What infantilisation looks like

This is the Scottish news, so we’re going to devote half the programme to talking about sports. Naturally there will be a hefty dose of the fitba, because that’s the only pastime that’s of any relevance to Scotland. There are no other games in this country. No other hobbies. We get wall to wall fitba on what passes for our only news programme even though a majority of Scots have as much interest in the gemme as Reporting Scotland does in telling us how none of the promises of the Better Together campaign from 2014 have actually been kept. The amount of time that BBC Scotland devotes to the fitba is inversely proportional to the amount of time that the Scottish national team actually lasts in international competitions. Never before in the history of the planet has mediocrity and a rampant sense of entitlement been so amply rewarded. Except when it comes to the amount of time given to Ruth Davidson.

But it’s not all fitba. That would be silly. For a bit of variety we’ll also shoehorn in an entirely egregious Scottish connection to Lewis Hamilton winning his fourth world championship for driving a motor as fast as someone on the A9 who doesn’t know there are speed cameras. Then we’ll top it all off with not one but two wee stories about cute animals, this time of the marine variety. With Reporting Scotland, “Oh look there’s a squirrel” isn’t a joke about distraction techniques, it’s the last couple of minutes of padding that we get after the mandatory quarter of an hour of non-news about the bleeding fitba in a thirty minute news programme. So that’s more than half of your so-called national news programme that’s not about the news at all, and that’s not counting the time devoted to the weather.

Scotland doesn’t have its own national public service broadcaster, and has to put up with a 30 minute news show that’s pigeon-holed in the regional segment after the proper British news, but BBC Scotland will still do its damnedest to ensure that that 30 minutes is filled with stuff which isn’t really news at all. In some ways that’s a blessing, because usually the precious minutes which are allotted to real, proper, actual, news are spent telling us about how spectacularly shite Scotland is, and how it’s all the fault of the SNP.

Today, Monday 30 October 2017, BBC Scotland managed to fill over half the meagre time allotted to Scottish news with stories which aren’t actually news at all. It was non-news, news about games and not reality, news about fluff, news that’s designed to fill the belly of a nation in the same way that bark and dried leaves fill the belly of a starving man. We don’t deserve a nourishing broth of hard facts. We’re not worthy of sustenance. We get filling but no content, form but no substance, brightly coloured artificial candy that has no calories but still rots your mental teeth. This is what you get when the people in charge hold you in contempt, when they think that you’re stupid, when they imagine that your horizons are as limited as they want to make them.

Today’s programme wasn’t especially bad. It wasn’t particularly egregious in its contemptuous disregard for the intelligence of the average Scottish person. It was perfectly normal, perfectly usual. That’s that very casual normality which makes BBC Scotland so offensive to the eye, to the ear, and to the spirit. It’s a daily grinding down of our aspirations and hopes. Don’t get above yourself Scotland, now here’s the news about the antics of Rangehibheartics Thistunitedrovers.

I’m not saying that there is no place for sports reporting in news broadcasting. Of course there is. But here in Scotland sports regularly take up almost half of the very limited time that Scotland is allotted and allowed to air news about itself on the telly. And those sports are overwhelmingly fitba. It’s grossly disproportionate. It’s the twisting and contorting of an entire nation to the hobby of a minority of men. It’s telling an entire country that the only things of note, the only things that are newsworthy, that happen here, are things to do with playing, with games, with pastimes and hobbies. Not the serious adult world of proper concerns that actually make a difference to anyone’s real life. When your news show is predominantly about ball games then your news is balls.

Turn on the BBC at 6.30pm of a weekday, and this, kiddies, is what infantilisation looks like. This is to proper news reporting as watered down wallpaper paste is to a thick and meaty stew. Reporting Scotland is the Daily Record without the advantage of being able to wipe your arse with it. It wipes its arse on us instead. And when it’s done repeatedly, when it has gone on for decades, most people no longer recognise it for the patronising guff that it really is. It becomes normal. When it becomes normal, it becomes abnormal to demand something better, something more nourishing. It becomes unthinkable to expect that Scotland should get what any other self-governing country or territory or region already has, a public service broadcaster of its own. When the trite is normal, when the fluff is the substance, demanding something solid is portrayed as wanting propaganda.

All this is deliberate. It’s not beyond the wit of humankind to provide Scotland with a far better news service even within the time constraints artificially imposed by a BBC management in London. But feeding us a diet of crap is a way of teaching us that crap is all that we are capable of producing.

Yet again I remind myself not to watch Reporting Scotland. It’s not going to change. The British state’s deathly grip on the broadcast media was one of the ways in which it won the first independence referendum, and it’s how it intends to keep Scotland within its grasp. We can’t change the BBC, but we can go around it. The biggest and most important task for the Scottish independence movement is for us to become the media, one which treats people like grown ups.


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The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.


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Treading a Scottish path

The situation in Catalonia is growing dangerous. The Spanish State has been emboldened by the lack of international support for the newly declared Catalan Republic, and it’s quite possible that Mariano Rajoy will take this as a signal that his government can get away with a brutal repression of the Catalan independence movement. It’s all very well calling for dialogue and saying it’s the only solution to the problem. That is a statement of the obvious. However the problem with calling for dialogue is that you need someone to have meaningful dialogue with, and Madrid has shown not the slightest inclination to engage in it. The lack of overt support for the Catalan declaration of independence will only strengthen La Moncloa’s resolve to maintain a hardline stance. (La Moncloa is the seat of the Spanish government.) But equally Madrid’s intransigence will only make the Catalans more determined.

There are some who have argued that the Scottish independence movement should distance itself from Catalonia. After all, Catalonia has embarked upon a declaration of UDI without a clear and unequivocal mandate from a majority of the Catalan people. The Catalan movement might have received considerable momentum from the corruption in which the Spanish political parties, and especially the Partido Popular of Mariano Rajoy, are mired, but some of the Catalan parties are by no means immune to corruption scandals of their own. There is a strain of unattractive right wing ethnic nationalism in Catalonia, particularly within the CiU, which is considerably more influential than in Scotland. All of these are genuine and legitimate reasons why some people within the Scottish independence movement are uncomfortable with too close an association of our movement with Catalonia.

Catalonia is where it is because Madrid has refused to negotiate, refused to compromise, refused to recognise the Catalan right to self-determination, and because it attempted to brutally suppress the referendum of October 1. However supporting the Catalans in their current situation does not imply that Scotland’s independence movement should copy the tactics employed by its Catalan equivalent. We are similar in that we are both highly developed European democracies which seek independence from the states we are currently a part of, but there are also many differences between Scotland and Catalonia. Our respective independence movements operate within very different political and cultural landscapes and originate from very different historical backgrounds.

Language is at the centre of the Catalan debate, while in Scotland language issues will always be peripheral and at best symbolic. Catalonia has a diverse and vibrant media which is far more representative of the range of opinions within the country than anything found in Scotland’s partisan overwhelmingly Unionist propaganda outfits.  Catalonia has a tradition of outdoor events and rallies which isn’t found in a wet and windy Scotland. Catalonia’s debate comes out of a recent historical memory of a fascist dictatorship and a Spain which tried to brush the remnants of Francoism under the carpet without anything equivalent to the de-nazification of Germany post-WW2. But the biggest difference of all is that the Scottish movement does not operate under a constitution which doesn’t recognise our right to self-determination, within a legal system which categorically prohibits an independence referendum, and a central government which is willing to use force.

We can, and should, be inspired by Catalan determination and resolve. We should stand with them and support their right to determine their own future because if we don’t support the right of other nations to self-determination then we have no right to expect that others will support Scotland’s right to self-determination. But we cannot take the tactics of Catalonia and transpose them to Scotland in the expectation that they will fall on fertile ground. They won’t. Scotland needs to shape its own individual path to independence, and we shall.

Catalonia’s biggest obstacle to independence is the Spanish constitution. Scotland’s biggest obstacle is the mendacious and unrepresentative British nationalist media which dominates the Scottish airwaves and newsagency shelves. I am convinced that if Scotland had a media as diverse and representative as Catalonia’s, we’d be independent already. The British nationalists know that too, that’s why they’re so determined to prevent Scotland getting its own public service broadcaster and why they’re so threatened by the two pro-independence newspapers that we do have.

One by one the promises and commitments made by the Better Together campaign in 2014 turn to dust. While we’ve all been distracted by the drama in Catalonia, another reason given for Scotland to remain a part of the UK died this weekend. Yet Scotland’s media doesn’t broadcast that from the rooftops in the way it sung to the heavens and puffed up all the promises and claims made by the Unionist parties in 2014. “So Devo Max then,” said Jackie back in 2014 when she was interviewing Alistair Darling about the Vow. Where’s the analysis from the BBC about how far short of devo max the Vow fell in reality? Don’t go holding your breath.

Remember all that about voting No in 2014 because you were worried about your pension? A study out this weekend showed that UK pensions are amongst the worst in the developed world. Only Hong Kong and Taiwan have worse pension provision than the UK, and those are societies in which there is a far more ingrained culture of younger generations having a social obligation to care for their older relatives. People in the UK are going to have to save far more of their income than they currently are in order to stave off penury in old age, but saving is becoming ever harder as wages stagnate for the many while ballooning for the rich and low paid gig jobs spread across the face of the economy like a bad outbreak of plukes. Meanwhile the state retirement age in the UK is creeping up, and today’s young Scots could face having to work until their 70s before qualifying for a state pension. And that’s in a country where there are communities where the average life expectancy for men is 65 or lower. Vote to be British, vote to work for a pittance until you drop.

The crisis in Catalonia continues, but the Scottish independence movement is quietly getting on with the day job (© Ruth Davidson) of organising a grassroots movement that’s going to win a legal vote on Scottish self-determination. There promises to be a huge attendance at the SIC’s Build conference in the Usher Hall in Edinburgh on November 4, where I’ll be amongst the speakers.  There are no spaces left at the local groups conference which yours truly has organised in Dunblane on Saturday December 16. We’re getting organised, we’re getting into shape, we’re getting our act together.

Our task as a movement will be to deliver to the people of this country the information that our biased British nationalist media doesn’t want them to have. It will be to join the dots and demonstrate how only independence can protect Scotland from the negative consequences of a Tory led Brexit. It will be to point out and highlight the democratic deficit that blights Scotland.  It will be to campaign in a recognised vote on Scottish independence.  We can and should show our solidarity with Catalonia, with the Basque Country, with the Kurds, and with all those other stateless nations which seek self-determination, but we must always recognise that our movement will and must tread its own distinctively Scottish path.  It’s a path that’s peaceful, democratic, legal, legitimate, and which will lead to a declaration of independence that’s negotiated with Westminster and internationally recognised.  That’s exactly what we’re going to do.


 

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The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.


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The Catalan declaration of independence in English

It’s been a huge day in Catalonia, but it’s also a day of immense uncertainty. Rather than pontificate about a situation which is changing rapidly, and which is likely to have seen further developments by the time I got to the end of whatever it was I was writing, a more useful and informative contribution to events in Catalonia for people in Scotland would be to provide an English translation of today’s declaration of independence. This is the full text of the declaration of independence approved today (Friday 27 October) by the Catalan Parliament. The declaration is fairly lengthy and couched in legalese, but I’ve done my best to provide as literal a translation as possible. The original Catalan language text was taken from an article in the Catalan digital newspaper Vilaweb. If you speak Catalan, you can read it HERE.  All translation errors are of course my own.

To the Bureau of Parliament
Lluís M. Corominas i Díaz, president of the Parliamentary Group of Together for Yes, Marta Rovira i Vergés, spokesperson of the Parliamentary Group of Together for Yes, Mireia Boya e Busquet, president of the Parliamentary Group of the Popular Unity Candidacy – Constituent Call, Anna Gabriel i Sabaté, spokesperson of the Parliamentary Group of the Popular Unity Candidacy – Constituent Call, in agreement with that which is established in articles 151 and 152 of the rules of the parliament, present the following motions for resolution subsequent to the general debate on the application of Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution to Catalonia, and its possible effects.

Motions for Resolution

Motion for resolution 1
Declaration of the representatives of Catalonia

The deputies of the Parliamentary groups of Together for Yes and the Popular Unity Candidacy – Constituent Call signed the previous 10 of October the following:

Declaration of the representatives of Catalonia

To the people of Catalonia and to all the peoples of the world.
Justice and individual, collective and intrinsic human rights, fundamental and unrenouncable, which give sense to the historical legitimacy and the juridical and institutional tradition of Catalonia, are the basis of the constitution of the Catalan Republic.

The Catalan nation, its language and its culture have one thousand years of history. For centuries, Catalonia has endowed and enjoyed its own institutions which have exercised self-government in full, with the Generalitat as the maximum expression of the historic rights of Catalonia. Parliamentarianism has been, during periods of liberty, the pillar upon which these institutions have sustained themselves, have been channelled through the Cortes Catalanes, and which have been crystalised in the Constitutions of Catalonia.

Catalonia restores today its full sovereignty, lost and long yearned for, after decades of trying, honestly and loyally, institutional coexistence with the peoples of the Iberian peninsula.

Since the approval of the Spanish Constitution of 1978, Catalan politics has had a key role with an exemplary attitude, loyal and democratic towards Spain, and with a profound sense of statehood.

The Spanish state has responded to that loyalty with the denial of the recognition of Catalonia as a nation, and has conceded a limited autonomy, more administrative than political, and which is in the process of recentralisation, a profoundly unjust economic treatment, and linguistic and cultural discrimination.

The Statute of Autonomy, approved by the Parliament and Congress, and by the Catalan people in a referendum, would have been the new stable and lasting marker of a bilateral relationship between Catalonia and Spain. But it was a political agreement halted by the ruling of the [Spanish] Constitutional Court, and caused the emergence of new demands by the citizens.

Gathering the demands of a large majority of the citizens of Catalonia, the Parliament, the Government, and civil society have repeatedly demanded to agree [with Spain] the holding of a referendum on self-determination.

In the face of the affirmation the institutions of the [Spanish] State have rebuffed all negotiations, have violated the principle of democracy and autonomy, and have ignored the legal mechanisms available to the Constitution, the Generalitat of Catalonia has convoked a referendum in order to exercise the right to self-determination recognised in international law.

The organisation and the celebration of the referendum has brought about the suspension of Catalan self-government and the de facto application of a state of emergency.

The brutal police operation of a military nature and style orchestrated by the Spanish state against Catalan citizens has infringed, on many and repeated occasions, their civil and political rights and the principles of Human Rights, and has contravened the international agreements signed and ratified by the Spanish State.

Thousands of people, amongst whom there have been hundreds of those in elected, institutional, and professional positions linked to the communication sector, administration, and civil society, have been investigated, detained, had complaints filed against, interrogated and threatened with harsh punishment of prison.

Spanish institutions, which should have remained neutral, protected fundamental rights and arbitrated in the face of political conflict, have turned into a part and an instrument of those attacks and have left the Catalan citizenry defenceless.

Despite the violence and the repression with the intent to impede the celebration of a peaceful and democratic process, the citizens of Catalonia have voted by a majority in favour of the constitution of the Catalan Republic.

The constitution of the Catalan Republic is founded in the necessity of protecting liberty, the security and coexistence of all the citizens of Catalonia, and of advancing towards a State of law and a democracy of greater quality, and in response to the obstacle on the part of the Spanish state of making the right to self-determination of peoples effective.

The people of Catalonia are lovers of law, and the respect for the law is and shall be one of the keystones of the Republic. The Catalan state will comply with and will fulfil legally all the dispositions which make up this declaration and guarantees legal security and the maintenance of subscribed agreements will form part of the foundational spirit of the Catalan Republic.

The constitution of the Republic is a hand held out to dialogue. Doing honour to the Catalan tradition of the pact, we maintain our commitment with agreement as a form of resolving political conflicts. At the same time, we reaffirm our fraternity and solidarity with the rest of the peoples of the world, and in particular, with those with whom we share a language and culture and with the euromediterranean region, in defence of individual and collective liberties.

The Catalan Republic is an opportunity to correct the current democratic and social deficits, and to build a more prosperous, more just, more secure, more sustainable society with greater solidarity.

In virtue of all that has just been set out, we, the democratic representatives of the Catalan people, in the free exercise of the right to self-determination, and in agreement with the mandate received from the citizenry of Catalonia:

WE CONSTITUTE the Catalan Republic, as an independent and sovereign state, a state of law, democratic, and social.

WE PREPARE the entrance into law of the Law of Juridical and Foundational Transition of the Republic.

WE INICIATE the constituent, democratic process, based in the citizenry, transversal, participative, and binding.

WE AFFIRM the will to open negotiations with the Spanish State, without preconditions, addressed to establish a regime of collaboration in the benefit of both parties. The negotiations must be, necessarilty, on an equal footing.

WE MAKE AWARE the international community and the authorities of the European Union, of the establishment of the Catalan Republic, and the proposal for negotiations with the Spanish State.

WE URGE the international community and the authorities of the European Union to intervene in order to prevent the violation of civil and political rights currently in course, and to follow and to make themselves witnesses to the negotiating process with the Spanish State.

WE DEMONSTRATE the will to construct a European project which reinforces the social and democratic rights of the citizenry, as well as the commitment to continue applying, without solution of continuity and in a unilateral manner, the norms of the legal system of the European Union and those of the Spanish State and the Catalan autonomy into which this normative is transposed.

WE AFFIRM that Catalonia has the inequivocal will to integrate itself as quickly as it may be possible into the international community. The new state is committed to respecting the international obligations which are currently applied in its territory and to continuing to be part of the international treaties to which the Kingdom of Spain belongs.

WE CALL ON states and international organisations to recognise the Catalan Republic as an independent and sovereign state.

WE URGE the Government of Catalonia to adopt the necessary measures in order to make possible the full effectiveness of this Declaration of Independence and of the provisions of the Law of Juridical and Foundational Transition of the Republic.

WE MAKE a call to each and every citizen of the Catalan Republic to make ourselves worthy of the liberty which we have given ourselves and to construct a state which translates into action and conduct the collective inspiration.

WE ASSUME the mandate of the people of Catalonia expressed in the Referendum of Self-Determination of 1 October and we declare that Catalonia becomes an independent state in the form of a Republic.

Motion for resolution

The Parliament of Catalonia expresses its rejection of the agreement of the Council of Ministers of the Spanish State proposing to the Senate of the Spanish State measures in order to put into effect that which is set out in Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution. The proposed measures, on the margin of the current juridical establishment, suppose the elimination of Catalan self-government. At the same time they situate the Government of the Spanish State as a substitute for the Government of the Generalitat of Catalonia and censor the Parliament of Catalonia, a meansire which not only is not acceptable but which is an attack on democracy without precedent in the past 40 years.

We have offered negotiation and dialogue and they have answered us with Article 155 of the Constitution and the elimination of self-government; the response has been of a political firmness similar to the use of force on the 1 October.

The Parliament agrees, to urge the Government to dictate all the necessary resolutions for the development of the Law of Juridical and Foundational Transition of the Republic and in particular:

– To promulgate the necessary Decrees, giving staff and materially to the seized administrative services for the provision to citizens of the accredited documents of Catalan nationality.

– To establish the regulation for procedures for the aquisition of Catalan nationality, by reason of what is set out in article 8 and in the final latter disposition.

– To promote the subscription of a treaty of dual nationality with the government of the Kingdom of Spain, in conformity with article 9.

– To dictate, in conformity with article 12.1, the necessary dispositions for the adaptation, modification, and inapplication of local, autonomous, and state law current before the entrance into effect of the Law of Juridical and Foundational Transition of the Republic.

– To dictate, with the basis in that which is set out in article 12.3 the precise Decrees for the recovery and efficiency of the previous norms and the succession of legal systems, annulled or suspended by the [Spanish] Constitutional Court and by the remainder of the courts, laying special attention to all those regulations of taxation and other imposition, as well as those which develop tools for the struggle against poverty and social inequality.

– To promote to all states and institutions the recognition of the Catalan Republic.

– To establish the corresponding procedure and in conformity with that which is set out in article 15, the relation of international treaties which have to be kept in force, as well as those which to be found inapplicable.

– To establish, in accordance with Article 17, the regime of integration to the administration of the Generalitat of Catalonia, excepting the express renunciation of the same, of all those officials and staff of the Spanish State, who up until now have given their services to the general administration of Catalonia, to the local administration of Catalonia, Catalan universities, the administration of justice, the institutional administration of the Catalan state, or of the official and staff of the Spanish State, of Catalan nationality, who render their services outwith Catalonia.

– To make Parliament aware, of the relation of contracts, agreements and accords object of subrogation on the part of the Catalan Republic, in accordance with what is set out in article 19.

– To promote an agreement with the Spanish State for the integration of staff and the subrogation of contracts foreseen in sections IV and V, in conformity with that which is set out in Article 20.

– To agree all that which may be preceding, as well as adopting the necessary measures for the exercise of fiscal authority, the social security, customs, and land registry in accordance with what is set out in Articles 80, 81, 82, and 83, establishing if it is the case, the periods of tranfer between administrations necessary for an adequate public service.

– To promote the necessary legislative actions and measures for the creation of a public development bank in the service of a productive economy.

– To promote the necessary legislative actions and measures for the creation of the Bank of Catalonia, with the functions of a central bank, which must oversee the establishment of the financial system.

– To promote the necessary legislative actions and measures for the creation of the remaining regulatory authorities, with the functions which are inherent to them.

– To open a period of negotiations with the Spanish State, according to that which is set out in Article 82, in order to determine, if such is the case, and to which degree, the succession of the Catalan state through an agreement, to the rights and obligations of an economic and financial character assumed by the Kingdom of Spain.

– To elaborate an inventory of the goods in title of the Spanish State, pertaining to the national territory of Catalonia, to the end of making effective the succession of title on the part of the Catalan state, in conformity with that which is set out in Article 20.

– To elaborate a proposal of division of assets and liabilities between the Kingdom of Spain and the Catalan Republic, on the basis of standardised international criteria, opening a period of negotiation between the representatives of both state, subjecting the achieved agreement, if such is the case, for the approval of the Parliament of Catalonia.

The Parliament opens an investigation in order to determine the responsibilities of the Government of the Spanish State, its institutions and dependent organs in the commission of crimes relating to the violation of fundamental, individual and collective rights in order to avoid the exercise of the right to vote of the people of Catalonia the past 1 October.

This investigatory commission will be comprised of deputies from parliamentary groups and of expert persons in the national and international arenas, of the Anti-Fraud office, the Office of the Ombudsman, and the Catalan legal profession and in representation entities defending human rights, ensuring that there may be representative of international organisations.

Motion for resolution 2

Constituent process
The Parliament of Catalonia agrees:

To declare the inciation and the opening of the constituent process

To urge the government of the Generalitat to:

a) Activate in an immediate manner all the human, public and social resources as well material media at its disposal, in order to make effective the democratic constituent process, based in the citizenry, participative and binding, which must culminate with the redaction and approval of the constitution of the Republic on the part of the Parliament constituted in the Consituent Assembly which results from the constituent elections.

b) To constitute within the term of fifteen days the assessory council of the constituent process in order to advise in the deliberative constituent phase led by organised civil society.

c) To convene, diffuse, and execute the decision phase of the constituent process, gathering together the sistematised proposals to the Constituent Social Forum, submitting them to the consultation of the citizenry, which will constitute a binding mandate for the constituted Parliament in the Constituent Assembly which results from the constituent elections.

d) To convene constituent elections once all the phases of the constituent process have culminated.

To encourage all civic and social agents, within the term of one month, to constitute a promotional platform for the constitutional process or national agreement for the constitutional process.

To constitute, within the term of fifteen days, the Parliamentary Commission to follow the constituent process, with the aim of protecting but not interfering in, the task of the promotional platform, guaranteeing the deployment of its work as well as the fulfilment of the six month term legally defined for its development and conclusions.

To encourage the municipal authorities to promote constituent debates in the local sphere promoting the participation of civil society, facilitating the resources and public spaces necessary for the correct development of citizens’ debate.

Palace of Parliament 27 October 2017

signed
Lluís M. Corominas i Díaz
President del GP JS

Marta Rovira i Vergés
Portaveu del GP JS

Mireia Boya e Busquet
Presidenta del GP CUP-CC

Anna Gabriel i Sabaté
Portaveu del GP CUP-CC


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The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.


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Government by helium filled parrot

There are many reasons for wanting Scottish independence. There’s the potential for doing something about the gross inequalities that blight our country. There’s getting rid of the obscenity of weapons of mass destruction from the Clyde. There’s the prospect of a referendum on the future of the monarchy and the chance of a republic. There’s the fact that we’ll get our own stamps and the possibility that one of them might have a dug on it. There’s giving online British nationalist trolls a fit of apoplexy. There are many reasons, some of which are admittedly less important than others. But there’s one reason which is amongst the most important of all, which is possibly the most important of all. That reason is having a democracy that functions and a parliament which is actually capable of holding power to account.

We don’t have that just now. Not even close. We live in a country where the media solemnly informs us that the party which came a distant second in Scotland in the General Election was the real winner, and that means that Ruth Davidson gets to dictate what the Scottish government can or can’t do, even though it wasn’t even an election for Holyrood. If you listened to the British media, particularly its Scottish branch offices, you’d think that Ruth Davidson was God. There is however a significant difference between Ruth Davidson and God. God doesn’t think that he’s Ruth Davidson. She has infinite power, at least in her own imagination.

It’s worse at a UK level. In the UK all power is centralised in Westminster, and within Westminster it’s centralised in the office of the PM. Now that the Tories have lost their majority in the Commons, they’re no longer even pretending to take the will of Parliament into account. The Conservatives now routinely abstain on Opposition Day motions. They couldn’t even be bothered to defend their, admittedly indefensible, Universal Credit policy,even though it’s the centrepiece of their benefit reforms. The Commons voted it down, the Tories carry on as though nothing has happened. Governments aren’t to be bound by trivial matters like votes in the Commons. Opposition Day motions aren’t binding on the government, and the Conservatives are no longer even going to participate in the pretence that the Commons exists in order to hold the executive to account.

What was all that about Brexit being so that full sovereignty could be restored to the British Parliament? Oh yeah, it was every much as much a pile of steaming Jackie Baillie as the promise that if Scotland voted no then devolution would be enhanced and strengthened and the permanence of the Scottish parliament would be enshrined in law. That turned out not to be worth the paper it was written on.

Then there was the promise that Brexit would lead to all sorts of wonderful new powers for the Scottish Parliament. So far the only power that we’ve seen is the power of waffle. This isn’t a new power. It’s been the speciality of the Conservatives in their dealings with Scotland ever since, well, forever. That’s what happens when we’ve been lumbered with a Scottish Secretary of State who is as inert as helium gas and every bit as lightweight.

During the ritual of Scottish questions in the Commons, and David Mundell had firmly tied himself to the government front benches in order to prevent himself floating away. He bobbed about, trying to pretend that he had something substantial to offer. More powers! More powers! He kept repeating the phrase, but like a particularly dense parrot had no concept that there ought to be any meaning behind it. Fluffy wanna cracker. Squawk! More powers! Or maybe it was just the sound of leaking helium gas.

Our so-called Secretary of State with his £9 million a year departmental budget for UK propaganda was asked five times by opposition MPs to name a single extra power that’s going to be given to the Scottish Parliament as a result of Brexit. “There’s going to be loads of them,” said the Fluffmonster, “hunners. Squawk!”

“Aye but,” interjected just about every opposition MP, “can you be a wee bit more specific.” Fluffy puffed himself up, replacing the leaking helium that was making the pitch of his voice rise higher and higher. If he kept going then perhaps he’d soon be speaking at such a high pitch that his voice would be inaudible to human ears. “There will be a significant increase in the decision making power of each devolved administration,” he gassed.

Despite repeated attempts from MPs who aren’t Tories, because Scotland’s Tory MPs haven’t got the slightest interest in ensuring the government keeps its promises to Scotland, he refused to name a single new power that Brexit was going to deliver to any of the devolved administrations.  On the other hand, he was extremely specific about powers they weren’t going to get. Immigration will not be devolved, despite the fact that prominent Brexiteers like Michael Gove had aired the possibility that it could be. That’s turned out to be as fictitious as a slogan on the side of a bus.

The opposition MPs queued up to point out that he hadn’t answered the question and hadn’t named any powers that would be devolved to Holyrood. “Oh yes I have.” “Oh no you haven’t.” And then huffily Fluffy proclaimed that the opposition was taking a pantomime approach to the proceedings. Which to be fair was true, but only because Fluffy was determined to play the role of the evil stepmother. The only powers that he was demonstrating was the power of the Westminster government not to be held to account by irritating elected representatives of the people, and the power of Tory contempt.

We live in a country where the people can be promised just about anything, and then once those doing the promising have secured the vote they wanted they can ignore all the promises they made in order to win it. The British nationalists are very fond of demanding that Scotland must respect the results of the 2014 referendum, but they have no intention of respecting the commitments they made to the Scottish people in order to secure the result. Independence means that we can live in a country where governments are bound by a written constitution, where politicians face consequences if they don’t abide by the promises that they’ve made in order to attain power. Independence means that we get the governments that we vote for. Independence means democracy. That’s the most important reason of all for wanting independence. It means we can be governed by politicians who have to answer for their politics, and no longer by helium filled parrots.


The Scottish Independence Convention is asking local group representatives to fill in a survey about their local pro-independence group in order to help the SIC collect as much data as it can on local groups. The aim of the survey is to help the SIC see where the geographical and logistical gaps are, what skills are already present in local groups, and to better help the SIC understand what support local groups need and expect from the SIC. If your local group hasn’t already done so, please click on the following link and fill in the (short) survey.

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/DZFMQPF

Yours truly will be presenting the local groups session at the SIC conference in the Usher Hall on Saturday November 4, and this survey will help inform that process as well as the local groups’ conference which we’re organising for Saturday 16 December in Dunblane. The Dunblane meeting, unlike the SIC Build conference, is guaranteed to be 100% Brian Spanner free.

If you haven’t already applied for a ticket for your local group for Dunblane, please do so as soon as possible. Details are on the previous post. The venue only holds 150 people, and there are only 20 places left. I’m really sorry, but some tickets have had to be cancelled because we’ve had multiple applications from certain districts and we’re trying to restrict attendance to two representatives from each local group to ensure that as many local groups as possible can participate.


weegingerdug.scot

The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.


gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Just click the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special bank account, 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. Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

Many thanks.

Local groups’ conference in Dunblane

I don’t usually publish articles which I’ve written for the National on the blog. However the National’s editor Callum Baird has given me permission to republish the article I wrote for Saturday’s edition of the National because it’s important that this gets to as wide an audience as possible.

The core of independence is independence of thought and action. If we want an independent Scotland in which citizens are empowered, in which ordinary people have voices that are heard, we need to put those principles into action in the campaign which achieves Scottish independence. Independence begins with independence of mind, and any independence movement worth its salt seeks to encourage and facilitate the independence of mind and action of the citizens of the country for which it’s campaigning for self-determination. That means we don’t sit back and wait for permission to campaign for another referendum and for an independent Scotland. We take the initiative into our own hands.

If we sit passively by and wait to be led, then we will find ourselves in a Scotland in which citizens are expected to be passive, in which decisions are made by elites. We would find ourselves in an independent Scotland where the only thing that had changed was the management. This is our movement, our Scotland, so it’s up to all of us to speak up, to be involved, to lead ourselves. You don’t achieve independence by being dependent. You achieve independence by listening to the advice of generations of Scottish mammies and grannies, who have always told us – if ye want something done, ye need tae dae it yersel. Scottish independence is us daein it wursels.

Over the past 18 months I’ve been doing talks to local groups all over this country. Scotland is full of energetic, enthusiastic and talented people who are committed to winning the goal of an independent state in which they, their children, their grandchildren, can live dignified lives. However there’s a perception amongst many local group members that there is a serious lack of direction and coordination on a national level, and that we risk the dissipation of all that energy and enthusiasm. So it’s time for local groups to get together and decide upon a cohesive and co-ordinated approach, an approach that allows us all to feel as though we’re a part of a truly national movement. And moreover a movement which belongs to us, rather than a movement which we’re a subordinate part of. We need tae dae this wursels.

In a couple of weeks the Scottish Independence Convention is due to host a national Build conference in Edinburgh to discuss the future for the independence movement. This is the second such conference, and in my talks to local groups I’ve discovered that there’s a widespread feeling that the great ideas and energies generated in the first Build conference went nowhere. There was a fantastic conference, but then nothing seemed to happen and local group members felt that they were left to their own devices, isolated and without any national direction or coordination. We need to avoid that happening again.

In order to help local groups to build a common identity and strategy and to build on the issues raised during the SIC conference on November 4, I’m inviting two representatives from each local group to a local group conference in Dunblane on Saturday 16 December. I haven’t asked anyone’s permission, but equally this meeting doesn’t intend to tread on any existing group’s toes. I spoke to John McHarg of Yes2, and asked him to email his contacts in order to get the ball rolling with invitations, so your local group may already have received an invite. However if you haven’t there’s still plenty of time for your local group to come along. This conference is open to Yes groups, Commonweal groups, pro-independence party local branches, and to anyone who would like to set up a local independence campaigning group in their own area.

The idea behind this local group conference is to allow local groups to discuss the ideas and strategies raised at the SIC conference in a setting which is more conducive to discussion than the huge and intimidating venue of Edinburgh’s Usher Hall. We aim to discuss how we can take our movement forward, how we can achieve a common national identity for local groups, and how we can raise our public profile on a national level. But above all this is about how we can build a national movement that we all feel a part of. We can do this. All we need for self-determination is the determination to do things for ourselves. Let’s put that into action.

This isn’t my conference.  It isn’t John McHarg’s.  It’s yours. This isn’t about egos or personal agendas.  This is about helping local groups to co-ordinate and become more cohesive and to work towards raising the public profile of the grassroots movement. Social media is all very good, but sometimes we need personal contact and face to face meetings in order to be able to take things forward.

The Dunblane conference will hopefully be just the first. We plan to organise at least two others, one in the north of Scotland and one in the south, so that local groups from every part of the country have a chance to have their say and make their input. Details of the Dunblane gathering are as follows –

Dunblane, Dunblane Christian Fellowship hall, Stirling Road, Dunblane, FK15 0BX, Saturday 16 December, from 3pm until 5pm. The venue is directly opposite Dunblane train station and has easy access from the M80/A9.
Tickets, which are free, can be reserved here
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/together-how-we-create-a-common-campaign-and-identity-tickets-38857457702

If you’d like further information, you can email me at weegingerdug@mail.com which is an address I’ve set up specifically to deal with this event.

I hope to see you there!


weegingerdug.scot

The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.


gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Just click the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special bank account, 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. Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

Many thanks.

El cop d’estat

Madrid has pressed the constitutional nuclear button and has announced that it’s going to dissolve the institutions of Catalan self-government and impose direct rule. The pro-independence Catalan media is describing it as a cop d’estat – a coup d’etat – against Catalonia by a Spanish government which is already holding two high profile independentistas as political prisoners. Today the streets of Barcelona were filled with half a million demonstrators protesting against Rajoy’s unilateral abolition of Catalan self-government and against the imprisonment of Jordi Cuixart of Omnium Cultural and Jordi Sanchez of the Assemblea Nacional Catalana. Both have been denied bail on charges of sedition for helping to organise October’s independence referendum. Due to the slow and labyrinthine workings of the Spanish legal system, they could be imprisoned for four years before coming to trial.

The Partido Popular minority government in Madrid has announced that the Catalan Parliament will now have to face fresh elections. And if the people of Catalonia decide that they’re going to elect another pro-independence majority in their parliament – then what? Rajoy has no answer. He has nothing to say to Catalonia except no. He has no answers except to scream at the people that “This is the law!” Catalans must bow to a political decision made 40 years ago. There will be no compromises, no negotiations.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy only knows one word of Catalan, and that word is no. He’s happy to create a catastrophe out of a crisis in Catalonia, anything to distract attention from the corruption scandals which enmesh his party and which reach even to his own office. His party said no to a new statute of autonomy for Catalonia over ten years ago even though the text of it had been approved by a large majority of Catalan voters in a referendum. It was struck down by a Spanish Supreme Court whose judges are political appointees.

Rajoy’s party said no to the Catalan education system claiming it discriminated against Spanish speakers, even though Catalonia’s bilingual education system regularly came top in Spanish educational league tables for achievement in – wait for it – the Spanish language. The Partido Popular wants to replace Catalonia’s educational system, which has been successful in creating fluency in Catalan in children who come to school without a command of the language with the system used in the Partido Popular controlled Valencian Community, which is also majority Catalan speaking, but whose education system has proven incapable of halting, never mind reversing, the language shift from Catalan to Spanish. The large cities of the Valencian Community, which only a few decades ago were majority Catalan speaking, are now overwhelmingly Spanish speaking. That suits the Partido Popular just fine, and that’s what they’ve got in mind for Barcelona, Girona, and Tarragona too. Now Madrid is going to take direct control of Catalan education. Many in Catalonia regard this as an existential threat to the future of their language, and of the Catalan people as a nation.

In 2012 Rajoy said no to a new financial settlement for Catalonia which would have given Catalonia greater control over its own resources, income and economy. He said no to a referendum in 2014. He said no again in 2017. At every turn, Catalan attempts to increase their autonomy within the Spanish state have been rebuffed and repelled. They’ve been insulted and demonised. They’ve been accused by the heirs to Franco of fascism and ethnic nationalism.

Article 155 of the Spanish constitution allows the central government to take direct control over an autonomous region like Catalonia. It permits Madrid to dissolve the Catalan government and remove Catalan President Carles Puigdemont from office. Rajoy claims that by activating Article 155 that he’s not stripping Catalonia of its autonomy, and he’s stopped short of dissolving the Catalan Parliament, but Saturday’s events are seen in Catalonia as a desperate attempt by Madrid to impose its will on a Catalonia that only wants the right to decide its own future for itself. Madrid has told Barcelona no, we will decide your future for you. Rajoy’s decision has to be ratified by the Spanish parliament, but in this respect he enjoys the support of the main Spanish opposition party, the PSOE (roughly equivalent to the British Labour party) who are expected to vote in support of Rajoy’s minority government.

By activating Article 155, the central government has unilaterally given itself the right to take control of Catalan finances, government administration, the devolved Catalan broadcaster, and the Catalan police force the Mossos d’Esquadra. Madrid will have the right to remove any official in the employ of the Catalan government and replace them with someone more to their liking. Further, any government employees who refuse to obey instructions coming directly from the central goverment or its agents can be sacked or even fined or find themselves subject to criminal proceedings.

The Catalan public service broadcaster TV3 will now come under the direct control of Madrid. The likelihood is that the Catalan broadcaster will now find itself taking a new direction in its reporting on the Catalan independence movement. Expect a lot more stories in the Catalan news about murrdurrs, kittens, and the fitba and a lot fewer that paint the central government in a bad light.

The crunch will come when Madrid attempts to take direct control of the Catalan police force the Mossos d’Esquadra. The Mossos intervened during the brutal and violent crackdown during the independence referendum to protect voters from the excesses of the Guardia Civil, who come under the direct control of the Spanish Interior Ministry. The chief of the Mossos d’Esquadra is currently facing charges of sedition. It is widely expected that when push comes to shove and the Mossos have to choose between Madrid or Barcelona, that they will choose Barcelona. That could lead to Madrid flooding Catalonia with yet more brutal and violent Guardia Civil officers, and yet more confrontations.

Rajoy might claim that by not dissolving the Catalan parliament he is respecting Catalan autonomy, but by invoking Article 155 he is putting severe limits on the Catalan parliament, and giving himself a veto over any motion or decision made by that parliament. All decisions of the Catalan parliament will have to be approved by an authority designated by the Spanish government.

Puigdemont is due to make an announcement at 8pm our time this evening. He’s not expected to make an unequivocal declararion of independence this evening, but he is expected to restate the right of Catalonia to self-determination and to choose its own future. Catalonia is a more uncertain place this weekend. The only certainty is that Madrid’s fresh elections will not solve this crisis, only a referendum can do that, but Mariano Rajoy remains as intransigent as ever. His intransigence risks transforming this crisis into a tragedy and all of Spain, not just Catalonia, would be a loser from that.  It’s time that Rajoy learned to say more than no.


weegingerdug.scot

The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.


gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Just click the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special bank account, 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. Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

Many thanks.

The pot plants of Brexit

We’re at that phase in the Brexit talks where the EU has realised that further rebuffs of Theresa May would be very like repeatedly kicking a small and particularly dense puppy which persists in doing Jackie Baillies all over a very expensive rug. Any more kicks and the puppy is likely to expire, and then the Conservative party would only go and replace it with an incontinent creature with the attention span of a goldfish and the destructive instincts of a teething rottweiler which has swallowed ten grammes of amphetamine. Hence the rest of the EU decided that the latest dinner for EU leaders was to be Theresa May’s very own pity party.

Still, being patronised because she’s so weak and the Tory party is so hopeless made a nice change from the last time when no one wanted to talk to her. This is what constitutes progress for the UK in Brexit negotiations and heralds a whole new chapter in Britain’s brave buccaneering Brexit. We’re going to make fantastic trade deals with the rest of the world by making everyone feel sorry for us. Britain’s future can be secured if only we turn into a shambling ex-boxer who once was a contender for the title, but now is brain damaged and bankrupt. Still, look on the bright side, there’s already considerable evidence of brain damage in the Conservative cabinet and the hysterical right-wing British press. We’re halfway there already, and bankruptcy is looming too. Succexit!

German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned on Friday that the second stage of the Brexit talks, the trade negotiations, are going to be a lot more difficult than the divorce talks. Since the supposedly easier part of the negotiations hasn’t exactly moved forward with anything you might call speed, this doesn’t bode well for the second stage if and when the EU ever agrees to move on to it. The pot plants which Theresa May stared forelornly at as she waited for the meeting to begin have more agility than the Brexit negotiations. You could tell she was pissed off. The plants get fed a diet of crap but at least they manage to look attractive. No amount of crap that Theresa feeds the British public can make Brexit look good. But at least the pot plants managed to get on the table and to sit there looking pretty, the trade talks look like they’ll never get on the table in the first place and even if they do they’re going to look very ugly.

There’s an important lesson here for the British government and the Conservative party. If the UK replaced David Davis, Liam Fox, and Boris Johnson with a spider plant, a busy lizzie, and a knobweed, the Brexit negotiations would be considerably further forward than they currently are and then instead of threats of a hard border we could be talking about a herbaceous one. This idea isn’t as ridiculous as it might first sound as there is already a precedent. Since 2010 Scotland has had an ornamental cabbage as its Secretary of State. Although on second thoughts there’s no real need to replace Boris Johnson with a knobweed because he already does a very good impression of one. There’s no reason to replace the much touted Jacob Rees-Mogg with a plant, because he’s already a fossil. Mind you it’s not like there’s much point in offering this advice to the Tory party, because even though many people speak to plants, there’s absolutely no evidence that vegetables in the party are going to listen.

French President Emmanuel Macron accused the turnips of the Tory party of bluffing on the question of the UK leaving the EU without any deal. Theresa May has never raised the possibility of the UK crashing out without a deal during her trips to Brussels to stare forelornly at the pot plants on the table, and he slapped down David Davis by pointedly remarking that the UK negotiator was operating under Theresa’s authority. Or at least he is for now. The problem here is that Macron fondly imagines that the UK government is halfway functional, when in fact the only reason Theresa retains a veneer of authority is because the party wants her to grasp the thorn of Brexit so she’s the one that’s poisoned by it.

It took the EU leaders all of 90 seconds to decide that there hasn’t been sufficient progress so far, and they’ll wait until December to revisit the question of whether enough progress has been made to allow the UK to move on to the trade talks. That 90 seconds included the usual pleasantries being translated into 25 languages. The last time a decision was reached that quickly was when Reporting Scotland came across a news story about how yet another of the promises of the Better Together campaign had turned to dust and decided to broadcast something about how bad the SNP is instead followed by fifteen minutes of fitba and something about a murrdurr.

In the meantime the EU will discuss a possible trade deal, but they won’t discuss it with the UK, they’ll just discuss it amongst themselves in the same kind of way that you make sure that a really annoying relative is no longer in the room before you start to talk about them. But it did mean that Theresa could return to London with something like a victory which will help to bolster her position against the triffids in the cabinet. She can now present them with a firm commitment from the EU that in a few months time it will consider looking at whether there’s been enough progress . And expectations are now so low that that counts as progress all by itself.

It’s still all about the money. Reports are that the EU is insisting on something in the region of €60bn which the UK will have to cough up to settle its financial obligations to the EU before it will consider moving on to trade talks. That’s considerably more than the €20bn which Theresa May has offered, and considerably more than the red white and blue cabbages in the Tory party are prepared to countenance. They still fondly believe that the UK is the stronger party in these negotiations, but the truth is that it’s the EU which possesses the pruning shears and the weedkiller. The reality of Brexit is that Britain is going to end up with what the EU is prepared to leave us with, and that’s going to leave us much worse off than before.


weegingerdug.scot

The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.


gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Just click the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special bank account, 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. Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

Many thanks.