basically that devolution means ‘dae as yer telt’. The Scotland act, the Sewel Convention, the Smith Commission, Scotland Bill debates, the most powerful devolved parliament in the world (if not the universe). ALL of that nonsensical bill of goods sold to the Scottish electorate, boils down to so much empty rhetoric and stage dressing so far as Westminster government is concerned.

To those who voted no last time out and may now be regular readers, its worth bearing in mind that however deluded the former PMs pledges and assurances were, he was a former PM. He also had the weight of the UKs media behind him to sell this bullshittery to the electorate and the tacit compliance of the then party leaders and current Prime Minister. None of whom, by the by, saw fit to correct Mr Broon or enlighten the public as he paced holes in carpets and gesticulated theatrically to terrified pensioners and rent a crowds the length and breadth of his ego. It was a hard sell on a truly massive scale. It had to be.

So in this week of ALL weeks, why oh why does Labour in Scotland’s Kezia Dugdale think its a good idea to have a ‘major’ speech on devolution and a federal solution? Clearly Ms Dugdale didn’t get the memo from HMG, or perhaps doesn’t understand the nature of devolution? Mibbies she disnae huv a telly or read the papers? In any event, an epic example of political naivety, truly bad timing and utter pointlessness.

To quote another famous Labour ‘big beast’, Jack Straw, on the matter of devolution and devolved legislation:

“English MPs control all the money which Scotland receives – is that ‘fair’? England constitutes 85% of the UK’s population and 87% of its wealth. It was English MPs who agreed to devolve some powers to Scotland in a Westminster Act of Parliament; but year by year controls over public spending levels for all of the UK continue to be exercised by Westminster. And power devolved is power retained, not ceded.

We’re all perfectly clear on the matter of devolution, power and the union at this point, yes?

So where am I going with this? Well to be blunt, people needed to hear it. They needed to hear from Westminster governments’ own lips the truth of devolution and the union. This is about understanding the nature of a thing. The why and the how of it.

Back in 2014 a good many folks in the pro independence camp argued themselves hoarse that THIS is where our devolution ‘journey’ was headed. Commentators, campaigners and supporters alike were shouted down by the mainstream media and establishment political class. They controlled the narrative and the messenger (shrugs). There wasn’t a title or broadcast channel that didn’t carry pro union commentators and pundits waxing lyrical about the idea that if Scotland voted no, devolution to the max and near if not actual federalism was where we were headed. They sold people on the concept of an offer which never was and never could be on the table. The narrative was deliberate. It was calculated. It was misleading. (and I’m being kind in that description)

Well, the reality couldn’t have been made any clearer on Tuesday by HMGs own counsel no less. Power devolved, really is power retained and not ceded. Westminster ‘ALLOWS’ the Scottish parliament to exist. Its powers now as then, are in the ‘gift’ of Westminster government and legislation. What can be gifted, can be amended or taken away on a whim. When Scottish democratic mandate or legislation doesn’t suit, as in this case? Technically they can be utterly ignored and the democratic deficit that is when the reality of UK politics is made manifestly clear.

THAT is the true cost of a NO vote from 2014. Your choices, your rights, your mandate, your voices ignored because they don’t suit the agenda of central government, or their political needs. Devolution does not work for Scotland, because it was never intended to work for Scotland. It was always intended to work for central government. (see under Jack Straw)

This is the week we found out that the truth of the union, is that there is no union. There is no partnership, equal or otherwise. There is no family of nations, not on the political level and never was, only a means of asset management and crowd control. A long chain which Westminster may have called devolution, but still a chain for all that.

Now the good news.

That chain can be yanked in two directions. In fact in the right circumstance, as two years ago, it can be broken altogether. The laws, the procedures, the legislative bodies, the national and international precedents which brought about indyref 1 are still relevant today. The UN charter still recognises a population’s right to self determination and no one, not President, Prime Minister, First Minister or meeja mogul can deny the Scottish electorate their inalienable right to choose.

If you want your vote, your mandate, your basic human rights to matter, then by now you know what to do. Should the opportunity arise and our ‘devolved’ government in Holyrood asks the question? You and only you can mandate them to become our national government. To go from being a nation in a one sided union where your vote is regarded as an irrelevance, to once again become a nation state where that vote decides the nature of your government.

This could be the week you decided to have your voice heard.

P.S. As an excellent dissection of the ‘devolution journey’, you can’t do better than this link to Wings.

Enough gilding the red white and blue turd

I wasn’t going to blog again before leaving for my holidays, but today’s events in the Supreme Court can’t pass unremarked. Let’s be perfectly blunt here, Fluffy Mundell is a liar. He stood before the people of Scotland and he brazenly and openly lied to us. He’s a disgrace to Scotland. He’s the voice of an unrepresentative Conservative government in Scotland and he doesn’t even pretend to represent the interests of Scotland in that government. If he had the slightest self-respect he would hang his head in shame. But he won’t do that because he can’t bend that brass neck of his.

In the UK Supreme Court on Tuesday, British government lawyers argued that when the Sewel Convention was written into the Scotland Bill that it doesn’t actually have any legal force at all. In the eyes of the British Government the permanence of the Scottish Parliament is as permanent as a snowman on a sunny day. Government lawyers insisted that the law that says that the Westminster Parliament will not alter, change or interfere in the powers of Holyrood without the consent of the Scottish Parliament isn’t a law after all. It’s a serving suggestion that the UK government can overrule and override whenever it sees fit. It’s a guarantee of bugger all.

According to the British government the Sewel convention might be enshrined in law, but it’s merely a self-denying ordinance, it can be ignored whenever Westminster sees fit. Westminster’s attitude to power is a bit like the attitude of a heroin addict to their drug of choice. They can give it up any time that they want to. It’s just that they don’t want to. All those promises that Scotland was made by the Unionist parties in the summer of 2014, all those vows, all those commitments, they were exactly the same as the junky pleading for one more chance, one more opportunity, one more shot to prove that they had changed. And as soon as they got it they went and stuck it in a collapsing vein in their arm, then passed out in a pool of their own urine. Only with Westminster it’s Scotland that’s had the piss taken.

So when Mundell stood before the House of Commons, when he asserted in innumerable interviews afterwards, that he had delivered on one of the key promises of the infamous Vow of 2014, he was in fact being as truthful as Tony Blair’s Iraqi dossier. That’s a much bigger dereliction of duty than anything Humza Yousaf ever did. The Scottish Unionist media have spent weeks hounding Humza for the failures of Network Rail, an organisation wholely owned and controlled by the Conservative Government in Westminster, but they’re strangely silent on the duplicity and mendacity of Fluffy Mundell on an issue which is central to devolution and central to the place of Scotland within the United Kingdom. We can now look forward to a fortnight’s worth of headlines on Reporting Scotland hounding Fluffy until he resigns and apologises for lying to us all, can’t we. Oh. wait.

Now everyone ought to know what those of us who were cynical to begin with wondered about when the Scotland Bill was published. Why was it including the weasel word “normally”? Westminster will not “normally” legislate on reserved matters without the consent of Holyrood. Oh no, said the Unionist parties and their allies in the press. You’re just showing sour grapes, the Vow has been delivered. But the cynics were right.

But we all know now what normally means. It means that normally Westminster reserves to itself the right to decide what’s normal. Normally Westminster decides what Scotland has to do. Normally Scottish votes and Scottish democracy can be overridden. Normally means that the Scotland Bill is as fit for purpose as Michael Gove’s Brexit plans. Normally means that the permanence of the Scottish Parliament and devolution is a sham. Devolution has nothing to do with the democratic will of the people of Scotland, and everything to do with what is in the interests of Westminster and the Unionist parties. Do what you’re told Scotland, shut up, sit down, and be grateful that you’ve got a back seat as the British coach of state drives us all off a cliff.

And what we get in return for surrendering our self-respect is the chance to entrust our future into the hands of clueless morons with a sense of entitlement that encompasses a galaxy. You thought that Theresa May couldn’t descend any further into an intelligence insulting meaning free zone with her insistence that “Brexit means Brexit”, but she actually managed to be even more gob-smackingly inane than that on Tuesday when she told the press that she wanted a red white and blue Brexit as she stood on an airport runway in an oppressive Middle Eastern state to which she hopes to flog some weapons. Brexit means waving flegs. You might not be able to spend much with your post-Brexit pound that’s worth less than the dollar. You might not be able to travel anywhere without having to apply for a visa. And you might not be able to think about going in the first place because you will have lost your job. But you’ll be able to wrap yourself in the red white and blue and Britain can sell guns and bullets and tear gas to oppressive regimes in the Middle East. Huzzah!

There is no polite way to put this. There is no glossy lipstick to put on this pig to make it attractive even to David Cameron. There is no gilding that can be placed on this turd. The United Kingdom is a dysfunctional mess which is governed by fuckwits who don’t have the foggiest idea what they’re doing. The realisation that these balloons represent us to the rest of the world is an utter cringe making embarrassment. This is a country where greed and stupidity are elevated to the highest office, where selfish intolerance is regarded as a virtue.

This is not Scotland. We are better than this. We deserve better than this. We can be better than this. But the only way we can be better than this is to do things for ourselves. Britain is finished. Let’s start to work on building a better Scotland, an independent Scotland. Enough of gilding the turd, it’s time to flush it away.

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