We can choose the shelter, or we can choose the storm

Well 2017 is shaping up to be pretty crappy, isn’t it. And there was us thinking that 2016 was the worst year ever. We’ve not even had a whole month of 2017 yet and already it’s so bad that it’s enough to make you long for the good old days of 2016 when it was only celebrities who had to worry about their survival prospects. Or at least the worthwhile ones, Katie Hopkins and Piers Morgan are both in robust health and the Jedward twins are annoyingly alive and well and still haven’t been voted off Celebrity Big Brother. It’s just their career that died. But where 2016 was the year when celebrities worried if they’d make it to the end of the year, 2017 is the year when we’re all worrying whether our civil liberties, our public services, or our economy will survive until Dec 31.

Thanks to Theresa May’s nauseating cosying up to the man whose ego is inversely proportional to the size of his tiny little hands, we now know that Britain voted to take back control from Europe so it could be handed on a plate to Donald Trump. I’m struggling to think of a time I’ve been more embarrassed to bear a British passport, and I’ve seen Nicholas Witchell’s syrupy waffle about the royal wedding. I’ve seen catsuited Galloway praising dictators. I’ve seen Tony Blair and his tombstone teeth hoping that the gleam of his grin will distract us from the sight of dead children in Baghdad.

Britain has taken back control so that we can be a free country. We’re free from the bureaucrats of Brussels now, free to have the NHS colonised by American healthcare corporations, free to abolish maternity and paternity leave, free to reduce the annual holiday entitlement to zero, free to work unlimited hours in jobs that pay peanuts if we can find a job at all. Free to become the pariah of Europe. Free to be the laughing stock as we drape ourselves in a Union fleg that substitutes for dignity. Free to climb so far up the rectum of the Donald that his tiny little fingers can’t dislodge us.

And here in Scotland we’re the freest of all, free to be electorally irrelevant, free to be taken out the EU even though we voted to stay in it twice, free to be ignored and sidelined, free not to be consulted. We’re free to be powerless, free to hoist our Caledonian backsides in the air and be royally shafted. We’re free to be unable to do anything about it. Free to be told what to do, free to have our country Trump-trashed. And as long as we remain a part of this so-called United Kingdom, there’s nothing we can do but revel in our weakness and glorify our paralysis. Isn’t it wonderful to be so free. Scotland in the UK is so free it doesn’t even need the illusion of control.

Britain tells us that we’re free, but the truth is we’re trapped in a state that has slipped its moorings and relies on xenophobia and fear as a substitute for a moral compass. This is a ship of state that’s sailing on an ocean of hatred while the grey storm clouds of greed are gathering. The sound of a distant gale is growing, blowing in from the west. Scotland is being towed along behind the sinking British ship of state, bounced about in its wake, keel hauled like a pirate’s captive. The only freedom we’ve got left is the freedom to do as we are told by the people who unleashed the storm and who are sailing us into disaster as the waves grow ever higher. They’re the people who tell us they can walk on water as the sea closes in around their necks. And we’re given no choice but to obey the ocean necklaced people whom we know will toss us overboard first in order to save themselves.

Even when they toss us to the corporate sharks they’ll be telling us that they’re doing it for our own good, that we’re too poor and too small and we need them. We need them so they can devour us, so we can bask in their contempt and derision. 300 years of a Union that’s left us too weak and useless to stand on our own feet.

There’s a difference between being poor and being impoverished. Scotland is a rich country, but it’s a rich country that’s been impoverished by a UK that sucks the wealth and talent out into the maws of London, and then having taken the best from Scotland it tells us that Scotland is too poor to survive.

It doesn’t have to be like this. It’s not too late. Scotland can cut the ropes that bind us and chart our own course to a quiet and calm haven. We’re the land of many islands that can shelter us from the storm, the country of mountains to protect us from the rising waters. We’re a resourceful people in a land full of resources. They’re resources we could be using to build a home for ourselves, to protect the people and create a better future, a place to bring up the kids in safety and security, a place where the elderly can be cared for, a place with a roof that will keep out the rain and windows with a view of the world, and a door that allows our friends to visit. Instead we allow Westminster to use them to tie a noose around our neck and drag us down with them into the grasping little hands of Trump.

We can choose to do what’s in the best interests of all the people of Scotland. Or we can have choices made for us that benefit the rich and the powerful, choices that Scotland doesn’t make and that don’t work in our best interests but in the interests of those who’re leading us into the beady greedy eye of a Trumpicane. We can choose the shelter, or we can choose the storm.

Audio version of this blog post, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-27th-jan-2017

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34 comments on “We can choose the shelter, or we can choose the storm

  1. Stoops says:

    I despair for the future Paul, I really do. I see this madness in the world and I think the current of it is too strong. I think we’re doomed to return the same result in Indyref2 and we’ll drown in this cess.

    I never understood why a country would vote against its own independence, and because I don’t understand it I can’t see why things would be different the second time around. We’re where we are because, as a nation, we chose this.

    I despair.

    Nice post, I really enjoy your work. Never stop.

    • scrandoonyeah says:

      don’t give up, we will get there….

    • Douglas says:

      I agree that what is happening to the UK is madness but beware.

      Despair is what they want to incubate.

      The hope of IndyRef1 really really scared them. It has not gone away.

      They want to grind us down to a stage where we loose hope or get violent.
      We must not let that happen.

      I am optimistic that we can win but it will not be easy.

      Nicola’s thrawn reasonableness (!) in the face of provocation sets the stage perfectly for our next step.
      ‘Always forgive your emenies; nothing annoys them so much’ -Oscar Wilde
      I would add: …then carefully invite them to change their mind.

      • Dan Huil says:

        Well said, Douglas. Britnats know all about those Scots who are perpetually in the “we’re all doomed” camp. They will try to foster this attitude as much as they can. The bbc is certainly good at passing down the “Scotland: what’s the point” meassage. We will also see people who claim to support independence dropping into websites saying, “dearie me, we cannae win”. These people are the enemies of Scotland. They are the enemies of hope and should be despised as such.

        • Stoops says:

          Steady on Dan. I think the road is bleak, but that does not make me an enemy of Scotland.

          I remember the bounce in 2014 when you would frequently read on social media about people who would tell you it was in the bank, how everyone they spoke to was going to vote Yes, people who lived in echo chambers. It wasn’t like that in my experience. Most people I knew; friends, relatives, colleagues at work were planning on voting No and were deaf to debate. They bought the lies and wouldn’t look past the mainstream media view. I have even spoken to a friend who voted Yes but now says he wouldn’t vote in a second referendum because Scotland didn’t deserve independence if it wouldn’t take the first opportunity given. To an extent it’s hard to disagree with that view.

          I never thought there would be a second referendum, but events have conspired to give the opportunity. Make no mistake though; lose a second time and it’s over, at least for the remainder of my life.

          My point Dan is simply this: Do not take for granted that the events of recent history and those events about to transpire will change the voting intentions of many. We had most of the low hanging fruit in the last referendum, those remaining Nos are mostly hard Nos and I do not think this will be easy.

          And because of that I despair.

          • Douglas says:

            Whoa there Dan!
            I deliberately avoided attacking Stoops because Stoops is not a foe.
            Gaining Independence is not going to be easy but it can be done.
            I was just pointing out that the objective of unionist tactics is to demoralise and divide us…
            let’s just recognise the tactic and not fall for it. Calling anyone ‘an enemy of Scotland’ (even unionists) is counterproductive and plays into their hands.

            Stoops point about not assuming that events will do the job for us is well made.
            Folk need to be convinced; that requires a calm approach that gives them reason and space to change their mind without feeling got at (one reason why I feel a bit squeamish about ‘are you yes yet?’ as a badge). Many voted NO for rational reasons based on the information they were fed which highlighted fear and some vulnerabilities in the YES campaign. They need to be welcomed and encouraged to think again.

            We need warm (determined) hearts and cool heads to sort this.

  2. […] Wee Ginger Dug We can choose the shelter, or we can choose the storm […]

  3. benmadigan says:

    excellent piece Paul- Sad but very true-
    Only Scotland can stand up for herself.
    Her gallant allies in Europe may all be more than willing to stretch out helping hands once she’s jumped but she has to make the move to abandon ship.
    And to make the move she has to realize there’s no other way to save her life – abandon ship or perish.
    That’s the choice facing Scotland today.

  4. Macart says:

    Great post Paul and timely.

    The world seems a pretty dark and scary place right now. Trump and May symbolize all that is wrong with politics and society today. The seeming triumph of the greed is good culture. The epitome of the triangulation, manipulation, soundbite and TV, short-termist vacuous shite which passes for power politics, or politics as it is practised.

    When you are willing to sacrifice huge demographics on the alter of greed, demonisation, societal division, or are willing to pander to the agenda of corporate compromise and power politics for its own sake, then Trumpland and Brexit UK are the inevitable result. Politics by media and celebrity gone terribly, terribly wrong, where positions of awesome duty and responsibility have been handed to those least capable of performing the task in hand. Seems all that is required in place of, y’know, ethics, ability or a human soul is access to mountains of cash, the right connections, and a total disregard for the suffering of others. Who knew?

    You see, you need to care, and not in a fleg wavy way, about the lives and futures of ALL of your electorate. When you are the President, the Prime Minister, or the First Minister of a nation, the day job is looking out for the interests of ALL of your population. Yeah, even those who politically disagree with you.

    For a true leader of a nation, it shouldn’t matter their point of origin, their religious credo, their individual politics, their sexual orientation, that population is your responsibility. Their lives, safety, aspirations, day to day needs are all in your hands.

    Anyone reckon Trump or May capable of that kind of duty of care?

    No, me neither.

    So, its about that time. What kind of country, government and politics do you want?

    Happily, in Scotland we can have a say in that. Oh and remember, its always darkest just before the dawn. 😉

    • diabloandco says:

      I am about as dark as Stoop I definitely need some cheery ,good news – but I’ll try to remember Pal’s mantra before the last indy ref , ” we can do this” and I’ll add your ” darkest just before the dawn’ . If you see a muttering auld wifie wandering the streets uttering those lines please be gentle with her.

      • Macart says:

        Heh. Not the first picture that comes to mind when you have a mad on tbf. 🙂

        We could do it in 2014 and we can still do it today. People need hope and they need others willing to stand beside them when it all goes wrong and show them it doesn’t have to be this way.

        The US and UK are pretty grim places about now. Their states, systems of politics failing and societies badly divided. Divisions brought about by the political and corporate classes in pursuit of their own self interests. Where a vacuum has been created, whether by fuckwitted ineptitude or by catastrophic design, bad things can fill the void. THIS is what has occurred in both states.

        As I’ve said many times though, people HAVE the power to change this and always did. The minority cannot rule the majority without their consent. The ‘fortunate’ minority rely on their cash, access and reach to manipulate the opinion of the masses. They manipulate the choices available, the media narrative, the systems and institutions of power and can seem pretty untouchable. Right up until you realise that they need your consent to do any of the above (that’s where the manipulation of opinion bit comes in).

        In the face of popular opinion, a different opinion, they’re actually quite powerLESS. Those you give power to, you can remove power from. What the electorate of Scotland chose to do in 2014 and which has led to that rapidly darkening place, they can choose to undo tomorrow. Kinda why the usual suspects keep harking on about the impossibility of it all. They’re still trying to convince people they are powerless to … simply change their minds and choose a different path. 🙂

    • Illy says:

      I use a shorter version of what you just said, it feels snappier to me:

      “If you’re a politician, and not trying to turn your country into a utopia, you’re doing something wrong”

  5. If I recall, but don’t quote me,it was James Thurber who observed, why can’t he be a non-conformist like everybody else?
    It was Confucius who said:- “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”

    Paul, you never fail to delight; you never stop, and we are indebted to you for your resilience and rapier like prose.

    It may appear that the Independence movement has stalled, we are treading water if you like, to stretch your metaphor to breaking point, but social commentators like you and Bateman keep us going, steady as she goes, eye on the prize.
    In a week, where Big T stoops to be conquered, and if you’re obese, a smoker, or can still hobble about in extreme arthritic pain, then NHS England may have cancelled your operation as part of an efficiency drive, to ‘save’ money.
    We can only look on and hope that the ‘silent majority’ who voted No in ’14 are beginning to realise what Better Together actually looks like.
    Old Glory and Old Tory parading their ‘special relationship’ in front of the World Press.
    Theresa, you’re so fuckin’ speshull..
    It was also Thurber in non PC times who quipped, ‘I hate women. They know where everything is.’
    May certainly knows where Little England’s future lies. In the Land of the Free, the Home of the Brave, in Muslim Free, Fundamentalist Christian, heterosexual, locker room, Trumpland.
    England, the 51st State, the USA’s unsinkable aircraft carrier.
    Night is as dark as you think it ought to be, Paul (The Kinks?)
    They are doing our jobs for us. As Brexit unfolds, and Trump continues to astonish and terrify the world, Scotland has a get out clause; more and more of our citizens are beginning to realise that.
    Great controlled rant, Paul.

    • gerry parker says:

      The Kinks?

      Yep, Wonderboy.
      The song that is.


      • Gerry, Thanks for that. it’s been bugging me ever since it popped into my head. Icould have googled it, but where’s the fun in that?
        I’m humming the tune right now. Youtube here I come; I’ll be sidetracked for hours now.

  6. Nigel Mace says:

    Perhaps your most eloquent piece ever – and a brilliant title.

  7. Eilidh says:

    The Darth Trump and Cruella May hand holding scene yesterday was particularly vomit worthy. She will soon learn that any deal with him on trade will mean the best for them by far certainly not us.He appears not only to beleive in American exceptionalism but his own exceptionalism its all about him. I truely beleive he is delusional about voter fraud etc.The only laugh I got this week about this madness was when it was announced she was taking him a quaich as a gift English reporters couldn’t pronounce it and kept saying quake.For a microsecond I thought she was going to arrange an 8.5 one and for the Earth to swallow him up.No such luck.As far Scotland’s future on Indy is concerned I think we need to keep plodding along we will get there

  8. davidbsb says:

    Always start from the ground zero position. Scotland is self sufficient in food and energy. We have abundant water and an educated population. We would have to try really hard to screw up a country which starts out with those assets.

  9. gavin says:

    Timing is all. Next year or 2019 will be the time to cast off our chains. Who will be our opposition now that the “Big Beasts” of Britnatdom have departed to plush Boardrooms?
    Kezia? Will she still be in post?
    How about Ruthie? She is little more than a No Surrender meme. Once you’ve heard it once, that’s enough. And her side kick Mundell, the Secretary of State for anywhere but Scotland.
    Wee Wullie? Hahahahahahaha………………………………………….
    Then there will be the Day Trippers. It notice-able that May gets an airing on BBC Scotland news every night—-product placing I think its called. But will she resonate with Scots with her whiffley sneery voice and her Home County condescension? I think not.
    Corbyn—a has been already.
    And all the promises that we were given in 2014—the Britnats are bricking it.

  10. David says:

    Well said Paul but I need to clarify that Scotland’s talent drain specifically excludes Andrew Marr, James Naughtie, Andrew Neil and Neil Oliver. I think these empire builders should remain and retain their roles as loyal servants to the shrivelling domain of their imperial masters.

    • Doug Porteous says:

      Why would Westminster want them? They’ll be seen to have failed their masters who in time honoured fashion will kick them out. Perhaps they can get a visa for Trumps America.

  11. Brian Powell says:

    “Scottish’ Labour wants the storm so it can complain and organise meetings and say ‘we created’ the NHS so stuff, then say you must vote for us Scots because there is this storm and ‘we created the NHS’ so stuff.

  12. hettyforindy says:

    Great article, thanks. We have to keep going, and not let the bastrds grind us down.

  13. douglasclark says:

    Agree with the other posts above. Wonderful piece of prose.

    Frankly the old ‘never interrupt your enemy when they are making a mistake,” is all well and good, but I prefer your approach. I am quite astonished at your energy. Me? It’s January, and I hate January anyway.

  14. pwest9 says:

    Good piece. Accurately reflects my view today. I despair at the stupidity of the press and the vision of trade deals with America. I feel we have just kissed goodbye to the NHS and workers rights and that’s before we leave the EU. This last fiasco on Brexit has been such a blatant indication of what the English establishment think about Scotland. Bad enough that the UK is going to be a vassal state to the USA but to think they want us to be a vassal state to a vassal state is going too far. First step is a renewed fight for independence and failing that we need to take actions befitting our proud nation. No more English jackboots on Scotland’s neck. Thanks for all your good efforts and posts.

  15. Weechid. says:

    We won’t lose any rights – at least that’s what a Brexit supporter on Twitter told me. They didn’t say we would lose all these rights when they persuaded people to vote leave – so it can’t be true. That’s right isn’t it?????? When I think of the people who sneered unbelievingly when I told them this would happen if they voted No to independence – I want to see if they are sneering on the other side of their faces now.I Don’t think I can ever forgive them.

  16. Norman says:

    Nearly 40 years later and the Conservatives still believe in the same freedoms –

    “…Freedom from left-wing layabouts and liberals
    Freedom from the likes of you”

    (Tom Robinson Band: Power in the Darkness, 1978)

  17. Wonder why the Scottish Tories dropped any reference to them being Conservatives in their election literature for the last Holyrood election and instead branded themselves as the Ruth Davidson glee club? Wonder how on earth Trump won? Wonder how England could vote for Brexit and isolationism? Then have a read at this – https://antidotezine.com/2017/01/22/trump-knows-you/ and watch the ten minute video – ttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8Dd5aVXLCc

    Big brother is now Big data and psychographics.

    It will make your blood chill, but it will answer some of those nagging questions. And it should push us into a reassessment of how we campaign for Indyref2. Everyone with an interest should read and watch and wonder how we counter such tactics.

    • Robert Harrison says:

      You’ve got more chance of the cons admitting that the English are gullable idiots for beleaving there lies about scotland being a basket case nation and that lies been going since the real reports in the 1920s stopped being posted as it was showing even then scotland Wales and Northern Ireland have been subsidising English people from back then if not further

  18. Mark Russell says:

    Thinking Mrs May can exert influence on the Orangeman through our ‘special relationship is like asking Rolf Harris to keep a watchful eye on Jimmy Savile at a nursery-school picnic. I feel genuinely sorry for many decent Americans; having Trump as President would be akin to having Savile as PM. Can you imagine…?

  19. John Edgar says:

    America first, make America strong, American jobs for American workers and American factories to make American goods for Americans (and for the rest if the world at our rates and conditions!)
    And Nay hopes for a speshal relashonship and trade deal!
    The Anglo side of the UK is in a mess. Tories turning on Tories now that Trump’s diktats stop a Tory MP originally from a banned moslem country to enter the USofA. Labour grassroots challenging Corbyn re Article 50 and the Labour deputy going all “tory-blue” about British goods! Just can’t keep up with this turmoil. And we are still in the EU! What next? Her brittanic majesty cancelling Trump’s visit? Can you imagine the protests when she and trump are in the state coach going through the streets?
    May is already tainted by association with Trump. Her Brittanic majesty next!?
    The heir to the throne and Trump at loggerheads over climate change !?
    Turmoil, toil and trouble!!
    The foreign secretary is now being urged to defend the interests of Britons in the passport crisis to the US. And he is a Trumpist ! What is Nigel saying? Has he run for cover? Nice to see the brittishers being hit by their own inconsistencies! It has been a Lang time comin’

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