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.

44 comments on “It’s good to talk

  1. Chris Welton says:

    I just love your style, Mac.

    Gonna miss ya 🙂

  2. diabloandco says:

    You fill those extraordinary boots very well Macart .

  3. ScotsCanuck says:

    I’ll Second the above ….. really enjoyed your articles.

  4. mogabee says:

    You have a style all your own Sam, and between you and Paul serve us exceedingly generously.

    Sending you Christmas greetings and a fun New Year!! 😀

  5. sandy says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed your articles. Thank you.
    Seasons greetings to you and yours.

  6. Jan Cowan says:

    Thank you, Sam. An excellent job as usual. All the best for the coming year.

  7. John 57 says:

    Yes Sam, many thanks for your thoughts and deeds. Have a Great Christmas and New Year.

  8. Andy62 says:

    Brilliant pieces Sam have a great Christmas and 2017 possibly our year!

  9. Movy says:

    Thanks Sam. Really enjoyed your posts. Have a great Christmas and new year.

  10. Thank you for your contributions to WGD. I have enjoyed them and find this last one particularly resonating for me, as an inveterate talker and communicator of Independence politics, I felt validated in my belief that WE can change ourselves and our nation by having the courage “to reach out, sharing ideas and opinion… talking.” Have a good rest over this mad Christmas/hogmanay time and keep up the great communicating.

  11. Toni Young says:

    I echo all the sentiments above. Have a great festive season and all the best for the year to come.

  12. jdman says:

    Sam Miller
    A man you can rely on to turn a jumble of fears and concerns into a lucid and cogent argument,
    confusion is their friend, dont let them bamboozle you, keep your eye fixed on the goal
    way to go Sam!

  13. Kenzie says:

    Sam, you are a splendid blogger in your own right.

  14. Luigi says:

    Thanks Sam. I always enjoy reading your well-thought out posts. Much appreciated.

  15. Yes, well written Sam. Many thanks to you, and all the other bloggers on many other sites who keep us informed, and entertained, with their incisive articles. Without all your help, those of us who want to see an independent Scotland would be in a difficult place, but by turning to the internet, where a host of informed commentators soon demolish the outright lies spun by the M.S.M, we can find the true facts of any story.
    It’s still going to a herculean task to gain our freedom, mainly because of the opposition of a hostile media led by their cheerleader, the B.B.C, but we are well on our way, and I just hope it wont be too long until we achieve our aim.

  16. Another resounding and inspiring piece, Sam.
    ‘Live Free or die’. I urge folk to google this quote. Scottish history that was not taught in our Unionist schools.
    Scots have been challenging this blessed Union throughout its 300 bloody years.
    This time, without so much as a paper cut, we shall reclaim our birthright, a Free Independent nation, within the EU family of nations.
    England and Wales are in for some very hard times over the next decade. They’ll need their Neighbour to the North’s support more than ever when they cut themselves off from Europe.
    Our MSM sadly are a joke now.
    Brewer’s ‘shed load of new powers’ following Brexit and WATP Adam Tomkins noddy dog agreement yesterday on Scottish Sunday Politics encapsulates the blind panic attack that has gripped the Unionists.

    Vow 2; ‘a shedload of new powers’, so claims a tired old BBC Hack.
    Tomkins didn’t have the balls to face up to AS in a ‘live’ exchange, nor had the BBC Glasgow Stockade’s Editorial team any objective other than to SNP BAD all over our Sunday Lunch.
    I refuse to be dragged out of Europe by a vicious little Cabal of Scotland hating Proudscotsbut Fifth Columnists.
    Hundreds of thousands of my fellow Scots will have no Christmas this year, and live in perpetual suffering of ever increasing poverty and privation, while Ruth Davidson laughs her fucking head off on cue, on camera, and Dugdale and Rennie continue to stretch my capacity to be amazed and outraged by their persistent feckless inability to recognise the obvious; the Blue Tories are destroying Civic Society, while you the Red and Yellow Tories cling on like grim death to immoral little sinecures.
    However, every murky little Unionist cloud has a silver lining, Sam.
    As I approach my 70th year, I am more fired up than I have ever been. I suspect so are several million others Up Here
    PEACE ON EARTH AND GOOD WILL TO ALL.

    • I’m not jealous of many things, but the way you Jack, Sam and Paul write is an inspiration. P.S. I had to explain to my son yesterday how the term, “Fifth Column” originated since he had also heard me using it. Now he gets it.

      • May there be peace throughout this land, Scotland, at least for a few days over the Holiday.
        Cheers, Alex, I sense that you are a good and devoted father.
        We are on the brink of something wonderful.

    • Archie Maclean says:

      Well said that man!! Bliadhna Mhath ùr dhuibh uile!!

  17. In other news, I note that Zsa Zsa Gabor has passed away, a mere 99 years young.
    Her quip on divorce:- ‘Don’t get angry, get the house’.’ should be our mantra during Indyref 2.
    RIP, Dahling.

  18. Illy says:

    “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.”

    This is every career politician’s worst nightmare, btw.

    And people wonder why they try to shut the internet down…

  19. Bill McLean says:

    Thanks Sam – enjoyed your posts!

  20. xsticks says:

    As usual thoughtful and thought-provoking words Sam. Seasons greetings to you and yours too. Hope to see you somewhere on the Indy trail next year. Have a good one.

  21. Ah, yiv still got it Auld Yin.

  22. Saor Alba says:

    Our thanks are due to you Sam. You are a legend.
    Please let me wish you, Paul and all our friends on this site a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous new year.

  23. grumpydubai says:

    Season’s greetings to all. Thanks Sam and other commentators who contribute here. Our goal must be achieved to help our Country and people advance and continue to contribute to the wellbeing of humankind. As a ‘young’ oldie, I too am fired up about our future independence

  24. Dan Huil says:

    Happy holidays to Sam and all contributors and readers. I think 2017 is going to be a more interesting year politically than 2016, especially for Scotland. Britnats just keep on going with the SNPbad refrain because it’s all they have. As said above, I believe more and more people in Scotland are switching off from such perpertual negativity from the britnat media. Britnat newspapers are in decline; the britnat bbc is beyond redemption.

    We are the ones with hope and positivity. We will prevail.

  25. Robert Graham says:

    yes as most folks have said great stand in ,, and without you and the Dug there would be hundreds homeless ha ha all the best to you and yours when it comes

  26. Puzzled Puss says:

    Thanks for your hard work and wise words. Happy festivities!

  27. bedelsten says:

    Being curious, interested and engaged is fairly putting the wind up the establishment, or is that just us successfully attempting to wind up the establishment?

    The on-line community wields many advantages over the dead-tree-scrolls ™ and the ink stained fingers of those that fill their contents, and Sam has alluded to some – instant rebuttal, confirmation and dissemination for example. Another is the ability (and it should perhaps be a requirement) to include references supporting the argument within the text, be it with links and/or embedded images (see WoS) though bloggers such as the (ex/retired/resigned) Prof. John Robertson at https://thoughtcontrolscotland.com , who, with the rigours of an academic background, will include the references at the foot. You cannot image this occurring in some of the outpourings from the dead-tree-scrolls™…

    “Hammer blow for Sturgeon as (insert invented event of choice)
    A recent report by (insert name of so-called think tank) suggests Scotland will be worse off by (insert invented value) if SNP (bad) government does (or doesn’t) do (something). A SLAB/Tory/What’s-his-name spokesman added, (insert hyperbole of choice), (insert SNP[bad] cabinet member of choice) should resign”

    There will be no link to think-tank report – probably because it was some irrelevant personal blog by someone with tenuous links to said think tank, and no name of spokesman/women because either the quote is completely fabricated (and we don’t reveal our sources), the so-called journalist was being lubricated by self-same spokesperson, neither of who will admit to being on an expenses paid piss-up, the so-called journalist was so pissed they cannot actually remember who it was, or it was a lot easier just copying and pasting an e-mail than doing any real research. I rest my case.

    Those on-line also need to avoid isolationism and being a self-satisfied, self-contained, community by sampling a range of opinions if only to get a flavour of the rage and incoherence that exists elsewhere. You may have, for example, inadvertently visited the parody account by the fictional Effie Deans, waded through the extensive and tortuous prose to find the point then retreated bemused and saddened by the essentially pointless exercise. Treat it as a useful learning experience and don’t shout back, tempting though it may be. Other blogs may apply.

    Finally, thanks to Sam for looking after the kennel while the dug is away.

  28. mumsyhugs says:

    As always, a safe pair of hands guiding the good ship Wee Ginger Dug while Paul’s away 🙂 How lucky are we to have so much talent and so many voices of reason and common sense on our side!

    Merry Xmas to you and yours Macart – hope it’s a good one 🙂

  29. Maria F says:

    Thank you Sam. It has been a real pleasure to read your articles and the comments.
    Merry Christmas.

  30. mealer says:

    Good stuff Sam.I’ve enjoyed your contribution.

  31. wm says:

    Thanks Sam, for replacing Paul, it is good to read my mind through somebody else’s pen

  32. Macart says:

    Worth spreading at this time of year. That and when Paula Rose on wings asks a favour, just dae as yer telt.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdQOtTvQQfc

    P.S. I’m sorry not to have replied to each and every one who posted on this thread. I can only say your kind words are very much appreciated. 🙂

    Wee Crimbo message folks.

    Just got back from doing a food drop. I know its hard right now for a lot of us, but if you have anything to spare at this time of year, then please drop what you can into your local food bank or clothing charity.

    It will be much appreciated.

  33. Catherine says:

    Sorry, late in responding, but thank you Sam for all your interesting articles over the past few days. Have really looked forward to reading them and such wise words. Best wishes for a good Christmas and New Year

  34. Albawoman says:

    Thank you for your considered and powerful contributions. I hope you have a good Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    Staying with my family who have a Big Ginger Dug. Just makes me smile

  35. douglasclark says:

    Och! Very well done, and a Happy Christmas and a merry New Year.

  36. Kat hamilton says:

    Brilliant summing up of all that’s wrong with the present set up, equal union my a…..as Jim royle would say….when will the no voters even consider why holyroods powers are miniscule and fhe parliament not even on a permanent fixture, can be taken away tomorrow…anger does even cut it anymore, frustrated, annoyed how anyone can vote to be subservient is truly mind numbing…surely Indy 2 will allow us to forge our own future, and if not we deserve all that’s flung at us for sheer stupidity…thank you for keeping me hopeful that maybe just maybe there’s still hope…

  37. Dointhebiz 1 says:

    Excellent stuff Sam… Oops! .. And, of course, the ultimate Scottish accolade..” No bad”. A Happy New Year to you and yours. 😉🍾

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