Keeping granny on the bus

Over the weekend Theresa May hinted that she’s going to go full out for a hard Brexit, and prioritises controlling immigration over retaining British membership of the single market. This is despite the fact that prominent Leave campaigners during the EU referendum insisted that leaving the EU didn’t mean leaving the single market. We’re facing the worst case scenario, the hardest possible Brexit, which is likely to wreak havoc on the economy and do appalling damage to job opportunities and living standards.

Then the Chancellor Philip Hammond announced that a Britain outside the single market could find a new future as a tax haven, and abandon the current European style social model. That could have a catastrophic effect on social benefits, pensions, social security provision and the NHS. All the more so because the Dutch recently made clear that they’ll veto any trade deals with the UK if Britain seeks to make itself into even more of a tax haven than it already is. The future of the UK is looking bleaker and bleaker, our worst fears are becoming realised. This is not a country in which it’s safe to be poor, to be sick, or to grow old. If we want to maintain our commitment to a decent standard of living for all our citizens, the only possiblity is through independence.

If we want to win the next indyref, we need to do something about the substantial majority for No which currently exists amongst those of pensionable age. That means we need to speak to our grandparents and parents and try to find out what’s preventing them from voting Yes, and give them the answers that can put any fears they may have to rest. And while we’re doing that, we also need to speak to them about the very real threats that the Tories are making to dismantle the welfare state. There is a very real prospect that those of us of working age will have to work much longer than our parents or grandparents in return for a much lower state pension. That’s if there is such a thing as a state pension by the time those in their teens or twenties get to pensionable age.

It’s a fact that the longer Scotland remains a part of this dysfunctional UK, the more precarious the future becomes for those of us of working age or younger. We need to do all we can to reassure Scottish pensioners that their existing pensions are safe and secure and will continue to be paid after Scottish independence, but the truth is that if you vote against independence in the mistaken belief that it’s the only way to ensure your pension will continue to be paid, you are putting at risk the chances that your children and grandchildren will enjoy the same pension rights that you do. Another decade of Tory rule will see to that.

Before going any further, I need to make it clear that I don’t believe all pensioners are rampant unionists. I know that’s not the case. There are many thousands of older people who not only voted Yes, but who actively support and campaign for Scottish independence. But that said, it is a statistical fact that people of pensionable age are more likely to oppose independence, and that’s a problem that the Yes campaign needs to tackle. I believe that tackling it requires a two pronged approach, firstly to reassure older people that their pensions, the NHS, social care services and the like will be safer with independence than entrusting them to an increasingly right wing Tory government that’s hell bent on isolating us from Europe. And secondly we need to speak to people about the disadvantages, risks and downsides to Scottish public services, pensions, and social security provision by remaining a part of the UK.

I tweeted “We need to start talking to our parents & grandparents about how their fears for their pensions mean they’re depriving us of ours.” It must be a full moon, because Unionist Twitter went batshit mental. Although to be honest batshit mental is its baseline state. You’d think that I’d actually tweeted, “We need to tell our grannies that if they don’t vote Yes we’ll throw them from a bus.” And in fact that’s exactly the gloss that Labour stalwart Duncan Hothersall put on my tweet. Because talking to your granny about your own fears for the future is of course exactly the same as elbowing her off a number 60 bus and onto a busy road.

Others told me that what I’d tweeted was the most vile and disgusting thing they’d ever heard. And these are people who cheerfully retweet Brian Spanner. How dare I threaten pensioners in such a manner. It was far more of a vile and disgusting threat than when Better Together phoned up pensioners before the independence referendum to tell them that if they voted Yes their pensions would no longer be paid. Others insisted that it was greedy and selfish. Hoping that we can maintain a system that ensures that younger people continue to have the same rights to a state pension as their grandparents is clearly an act of utter selfishness on the part of independence supporters.

Having spent the day blocking and muting screaming people who insist that they are viscerally opposed to nationalism while having flegs in their avatars, it’s clear that any proposal from an independence supporter to pitch an appeal directly to older people in order to persuade them of the merits of independence hits a very sensitive nerve in the Unionist camp.

The projection is strong in them. They won their No vote in no small measure by terrifying the elderly, so they are convinced that any initiative from the Yes movement is likewise going to be similarly fear inspiring, negative, and bilious. The anger, odium, and sheer hatred emanating from the die-hardists in response to the idea was overwhelming. So clearly, it’s the right strategy. The Unionists are utterly terrified that older people might change their minds once they learn the truth about Unionist threats.

We don’t need to persuade everyone of pensionable age who currently doesn’t support independence. We only need to persuade 10% of them. And the very best people to address the concerns of older people are their younger family members. Sure, some are a lost cause and always will be, but if we can persuade just a minority to see why they should support independence, then we will win. So we need reassure our older family members that their own pensions and NHS services will be safe, but also let them know that they need to support independence in order to give the same assurances to their children and grandchildren.

No one wants to shove yer granny aff the bus. We want to keep her on the bus. But if Scotland votes No a second time, then the bus and all of us on it will head straight over a red white and blue Brexit cliff.

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.

Get your copy of Barking Up the Right Tree Volume 2 by placing an order on the Vagabond Voices website. Just click the following link.

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Putting the con in confederal

Kezia Dugdale isn’t at all like Theresa May. Theresa offers nothing but tautologies, Kezia on the other hand has an actual plan. We need a new Act of Union, said Kezia the other week, a new relationship between Scotland, England, Wales, and Northern Ireland to secure the future of the UK because otherwise it risks breaking apart. It wasn’t much of a plan really, more a statement of fond aspirations. Well let’s be honest, it’s a rubbish plan, but a plan’s a plan even if it’s not a particularly well thought out one. After all, this is Labour in Scotland, and they’ve never knowingly done anything that was well thought out before, so it’s not like anyone was expecting them to start now. Why change a winning formula eh? Oh.

Labour in Scotland said that it wanted a new federal settlement, or rather a confederal one. No one was really sure what the difference was and since different Labour people were saying different things no one was any much the wiser, or particularly cared. There is a difference between federal and confederal, they’ve added the “con” this time because that’s what all Labour’s previous claims that they were going to introduce federalism were. But whatever the new federalism or confederalism means it’s going to be superdooperfantabulous-devo, and not the boring everyday devo that we’ve currently got which is consigning Labour in Scotland to the dustbin of history, otherwise known as the Unionist press. Ill thought out or not, Kezia’s new plan was trumpeted on the front pages as the new great saviour of all things red white and blueish.

Any plans from Labour in Scotland for major constitutional change are only going to make progress if they get the support of the UK party. When the plan was announced, Kezia was asked on Good Morning Scotland Eat Your Cereal whether she had spoken to the UK party leader about it and if he supported the idea. “Yes,” she replied. “Of course he does. Unequivocally. There has never been any suggestion of that otherwise,” said Kezia, confident and assured that Jezza was as desperate as she is to save the arse of her dying branch office.

Unfortunately, no one has asked Jezza. Or if they did he thought they were really talking about a new proposal to act for a union of Bolivian llama herders. He’s all in favour of that sort of thing. It’s just a pity that he cares a lot more about radical politics in Latin America than he does about Scotland.

“A new Act of Union?” said Jeremy looking surprised when the idea was put to him by a BBC reporter. Don’t we already have one of those? What do we need a new one for? I wouldn’t use those words. I wouldn’t call it a new Act of Union. Because when there’s a crisis that threatens to undo the Union, Labour wants to have a convention to discuss the powers of what Jeremy deigned to describe as the devolved assemblies. You can’t have devolution of migration, he added. That would mean borders between regions. No one has told him that Scotland has a parliament. No one has told him that Scotland is a country. No one has told him that Australian states, Canadian provinces, and the autonomous Portuguese provinces of Madeira and the Azores all manage to run their own migration policies.

Jezza wants to have a consultation before he’s consulted himself on the basics. His opposition to Kezia’s plan doesn’t have any logical basis apart from his own misconceptions. Jezza came to public prominence claiming he’d be different, swearing that he’d listen to the people, but as far as Scotland is concerned it’s the same old story. He doesn’t want to know. Whenever the notion of more power for Scotland is raised, Westminster Labour’s kneejerk response is NO!

That’s the big problem for Labour in Scotland. They can propose whatever they like. They can air any number of ideas that will be plastered all over the pages of the Scottish press as a sign that the Union is about to undergo radical change, and so there’s no need for any of this independence nonsense after all. They can do all that, but unless they can get the permission of the Westminster party, they’re as well wishing for a tap dancing unicorn. They’re not going to get it, and they have no means of making it happen because they’re a subordinate branch office. When Westminster Labour tells Labour in Scotland no ye cannae, there’s nothing they can do but eat their cereal.

Labour in Scotland’s plans have gone the same way as all their previous proposals for devomax, devo double plus good, for the nearest thing possible to federalism, for a modern form of home rule.

You might have thought that this major reversal to plans which were plastered all over BBC’s flagship jockocracy news show Reporting North Britain might have merited a a similar amount of publicity by the branch office of our subnational broadcaster. You might have thought that, but only if you were labouring under the misapprehension that BBC Scotland operates in the interests of the Scottish viewing public. They were more interested in attacking the Scottish government on the NHS, telling us how Chris Hoy’s travel plans were disrupted by the weather and he had to get a lift in a gritting lorry, how high winds and lorries are a bad combination, there was a murrdurr, train punctuality has improved but it’s still rubbish and that’s Humza Yousaf’s fault. Only after they got through all those stories, then and only then did they get round to informing us that Labour in Scotland’s grand plan to save the Union had just been screwed over by the party’s UK leader. You’d almost think that they didn’t want to dwell on it.

Yet again Labour in Scotland is mired in confusion and paralysis. No one knows what they stand for. No one knows where they’re going. And increasingly no one cares. As Labour sinks into confusion and irrelevance, it takes the Union with it. We see through the con in confederal.

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.

Get your copy of Barking Up the Right Tree Volume 2 by placing an order on the Vagabond Voices website. Just click the following link.

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Down the toilet in 2017

With the Tories being clueless on Brexit and making sitting in a dark basement with a bag over your head seem like an exercise in illumination, you might have thought that Labour would seize the opportunity to provide some clarity and leadership. The Government is in such a state of headless chickenry that it wouldn’t take much. Just stand there Jeremy, say that you’re going to defend the interests of those who voted to Remain as well as those who voted Leave. Say that you’re not going to allow the Tories to use EU citizens as hostages to the political fortunes of Theresa May and her pals. Make it clear that the EU is consistent in saying that freedom of movement of people cannot be separated from the single market, and without the single market many thousands of jobs at at risk.

But that’s not what we got. What we’ve seen this week from Labour has managed to make the Tories seem like they’re decisive and have a clear and definite plan. Nae bloody wonder that they’re way ahead in the UK polls and the prospect of getting rid of them is receding ever futher into the distant future. Jezza, we’re told, has an open mind on freedom of movement. At least we were told that after Labour made an announcement that the party leader was not wedded to the idea of freedom of movement, but then later saying that they might accept it, and later still saying that they didn’t rule out because they’ve got an open mind.

The big problem with open minds is that ideas fall out of the back end just as quickly as they’re shovelled in the front. An open mind is what you get when you peer into the left earhole and see out of the right one. With Labour it’s even worse than that, it’s difficult to distinguish between the party’s open mind and a skull that’s had the top sawn off so that zombies can consume the brain. All the party succeeded in doing was closing the minds of those who were hoping that Labour might stand up for the millions who support freedom of movement and were hoping that the party might clearly distinguish itself from the xenophobes on the right instead of pandering to them. They wanted Jeremy to be Britain’s Bernie Sanders, not an Islington version of Donald Trump.

Things weren’t any clearer with his other big policy announcement which might not have been an announcement, maybe it was just a suggestion, or possibly a hint. Executive pay is an obscenity, company directors are awarding themselves increasingly inflated salaries and perks, many multiples of what the lowest paid workers in their companies take home. Very often those workers are so low paid that they qualify for state benefits, meaning that the country is subsidising low pay so that the very rich can continue to cream off the profit instead of sharing it with those workers who have helped to create it. First Labour was going to introduce legislation to put a cap on top pay, then they weren’t, then they were but they were going to look at ratios instead, then they weren’t again, then they were but only for companies working on government contracts.

It all made Theresa May’s Brexit tautologies seem like a model of clarity. Seven months on from the Brexit vote and we’re all still as clueless as the day after. The only thing we’re certain of is that no one is more clueless than the Conservatives and Labour.

The only thing saving Labour this week is that things across the Atlantic are giving a lie to those of us who feared that 2017 was going to be as shit as 2016. It’s going to be piss instead. A big steaming bucket of it. It’s hard to focus on the pish created by the Labour party and the Tories when Donald Trump has given us the biggest laugh since David Cameron’s piggate. The world really is going down the toilet.

It was revealed that there’s an intelligence services dossier alleging that the Russians have tapes of the Donald supposedly engaging in potty activities with prostitutes. It wasn’t that he was engaging in urinary perviness at all, he just misinterpreted the meaning of live-streaming. No one should be that surprised by an allegation that Trump was engaged in watersports with Russian prostitutes. When he met with Nigel Farage he showed us that he was quite happy to have a shit in his lift.

Donald Trump gave a press conference on Wednesday, which really was live-streamed. He furiously denounced the news outlets that were doing their best to flush his reputation, although he did that himself a long time ago. It’s fake news, he insisted angrily as he refused to take questions from reporters representing news channels that had reported the story. You could say he was really pissed off. Or on. Reports aren’t clear.

And maybe it is fake news, but it’s going to hang around him like the stench of an uncleaned public toilet and he’s only got himself to blame. He’s the one who unleashed the demons of fake news when he espoused the ridiculous story that Obama wasn’t born in the USA and is really a muslim. There’s karma for you. It’s Trump’s previous behaviour, his documented disdain for women and his own history of misogyny and abusive bullying that is responsible for the fact that even if this toilet tale is fake news, so many people find it believable. Urine difficulties of your own creation, Donald.

Far more important than Donald Trump’s alleged sexual peccadilloes is the possibility that the next president of the USA conspired with Moscow against his opponents, a Moscow that has damaging information that it’s using to blackmail him. This is the same president who is refusing to create a clear firewall between the presidency and the Trump business empire, and who’s appointing a cabinet of reactionary billionaire climate change deniers. Obama may have his critics, but in his eight years as president there was not a whiff of sexual or financial scandal, and it certainly wasn’t for a lack of searching on the part of his political enemies. Obama got through eight years without a scandal, Trump can’t even get through a Tuesday.

Lost in the toilet gags, lost in the gagging as we considered the reality that this manchild is about to become the US president, was the news that Boris Johnson’s visit to the Trump toilet, sorry, tower, has resulted in Britain being at the head of the queue for a trade deal with the USA. If you’re one of those people who voted to leave the EU because you didn’t like TTIP, it’s looking highly unlikely that the EU will accept it, but a post-Brexit UK will. There’s more karma for you.

We’ve got clueless Tories and a permaconfused Labour party, and the entire country is heading towards the Brexit cliff without the foggiest idea of what’s going to happen next. Who needs Donald Trump, Britain is going down a toilet of its own.

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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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.

Get your copy of Barking Up the Right Tree Volume 2 by placing an order on the Vagabond Voices website. Just click the following link.

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

Quantum squirrels

Theresa Maybe gave an interview for Sky News on Sunday, during which she showed off the incredible political skill which has characterised her premiership – speaking at length while saying absolutely nothing at all and never, ever, giving a direct answer to a direct question. And you know that when she says she wants to be clear that she’s going to be as clear as a mud bespattered windscreen. If she was asked what is the capital of the UK, she’d say, “I want to be very clear on this. We’re working towards the very best capital for all the people of the UK. It’s not a binary choice. The capital is the capital. The seat of government is the seat of government. The people of Britain deserve a bespoke capital that’s the seat of government of a country that believes in free trade and supports our friends and allies but which makes it own laws and controls its own borders, and that’s what I’m going to deliver.” Still, you can’t complain that May is inconsistent. She allows herself to be pinned down on nothing, and she delivers exactly that. She’s the quantum squirrel of politics, simultaneously saying a lot while saying nothing in an effort to distract us from the vacuum in her soul.

Following the interview we still know that a tautology is a tautology, that Brexit is bespoke, that’s it’s red white and blue, that it’s going to be taking back control of our borders and our laws, and that it’s not a binary choice. It’s just that we don’t know what we’re going to end up with or what any of those laws that we’re taking back control of are going to be, except that it’s probably a safe bet that they’ll be reactionary laws that punish the poor and reward the City of London. That’s what politicians like Theresa like to describe as difficult choices. “Who shall I make pay for the economic disaster caused by corporate greed?” They ask themselves, “The big businesses that I hope to get cushy directorships with, or poor people who don’t vote for me anyway? Gosh that’s a difficult choice. Oh I know, let’s punish the poor.”

British politics is essentially the art of saying nothing at all and ensuring that established interests continue to be rewarded and serviced, while trying to make it appear that you’re doing something important and significant. Theresa May is an expert at that hollow shell game. The most galling thing of all is that those right wing politicians who have done their utmost to reduce and diminish the life chances and opportunities of the unemployed, the disabled, the low paid, and the vulnerable, all of a sudden pose as their champions.

Meanwhile, over in the Labour party, the dying embers have declared that they’re now in favour of federalism in the hope that will fan some flames. Not just any old federalism mind, but radical federalism, which is much the same as ordinary federalism but has been improved with additional workshops on macrobiotic diets and how to knit your own bobble hats from hand plucked Bolivian vicuña wool. It would be far more convincing if we hadn’t already heard it all before.

Of course it’s not definite yet. This is after all the Labour party. They’ve not explained how the proposals aired over the weekend for radical federalism are different from what Gordie Broon swore blind in 2014 would happen if Scotland voted no. Maybe they’re just hoping that we’ve forgotten that. But we haven’t. We remember that Labour promised superdooperdoubleplusgood-devo, and then spent its time and energy eviscerating the proposals of the Smith Commission. We remember that the party is constantly promising more devo, extra devo, the bestest devo in the multiverse. And we remember that when it comes down to it, Labour always fails to deliver.

Jeremy Corbyn, who has shown as much understanding of Scotland as a squirrel understands quantum mechanics, has yet to agree on the new federalism no-we-really-mean-it-this-time proposal. The chances are that what’s being aired will be watered down and weakened by the assorted interests within the party who have no intention whatsoever of giving up on any of Westminster’s power, because that’s what has always happened in the past. The original proposals for the Scottish Parliament included control of broadcasting until Labour’s backroom boys and girls got their little squirrel paws on them.

Even if Jezza does come up with a definite plan which becomes a definite manifesto commitment there’s still the little matter of a general election to win. And the way things look right now there’s as much chance of that happening as there is of a squirrel in an alternate universe making a breakthrough in its understanding of quantum mechanics and finding a means of travelling through a wormhole to this universe where it stands as the Labour party candidate for Nutkinshire South. Still, there’s at least a 50% chance of it being red, which is a probability several orders of magnitude greater than Labour’s federalism proposals ever actually happening. The weekend’s developments are unlikely to halt Labour’s death spiral in Scotland, too many of us are fed up with the party telling us that it’s got lots of lovely nuts stored up for delivery at some unspecified date in the future and then only ever delivering some inedible husks.

In another political interview on Sunday, there was some straight talking and some definite commitments, which can only mean that neither Theresa May nor the Labour party were involved. Nicola Sturgeon assured Andrew Marr that she was not bluffing. If the Tories take Scotland into a hard Brexit, there will be another independence referendum. She’s offering compromises, she’s offering negotiation, and if Theresa May’s government do not meet Scotland halfway then there will be another independence vote. Because if May won’t take Scotland’s position into account then all she’s doing is proving that the Union is as ficticious as her reputation for clarity.

The ball is in Westminster’s court. They’ve been given an opportunity to prove that they’re not liars, an opportunity to stand by the promises and commitments that they made to Scotland when they told us that Scotland is an equal and valued partner in this family of nations. If they turn that opportunity down, the Union will have been killed by the Unionists themselves, and no number of quantum squirrels is going to save it.

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.

Get your copy of Barking Up the Right Tree Volume 2 by placing an order on the Vagabond Voices website. Just click the following link.

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

Independence means independence

I’m not about to give a running commentary on what independence will mean, but let me be absolutely clear, independence means independence. We’re going to achieve an independence that will be a bespoke deal for the people of Scotland, not an off the shelf independence which might suit some nations which are not as great as ours. We have an ambitious vision for a Scotland which achieves a saltire style blue and white independence that’s in the interests of the whole country. A patriotic independence in which the whole country can pull together towards a glorious future in which we take back control. Make no mistake, we’re engaged in a historic process.

That’s the kind of meaningless verbiage we’d be getting if Theresa May was the leader of the SNP and was the Scottish Furst Meenister. A shapeless planless pitch which substitutes a content-free waffle for anything which approaches a route map for getting from A to B, or any explanation of what B actually consists of and why we should get there. But Theresa May isn’t the Furst Meenister, that would be Nicola Sturgeon, and she’s a very different kind of politician. She’s got a plan. It’s just that her plan is one that the Unionist media doesn’t like very much. Because it’s a plan to gain independence for Scotland, and a plan about what Scotland can do with that independence once it’s been achieved.

I was out yesterday evening, but got home just in time to see a pair of London based media commentators on Sky News press review metrosplaining Nicola Sturgeon’s supposed decision to give up on the entire idea of Scottish independence. Because when the Furst Meenister sets out exactly what she’s been saying since the very beginning, that she expects the British government to protect and defend the interests of Scotland within the EU and ensure our continuing membership of the single market with all that entails, this all of a sudden becomes an announcement that she doesn’t want independence after all.

There’s no demand in Scotland for independence, said the meedjasplainers whose experience of Scotland is limited to traipsing from one concert venue to another for a week or so during the Embra festival. But they did manage to read some headlines in the Telegraph and Severin’s reportage in the Guardian, so they’ve got their fingers on the pulse of the corpse of Unionism. I’m so glad they’ve cleared up that troubling issue of another referendum for us. And there was me thinking that ordinary Scottish people understand Scottish politics better than the metrocommentariat. How mad is that eh?

Despite the headlines in a Unionist media that’s desperate to hear what it wants to hear, absolutely nothing has changed since the day before yesterday, before Nicola had her wee conversation in the BBC Radio Scotlandshire studio. Scotland remains as much on course for a second independence referendum now as it was earlier this week, despite all the fond hopes of posh pundits. This is after all the same media that wants us to believe that the SNP doesn’t really want a independence.

That’s the same SNP that the same Unionist establishment would have us believe is entirely motivated by an atavistic hatred of England and the English. Although when those asserting this are asked for evidence of their claims they can only prove their case by insisting that words mean different things to what everyone else understands them to mean. You know, like when an independence supporter complains about the Westminster parliament, this is really a racist attack on the entire English population. Or when an independence supporter expresses support for the Gaelic language this becomes a coded instruction to take a machete to English monoglots. So when these people tell us that Nicola Sturgeon has given up on the idea of independence, we need to take it with a mine’s worth of salt. Oh God, I said “these people” and that is probably a coded racist slur against the English. I’ll go and flagellate myself with a copy of the Daily Mail just as soon as I’ve finished writing this diatribe.

The line taken by the Scottish government has always been that taking Scotland out of the EU and removing the rights and benefits that residents of Scotland – both UK and EU citizens – enjoy as a result of our EU membership would be a cause for a second independence referendum. In her interview on Friday what the Furst Meenister said was that if that scenario can be avoided, then there won’t be a second independence referendum because then there will be no cause for one. That’s exactly what she’s been saying all along.

The problem for the Unionists who claim that Nicola is backtracking is that she’s batted the ball very firmly back into their court. What she really did in her interview was to make it clear that the Scottish government is prepared to be reasonable, flexible and is open to sensible negotiations in order to protect the interests of the majority in Scotland who voted to remain a part of the EU. Nae other bugger is standing up for the interests of the remainers. If the Tory government refuses to play ball, which is as much of a certainty as Ruth Davidson passing by a tank and climbing on it for a photo-op, then the justification for a second independence referendum comes very clearly from the failure of May’s government to listen to Scotland. It means that after receiving a litany of rebuffs from recalcitrant reactionaries in Westminster, the Scottish government can go to the Scottish people and tell them in all honesty that there is no other option but a second independence referendum.

It’s not a Union if one important partner in that Union isn’t listened to. It’s not a Union if one important partner in that Union gets ordered what to do. It’s not a Union if one important partner in that Union has made repeated and reasonable attempts to negotiate and reach a mutually acceptable compromise but has been consistently ignored and insulted and treated like a child. So when a second independence referendum is called, it will be obvious to one and all that the only way in which Scotland’s voice can be heard, the only way in which Scotland’s wishes will be respected, will be for Scotland to stand as an independent nation. Because if Westminster refuses to allow Scotland to choose its own destiny, then Scotland will make its choices for itself. Theresa May will have no one to blame but herself, and no amount of her meaningless waffle will change it.

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.

Get your copy of Barking Up the Right Tree Volume 2 by placing an order on the Vagabond Voices website. Just click the following link.

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

Dumb, dumber, and dumbest

Oh dear God I’m bored. Fed up. Pissed off. And simultaneously angry and seething with contemptuous indignation at the sheer mind-numbing moronity of British politics and its media cheerleaders. It’s like we’re all being drowned in a big vat of stupid that’s being stirred with the silver spoons that the rich and powerful have in their mouths. And what applies to the British political establishment and the British media applies by the bucket load to its Scottish Unionist branch offices.

Brexit plans continue to be distinguished by the fact of their non-existence while the British government runs about in a panic that makes a headless chicken appear a model of sedate thoughtfulness, all overseen by a secretive control freak of a Prime Minister whose secretive control freakery tries but fails to cover for the fact that it’s no secret that everything is out of control. The British ambassador to the EU has just resigned, claiming in his resignation letter that the British government was ignoring his advice about potential pitfalls in the negotiating process, and for trying to disabuse the Tory cabinet ministers in charge of Brexit of their Empire based notion that the EU will cave in to Britain’s every demand. We’ll be having none of this negativity from a diplomat who’s spent most of his working life in the higher reaches of EU administration and governance. Who needs experts when you’ve got Michael Gove?

Just four days into the New Year and we’d reached Fat Cat Wednesday. Not that you would have noticed if you were relying on the Scottish media for your news. They’d only tell you about it if Fat Cat Wednesday was a meme on Twitter where people shared hysterical photies of overfed cats in with witty captions which were then republished by commercial organisations that leech off social media because it’s cheaper than paying for your own research or joke writers.

Fat Cat Wednesday is in fact the day when the bosses of the FTSE 100 companies have earned the average UK annual wage. It’s not even four days, because by lunchtime on Wednesday the average CO of a FTSE 100 company has received as much in pay as the average worker gets in a year. And at that lunchtime the CO will spend as much on a bite to eat as the average unemployed worker receives in social security. The average worker has another 361 days of hard work to go and the millions who earn less than the average wage will still be slogging away well into 2018 before they’ve earned as much as the top paid executives have earned in a couple of days. Well I say “earned”, but what that really means is “decided to pay themselves”. It’s not like they’re worth it and they’ve certainly not earned it. The real Benefits Britain is the tax breaks and tax avoidance strategies enjoyed by the rich. Yet it’s the poor person who gets slagged off for being a scrounger.

The pay gap in Britain is widening, and getting wider. When she came to power Theresa May promised that she’d crack down on the obscenities of excessive executive rewards, but instead she preferred to reinvent tautologies as a political strategy. To be fair however, Theresa May does possess one invaluable political skill, she’s able to take a journalist’s question and then answer a different question entirely. If you asked her how much two plus two was she’d reply that she’s not about to give a running commentary on her calculations but you can be sure that the answer will be red white and blue and then she’d make a poor joke about Jeremy Corbyn. When the auld Tory Kenneth Clark said that Theresa May was a difficult woman, what he meant was that it’s difficult to get a straight answer from her to a straight question.

Just four days into the year and already the bosses have raked in as much as the average worker while Theresa May’s promises to tackle growing inequality have gone much the same way as her promise that she’d govern for the many not the few. Although if you ask her about it she’ll instead tell you that she’s trying to get the best possible patriotic deal for the entire country and it’s going to be red white and blue. And she’ll do it with that very careful diction of hers with every consonant carefully articulated, which means that it doesn’t matter that what she’s told you is actually content free.

Fat Cat Wednesday is a sign of the growing inequality in the UK, a sign that this state has long since ceased to work for the average person, but all the Scottish media and the Unionist parties are interested in are an idiotic tweet from an SNP MSP whose daft comment apparently means that he’s actively condoning rape, and how the Scottish government’s baby box initiative means the metaphorical revival of Stalin and Hitler from their graves. You’d have thought they’d have welcomed a scheme to improve the lives of infants, what with two year olds being the demographic that the Unionist parties have pitched their intellectual level at.

They say a country gets the politicians and the media that it deserves, which can only mean that in a previous incarnation Scotland invaded Poland, started a couple of world wars, unleashed a zombie horde, slaughtered the first born, and knifed Pudsey the Bear in the belly and then drowned refugee children in his polystyrene beads. Although if you look at the Tory contingent in Holyrood you could be forgiven for believing that the zombie horde is still with us. Thankfully however, most of them never do or say anything of any importance and only ever impinge on the consciousness when one of them says something ridiculously asinine on Twitter, something which occurs with tediously predictable frequency. Strangely, this doesn’t provoke howls of outrage in the Scottish media. It’s only the idiocies of individual independence supporters who can do that. It’s a useful distraction from the much bigger idiocies of dumb Britain.

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.

Get your copy of Barking Up the Right Tree Volume 2 by placing an order on the Vagabond Voices website. Just click the following link.

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

Lies, damned lies, and opinion polls

A New Year, a fresh start, but the same auld mince from the usual suspects in Scotland’s not-so-merry band of grip losing Unionists for whom hysteria is a substitute for reason. The Unionists in Scotland are exactly like the Brexiteers. Both won their referendums, and both have reacted to their victories with ill-grace, bad tempers, petulance, and a growing and increasingly vocal paranoia. The paranoia and bad tempers are only going to get worse over the coming year as it becomes increasingly obvious that the Union is a project which can only continue if the people of Scotland are willing to put up with an ever growing pile of crapulous unfairness where Scotland’s voice counts for much less than Nigel Farage’s.

But the Union still has its little elves and munchkins in the press, who’ll find a way of making sure that everything that issues from Holyrood is bad. And when there’s not enough SNPbadness to go round, they’ll commission a meaningless opinion poll that can be spun into a story that allegedly proves that people in Scotland are falling out of love with the idea of independence. Headlining in the pro-British press on Monday was a new opinion poll which purports to show that a substantial majority of Scotland’s voters don’t want an independence referendum in 2017. For some reason, this is supposed to be a terrible blow for Nicola Sturgeon.

Telling us that most people don’t want a second independence referendum in 2017 tells us as much about support for independence as throwing a bucket of blue paint over a crowd of shoppers at Parkhead Forge tells us about support for Rangers. In fact, randomly flinging about buckets of paint is very much like commissioning and publishing a misleading opinion poll. Both are exercises in pointlessness which only succeed in annoying people and creating mess and confusion. Although at least the paint flinging could potentially create something that could be described as abstract art. The only way you can create art with Scottish Unionist newspapers is to rip them up and use them to make a papier maché model of Ruth Davidson posing in a cheery photo-op with a ruminant. Which is about as incisive and forensic as they ever get with Ruth anyway.

I spend a considerable amount of time and energy arguing for independence, campaiging for independence, and travelling the length and breadth of Scotland and speaking to people about independence. It’s probably safe to say that I’m pretty committed to the idea of independence and am not only keen to see a yes vote in a future independence referendum but am also doing everything within my limited ability to help bring a yes vote about. But if I were asked whether I wanted an independence referendum in 2017 I’d say no. It’s too soon, and we’d find it harder to win than if we have an independence referendum late in 2018 or early in 2019, by which time the awfulness of Brexit will be becoming clear in all its red white and blue horror.

The best time for a second indyref is when people will be facing up to the very real and very frightening prospect of a Tory government in Westminster ripping up our human rights and employment rights to turn them into a papier maché model of a Great British Bill of Rights which they’ll burn as a sacrifice on the altar of xenophobia. Because I don’t just want the cause of independence to win the next indyref, and there will be another indyref, I want us to win it convincingly. And the best way to win it convincingly is when we go into a second independence referendum campaign with a majority already supporting the idea of Scottish independence because the British state will have shown itself to be an utterly irredeemable mad bag of spanners which is going to destroy the lives and opportunities of millions of its citizens. It will be when the people of Scotland have indisputable evidence that every single plan or project that can allow Scotland’s needs and voice to be respected and taken into account within the framework of Union has been cast aside and rejected by a greedy and arrogant Westminster government that refuses to compromise.

In my view, the best time to have another independence referendum is sometime late in 2018 or very early in 2019, by which time we’ll all know what sort of Brexit is on the cards. Right now, all we know are Theresa May’s tautologies which are an ever more transparent cover for the fact that her government doesn’t have a clue on how to proceed. She must have though it was terribly clever for her to give the main posts in her cabinet dealing with Brexit to leading Brexiteers, but all she’s achieved has been to highlight her own vacuuity while Johnson, Fox, and Davis vie with one another in an ignorance competition.

The same poll also has a question about independence. 45.5% of respondents want independence. Or to be more exact, it probably doesn’t show that at all. The poll was carried out by the same polling company which last time it did a Scottish poll asked whether people wanted Scotland to remain a member of the UK, a question which is vague to the point of uselessness, because “not being a member of the UK” isn’t defined. It is technically possible for Scotland to be independent and still to be a “member of the UK”. It just depends on how you want to define things.

But more importantly, this question can’t be compared directly with the 2014 referendum result, because that would require asking the same question as was asked in the referendum. That being said, and despite the fact that if it was phrased the same way as in the previous poll from the same company it’s likely to produce a lower percentage in favour of “not being a member of the UK” than a simple question about independence, the new poll does seem to contradict the recent Yougov poll claiming that support for independence had dropped below the level it achieved in 2014. Scotland remains on course for an independence referendum within the next couple of years, and remains on course for independence.

But if my opinion was included in this opinion poll, it would be presented in the Unionist media as a blow for Nicola Sturgeon and a falling away in support for independence. And then these same publications produce anguished editorials about false news and how it’s damaging to democracy. It might be a New Year, but we’re in for the same lies, the same deception, and the same manipulation. Thankfully more and more of us are seeing through the lies.

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.

Get your copy of Barking Up the Right Tree Volume 2 by placing an order on the Vagabond Voices website. Just click the following link.

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