Time for some tough talking

It’s been a bruising and bloody week in the world of Scottish independence. Not because of anything that the Unionists have done, they’ve been sitting back with the popcorn while they watch the independence movement tear itself apart with mutual recriminations, insults, abuse, and aspersions being cast like stones. I’ve been attacked. The National has been attacked. It seems that everyone is attacking everyone else. Yet all of this was sparked off, not because of any matter of great import to the future of Scotland, not because of an existential threat to the cause of independence, not because of anything that the vast majority of Scots who don’t use social media either know or care about. It happened because someone said something on Twitter that some people took exception to.

It’s time for some tough talking here. A movement which descends into such paroxysms of anger and spite over something so trivial is not a movement which is capable of winning a raffle, never mind winning an independence campaign. This is a movement which has lost all sense of proportion, all sense of what really matters. I’m not criticising grassroots activists here. I’m not criticising ordinary people who are passionate about the cause of Scottish self-determination. When I say the movement I mean those of us who lead it. I am criticising those of us, myself included, who have public platforms and public voices and who aspire to speak for this movement.

It’s those of us who pretend to lead, we’re the ones who are letting those activists down. We’re letting down those people who staff stalls in the rain and work their socks off, those people who organise public meetings and fundraise to print leaflets, who traipse round doorways to canvass and campaign. They’re not the ones letting the movement down. It’s the fault of those of us who tweet, who write, who blog, who run national groups, who manage the “new media”. We’re the ones who’re letting Scotland down. We’re letting ourselves down. We’ve turned into passengers on a sinking ship who’re arguing about the music the band is playing instead of organising the life-boats. We’re all going to drown, but hey, at least we can be self-righteously right-on when the cold and icy water fills our lungs.  We can lose The National.  We can lose iScot magazine, but we’ll still have some painfully right-on blogs that no one outside a Byres Road coffee shop ever bothers to read.

It’s time to put the egos to one side. It’s time to stop being so precious about the purity of our politics. It’s time to stop competing to be more right on than the next person. It’s time to stop pretending that it’s our way or it’s no way. If those of us who have public platforms and public voices are at all serious about making this country a better place, it’s time for maturity and realism. We will not win the independence of Scotland with student politics. We’re not going to win by turning into Wolfie Smith and calling out Rick from the Young Ones for a square go. This is a game for adults. It’s time to grow up. Squabbling over trivialities is for infants.

If you’re an independence supporter who spends most of their time and energy criticising other independence supporters for having views you dislike, tactics you disapprove of, or opinions you find distasteful, you’re not helping the cause of independence. You’re only helping to perpetuate Unionism. If you want to help the cause of independence, you can put forward your own ideas and your own vision without turning that into an attack on someone else in the independence movement with a different point of view. And if your ideas resonate, if they are seen to have value, if they gain traction with the wider public, then your ideas will win through.

We will not win independence for Scotland by turning the independence movement into an exercise in being holier-than-thou. We certainly won’t win it by condemning and attacking those whom for whatever reason we deem not to be sufficiently ideologically pure. That is precisely how not to win over people who previously voted no or were undecided. This may come as a surprise to some, but not everyone in Scotland is attracted to far left politics, and we need the support of those people too if we are to achieve our goal. And I say that as someone who is himself on the left.

Right now Scotland is in a position of unprecedented danger. We are on the verge of being taken out of the EU and into an economic and political wasteland by a bunch of malign incompetents in a Tory government that Scotland didn’t vote for. They have no plan, they have no route map. The only thing for which they display any kind of aptitude is their ruthless efficiency in enriching themselves and their friends and in order to do so they will demonise migrants, the poor and the vulnerable. They don’t care if we all suffer. Our public services are facing the greatest threat they have ever faced. The devolution settlement is cracking under the strain. Meanwhile the Labour party has managed to pull off the hitherto impossible task of being even more confused and clueless than the Tories. And throughout all of this Scotland has been told in no uncertain terms that it has no right to an input or to influence the course of events.

It is the immense threat from the Westminster government and parties that the independence movement needs to be challenging. That is what we need to be speaking about – not tying ourselves in knots because a controversial blogger was controversial again. There are far more important fish to fry than what some person said on Twitter. I love this movement and this country too much to see it fail because of the egos and immaturity of a handful of loud and angry people with no sense of proportion.

For my own part I’m going to take my own advice. Twitter is for snark, cat gifs, and jokes. The most pressing task facing the independence movement right now is to articulate the case for independence, to join up the dots and to demonstrate to the people of this country that talking about independence is not a distraction from talking about health, or education, or transport. Independence is the only way to guarantee the security of our public services. It’s the only way to ensure that Scotland’s choices are respected and implemented. That’s what I’m going to spend the coming months talking about and arguing for. It’s time to be a grown up. It’s time to organise the life boats.

Support iScot Magazine. iScot are running a fundraiser in order to raise the money they need to keep going. Producing a high quality glossy magazine is not cheap. You can donate to their fundraiser here – https://iscot.scot/appeal/


gingercartoonWee Ginger Fundraiser

I’m doing a fundraiser this year to keep this blog going for another twelve month and to allow the dug and me to continue visiting local groups all across Scotland. You can donate via my crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo –

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/wee-ginger-crowdfunder-independent-blog

Alternatively you can donate by Paypal by clicking the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special bank account I’ve set up for the purposes of this fundraiser, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information.

Many thanks.

A sense of perspective

There are some people who want to spend their time obsessing over how nasty a certain independence blogger has been on Twitter. They’d prefer to vilify anyone who has dared to point out that the nasty thing he said was not nasty in the way they’d like it to be nasty. They’re obsessed with getting outraged on someone else’s behalf – and the someone else in this instance is a Tory MP and his MSP son. They’re attacking the couple of traditional print media outlets that we have, The National and iScot magazine, for their lack of ideological purity. They’re telling one and all that everyone who isn’t right on enough for their liking is causing a schism in the independence movement. Meanwhile there’s a case for independence that’s not being made and the only people who are benefiting from the entire episode are the Unionists.

Sometimes things need restating. This is an independence movement. It’s a national broad-based mass movement. That means that by definition it’s going to contain people that you disagree with, opinions that are not your own. It’s even going to encompass people and views that you personally might find objectionable. Because if you insist that everyone involved in the independence campaign must hold the same views that you do, and you’re going to vilify, name-call, and bully them on social media when they don’t, then you don’t really want a mass grassroots movement after all. You want a wee far left fan club. Fan clubs don’t win national self-determination. Fan clubs don’t achieve social change. Fan clubs are not capable of extending a welcoming message to those who don’t share the same narrow outlook.

Some people might be happy to restrict the message of independence and the benefits that it can bring to everyone in this benighted land to a handful of blogs which hardly anyone reads, which are so right on that it’s painful, where you can pat yourself on the back about how you and only you are the pure and real voice of the movement and everyone else is a dirty sell out. But I’m not happy with that, because I want to win. Winning means not just acknowledging that there is a diversity of views within the movement and within Scotland, it means revelling in it.

The independence campaign is about one thing and one thing only. It is about establishing the principle that the only sovereign body in Scotland is the people of Scotland. It’s about establishing the principle that that sovereign body provides the only legimitate authority to make decisions about the direction that Scotland takes as a society. What it’s not about is saying in advance what those decisions must be. What it’s certainly not about is insisting that those decisions must accord with the views of a small far left group whose adherents happen to be very noisy on Twitter. That is precisely how to lose an independence campaign.

Independence isn’t about the SNP party line either. The independence of Scotland is not predicated on how well an SNP government happens to be managing public services in a devolved administration. Other political parties will be available, other policy choices will be possible. An independent Scotland will be a democracy, it will have a non-SNP government sooner or later.

The campaign for independence is predicated on one thing, that is the belief that the best government for Scotland is a government which is elected by the people of Scotland and which is answerable to the people of Scotland and no one else. The campaign for independence is founded in the understanding that when a government is not accountable to the people, it does not govern in the interests of the people. Scotland has seen that over the decades, the centuries even, with successive Westminster governments which we didn’t elect and which did not and do not take decisions based on what is best for Scotland.  Scotland has suffered as a consequence.

In Westminster Scotland doesn’t have a government which is accountable to the people of Scotland. Even when Scotland does make a democratic choice, even when the voters of this country reject a particular party or individual at the ballot box, up they pop shortly afterwards with a shiny new peerage and a job in government. Michael Forsyth and Ian Duncan were both rejected by the voters in elections, yet Duncan is the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, and Forsyth is still exerting his malign influence on Scotland’s laws and legislation despite presiding over the greatest electoral humiliation in Scottish history.

Independence is the belief that Scotland needs a government that can be held accountable by the people of Scotland. That’s it. That’s what it’s all about. Everything else is window dressing. Independence is the belief that politicians of any hue cannot be trusted, and that we need to hold them close to us so that their arses are within kicking distance of our feet. We only need to look around us to see what happens when politicians are too remote to be held to account.  We see soaring levels of poverty.  We see deprivation.  We see emigration being held up as a “benefit of the Union”.

Right now Scotland has a government in Westminster which we didn’t vote for, which is being propped up by a party that Scotland can’t vote for, and which is implementing a Brexit which Scotland voted against. A study published this week showed that that Brexit is going to affect Scotland worse than most parts of the UK, but we’re getting Brexit anyway. Scotland is getting Brexit even though Scotland didn’t vote for it, and Scotland has been told in no uncertain terms that it has no right to be consulted or involved in the decision making.

If Scotland must leave the EU, then that must be as a consequence of a democratic decision of the people of Scotland and be implemented by a government which is accountable to the people of Scotland and which is working to get the best outcome for the people of Scotland.  We don’t have that.  Not even close. Whatever you think of EU membership, Scotland effectively voted twice to remain a part of the EU, once in 2014 when we were told a vote for independence was a vote to leave the EU, and once in 2016 when Scotland voted to remain a part of the EU by a considerably higher margin that it had voted to remain a part of the UK in 2014. Yet here were are, getting dragged out of the EU anyway. That’s an outrage against democracy.

What is happening to Scottish democracy is far more worthy of getting outraged about than “He said something nasty on Twitter.” If we expect to win this independence campaign, it’s going to help to have a sense of perspective.

Support iScot Magazine. iScot are running a fundraiser in order to raise the money they need to keep going. Producing a high quality glossy magazine is not cheap. You can donate to their fundraiser here – https://iscot.scot/appeal/


gingercartoonWee Ginger Fundraiser

I’m doing a fundraiser this year to keep this blog going for another twelve month and to allow the dug and me to continue visiting local groups all across Scotland. You can donate via my crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo –

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/wee-ginger-crowdfunder-independent-blog

Alternatively you can donate by Paypal by clicking the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special bank account I’ve set up for the purposes of this fundraiser, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information.

Many thanks.

A huddle in a befuddled muddle

You would imagine that by some fifteen months after the Brexit vote, that some sort of clarity would have emerged by now about what was going to happen after the UK had left the European Union. But no, this is Britain. This is the country of muddling through. Only this time the muddle isn’t getting through anything at all, it’s just a directionless disaster. If you thought Brexit was a confused mess last week, this week it’s got even worse. It doesn’t look like it’s about to get any less confused any time soon. The entire project is as tragic as that driver who crashed and wrote off his £200,000 Ferrari just an hour after buying it, only without the sense of Schadenfreude. In fact that’s a pretty good description of Brexit. The Leave campaign told the public that it was going to get a bespoke and hand-made luxury Brexit, and then as soon as they’d bought it they ended up with a car wreck.

Earlier this week we discovered that there’s no such thing as a Brexit which is good for the whole country, which is what the Tories keep promising. It turns out that there is in fact no such thing as a Brexit which is good for any part of the country. A study this week from the London School of Economics showed that there is no Brexit which is good for any part of the country. The study showed that Brexit would seriously damage the economies of all the cities of the UK, and Scottish cities would be particularly hard hit. Scotland voted against Brexit, and Scotland’s going to be hardest hit by it. Those 13 Tory MPs who were elected by Scottish voters because they didn’t want another referendum are going to be as much use protecting Scotland against the worst of Brexit as an Orange Walk protects the Vatican. Thanks for that, Tories.

Now Liam Fox would most certainly disagree that Brexit isn’t going to be good for the country. Although we should do what Liam insists and refer to him by his proper title, which is Dr Liam Fox the Disgraced Former Minister for Adam Werritty. Liam Fox would insist that Brexit is a good thing, and we must certainly concede that Brexit is good for Liam’s career, at least until the chlorinated chickens come home to roost. Anyway, Liam’s career isn’t a significant part of the country. It’s not even really a part of planet Earth. Mostly it exists in Liam’s mind, as he strides the world making imaginary trade deals with dictators and Donald Trump and chlorinated chickens.

Brexit represents the greatest realignment in British economic and foreign policy since WW2, and none of the UK parties has the foggiest idea of what they want to achieve from it or how they’re going to implement it. Around every corner lurks some new intractable issue which threatens doom for the entire project. The Tory response to this is to insist that because they’ve got a British made duvet over their heads none of the bad things are really going to happen even if duvet is a French word that will be repatriated once new immigration rules come into effect. Labour for its part manages to be even more confused and contradictory than the Tories. This is a political achievement of quite some magnitude. The only contest that either Labour or the Tories are winning is the contest to see which has bigger clown shoes. If anyone does have a clear idea of what the Labour party stands for with Brexit, could someone please let the Labour party know.

Meanwhile the Lib Dems do at least have a coherent position on Brexit, insofar as they want another referendum because people aren’t getting what they were told they were going to get. Sadly the Lib Dems are not coherent as far as a Scottish referendum is concerned. The Lib Dems are opposed to another referendum because if people aren’t getting what they were told they were going to get, that’s just jolly bad luck and Scotland should just put up and shut up. Second referendums are only permissible for things that the Lib Dems actually want. So there is a coherence here, it’s just a selfish and self-serving one.

After a confused and confusing week during which the UK government managed to tie itself in knots over a post-Brexit immigration policy, and the EU chief negotiator said that it seemed unlikely that talks could progress to a post-Brexit deal as the British were still not engaging with the basics of the divorce, things got even worse by Friday. The new Irish taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that border checks between the Republic and Northern Ireland will not be acceptable after Brexit. The Irish government does not think it’s its job to design a new Irish border for the benefit of British Brexiteers. According to the Irish, if the UK wants to restrict freedom of movement, then the UK will have to introduce immigration checks between the island of Ireland and a whole and the rest of the UK. The UK caused this problem, the UK can deal with it.

The idea that there should be immigration and border checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK goes down as well with the Conservatives’ new best friends in the DUP as the suggestion that talks between them and the other Northern Irish parties to form a new government in Stormont should be mediated by the manager of Celtic. Sadly for the Conservatives and the DUP, the Irish government has a veto on any Brexit deal. They will most assuredly veto any deal which sees the reintroduction of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. The Tories are now caught between Dublin Rock and the Hard Face of the DUP. It now looks as though the only way in which an open border between the two parts of the island of Ireland can be maintained is for the whole of the UK to retain freedom of movement. See what happens when you partition the countries you’ve exerted your rule over, British imperialists? It comes back and bites you on the Brexit bum. Now it’s Ireland that’s able to lay down the law to Britain, because Britain is isolated and alone, and Ireland has mates.

We’re only a couple of months into the Brexit process, and the entire thing remains a confused and angry mess. All of this was brought about by the arrogance of British exceptionalism, by Little England nationalism masquerading as a great power, by racism and xenophobia stoked up by right wing politicians, and by the party political manoeuverings of the Tory party. This is not the Britain that was sold to Scotland in 2014. We were promised the broad shoulders of the UK, we were promised the safety and security of one of the world’s biggest economies. What we got was a huddle in a befuddled muddle. The winning sides in both the Scottish referendum of 2014 and the EU referendum of 2016 will go down in history as the biggest political liars in British history, and their lies will bring about the downfall of the UK.


gingercartoonWee Ginger Fundraiser

I’m doing a fundraiser this year to keep this blog going for another twelve month and to allow the dug and me to continue visiting local groups all across Scotland. You can donate via my crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo –

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/wee-ginger-crowdfunder-independent-blog

Alternatively you can donate by Paypal by clicking the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special bank account I’ve set up for the purposes of this fundraiser, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information.

Many thanks.

Rebooting Ruth

We learned something very interesting last weekend. We learned that if you want to start a blog which claims to give a platform to voices that aren’t usually heard in the traditional media and puts forward radical and challenging ideas, it’s best to start a right wing blog and claim that members of the Conservative party and the British establishment are struggling to make themselves heard in the British media. For the sake of all the gods, don’t start a left wing pro-independence blog from a tenement in Barlanark. It’s only Conservatives who are really challenging and radical in a way that the mainstream media is interested in.

Call yourself Unherd, and claim that your blog is for those who want to “investigate unheard ideas, individual, and communities.” That would be unheard individuals like Ruth Davidson, who as we know struggles to get a hearing in the media, and then when she does she’s drowned out in a barrage of harsh questioning about her lack of any policies other than saying no to another independence referendum. Poor Ruth. You’d hardly know that she existed. It’s a tough life being so marginalised that you can only get a dozen press guys to turn up for your latest publicity stunt. But never fear, she’s exactly the kind of fresh and innovative voice that our new blog is aimed at providing a platform for.

Don’t bother doing a crowdfunder. That’s for the little guys. If you can, find a hedge fund millionaire to give you a shed full of money to start your new grassroots blog, and then you can get yourself an expensive office in a posh London tower block. This is much easier to achieve when your blog is providing a platform for Tory politicians with an eye on their career. It’s all the better if like Ruth Davidson they are able to invite a pubload of journalists to a quirky photo shoot with a gutted fish, which is a reasonable description of an appearance alongside Michael Gove. Then your new voice of the ordinary punter blog site will get touted on the Andrew Marr politics show as a refreshing addition to the world of British political media. Success! That’s the empowerment of the common person provided by social media. It’s just a shame that it’s as grassroots as window display in one of those shops where there are no price tags because if you need to ask how much it is then you can’t afford it.

The most surprising thing of all that we learned over the weekend was that Ruth Davidson fancies herself as the deep thinker of the Scottish Conservatives. Ruth has also been in the news this week complaining about the abuse she gets on social media about her sexuality, her size, and her uselessness. I’ve got no time at all for people who attack others because of their sexuality. I’ve got no time at all for people who attack others because of their size. There is no excuse for that kind of name-calling, and it ought to stop. Attack her for what she says. Attack her for her ridiculous attention seeking antics. Attack her for her woeful lack of policies. Attack her for her refusal to condemn the sectarian bigots on her own side. Attack her for putting the interests of her career and her party before the interests of Scotland. It’s not like Ruth doesn’t give us plenty of perfectly legitimate ammunition. Ruth Davidson’s sexuality and weight are completely irrelevant to the fact that she really is useless.

Ruth proved her uselessness with her article on Tory activist Tim Montgomerie’s new totally grassroots-no-really website. It was a very clear attempt to position herself in the Tory leadership contest while seemingly condemning other politicians who are positioning themselves in the Tory leadership contest. This was the only clever and useful thing about the article, at least from Ruth’s perspective, although the word “underhand” is probably more appropriate.

The article itself was a second rate rehashing of soundbites that would best grace an O Grade modern studies essay. This is what passes for deep thought amongst the Scottish Conservatives. But then this is a party which counts Jackson Carlaw and his crusade against Gaelic road signs as one of its heavy hitters and by comparison with that the Big Colouring In Book of Things That Go Weeee counts as a philosophical tract. It’s very easy to pose as an intellectual when your party’s historical analysis consists of banging a big drum and chanting songs about 1690.

Ruth’s article asks why people are losing faith with capitalism, and she asks this on a website which has sprung to prominence from nowhere after it’s allegedly received a large amount of funding from a right wing businessman who backed Brexit, and which then gets touted on the BBC as the next big thing. She asks why people are losing faith in capitalism, and then cites a number of examples of inequality and injustice which are a direct result of Conservative policies, such as how young people are encumbered with student debt, or are unable to get on the property ladder. She never actually mentions that these injustices are a direct result of Conservative policies. If she wants to know why people are losing faith in capitalism, perhaps she only needs to look at her own party. The Conservatives are not the solution to capitalist malaise, they are the cause of it.

However what this is really about isn’t rebooting capitalism. It’s got a lot more to do with booting Ruth’s career. It’s not a coincidence that the day after Ruth’s excursion into grassroots (TM) blogging, there was a sympathetic piece in the Unionist press about how frustrated she is with the party leadership in London and intends to use the thirteen Tory MPs in order to shift the party leadership in a direction more to her liking. That’s all fine and dandy, but those MPs are answerable to the Tory Whips in Westminster, not to Ruth Davidson. They were not exactly vocal in ensuring that Scotland received a similar benefit to the billion or so that Theresa May was lavishing on Northern Ireland. Quite the reverse, they were keen to argue that Scotland didn’t merit any consideration.

Ruth is expected to be in London more frequently, attending meetings of the UK cabinet. This comes just a few days after reports that the Scottish First Minister would no longer have meetings with Theresa May, but would instead have to meet with Scottish Secretary David Mundell, and the failed Conservative candidate for Perth Ian Duncan. An unelected politician is the voice of the British government, and a politician who failed to win an election gets a seat in the cabinet. That’s what the Tories think of Scottish democracy. So much for Scotland being an equal and valued partner in this family of nations. In the exact same spirit as the Conservative treatment of Scotland, I’ve now decided that all communications I receive on social media from Tory apologists will be referred to my niece’s hamster. Ruth’s career and that of her party and Tory attempts to manipulate the media are very much in need of a reboot. They need to be booted out of power.


gingercartoonWee Ginger Fundraiser

I’m doing a fundraiser this year to keep this blog going for another twelve month and to allow the dug and me to continue visiting local groups all across Scotland. You can donate via my crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo –

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/wee-ginger-crowdfunder-independent-blog

Alternatively you can donate by Paypal by clicking the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special bank account I’ve set up for the purposes of this fundraiser, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information.

Many thanks.

Journey to Yes, 18 – Chris’s story

The latest edition in Phantom Power’s compelling Journey to Yes series. Chris says Yes. 17 year old Chris Wilson is rising star in the Scottish Liberal Democrats and Central Scotland Youth Officer for the party. Chris’ home town of Motherwell was devastated by the Conservative’s deindustrialisation policies under Margaret Thatcher and John Major in the eighties and nineties. There has been lasting legacy on the town but this also inspired Chris to get involved in politics. A promise of a more federal UK influenced Chris’ decision to back No in 2014. The failure to deliver meaningful powers for Scotland and the Brexit vote convinced Chris the independence is now the only choice for Scotland. The Scottish Lib Dems now must resolve their support for the union and the EU. Chris believes the party is more divided over independence than appears and that, as the Tories’ disastrous negotiations continue, support for Scottish self-determination and more autonomy from the UK party will grow. The Scottish Liberal Democrats can have a bright future in shaping Scotland as a successful independent nation on the global stage.

Wee Ginger Thank You

It’s been only a few days since the launch of the Wee Ginger Fundraiser, and the wonderful readers of this blog have truly blown me away with your generosity and support. The fundraiser hasn’t just reached its target within a few days, the target has been utterly smashed. Although the target had been set at £10,000, donations received now stand at £11,280 on Indiegogo, plus a further £6550 which has been received directly or via Paypal. That makes a grand total of £17,830, an incredible 178% of the target. I can’t say thank you enough.

I was more than a wee bit apprehensive about launching the fundraiser. The fundraiser was set to last for two months on Indiegogo because I really did think that it would struggle to reach its target. I’ll be honest, I would have been delighted if the fundraiser had raised half the target – £5000. Instead it’s raced through its target within a few days. Frankly, I’m gobsmacked. It’s not often that I’m left stuck for words, but readers, you’ve managed it.

Indiegogo doesn’t seem to allow fundraisers to close early, so the fundraiser will remain open for its originally determined period. Indiegogo don’t pay out the funds until the end of the fundraising period (and there’s a pretty hefty commission to be paid too), so I won’t actually get any of those donations until September 20 – not that I am complaining!

I’m touched, humbled, and incredibly grateful that the readers of this blog are so willing to put their hands in their pockets in order to support it. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. The money means that I can continue as a full time blogger for the next year, and will continue to travel the length and breadth of Scotland, giving talks to local pro-independence groups without asking for a speaker’s fee. If you’d like me to come along and give a talk to your local group, just get in touch at weegingerbook@yahoo.com

Once again, an enormous thanks to everyone who’s helped. You’ve made a cynical auld git a wee bit less cynical.  I’ll leave the fundraiser details on the blog article template until the end of the Indiegogo fundraising period, but I’ve already been given more than I had ever expected, and I’d prefer it if you considered giving your kind donations and support to some other good pro-independence causes.

There are a number of other good causes which are well worth your consideration and support. It’s all very well complaining about the lamentable state of the Scottish media, but if we want to build something better we need to support it.

iScot magazine is a fantastic and high quality glossy magazine which promotes a positive vision of Scotland. The magazine is not a big business, and runs on subscriptions and crowdfunding. It’s a publication that does Scotland proud, and precisely the kind of magazine that’s able to reach out to undecideds and people who had previously voted no. Please help them to continue. iScot need £20,000 in order to secure their future for the next year, they’ve currently raised £7,384. Please help them reach their target – and subscribe to the magazine!
https://iscot.scot/appeal/

CommonSpace is a multi-author website which gives a space to pro-independence voices on the Scottish left. They give young and aspiring journalists the opportunity to get a start in what can be a very difficult business. CommonSpace are hoping to raise £60,000 in order to employ a fresh team of young journalists, they’ve currently raised £18,112.
https://www.commonspace.scot/donate


gingercartoonWee Ginger Fundraiser

I’m doing a fundraiser this year to keep this blog going for another twelve month and to allow the dug and me to continue visiting local groups all across Scotland. You can donate via my crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo –

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/wee-ginger-crowdfunder-independent-blog

Alternatively you can donate by Paypal by clicking the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special bank account I’ve set up for the purposes of this fundraiser, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information.

Many thanks.

Throwing some light on throwing shade

Wings Over Scotland has started a fundraiser in order to pay legal costs for Stu Campbell’s defamation case against Labour in Scotland’s leader Kezia Dugdale.  The case was brought after Kezia called Stu a homophobe after he insulted Conservative MSP Oliver Mundell by saying that Oliver’s public speaking skills were so risible that it was enough to make you wish that his father had embraced his homosexuality earlier. Oliver is of course the son of Scottish Secretary David Mundell, who came out as gay last year after spending many years in the closet.

Ever since, social media and the press have been full of people heterosplaining about that horrible homophobe Stu Campbell and how we should all recoil in horror from his hatred of gay people. As regular readers of this blog will be aware, I’m gay. I came out as gay a very long time ago, way back when we were still arguing about the B part of the LGBTQI alphabet. I came out as gay when homophobia was respectable, indeed obligatory. If I had a pound for every time someone called me by some abusive homophobic slur I’d have been set for life and wouldn’t have to do a fundraiser for this blog. That’s what life was like as a gay kid in Coatbridge in the 1970s.

I’ve experienced real homophobia. That’s real homophobia of the sort that leaves an actual bloodied and bruised body, homophobia of the never-darken-my-doorstep-again you pervert variety. I’ve been gay bashed twice. I was made unwelcome in the home of my birth by close family members some of whom refused to speak to me for years because of my sexuality. I’ve been subjected to sexual harrassment at work that was so bad I had to leave my job. I had children with lesbian friends back when the newspapers were full of screaming editorials that people like us shouldn’t be allowed to have children, and telling us that our families were excuses for child abuse. I’ve experienced homophobia that leaves real physical and emotional scars. Not homophobia of the “he said something nasty on social media” sort. So I figure I know what homophobia is. If you’d walked a mile in my ruby slippers, you’d know what real homophobia was too.

What Stu Campbell said about Oliver Mundell was not homophobia. Homophobia is founded in the sentiment that gay people are less worthy. What Stu Campbell said about Oliver Mundell was based in the sentiment that it would have been a good thing if his then-closeted father hadn’t been closeted but had instead been proud and accepting of his sexuality. That’s not a homophobic sentiment. What Stu Campbell said was what gay people call throwing shade. Was it tasteless? Yes. Was it insulting? Hell yes. It was supposed to be tasteless and insulting, that’s what throwing shade is. It was throwing shade of the sort that a drag queen would be proud of. What it wasn’t was homophobic. Not all references to gay people are homophobic.

I know how serious an issue homophobia is. David Mundell did not feel able to be open about his sexuality for decades because of homophobia. He only came out after people like me had made it safe for him to do so. Homophobia blights and deforms lives. It has victims apart from lesbian and gay people. The wives and husbands of gay men and lesbians who entered into heterosexual marriages in an attempt to hide their true sexuality are also victims of societal homophobia. Scotland has made enormous strides as a society in tackling homophobia and allowing queer folk to live open lives, but there is still a lot of work to do. There are still people in Scotland who suffer real abuse and discrimination as a result of homophobia.

Last week I started a fundraiser to help support this blog for the coming year. I’ve only ever done one fundraiser before, that was back in 2014 when I was still a full time carer for my partner Andy, who was then in the final stages of a terminal illness. Caring for a spouse in the last stages of vascular dementia is extremely distressing. It’s hard work. I was unable to get out of the house for longer than it took to rush round the block with the dog, and I’d come home to find Andy upset and in a panic because he’d forgotten where I was. Getting to the supermarket and rushing round Morrison’s with a trolley was the closest I got to quality me time.  Funding constraints meant that I was unable to get any respite from a task that was grinding me into the dust, both physically and emotionally.

Stu Campbell told me that unless I did a fundraiser in order to pay for respite care so that I could take care of myself, he’d do it for me. Then he held my hand through the entire process. That was not the action of a homophobe. That was the action of a man who respected my relationship with Andy as much as he would respect a heterosexual marriage where one of the partners was dying. That’s how I know that Stu Campbell is no homophobe, and that Kezia Dugdale was merely seeking to score a political point by bandying the term homophobia about as a weapon to use against a political foe, and cheapening it as a consequence.

As LBGTQ people we need the word homophobia. We need to be able to articulate the concept behind it, and the pain and discrimination that result from it. When an accusation of homophobia is made against something which is not in fact homophobic, we weaken the impact of future accusations, accusations which may very well rest in solid fact. That does no favours to the LGBTQ community. It is vital to us all that when we call someone a homophobe, that they really are a homophobe, that their words or deeds really do diminish and damage the life chances of lesbian and gay people. That’s what gives the accusation its power. We need that power.

Stu Campbell’s quip does not come into that category, but Kezia knew that she’d get more traction by accusing him of homophobia than she would if she’d simply called him out for being crass. She’s done our community no favours as a result. The next time a politician calls a blogger homophobic, many people won’t believe them, and that’s potentially very damaging to the LGBTQ cause.

Link to the Wings Over Scotland fundraiser is HERE


gingercartoonWee Ginger Fundraiser

I’m doing a fundraiser this year to keep this blog going for another twelve month and to allow the dug and me to continue visiting local groups all across Scotland. You can donate via my crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo –

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/wee-ginger-crowdfunder-independent-blog

Alternatively you can donate by Paypal by clicking the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special bank account I’ve set up for the purposes of this fundraiser, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information.

Many thanks.