Things that happen when you go to London

gingershardBack from London now, where I was doing a talk for the London branch of the SNP. The talk went really well, I met some lovely people, and Ginger – as you can see – was resolutely unimpressed by a famous London landmark. That’s a photie of the Shard, in case you were wondering. I was only away a couple of days, and it’s a holiday week, but there have still been a couple of interesting developments.

Firstly, the Unionists’ favourite provider of graphs did a radio debate with a proper economist. The one whom you cannot mention in case he appears, somewhat like Betelgeuse, appeared on BBC radio Scotland debating with Prof. Richard Murphy. The Unionists’ favourite graph drawer didn’t come across well, snidey, sneery, and arrogantly trying to patronise someone who very clearly knew a great deal more about the topic at hand than he did. Which only goes to show that graphs aren’t a good medium for radio.

If you disagree with him, you are at best a “flat earther” and an outlier. At worst he’ll take to social media and assert to his followers that you deliberately invented lies. However the crux of the argument was that he who cannot be named seemingly claimed that there’s no need for better data on economic activity and tax take in Scotland, because we’re a part of the UK and should jolly well be grateful for what we’re given. Then having denied the need for better and more rigorous data sets he criticises everyone else who has the audacity to point out the shortcomings in his Holy Book of GERS. This is what makes him and his followers GERS fundamentalists.

The GERS figures were never intended to give a picture of the finances of an independent Scotland, yet this is precisely what he and his followers have been using them for for years. You cannot use a set of statistics which have known shortcomings for a purpose for which they were never intended in the first place, while ignoring and dismissing their shortcomings and refusing to concede that the data is inadequate, and still claim that you’re following a solid scientific procedure.

While some of us on the independence side of the debate may have been incorrect in certain details, he’s wrong about the entire premise of his argument – a point he was forced to admit when he conceded that the GERS figures don’t actually tell you anything about the economy of a future independent Scotland, remarks which will most certainly return to haunt him. Because we’ll make sure that they do. And if you’ve conceded that the data set you use can’t tell you about the economy of an independent Scotland, it does beg the question of what the hell you’ve been up to for the past four years when you’ve been doing precisely that.

But he’s moving on to other things and this week it was announced that he’s involved in setting up a new Unionist think tank with TV historians Tom Holland and Dan Snow. Doubtless it will tell us why we shouldn’t vote for independence because of WW1 and the Industrial Revolution, forgetting that the main motivation for most of us in seeking independence is because we’d like to live in a country that looks to the future, and not one that obsessed about the past. Isn’t backward looking romantic nationalism what Unionists were supposed to be accusing independence supporters of?

The new think tank will probably round up a lot of TV celebrities like they did last time to put their names to a letter supporting the Union. Dan Snow is opposed to Scottish independence because his late father-in-law owned a holiday property in the Highlands that’s the size of West Lothian. Other celebs that were rounded up in support have reasons of their own. David Starkey is opposed to Scottish independence because he needs someone to feel superior to. Ben Fogle is opposed to Scottish independence because he thinks he’s a mountain in Argyll.

But it’s not just the prominent amateurs on the Unionist side who’ve been having a tough time this week, one of their most prominent professionals has been having an even worse time of it. Ruth Davidson’s carefully cultivated public persona as a cheeky and approachable compassionate conservative was stripped away to reveal the nasty and begrudging apologist for evil who was lurking underneath all along. Ruth defended the rape clause, a truly horrific provision in the new social security provisions which strips child support from third and subsequent children unless their mother can demonstrate that the child was the product of rape. It is unconscionably abhorrent to force a woman to relive a horrific and traumatic experience or be faced with the prospect of not being able to feed her children, and remember that by definition she will be a woman who is struggling to ensure that she has enough of an income to feed her family.

It’s bad enough that the mother has to go into the details of her sexual assault with an untrained and potentially unsympathetic DWP staff member, but she also has to put on official record that her child is a product of rape, meaning that at some point in the future it becomes more likely that the child will accidentally discover the truth about its origins when it gets a bit older. “Mum, why did you get child support for me even though you were only supposed to get child support for my older brother and sister?”

Ruth Davidson thinks that this is the most compassionate way of dealing with this issue. The most compassionate way would be not to put a woman through the ordeal in the first place, all for the sake of saving £13 quid a week, a sum that wouldn’t even pay for your average Tory MP’s lunch expenses. Make Google or Facebook or the oil giants or all those rich oligarchs who have investment properties in London pay some bloody taxes, then perhaps you wouldn’t have to put women through a horrendous ordeal in the first place.  That would be a whole lot more compassionate.

However the real person who should be criticised in all this, at least according to Ruth Davidson, is Nicola Sturgeon. The Scottish government could make up the difference, pouted Ruth and went on to accuse them of “gross hypocrisy”. Because when you’ve cheered on your pals for bullying and abusing vulnerable people, the real person who deserves criticism is the person who calls you out on it, because they could put a plaster on the wounds that you’ve caused. It doesn’t seem to have occurred to Ruth Davidson that the people deserving of condemnation are those who bullied in the first place. And that, pretty much, is the definition of a Tory.

Audio version of this blog post, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-14th-april-2017

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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38 comments on “Things that happen when you go to London

  1. Brian Watson says:

    Has Roothie pulled a sicky do you think? Probably did herself an injury trying to bump start yon tank she likes to throw her leg over . Either that , or the buffalo/bison”s had enough and given her the heave.

  2. Kerly says:

    Not the type of people we want in our new caring Scotland
    Please sign government petition on rapeclause

  3. tony Coyle says:

    Sadly too accurate.

    Revenues that go directly to Private Companies rather than to the Nation (oil, health, utilities, rail, and on and on).

    “Benefit Scroungers” targeted (far) more assiduously than Tax Dodgers.

    Ideology more important than evidence. (c.f. Portugal and Austerity / Spain and the Veto / Anything-at-all and the EU)

    And while ‘conservative’ used to mean someone who demanded solid evidence before embarking on change (which is a ‘reasonable’ stance, if not very exciting), it now means someone who is entirely agaiinst any change unless it profits them personally.

    Sometimes I really worry for the world. At such times, knowing that folks like YOU exist, and that there are still many like you, reminds me that such people may have power today, but they are in no way unassailable.

  4. Now we are seeing the real darkness in the nasty English Nationalist Party to which Davidson pays fealty to. Ermine at any cost, Ruthie-babes You disgust me you sick, sick woman.

  5. liz says:

    Some folk in the London bubble seem to have developed a very disturbing attitude.

    Liz Kershaw BBC DJ, was asking on twitter ‘what is all the hysteria about, the SG could just block it’

    Apart from the fact they can’t, she is completely missing the point as this policy, unless it is stopped will go ahead in England no matter what happens in Scotland.

    There is something deeply disturbing going on.

  6. Macart says:

    I’d just like to state for the record that I’ve never considered Ruth Harrison cheeky, compassionate or approachable. Too many tanks, fish, buffalo and assorted scary things. Spookily, I prefer my politicians to actually do stuff that helps people, doesn’t talk down to, or over them and generally ‘get on with the day job’,.

    Small, scary, kickboxing tank fetishists with an unhealthy compulsion to shout a lot need not EVER put any leaflets through my door.

    As for the Yoonitariat’s cut price version of Rumplestiltskin? He really, REALLY did come over as pretty damn foolish when confronted with a true economist.

    Who knew?

    Still, worth repeating often and loudly. GERS does NOT reflect the financial status or economic performance of an independent Scotland and NEVER could.

  7. diabloandco says:

    I watched the awful woman bluster her way through interview blaming the SNP for not alleviating the situation . I don’t know where ‘brass neck’ comes from but maybe Alloy 1090 is more appropriate for the Buffalo Girl.

  8. M says:

    How would Ruth react if she was in that situation!!!

    • Andy Anderson says:

      Agree with this sentiment. I often use this method to stop idiots like Ruthie who spout off to think personally and see if they feel the same.

  9. Les Bremner says:

    The only way it can be proven that a child is born as a result of rape, as opposed to consensual sex before or after the rape, is to take three DNA samples: the rapist’s immediately after the rape, the mother’s and that of the child.

    Many women do not report a rape immediately, so the first DNA is not available. The child’s DNA must be taken with the child present, so the child is personally involved.

    Proving what the DWP need is either impossible or will cause lasting trauma to the child.

    We must get away from the disgusting toxicity of Westminster.

    • mogabee says:

      Rape happens within a relationship too. So testing is pointless, just like the Tories…

    • Tess says:

      The dwp are also well known for losing information etc!! Can you imagine what that would entail for that mother and child? It doesn’t bear thinking about.

  10. Bill McDermott says:

    The Scottish Tories – what are they like?

    Clearly they have some strategist who has worked out that they have to go hard on the independence thingy to the exclusion of what the Local Elections are all about. Just for company SLAB and the LibDems have worked out that they need to pile in with the same message. Hence the experience of FM Questions every Thursday when Kezia and Wullie play the encore for Ruth.

    But what about the credentials of the Tories? Apart from Jackson Carlaw and Ruth herself, who could you honestly say is MSP material? They are a gang of misfit careerists, verging on the loopy when you consider Murdo, Myles Briggs, Douglas Thompson and Annie Wells. As for Jackson and Ruth, they can perform in the role, but they are sorely mis-directed and Ruth is obviously in trouble with the rape clause.

  11. Jane says:

    I love the article but I’m frustrated that two payments for kids are being confused.
    Child Benefit £13 pwk for the second or subsequent child is not under threat.
    Child Tax Credit – CTC- is subject to the two child limit. For the poorest families – including those in part-time low paid work – CTC is what feeds yer children, heats their bedrooms, provides all the essentials that shite poverty wages leave a parent unable to do. It’s £65 a week per child for a family earning under £6.5K a year (ish) and £125 per week for a child with disabilities

    • Marconatrix says:

      Long ago, if I recall correctly, child allowance was paid for all children in a family bar the first (or only) child. That to me seems far more logical than the present system which simply appears designed to penalise the most needy. The World Turned Upside Down indeed! (But sadly not funny at all).

  12. Jan Cowan says:

    “Ben Fogle……..thinks he’s a mountain in Argyll.” Love it! You certainly know how to slip ignorant people into the appropriate slot.

    Had already signed that extremely important petition. Good to have it highlighted in your excellent article.

    • Jan, it reminded me of one of the classic lines from ‘Yes Prime Minister.’

      Sir Humphry threatens Bernard, Hackers PPS, with exile to Lossiemouth.
      Bernard retorted:-
      ‘Lossiemouth? I thought that was a dog food.’

      The Cold Heartless Bastards Party.

      Ruth Davidson has truly lost any semblance of humanity, decency, and the right to represent the citizens of Scotland.
      Apparently she will carry out any atrocity in the Northern Colony when ordered to do so by her English bosses.
      It will get even worse once Brexit kicks in, and the Unionists Up Here back the forcible deportation of EU citizens from Scotland. After all we voted No in ’14.
      Thing is where will they find the strong arm muscle to frog march ‘deportees’ to Edinburgh airport?

  13. Marconatrix says:

    Purely in the interests of poetic justice, you understand, would it not be only right and proper for Tory MPs, MSPs etc., in order to receive their expenses, to have to prove that they themselves are indeed genuine bastards?

    • Saor Alba says:

      They would not find that hard to prove.

      • Marconatrix says:

        But those of us who by accident of birth are genuine bastards, find it objectionable to be associated with Tories and similar nasty pieces of work. Maybe it’s time the B-word was rehabilitated in the same way that e.g. many of the terms for homosexual, negro etc. have been?

  14. Andy Anderson says:

    I enjoyed listening to the radio debate between the prof. and KH. He, Kevin was aggressive and proved himself lacking in knowledge.
    Enjoyed your article Paul. Ginger may have been unimpressed with London but it is a good picture.

  15. emilytom67 says:

    Wonder what the unionists think of our unstinting support for whatever madness the USA/Trump heaps on us,we are on the cusp of serious consequences due to the bullying/belligerence of the USA and wholeheartedly supported by Westminster,how the fcuk can anyone support them?.I recommend everyone gets a hold of the book”A book of ideas” brought out by the Common Weal truly a visionary path to a far far better society here in Scotland,it is free of politics politicians and their failed dogmas/agendas,well worthy of the read.

    • Robert Graham says:

      Agreed the loonies are out and determined to cause as much chaos as possible before they are rounded up, We all know the yanks got their arses kicked in Vietnam, it ended in a ceasefire no victory for either side,
      Trump and the rest of the nutters won’t make the mistake of sending troops in this time, they will I believe try and wipe the country off the map, they will first threaten China with economic warfare , then they will as Ronald Reagan once joked NUKE them .
      If they follow previous mad acts it will be late on Sunday night, this is as serious as it gets and Western media is ramping up the propaganda right now.
      Heaven help us this is not funny I hope I am wrong.but it doesn’t look good .

  16. FireBurn says:

    You’re clearly a fan of astronomy, Betelgeuse is a planet, Beetlejuice is a creature that appears if you say his name 3 times.

  17. TheStrach says:

    It was good to meet you and the Dug on Wednesday. We all enjoyed your talk and the Q&A was lively and informative. We briefly discussed independence video sources at the meeting and I wondered whether you had considered doing regular Vlog sessions yourself? I’m sure these would be very useful in getting the message across to soft Nos.

  18. Robert Graham says:

    Hope you enjoyed yer wee bit of missionary work, must be thirty years since I have visited London a really enjoyable place at that time, I guess it’s changed a lot since then, some really nice places and pubs around Putney and Richmond by the Thames .
    As to Ruth and her disgusting party, the mask is starting to slip, and this contrived persona of normal every day folk hard at work and doing their best for all around, would be be funny if it wasn’t so serious in its side effects on a lot of people’s lives,
    Ruth ,Lipstick on a pig doesn’t make it a princess dear , apologies to pigs. No offence intended.

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