A few bits and pieces

I’m off to Thurso tomorrow as part of The National’s Roadshow events, and will be speaking at the Weigh Inn, Burnside, Thurso KW14 7UG from 7.30 pm to 9.30 pm. The event is free, so if you’re at the top end of the mainland, please come along and meet the National’s editor, me, and of course the dug. During the day you can speak to the National’s staff at the Caithness Horizons Museum, from where The National will also be hosting a series of live interviews.

The following day I’ll be speaking for The National Roadshow again, this time in Orkney. Like the Caithness event, the Orkney event is free and open to all and has been organised by those lovely people at Yes Orkney. It’s taking place at the St Magnus Centre in Kirkwall from 7.30 pm and I’ll be giving a talk along with Callum Baird, the editor of The National. Naturally the canine star of the show will be there to shake paws with his public. During the day from 12 noon The National will host a stall at the top of Castle Street, next to The Reel live music venue.

Because I’ll be away doing some speaking events that involve overnight stays and long drives, there won’t be any blog articles for the next few days. In the meantime, here’s a couple of snippets to help keep you amused.


Journey to Yes Number 17 – AC Grayling

One of the UK’s leading intellectuals, Professor A.C. Grayling is Master of the New College of the Humanities, and a Supernumerary Fellow of St Anne’s College, Oxford. Anthony has written and edited over thirty books on philosophy and other subjects. Anthony is a leading campaigner for human rights and Vice President of the British Humanist Association.
Anthony was one of the leading intellectual voices who strongly argued for maintaining the union in the Scottish independence referendum of 2014. His argument was based on the strong historical role and cultural bonds Scotland had within the union. However, the UK’s vote to leave the EU changes everything and Anthony now believes Scotland, faced with being dragged out against its will, has every right to choose the path of self-determination if Brexit goes ahead. Scotland could flourish and independence may even bring about a much needed reform of English politics.
Learn more about A.C. Grayling and his work at
http://acgrayling.com/


The Indy App National Tour

by Jason Baird

The National Yes Registry, in conjunction with participating local members, are holding our second nationwide Tour of the Groups. Are you interested in how the grass-roots are coming together in preparation for Independence campaigning? Want to know how we are getting ready? Why not come along to your local event… all are welcome!

The IndyApp is the NYR’s concrete response to the many practical problems commonly encountered at grass-root level by Yessers during the heat of IndyRef1. The way that IndyApp helps tackle those problems will have strategic and tactical benefits in how we fight any new ScotRef campaign, both at local group level and at national movement level too.

So, these tour meetings are designed to start marking out where we think those campaigning benefits are, and encourage everyone to get involved in exploring how best to identify and fully exploit every new opportunity created by the IndyApp as a network.

Purpose of each Meeting: To help everyone collectively understand the networking platform tool The Indy App. We will show how the current version allows communication between individual members of a group, communication as a group and finally, communication between all groups at a national level. This system of communication is the bedrock of our grass-root network and is ready for all groups to start using now.

We will also discuss how to use the platform to initiate your campaigns. How it can help organise those campaigns across the full group network and within local communities (as well as across them nationally). This will include open floor discussions on the practical campaigning functions of the platform, such as the forums, resource archives and committee rooms. All currently under development and central to the next download version of the IndyApp.

We welcome questions direct from the audience throughout the tour and encourage everybody's feedback. This process is essential to tailoring the IndyApp to the needs of all its grass-root members. So, if your group would like to hold a meeting on any of the Free Dates, please contact Jason on info@nationalyesregistry.scot as soon as possible.

For full details on listed events, please visit each group’s facebook page or contact each group direct via the IndyApp. To download your IndyApp Free, visit https://chuffed.org/project/indyapp scroll down and click iOS or Android We would like to thank the participating groups for all their hard work and enthusiasm in setting up each local event. Everyone interested in advancing the grass-root Indy movement are most welcome to attend, there’s lots to talk about…

indyapptourdates

 

The U-turn that wasn’t

Today Nicola Sturgeon spoke to the Scottish Parliament about her plans for another independence referendum. There had been rumours that she was going to shelve the referendum, even that it would be taken off the table like a plate of salmonella. What happened was that she clarified what she’d originally said when a second independence referendum was first mooted, that it would take place once the outcome of Brexit becomes clear. The speech today was a clarification of process, not a change in policy no matter how much the Unionist media would like it to have been otherwise.

However that didn’t stop the more frothing end of the Unionist media claim that the dream of independence had been killed off. Now the independence movement knows how Mark Twain felt after a newspaper mistakenly published his obituary when the author was very much alive and well. “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated,” he replied. Or in the case of the Express whose headline screamed “Nicola Sturgeon kills off Scottish independence dream after admitting she got it WRONG”, with capital letters and everything because that makes it more true, reports of the death of Scottish independence have been hand knitted out of wishful thinking, fond hopes, and fake news. As U-turns go it’s not much of a U turn, more of a capital I. But still, it does allow the Express to retain its title as “Newspaper least likely to have a clue what’s going on in Scotland”, and it’s a field with plenty of competition. The Scottish Unionist press awards ceremony is held every year in Brigadoon, although the Express can never find it due to the fog it creates.

What really happened today was that Nicola Sturgeon made it clear that she won’t seek the legislation for another independence referendum until autumn 2018, by which time the country will have a clearer idea of the enormity of the Brexit disaster that’s about to befall the UK. BBC Radio Scotland and the Guardian were reporting this statement as meaning that independence is being “shelved”, which is true, but only in the sense that there’s not going to be another independence referendum until the time that everyone who wants one was originally proposing to have one anyway. After Brexit has screwed the British government, and when we’re going to win it, in other words. So it’s not really a shelf but more of a coffee table. Independence remains within reach, and it remains in the centre of the Scottish politics room. The mandate for another independence referendum remains undiminished.

In the meantime the Scottish government is going to focus on trying to ensure that Scotland gets a Brexit deal that’s fit for purpose. They’re going to speak up for Scotland and argue the case for Scotland to have a seat at the Brexit negotiations, to retain our place in the Single Market, to ensure that it’s not forgotten that Scotland voted to remain in the EU by a larger margin than it voted to remain a part of the UK. That uncomfortable fact has been conveniently overlooked by the Unionist parties of late. We cannot allow them to forget it.

Brexit isn’t shaping up well. The British government is mired in even more confusion than it was before Theresa May took her selfish and ill-fated decision to hold a snap general election. Her government is weakened and discredited, relying on a bunch of homophobic misogynist sectarian bigots in order to prop up the government of what we’re always being told is the progressive and forward looking UK that Scotland needs in order to guarantee that we won’t fall back into Braveheartish atavism. No one has the foggiest idea of what the British government wants to get from Brexit, least of all the British government. The chances that the UK will crash out of the EU without any deal at all are greater than they ever were. We’re in dangerously uncertain times. Over the next 18 months the Scottish government is going to fight Scotland’s corner, fighting for a bit of sanity in this insane state. Good luck to them, they’re going to need it.

The most welcome part of Nicola Sturgeon’s speech was her commitment to working with the wider independence movement. The Scottish government is going to spend the next 18 months or so focusing on trying get the British government to take Scotland’s voice into account, and to ensuring that Scotland gets a seat at the Brexit negotiations. It’s up to the wider Yes movement to build the case for independence and to ensure that by the time that Brexit comes crashing down on top of an arrogant and complacent Westminster that the clamour for independence rings loud across Scotland. Our job is to tell the story of the better country of a Scotland that’s not afraid to grasp the thistle, to take its own destiny into its own hands, to be a country fit for dreams, a land that grows hope, a place of a people at peace with themselves and sure of their place in the wider world. A land that’s confident and outward looking, the Scotland that we can only achieve by freeing ourselves from the puppet strings of a Westminster that’s lost its way and lost its head.

We’ve got a lot of work to do. What we have learned over the past couple of years is that we won’t win independence like winning a lottery. It takes work, it takes hard graft, it takes the slog of a long campaign, the effort of an entire nation. I’m always saying, and I’ll say it again because it can never be forgotten – Scotland needs party politics in order to achieve an independence referendum, but Scotland will not win its independence referendum with party politics. Only a broad based mass movement can win independence, and that movment won’t magically spring into being. It takes commitment, it takes time, it takes energy, it takes enthusiasm.

Over the coming months I’ll be speaking at events all over Scotland, doing my wee bit to enthuse, engage, persuade, and persevere. It’s vital that we get local indy groups energised and active, taking the message of independence into their local communities, joining the dots and making the links, showing the difference between the powerless of Scotland in Brexit, and the determined self-determination of a country that forges its own destiny. If you’d like me and the dug to come along to your local group, get in touch at the email address below or contact me on Twitter. It’s up to us now, but then it always had been. The people who will win independence for Scotland will be the people of Scotland. Independence means doing things for yourself, let’s do this for ourselves, for our children, and for generations yet to come. Let’s write Scottish history, and become a part of the story that we tell.

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.

https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/bookshop-rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2016

The Colonel Boakie March

Over the weekend, Ruth Davidson crossed the thin red line between jolly photo opportunities, and dangerously narcissistic attention seeking. She appeared for her adoring public, or at least for her adoring pals in the press, dressed in army uniform as Colonel Ruth of the 32nd Signal Regiment. She was signalling that Scotland is now in the same league as a tin pot authoritarian state whose leaders adorn themselves in medals and braid and fancy uniforms. Still, it did mean that she was able to avoid difficult questions about why her pal Ian Duncan has now got a job as a government minister in the Scottish Office even though he was rejected at the ballot box by the voters of Perth. Ach silly me. Imagine thinking that the Scottish Unionist press is going to put difficult questions to Colonel Boakie. Oh how we laugh.

There are plenty of difficult questions which Colonel Boakie avoids by dint of her sick makingly manipulative photo opportunities with captured wildlife, dead fish, uniforms, dogs with bits cut off them, and weaponry – all things which the Tories are exceptionally fond of. She’s avoiding the question about Ian Duncan’s legitimacy. It will be interesting to hear Ian tell us that “the people said no and they meant it”, because apparently it doesn’t appear to apply to him. She’s avoiding the question about the assurances that she was reportedly given by Theresa May on LGBTQ rights, shortly before Theresa went and appointed an inveterate homophobe as her Justice Secretary and then did a deal with the DUP whose idea of LGBTQ rights is the right to stand outside a gay person’s house and scream Satan! Apparently hurling abuse at gay people is a lifestyle choice, so we shouldn’t be judgemental. All the episode proved was that when it comes to exerting influence on the British government, the Scottish Tories are regarded as just another bunch of moaning Scots with chips on their tweedy shoulders.

Now she’s avoiding another difficult question. Just a few days ago Colonel Boakie’s very own Fluffy Bunny and Governor General assured us that there would be no deal with the DUP that involved Northern Ireland getting money that circumvented the Barnett Formula. The Scottish Tories were going to fight Scotland’s corner and wouldn’t approve any deal that saw Northern Ireland get cash that was denied to Scotland. No, really. Stop laughing at the back there. They weren’t going to approve any deal that entailed going via the back door to avoid the Barnett hallway.

But then of course their bosses in Westminster went and did that anyway, because when it comes to saving their own political necks, and more importantly their careers, the concerns of the Scottish Tories are as much interest to them as the vegetarian option is to Sawney Bean. The Scottish Tories can disapprove all they like, but they’ve got bugger all means of stopping their bosses doing exactly as they please. And when their bosses go ahead and do it anyway, the Scottish Tories rush to their defence like the good little toadies that they really are. Fighting Scotland’s corner really means doing nothing, and then defending what they said they were going to prevent from happening. If this is how Colonel Boakie fights her corner then she’s wasting her time posing in her military uniform, we’d be as well replacing the armed forces and the Ministry of Defence with a freephone telephone number and a recorded message saying мы сдаемся, which is Russian for “we surrender”.

Because of this dirty little deal with the DUP, the Westminster government is now going to give an extra £1 billion in funding to Northern Ireland. There is a magic money tree after all, and it comes into fruit when the political careers of Theresa May and her cabinet are at stake. All it takes is fertilisation with a whole load of bull and a pork barrel full of hypocrisy. Colonel Boakie is good at bull, having posed on the back of one for a cheery photo opportunity. The extra money being thrown at Northern Ireland would work out, proportionately, at around £3 billion extra for Scotland and about £2 billion for Wales. Neither Scotland or Wales or anywhere in England is getting an extra penny.

The Tories lost the election in Scotland. They lost in Wales. Across England millions voted for change. Theresa May stood on a platform of trust in the most presidential election campaign the UK has ever seen, and she lost her majority and with it the trust of the voters. Yet it’s only Northern Ireland which will see the end of austerity, and that only as a result of an underhand deal in order to keep Theresa May in her job and to keep on imposing austerity on everyone else. Meanwhile the Irish Peace process is shattered and battered and the fate of the UK is put in the hands of the heirs to Ian Paisley. How’s that Ulsterisation of our politics working out for those unionist journalists now? Trust in Theresa plummets even lower with this underhand deal.

What makes it even worse is that it’s a deal that never needed to be made in the first place. It’s not like the DUP were ever going to vote to bring down the government and allow Jeremy Corbyn, friendly as he is to Irish Republicans, into power. This deal proves Theresa May’s lack of political sense and negotiating stupidity. She’s given away a large chunk of money. She’s put the Peace Process at risk. She’s undermined the Union even more. She’s angered the English regions. And all for nothing. And this is the person who’s supposed to get Britain a good deal from the EU.

For the Scottish Conservatives this deal and the failure of the British government to listen to anything that Fluffy or Colonel Boakie say proves that the Union is effectively dead. They’re all noise and no heft. The Scottish Conservatives are proving that they are the voice of the Union in Scotland, not the voice of Scotland in the Union. If a union provides benefits only insofar as it’s useful in propping up the rule of a particular political party, it’s no longer really a union at all. It’s a tin pot semi-democracy where politicians think its appropriate to dress up in public in military uniforms while their cronies get jobs in government even though the voters rejected them. Colonel Boakie’s march will drive Scotland to independence.

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.

https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/bookshop-rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2016

The false flag patriotism of the Tories

This blog isn’t patriotic enough. It needs to be published with a red white and blue background and a rousing chorus of Rule Britannia ought to start automatically whenever you load the page. Andrea Leadsom said so. Asking questions about the negative consequences of Brexit means that you’re in cahoots with Brussels and are a purveyor of fake news. Whenever anyone in the British government mentions Brexit, the only appropriate response is to click your ruby red white and blue slippers together and say “There is no place like outside the EU” three times, while waving a union fleg. In fact, really, you ought to have one tattooed on your face so that you can display your patriotism at all times. While you’re at it, you can also get plastic surgery so you can get union jack buttons implanted into the back of your head. All the easier for Tank Commander Ruth to parade in uniform all over your brain.

Tories are very keen on parades. Well, at least certain kinds of parade. The Tories don’t mind Orange parades, because Orange parades don’t question the status quo. But they especially like military parades, and the reason the Tories like military parades so much is becase soldiers have to obey orders. The glorification of the military means that the focus is on the instrument and not on the intent or the purpose. They stop us asking what the UK military is for, why we spend so much more on it than other countries of a similar size, why it is prioritised over other issues like providing decent homes. Patriotism and pageantry mean questions don’t get asked and rights don’t get asserted. The fleg waving and bunting is what the Tories think that public involvement in a democracy should be, and not the parades of angry residents of London estates protesting that their homes are too dangerous to live in. In the Conservative world view, the role of the citizen is to march obediently in uniform, or to wave a flag and cheer.

Andrea Leadsom’s comments about patriotism give us an insight into what the UK so narrowly avoided. Had Theresa May won the crushing majority she’d been looking for, the British government would indeed have crushed all opposition and marginalised all criticism. It would have had the power to define Brexit entirely by itself, a Brexit designed to destroy the regulations, rules, and standards that allow those of us who aren’t blessed with great wealth rely upon to ensure that there is a basic standard of decency and humanity. Pointing out that living standards, jobs, and public services were at threat would have been given much the same reception by the government as a reporter from the Sun at a convention of Liverpool fans.

The reason that Andrea is so keen to silence criticism of Brexit is because Brexit is shaping up to be a disaster of epic proportions, and all the innovative jam on the planet won’t get the UK out of the jam its in. The country is lurching from one crisis to another as the consequences of Tory, and previous Labour, mismanagement catch up with us. Cuts to councils and inadequate fire regulations and inspection lead to housing that’s unfit for habitation. Cuts to policing exacerbate the risk of terrorism that’s inflated by a vain and aggressive foreign policy. Cuts to the civil service, and there’s no one left to negotiate a path along the yellow brick road of Brexit to the land of Out.

During the EU referendum the constant refrain from the leave campaign was that leaving the EU would allow the UK to make its parliament sovereign again. It was about taking back control. It now transpires that they really meant it was the office of the Prime Minister which was going to take control. Brexit means the final reduction of the Mother of Parliaments to the Smother of Democracy, a rubber stamp for decisions made by the Prime Minister. England had a civil war over an attempt by the monarchy to seize absolute power, but when the Prime Minister seizes absolute power it gets fawning praise on the front cover of the right wing newspapers. That’s not patriotism, that’s the theft of democracy.

Theresa May wanted to use Brexit so she could seize power for power’s sake. The Tories have no visions, no dreams, nothing for us to hope for. All they can offer is more of the same, more austerity, more private gain at public expense, more axes taken to public services, more broken families, more restricted horizons, more tears and hunger. Now the only reason she’s still in office is because no one else wants to take responsibility for damage that will be wrought by the tempest that’s looming on the not so distant horizon. This is what happens when politics has been debased to the extent that it’s simply a means for political parties to put their own interests first and foremost.

There’s the patriotism of the Tories, which is a false patriotism and a false participation, controlled, directed, and serving no ends other than the reinforcement of existing power, or there’s real patriotism. Real patriotism means being engaged with your country. It means getting informed. It means debating the issues. It means getting angry at politicians who take you for granted. It means having a voice and using it to ask difficult and awkward questions. The Tories don’t like real patriotism, but then they don’t understand the difference between patriotism and jingoism.

The Tories want us to shut up and obey in the name of patriotism. Real patriotism means that we must continue to ask questions, continue to demand answers, continue to be engaged, to be involved, and to protest and complain. Real patriotism means that we remember that once democracy ceases to be an exercise in mass participation it ceases to be democratic. Real patriotism means demanding that citizens have a right to decent housing, to food for their families, to jobs and participation in an economy that doesn’t strip them of dignity. Real patriotism means remembering that Scotland is a nation that voted against Brexit, and insisting that Scotland has a say on its outcome. Real patriotism means resisting the jingoism of the Tories, the false flag patriotism.

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.

https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/bookshop-rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2016

The fireball in the sky

There’s a fireball in the sky, it’s getting closer and closer. The dinosaurs aren’t, for the most part, worried about it. It shines in the sky, it brightens up the day, why be concerned? That’s a good thing, isn’t it? Even if it does hit the Earth, it won’t be so bad. Things are never as bad as the doomsayers predict, says the stone chiselled press that sees the fireball as an opportunity to have two suns. There are rumours that the minor reptiles are paying pterosaurs to spread fake stories that the only survivors will be those who’ve dug themselves deep holes in the ground where they can shelter from the firestorm. Let’s just get on with things, we can deal with the future when it happens. Now stop talking about evolving into a burrowing species. We’re dinosaurs, we don’t need any of that evolving into more intelligence creatures nonsense. We’re the brutish British emperors of the animal kingdom. We make the rules. It’s all the fault of immigrant mammals anyway.

That’s pretty much the attitude of a lot of people toward Brexit. It hasn’t happened yet. Deal with it when it happens. Most people aren’t politics junkies. They’d rather watch the sparkly costumes of Strictly and are far more interested in the politics of the Premier League or the machinations of Kardashians. Get home from a boring job that hardly pays, switch on the box with the pretty lights, and switch off. They’re more concerned about getting through the week with enough cash to pay the grocery bill. Fish fingers have gone up in price again, and that’s all you can get the wean to eat without a fuss.

That’s what happens with poverty, that’s what happens with austerity. It means that you have to spend so much of your precious energy and personal resources just to survive that there’s not much left over for bigger pictures. You’re going to resent being asked to think about other things when you’ve got enough on your plate trying to get enough on your kids’ dinner plates. The Tories like it that way. Austerity isn’t just about enriching the wealthy, it’s mostly about disempowering and disengaging the poor. Ask a disengaged and unenthused person if they want another referendum, and they’ll look at you with a glare. The Tories win by killing hope and strangling dreams, by destroying joined up thinking and grinding us down. Austerity is a tool of control.

So people ignore the omens and portents, the haruspices with the entrails of Theresa May’s cluelessness, the crystal ball that’s as cold and glassy as whatever it is that going on between the ears of Boris Johnson, the house of Tarot cards that’s more solid and stable than Whitehall’s Brexit plans. The fireball in the sky is getting brighter, let’s go to the beach and get a tan.

On Thursday, Theresa May presented her plan for the status of EU citizens in the UK to the EU. It’s a great offer, a generous offer, said Theresa. The enthusiasm about a breakthrough in the negotiations lasted as long as it took the EU to give the back of Theresa’s fag packet a cursory glance and then they said, “Meh.” It now transpires that in the immediate aftermath of the EU referendum, the Conservative cabinet agreed almost unanimously that the UK should unilaterally offer some strong and stable certainty to EU citizens resident in the UK. Theresa May was the only one to refuse. She wants to use them as a bargaining counter. The EU is less than impressed and now we’re seeing the result. From David Davis’s humiliating climb down earlier this week, to the president of the EU council Donald Tusk saying with a sad and disappointed face like a father who’s seen his kid pee all over his boss’s desk on bring your kid to work day that the proposal is below his expectations, the negotiations have got off to a poor start for Britain. And they’re only going to get worse.

Meanwhile Labour is as confused and clueless as David Mundell when he’s asked a question that can’t be answered by saying how bad the SNP is. Apparently the Labour party doesn’t want the hard Brexit of the Tories, and on that basis they attracted thousands of remain supporting younger voters to support them in the election. But then they say that they do want to leave the Single Market and the Custom’s Union, which is pretty much the definition of a hard Brexit. Vince Cable of the Lib Dems wrote a furious article in the Guardian about how Labour is betraying the young voters who supported the party. Lib Dems know a lot about betraying young voters. It might be the most glaring instance of pots calling kettles since Frankenstein’s Monster accused Michael Jackson of having too much plastic surgery.

But Vince does have a point. Does anyone actually know what Labour’s position on Brexit is? Lesley Laird, Labour’s new shadow Scottish Secretary, certainly doesn’t. Labour claims it’s committed to Brexit, but it’s even more confused on the details than the Tories are, and that’s a bit like saying that you’re worse at playing Scrabble than an alien from the distant galaxy where Theresa May has cooked up her Brexit plans who communicates via the medium of wet farts and suspicious smells. Which to be honest isn’t an unfair assessment of how the rest of the EU perceive the UK’s attempts at negotiations so far. Jeremy Corbyn might be politically the diametric opposite of Donald Trump, but like Trump it seems that he’s hopeless when it comes to the daily grind of politics, and only really comfortable when he’s campaigning. You can’t run a government with a placard.

Meanwhile the fireball is getting closer and closer. This week the Scottish dinosaur in chief David Mundell demanded that the furry mammals of the SNP stop making plans to dig a deep burrow and escape from the fireball. People don’t want a burrow, he said as he stamped his big clawed foot.

Even so, right now in this period of denial and let’s not think about it, slightly over half of people say that they want a referendum on independence. A large majority say that they want a referendum on the outcome of Brexit. The only way Scotland will get a referendum on Brexit is for Scotland to have its own, Westminster isn’t going to give us one. The next independence referendum will be a referendum on Brexit. As the fireball approaches and things start to heat up, the demand for a way out is going to rise.

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.

https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/bookshop-rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2016

The bendiness of bananas

When I was a wean people used to scoff about banana republics where the establishment had no respect for democracy, no respect for the rule of law, no respect for the checks and balances that ensure that the people get a hearing in the corridors of power. They’d laugh at the inflated balloons in their fancy uniforms who strutted and posed as they trod democracy into the dirt. They’d look contemptuously on the failing states where infrastructure crumbled and distasters piled up in human tragedies, losing count of stories of grief and loss. But we’re not laughing now as we look upon the ruined road to the failed state, and realise it’s the one that we’re treading. Britain is the only country in the world that has become a banana state over the bendiness of a banana.

We’re living in a country where there’s actually a person whose job is to hold a hat on a stick during the state opening of parliament while the government is clueless and mired in confusion as it takes us to the cliffs of Brexit without a plan or a clue. We’ve got no right to feel superior to the banana republicans with their fancy uniforms and bloated pride. Britain is every bit as bad. Britain is country where democracy is weak and accountability as meaningless as a flunky with a hat on a stick, a stick that Scotland is being beaten with.

The Prime Minister has taken it upon herself to define what Brexit means. Our interim Prime Minster lost her majority after taking us into an unwanted election on a personal crusade to increase her own power. She failed, but she’s carrying on as though nothing much has happened. We’re still expected to trust in Theresa to make all decisions, the banana republic dictator who’s the arbiter of everything. The puffed up authoritarian with her flunky with a hat on a stick as the country is mired in a crisis that her party created as a by-product of putting its short term party political interests first. The Tory response to this crisis is to grab yet more power for themselves. Laws passed by so called Henry VIII powers, the powers of Holyrood changed as a result of Brexit and devolved competencies being taken back by Westminster. And yet no one voted for any of this.

There’s a huge power grab going on at UK level, and by weakening and diminishing the power of the Scottish parliament the Scottish Unionist parties are complicit in it. What’s been happening in Scotland over the past few days and weeks amounts to nothing less than a concerted assault on the pillars of Scottish democracy by a vindictive British state that sees its rule threatened. This is what a British coup looks like.

Holyrood has already passed a bill for a referendum, but the Tories and their pals want that vote overturned because they gained more seats – but still didn’t win a majority – in another election entirely, an election which had nothing to do with the powers of Holyrood. Can you imagine what the response of the Tories would be if the SNP or other parties demanded that Theresa May put a halt to Brexit because the Tories had lost seats in a council election? But that’s exactly parallel to what the Tories are demanding of the Scottish government now, and they’re being aided and abetted by a supine press that’s helping in the destruction of the free society it’s supposed to be defending.

The Unionist parties wouldn’t be so desperate to prevent a second independence referendum from ever taking place if they were confident of winning it. If they were confident of winning they’d be desperate for another referendum, because then they could silence the calls for another vote for decades to come. The reason they’re so desperate to prevent another referendum is because they know the chances are that they’d lose it. They’d lose it because there is a large and substantial body of Scottish opinion that wants independence, and another body of opinion which is no in principle opposed to it but which remains to be persuaded. All the Tory foot stamping in the world won’t make that go away. You do not heal differences of opinion by demanding that those who disagree with you shut up.  People are told to shut up in banana republics.

Meanwhile voting in Scotland no longer seems to count for anything much. Scotland voted by a very large margin to remain a part of the EU, but that vote is being ignored. Scotland’s parliament voted for a referendum, obeying the mandate given to the Scottish government by the people of Scotland in the Holyrood election of 2016, but the Unionist parties demand that vote is ignored. Scotland returned the SNP as the largest party, giving them a large majority of Scotland’s Westminster seats, but that majority is being ignored. Scotland said no to a Tory victory. Failed Westminster candidate Ian Duncan gets elevated to the House of Lords and is given a job in the government despite being rejected by the voters of Perth. Whatever happened to respecting the result of the ballot? What was that about no means no? That only applies when it suits the Unionist parties. It doesn’t seem to apply to the Tories in Perth or anywhere else.

Today it was confirmed that the Scottish Parliament has the right to vote on Theresa May’s Great Repeal Bill because it has a direct impact on devolved powers. The Scottish Parliament must vote it down and say no to Theresa May’s power grab, say no to the Tory self-interest that’s destroying democracy, say no to Scotland being ripped out of the EU against its will. It won’t prevent Brexit. Yet again Westminster and the Tories will overrule Scotland. But we shouldn’t make it easy for them.  The Tories created this constitutional crisis, and this is the crisis that will show that the UK state is no longer fit for purpose.

It’s not too late to halt and turn back before Scotland becomes the kailyaird state, a walled off and neglected back garden of a broken Britain fit only for growing the stunted banana plants of small horizons and little hopes. The Conservative assault on Scottish democracy must be resisted by all and any legal means available. The Scottish Government must make it clear that its mandate to hold another independence referendum when the results of the Brexit process become clear remains undiminished. It’s more important now than ever that the grass roots independence movement steps up and organises. Democracy is nothing if it is not a participatory process. The Tories want us to stop participating, to sit back quietly and meekly as they order and command. Let’s not let them. This is about more than the bendiness of bananas.

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.

https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/bookshop-rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2016

The ship of fools in the ship of state

Theresa May is supposed to be conducting what are widely agreed to be some of the most difficult and important negotiations that the UK has faced in recent history, and she can’t even negotiate a deal to keep her own government in office. Mind you, it’s not like anyone should have had high expectations of success. This after all is the Prime Minister who put David Davis in charge of getting a good Brexit deal, even though he paid for that U2 album in full and thinks that BOGOF is the lead EU negotiator from Bulgaria.

The deal with the DUP to keep Theresa May’s government safe is looking as though it’s as lifeless as the atmosphere of a rocky asteroid in that distant galaxy where Theresa May dreams of a making a success of Brexit. According to reports on Tuesday, the DUP were saying that they were surprised at the low level of negotiating experience in May’s government. That bodes well doesn’t it. The DUP is reportedly angry at being taken for granted, a perception which wasn’t helped by Theresa May’s office prematurely announcing that a deal had been reached and then having to hurriedly withdraw. You’d have thought that the DUP would have approved of early withdrawal, seeing as how they oppose contraceptive rights, but apparently not in this instance.

The government of the UK which is going to take on the entire might of the European Union in order to get Britain a good deal for Brexit, and it’s been outwitted by a bunch of creationists and climate change deniers whose idea of negotiating is to march with a big drum and some guys with orange sashes singing about killing Catholics. Although to be honest that’s an unfair characterisation, certain supporters of the DUP have many years of experience, having been involved in negotiations for decades. There’s negotiating cash for ash, not to mention the hostage negotiations, protection racket negotiations, and negotiating a truce with the paramilitary crime gang in the next estate.

The talks to arrange a deal, according to the DUP, have not been progressing as expected, by which they meant that they had expected the Conservatives to have some sort of a clue about what they wanted, how to achieve it, and how to put it into effect. One of those things that the rest of us call a “plan”, in other words. The Tories don’t do plans, at least not in the sense that anyone else would recognise it. What Tories do is short term self interest, bluster, and bullying. When faced across the negotiating table with people who do have a plan, the Tories are left with nothing except confusion and Daily Mail headlines blaming the Germans. Instead of the smooth and easy progression that the DUP had expected, they discovered that the talks were progressing like an Orange Walk in Drumcree and were being hampered by people who were pointing out, quite reasonably which is unusual for Tories, that the DUP are climate change denying creationist whose idea of women’s rights is allowing women to choose what tea service to use and who think that not actually being stoned by an angry mob of Presbyterian fundamentalists counts as all the gay rights that anyone has any right to expect.

The Queen’s Speech is on top of us, and there’s no deal agreed with the DUP. The fate of the UK government is more uncertain and more chaotic than it was last week, and it was pretty messed up then. Theresa May can, and probably will, press ahead with minority government even without the support of the DUP, but that’s making a weak position so much weaker. The British government descends into a confused disaster zone, just at the very time that the country is crying out for leadership, and they’ve created this mess all by themselves. It’s all so needless, and all a result of the greed for power of the Conservative party and their determination to put short term party interest before all other considerations.

They’re doing that again this week in Scotland. Tory MEP Ian Duncan stood as the Westminster candidate for Perth, and lost. But the Tories wanted him in the Scotland Office, and so they’ve given him a peerage and have installed him in government anyway, despite the fact that the voters rejected him just a few days ago. What happened to respecting the result of the ballot box eh? It now turns out that it only applies when it suits the Tories, but now they’ve proven that their insistence on respecting votes is hypocritical cant. And we’ll be reminding them of it at every opportunity.

The only reason that Theresa May is limping on in power is because no one else wants to take responsibility for the epic galactofuck that will pass for British government for the foreseeable future. Many amongst the Tories want Theresa to carry the can for the next few months at least, and then they can mount a leadership challenge when the shape of Brexit becomes clearer.

It was already considered as difficult to get a decent deal on Brexit as it was to get a Tory MP to vote for stricter regulations on rental properties. Now it’s likely to be impossible. Westminster doesn’t have the foggiest idea of what it wants to get from the Brexit negotiations beyond a confused mush of contradictory wishes and fond hopes. As a nation, we’d be better off buying a lottery ticket and putting all our hopes for a better future in a daydream of a jackpot win. At least there are finite odds of winning the lottery, vanishingly small, but at least they can be quantified and are realistic. All there is for Brexit is a fantasy of flag waving and empire nostalgia and there’s not even slim odds of any of it coming true.

The only certainty left in British politics is that there is no certainty. There is no stability, there is no security. Not risking the supposed certainty, stability, and security of the British state was one of the main campaign points of the Better Together campaign in 2014, the British state has destroyed that all by itself. We can’t predict what the shape of British politics will be next month, never mind in two years’ time. Anyone who says that Scotland must rule out any prospect of a referendum on the outcome of Brexit is a fool. But then the Tories have demonstrated that we’re governed by fools. The British ship of state is a ship of fools.

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.

https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/bookshop-rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2016