Brexit the Movie

A new movie has been released, Blade Runner 2049, which depicts a dark and dystopian future. It’s basically post-Brexit North Lanarkshire with Harrison Ford and special effects and some really high tech. The dystopia is already here. It’s just that there’s bugger all that’s artistic or Oscar worthy about it, and the most technically complex thing that will be left once the Tories have wrought havoc with Brexit will be a pencil sharpener.

Our descent into dystopia continued this week with the news that Britain has now got its very own post-Brexit Board of Trade. It all sounds terribly exciting, although far less glamourous than anything involving sex androids, because the only robotic performances we’ve got are those from members of the Conservative cabinet. It becomes even less exciting once you discover that this new trade board has got precisely one member, and that member is Liam Fox. Or to give him the proper title about which he is so insistent – the Disgraced Former Secretary of State for Adam Werrity’s Lobbying. So it’s not really a trade board and more of a trade bod.

At least the new Board of Trade has the advantage that it will be able to make decisions very quickly. Liam will make a presentation to Liam, who will send it to Liam for consideration, and then Liam will weigh up all the alternatives that Liam has brought up and come down on the side that’s favoured by Liam and will then communicate that decision to Liam. The only problem is that it won’t be able to make any decisions because the UK won’t be allowed to make any trade deals of its own until after the country has left the EU, and probably not until after the end of the transitional period that Liam’s boss is desperate to arrange because otherwise the economy will plummet faster than Harvey Weinstein’s reputation.

The Board of Trade was originally set up to regulate the despoilation of the colonies and the running of slave plantations. It wasn’t set up to reach fair trade deals, it was originally set up by the rich in order to apportion the swag from their systematic theft of land, resources and wealth from people poorer and weaker than themselves. So pretty much like a Conservative plan for privatisation then. The original terms of reference of the Board of Trade is not an unfair assessment of what the Tories are planning to do with the rest of us once they’ve achieved their wet dream of a hard Brexit. Liam can’t negotiate any trade deals just now, so effectively he’s got a non-job, and has been reduced to setting up this Board of Trade in order to justify his self-aggrandising existence to the rest of us. If you look up the phrase “waste of oxygen” in a dictionary of political terminology, you’ll find that it’s defined as “Dr Liam Fox, the Disgraced Former Secretary of State for Puffing Up His Own Ego.”

He doesn’t have anything else to do, so apart from setting up a Board of Trade that he’s the sole member of and which can’t negotiate any trade deals anyway, he fills his time – according to Private Eye – with using government premises to host the launch of a new hard Brexit think tank headed by his pal the gollum like Daniel Hannon. This is apparently against the rules, but what are rules when you’re the man in charge of trading in Liam’s massive ego. If it were possible to monetise Liam’s estimation of himself, the UK would be the richest nation on the planet and we could do away with austerity. Unfortunately no one is in the market for Liam.

The sole member of the new Board of Trade thinks that political instability is a dreadful threat to economic security. To which anyone looking upon the epic unfolding disaster that is Brexit with its Tory backstabbing and its cluelessness can only say “No shit Sherlock”. However Liam thinks that the greatest threat to his free trade orgasmatron is Scottish independence, so it is incumbent upon us all to do all we can to bring about Scottish independence as soon as possible. It’s now a matter of morality. It’s independence or Liam. One of the chief proponents of Brexit claiming that the prospect of Scottish independence is the greatest source of instability facing the UK is a bit like Sawney Bean looking at raw fish and seaweed sushi and going, “Eeeeuww, how could anyone possibly eat anything as eeeky as that?”

Although we must recognise that from the perspective of the rest of the UK Liam has got a point. Without Scotland they’re screwed. Without Scotland the arse would fall out of the pound. Without Scotland they’d have nowhere to put their nuclear viagra and would lose their seat on the UN Security Council. Because if you honestly believe that Scotland is an economic basket case and is only kept afloat because, uniquely, the Tories like to throw billions of pounds at us out of sheer altruism, you probably also think that Liam is a huge credit to East Kilbride.

We’ve got a totally useless new Board of Trade, which trades in nothing but Liam Fox’s self-promotion, but back in the real world the Brexit talks have become mired in what the EU’s chief negotiator has described as a disturbing deadlock. Michel Bernier is disturbed, and that’s without even having to look at Michael Gove or listen to Liam Fox. Because no progress has been made, he’s unable to recommend that negotiations begin on the UK’s post-Brexit trade deal with the EU. So that’s Liam twiddling his thumbs for the foreseeable.

We’re getting closer and closer to the once unthinkable prospect of falling out of the EU without any deal being done at all. The Conservatives are still more interested in falling out with one another, manoeuvering for personal position, and blaming everyone else for their own shortcomings. When they come to make Brexit The Movie, they’re going to need some pretty good special effects to represent the monsters of the Tory party, but the dystopian wasteland, the Conservatives are creating that all by themselves. It’s the rest of us who will have to suffer its consequences.


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.

Hypothetical situations

It’s not getting any better for Theresa May. It’s not getting any better for the rest of us either as Theresa and her not so merry band of Tory malignities drive us all closer and closer to the inevitable precipice, but at least we can enjoy a spot of Schadenfreude at Theresa’s difficulties along the way. Our Prime Minister is blessed with an unerring capacity to find a swamp to get mired in, and usually it’s one that she made for herself.

It was supposed to be easy. It was supposed to be a nice wee cosy chat with a friendly face. You know, the sort of penetrating and hard hitting interview that Ruth Davidson favours when she’s posing with a kitten in front of the cameras as her pals in the Scottish press ask her to explain just how god-awful the SNP is. There was Theresa, trotting along to have a nice wee chat with that lovely Iain Dale on his LBC radio show. That’s the Iain who was once a Conservative party parliamentary candidate. So Theresa was expecting a comfortable and cosy fireside chat, allowing her to indulge herself in her true political love, which is using as many words as possible to say nothing very much in particular, and reestablish her authority over her restless party after the debacle [cough cough] of her speech to the party conference.

Mind you, her wee chat with Iain was going to involve taking questions from the public, but these could safely be dealt with by Theresa’s usual tactic of answering an entirely different question to the one that had been posed. They were only punters, and could be cut off. If only she could do the same with the rest of the Conservative party, her life might be slightly more bearable. A woman called to ask how Theresa was going to guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in the UK in the event of there being no Brexit deal with the EU. Theresa assured her that she was looking for the best deal, even though in parliament the previous day she had aired the possibility that there might be no deal at all. She was going to guarantee the rights of EU citizens by not telling them what their rights might be. So that was all clear then. At least to Theresa’s satisfaction if to no one else’s. She was being very clear. You always know that Theresa is being vague and evasive when she makes a point of telling you how clear she’s being.

Iain suddenly ceased being the cuddly Conservative offering a fireside chat, and started to poke Theresa with a red hot poker. Or at least a metaphorical one. Three times he tried to press her to give a reply, and three times she talked about something else entirely. After a soul destroying few minutes for any EU citizens listening, and indeed for anyone who actually possesses a soul – which discounts most members of the government – she finally conceded that no EU citizen was going to be thrown out. By which she meant that she herself was not personally going to send round the deportation teams to round them up and ship them out of the nearest ferry port, but if they wanted to leave of their own accord after losing many of their civil rights and being turned into third class human beings, Theresa wasn’t going to see that as her problem. This is one of the ways in which Brexit is going to make us all proud to be British, like the Opium Wars, or the theft of the marbles from the Parthenon, or anything that ever comes out of Piers Morgan’s mouth.

Then the poker came in for the kill. Iain pointed out with the poker that Jeremy Hunt has changed his mind on Brexit. Previously Jeremy opposed Brexit, but now he’s in favour because George Osborne’s dire predictions haven’t come true yet. So, Iain asked, how would Theresa vote if there was to be another EU referendum? To be fair, being told that Jeremy Hunt thinks Brexit is going just dandy isn’t much of a recommendation. After all this is the guy who’s ruined the NHS in England but still claims it’s in robust good health. Being asked to agree with Jeremy Hunt is a bit like conceding you don’t know the difference between a mild head cold and the Ebola virus.

Faced with the prospect of having to agree with Jeremy’s judgement, Theresa repeatedly refused to give an answer. It was a simple yes and no question, but this put her in the position of not being able to give a simple answer to a simple question. I’m not going to deal with hypothetical situations, she pleaded unconvincingly.

She could have lied, and claimed that she was now confident in her own policies and so would vote to leave. Or she could have told the truth and said that she was a remain voter, but the British people had their say in the EU referendum and as a democratically elected politician it was more important for her to do her duty and attempt to deliver the magic unicorns, fairy princesses, and golden egg laying geese that they’d voted for.

Theresa voted remain in the EU referendum, albeit none too enthusiastically, but now she’s the woman who is taking the UK out of the EU, who is leading negotiations and is planning the country’s future, one which she’s always telling us is going to be a rip roaring buccaneering free marketing success. By refusing to answer the question, she was telling us all that even she has no confidence in the policies that she’s trying to sell to the rest of us. By avoiding the question she’s only decreased what little confidence remained in her, and decreased the little confidence that remained that she’s able to produce a Brexit that’s not going to create huge damage to the country.

Today the Conservatives are out telling the media that of course Theresa was correct to refuse to answer the question. There’s not going to be another referendum so the question is purely hypothetical, they said in her defence. But Theresa deals with hypothetical situations all the time – like the hypothetical situation that the Conservative party is united and there’s no challenge to her leadership. Or the hypothetical situation in which Boris Johnson manages to get through a week without talking Jackie Baillie about some foreign leader. Or the hypothetical situation in which the British government is halfway competent and Brexit isn’t going to be an unmitigated disaster.

 


 

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 worst panto ever

We’re lurching ever closer to the precipice, crashing out of the EU with no deal being struck. Theresa May claims that the ball is now in the EU’s court. The EU looks back and says, “Eh, no. Your problem. You fix it. The ball is in your court.” It’s a whole load of balls as the UK and the EU tell one another, your court, no your court, no your court. This is what all the fine words and grand promises of the Brexiteers have come down to, the batting back and forth of oh no it isn’t, oh yes it is, oh no it isn’t. It’s like the worst panto ever, and I’ve been to one with the Krankies in it.

The UK is desperate for the EU to say that enough has been done in the preliminary negotiations to allow talks to move on to the post-Brexit settlement and a trade deal. You know those people that you see at a nightclub with a pained expression on their faces as they do a wee dance outside the toilet in the hope that they’ll be able to keep it in long enough. They’re less desperate than the UK. Nightclubbers in need of a quick Jackie Baillie only run the risk of peeing themselves and embarrassing themselves in a dark venue which they never need to visit ever again. The UK runs the risk of crapping all over the economy and embarrassing itself in front of the entire world. There’s no close it can pop up and disappear from public view for a short while. The mess is going to be seen and smelled in every British household.

The EU is in no hurry. It’s not the EU which faces the looming deadline of March 2019. The EU has the perfectly reasonable point of view that it was Britain which caused these problems, so it’s up to Britain to come up with a solution to them. Anyway, as former Taoiseach John Bruton pointed out on Monday, it’s not like the EU knows who it’s negotiating with. It’s not really that clear who is in charge in the UK just now. One half of the Tory party wants Theresa May to sack Boris Johnson. The other half of the Tory party wants Theresa May to sack Philip Hammond. The only thing that they can agree on is that none of them much like Theresa May, although they’ll put on one of their many faces and say otherwise in public because none of them want to be standing next to the fan when the Brexshit hits it.

The Tories have as many positions on Brexit as they have faces, and Labour is only managing to look coherent because they’re carefully avoiding saying anything much at all. There is so much uncertainty in British politics just now that the EU has no guarantee that any agreements reached at the moment will be adhered to by whoever it is that’s in power in the UK in a year or two’s time.

John Bruton’s comments came as a report by the Irish government on the Irish border post-Brexit was leaked to the press. To save you reading it, it essentially boils down to “feck feck feck feck”. It describes the UK claim that it is possible for the UK to both leave the Customs Union and have a customs free border with the Irish Republic as “somewhat naive”, using the same patiently exasperated tone of voice that you use to a selfish and very spoiled six year old who tells you that for their birthday they want you to get them a magic flying unicorn that craps chocolate buttons that give you the power of invisibility. Britain is hoping that some combination of wonderful new computer technology will allow it to have its Brexit cake and eat it, but this is a state which has all the technological competence of a drunk man wearing boxing gloves trying to text his girlfriend for a lift home.

Britain wants contradictory things from Brexit, and it’s hell-bent on dumping the responsibility for achieving them on everyone else. There is no magic unicorn, there is only Boorish Johnson and Jacob Rees Mogg, both of whom are easy to confuse with mythological creatures in a poor light. In a good light you can see quite clearly that they’re the stuff of nightmares. Let’s be honest here, this country is an utter utter embarrassment. Johnson is cringe making as foreign secretary, and Rees Mogg is just cringe making, and yet these dangerous fools are being seriously touted as the next Tory leader for no other reason than their apparent ability to quote Latin tags. In nomine hominis parvi. That’s Latin for “in the name of the wee man”.

Scotland’s role in this epic political farce led by a Widow Twanky and a Boris Balloon who’ve got as much chance of making a success of Brexit as finding a goose that lays your actual golden eggs is to look on helplessly from the sidelines. We might have chosen the option in two separate referendums that we were told would keep us in the EU, but we’re not merely leaving anyway, we’re not even being consulted in the process. We’re scarcely being kept informed. Scotland voted explictly for a reinforcement of devolution. Scotland voted explicitly to remain a part of the EU. But we’re being taken out of the EU by a government which is determined to use Brexit as an excuse to undermine and weaken the devolution settlement. Apparently this is democracy and if we complain we’re not respecting the referendums. Well that’s just a whole barrel full of rancid Jackie Baillie that is.

For the independence movement, the priority just now must be to organise ourselves, to get ready. The end game for the UK is approaching, and we need to be prepared for it. The only way out of this mess for Scotland is through independence, we need a broad based non-party and all-party campaign that is making the case for it. Other people got us into this mess, but it’s going to be up to ourselves to get out of it.


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 great Tory F-off

Poor Theresa. [cough cough]. She’s had a rough week. The plan was for her to give yet another speech-of-her-lifetime, a speech that was going to assert her authority over her restless party and silence her critics and those who want rid of her – which would be about half of those attending the Tory conference and just about everyone outside it. But that’s not quite what happened [cough]. The conference is over and Theresa’s leadership hasn’t been re-established. The plotters are out in force, or more precisely, farce.

Theresa’s toe curling embarrassment of a speech was of the sort we all experience whenever James Kelly MSP takes to his feet in the Scottish Parliament, but at least that’s local and contained. Theresa May’s speech was a nuclear riddy of global proportions, a galactoshaming, a megamortification. It was the kind of speech that was the stuff of therapy sessions. It could only have been made more embarrassing if she was actually standing there in her underwear wearing a clown face. There was the comedian with the P45, there was the coughing that wouldn’t stop, and then to cap it all the letters on the vacuous slogan on the wall behind her started to fall off, one by one, starting with the letter F. It’s a pretty damning kind of cosmic karma when even your own party’s witless slogan tells to you F off.

We’ve now got a Prime Minister who’s only remaining in her job because she’s managed to get the cabinet to feel sorry for her. This is the political version of a pity party. Tories don’t do pity for the poor, the homeless, the low-waged, people with disabilities drowning in a heartless benefits system, but they do do pity for a selfish and entitled woman with a frog in her throat. We already knew that this government was a bunch of muppets, but now the prime minister is hoping that she’ll be able to continue in post because she has swallowed Kermit.

Quite coincidentally this week, it was announced in the news that an evil clown had been sacked. On reading the story I first thought it was about Theresa, but it turned out to be a story about a clown in a circus who lost their job because young children were frightened. So maybe it was about Theresa after all. She would have a much more secure, and indeed socially productive, career as an actor in a Stephen King movie. This is the only way that normal people would actually queue up to see her. And she’s already got the grimacing down off pat.

The only thing more embarrassing and shaming than the current difficulties at the top of the Tory party is the embarrassment and shame that they’re wreaking upon the country as a whole. The rest of Europe is looking on in disbelief as Brexit talks stall and Britain consumes itself with leadership disputes at the top of the Tory party. In a recent debate about Brexit, one member of the European Parliament expressed his dismay that the EU literally doesn’t have a clue who it is negotiating with. Is it Theresa May, David Davis, or Boris Johnson? There is no cohesive British position, all there is is backstabbing and briefing as assorted Tory wannabes try to position themselves as the leader once Theresa takes the fall for Brexit. They’re setting her up for failure, and the entire country along with it, just in order to promote their own careers. That’s fairly typical of Tory behaviour, the only reason more people aren’t outraged about it is because we’ve come to expect it.

Things are so desperate that Jacob Rees Mogg and Ruth Davidson are actually being touted as potential future leaders of the Conservatives by the anyone-but-Boris faction. Jacob is Posh Cuthbert from the Bash Street Kids cartoons made creepily flesh, whereas Ruth has no policies except saying no to another Scottish referendum and isn’t even a member of the House of Commons. Besides, Ruth’s likely to go down with the Tory party’s hardline Brexit faction as well as a bridie at a vegan wedding. Although to be fair there is actually more meat in a bridie than there is in Ruth’s politics. The fact that this gas filled pair of party balloons are being seriously considered is because the alternatives are even worse. Whoever ends up as next leader of the party, we already know that it’s going to be a clown. At least the Keystone Kops had a functioning motor, the Tories can’t even manage that.

The ruling party in this country just had a conference during which Arlene Foster of the DUP was feted like some sort of superstar and no less than six cabinet ministers turned up to hear her speak at a fringe meeting. By comparision with the Conservative party, the DUP is the voice of calm moderation, that’s how screwed we all are.

On Friday, Theresa insisted that she was going to continue in her job, because apparently what the country needs is “calm leadership”. [cough cough] Calm leadership is precisely what the Conservatives are incapable of delivering. Theresa May has lost control of her party, and lost control of the country. Once that happens you don’t get it back again. She’s too weak to do anything about Boris Johnson, but he’s lacking the support he needs to topple her. The only reason Theresa May is still in power is because the Conservatives are desperate to avoid another election, and because none of the potential successors want to take responsibility for the looming disaster that is Brexit. No one wants to be in charge if it all blows up in their face, least of all Boris Johnson. The whole country is being held hostage in the meantime.

Despite Theresa’s assertions that she’s going nowhere, the plotting and manoeuvering will continue. The only thing that’s going nowhere is the Brexit negotiations, and all the while the deadline is looming without any progress being made. We’re facing the cliff edge, and those driving the bus are fully occupied with fighting with one another. How are those broad shoulders of the UK working out for Scotland’s No voters eh? It’s time we told the Tories to follow the example of their own slogan, and F off.


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.

A lesson from Catalonia: self-determination takes determination

There’s an important lesson for Scotland from this week’s events in Catalonia. It’s a lesson that the independence movement in general, and the leadership of the Scottish government in particular, would do well to pay heed to. The lesson is that you don’t achieve self-determination without determination. You don’t become independent unless you think independently. Sovereignty, independence, and self-determination, all of them start in the mind, and all of them are meaningless unless they’re followed through with self-belief and taking action on that self-belief.

That’s what the Catalans are doing. The Catalans are staring down violence and oppression from a Spanish establishment that’s hiding behind legalism as an excuse not to engage with the massive dissatisfaction that exists in Catalonia towards the Spanish state. The Catalans are proving their determination in the face of naked aggression. They are refusing to be deterred, they are refusing to be bowed. They fill the streets. They demand their rights. They will not be cowed.

On Tuesday night King Felipe VI of Spain gave a speech which was supposed to calm and unite the citizens of Spain. All he did was throw petrol in the flames. It was a bitter, partisan speech. He sought no dialogue. He sought no compromises. He blamed the Catalan government for the entirety of the problem, and didn’t even mention, much less condemn, the violent aggression of the Spanish police which had left over 800 people – people whom he claims are equally citizens of Spain – bloodied, bruised, and injured. The speech was a clear attempt to legitimise the repression of the Spanish state, and to justify future actions by Madrid which attempt to block Catalonia’s journey to independence. It is now widely believed in Catalonia that the Spanish government will invoke Article 155 of the Spanish constitution and unilaterally dissolve Catalan self-government.

Spanish overreaction to the Catalan referendum on Sunday will go down in history as a pivotal moment in the Catalan independence campaign. Catalan commentators have likened it to Moscow’s brutal intervention in Lithuania in January 1991 when troops and armed police assaulted the Lithuanian parliament, an event which directly led to Lithuanian independence. Catalans now know that there can be no compromises or dialogue with the Spanish state.

It is believed by many in Catalonia that a declaration of independence could now be hours or days away. The intransigence of the Spanish response to Catalan demands for a peaceful, democratic, and negotiated process have only made that independence come about more quickly. The Catalans have maintained their resolve and their determination, and they will be rewarded with an independent state.

Here in Scotland we’ve got a Scottish government elected on a mandate to deliver an independence referendum should Scotland be dragged out of the EU against its will, and yet it’s haivering and humming and hawing, prevaricating and hesitating, all because it failed to win an election by a sufficiently crushing margin. An election which wasn’t even about independence, an election which by any stretch of the imagination they still won. If this is how they react to a narrow win, just how are they going to deal with something like the Spanish scenario? Where’s the determination to deliver self-determination if Westminster still says naw? Are they going to tell us that they’re going to seek yet another mandate in the election after the next one? Mandates are like driving licences, you only need one. The Scottish government has already got its driving licence to give the country a lift to a referendum.

The lesson from Catalonia is that independence is about the big issues, the big story. It’s about justice and democracy. It’s about representation and political accountability. It’s about what kind of society we want to live in. It’s about fairness, equality, and giving every citizen an equal stake in the country. These are the stories we need to tell in Scotland if we are to achieve our own dream of an independent country.

For far too long the Scottish campaign has been debated on the terms and ground chosen by those who oppose independence, and the independence movement has allowed them to do so. We call those who oppose independence Unionists and so collude in their fantasy that they’re not British nationalists and that this is a debate between nationalism and non-nationalism. This is really a debate between two visions of what this nation can be, a debate between two versions of nationalism. Those who oppose Scottish independence are every bit as nationalist as those who seek it. The only non-nationalist option in this debate is not have an opinion.

Sure, the economy is important, but winning the case for independence is about far more than demonstrating that the average family is going to be better off each week by the price of a Chinese takeaway. We’re ground down by pointless arguments about the GERS figures. These are figures which purport to show Scotland’s financial situation within the UK. If they’re poor, if they show that Scotland is doing badly, that’s not an argument which demonstrates that an independent Scotland would be impoverished, it’s an argument that Scotland needs to do things differently. Bad GERS figures are an argument for independence, not an argument against it. Bad GERS figures are a demonstration that the UK’s economic policies don’t work for Scotland, a country with an embarrassment of natural resources, human capital, and potential.

The biggest obstacles to Catalan independence are the intransigence of the Spanish state, its insistence that Catalan independence would be illegal, and its propensity to resort to naked aggression in order to prevent it. The biggest obstacles to Scottish independence are the media, the way in which we allow the British nationalists to shape the terms of the debate, and our movement’s lack of coherence, determination, and resolve.

Where is the Scottish version of the Assemblea Nacional Catalana – a non-party and all party organisation providing leadership, cohesion and direction to the movement. The Scottish Independence Convention is invisible to the majority. In Catalonia everyone has heard of the ANC which coordinates the independence movement. Over the past months I’ve been doing talks all over Scotland, from Orkney to Stranraer and all points in between. This country is full of active and vital local groups full of passionate people determined and dedicated to the cause of winning Scottish independence. They are crying out for national leadership, to feel a part of a cohesive national movement. There’s to be an SIC conference in Edinburgh next month. It needs to produce some concrete proposals and actions, and not just be another talking shop. It needs to step up and lead this movement.

Catalans who desire independence belong to many different political parties or none. The political differences between the ERC and the CiU are as wide as the differences between the Scottish Socialists and the more traditional right wing end of the SNP, but they don’t waste their time fighting one another. They focus on the common goal. There are those in the Scottish movement who prefer to spend their energies attacking others in the movement for one perceived sin or another. The only beneficiaries of that are the British nationalists. You don’t achieve independence without a measure of self-discipline. Focus on the prize. We can argue about whether the independent Scottish playground will have swings or roundabouts or both once we’ve established the principle of the independent Scottish playground.

Opinion polls in both countries show approximately the same percentages supporting independence.  However, objectively, Scotland is in a far stronger position than Catalonia.  We face no legal or constitutional bars to independence. Unlike Spain where many people outside Catalonia are viscerally opposed to Catalan independence because they fear its impact on Spanish democracy, the majority of people in the UK outside Scotland don’t really care that much whether Scotland becomes independent or not. Scotland will be able to achieve independence peacefully and without violence. Our independence will be recognised by Westminster. An independent Scotland could be one of the most prosperous countries in Europe. We have one of the crappiest medias in Europe, but we also have a vital and active digital media and a grassroots campaign which can by-pass the traditional media entirely.

We can achieve our goal, we will achieve our goal, but we will only do so by learning a valuable lesson from Catalonia. You do not achieve self-determination without cohesion and determination. Let’s be determined. Let’s be united. Let’s get organised. Let’s do this.


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.

Tory fantasy politics in an empty room

David Mundell gave a speech to the Tory party conference, but no one was really paying any attention. Well, I say “gave a speech to the Tory party conference”, but the vast majority of the conference was elsewhere when Fluffy was fluffing. They were off doing more important things like seeing how far they could get their tongues up Jacob Rees Mogg’s backside, or plotting with Boris Johnson about how to overthrow Theresa May, or shopping for red white and blue nail varnish in the nearest branch of Boots. The few who bothered to turn up to listen to Mundell’s inconsequences clustered together in front of the telly cameras in the hope of making it seem that he has as many fans as last year’s boy band. If that is, the fans of last year’s boy band were a bunch of geriatrics with zimmer frames, trying to persuade us that David was the lead singer of Hip Operation. Although not one on the NHS, because thanks to the Tories you’ll have to wait for longer than an average working class life expectancy before you’ll get one.

The truth is that more people have turned out at pro-independence public meetings to meet my dog than could be bothered to listen to Fluffy. Which means that a rescued mongrel dog from Spain has a bigger influence on the Scottish constitutional debate than the Scottish secretary of state. This shouldn’t come as any great surprise to anyone, the person who delivers a double latte machiato to cabinet meetings has a bigger influence on the Scottish constitutional debate. David Mundell isn’t trusted with anything more complex than a used teabag and a pot of lukewarm water. His sole role in Scottish politics is to deliver to Scotland whatever message his superiors tell him to deliver, but since his superiors are incapable of agreeing on whether the sunshine starts the day in the east, the west, or out of Boris Johnson’s backside, all he’s got left is freeform waffle. So he decided to fall back on a trusty favourite, lecturing Nicola Sturgeon on how she’s got to give up her obsession with independence.

Just a couple of days ago, Theresa May told the press that thanks to Ruth Davidson, the issue of Scottish independence had now gone away. This was somewhat contradictory when we consider the contents of Fluffy’s perorations, because if he felt the need to insist that Nicola Sturgeon stop thinking about the constitution, independence, and Scotland’s place in the world then clearly the issue of Scottish independence hasn’t gone away after all. Maybe Theresa just didn’t feel the need to tell the cabinet’s tartan teddy bear that he was now surplus to requirements, which only goes to prove her lack of empathy as she’s clearly surplus to requirements herself.

In any event, it’s not that the Conservatives are dealing with a deck of reality cards. The issue of Scottish independence hasn’t gone away. It’s not going to go away, and all the Tory foot stamping and insistence in the world won’t make it go away. There is no independence movement in the world which achieves the support of about half the population, then says to itself, “Oh well, that’s it all over. Let’s give up and go home,” and resigns itself to the current constitutional settlement forever just because the main party of independence won an election but failed to win it by a sufficiently crushing margin. That would be an election during which the independence party went through the entire campaign insisting that the election wasn’t about independence anyway. As definitions of “gone away” go, this is like closing your eyes when a person you dislike stands in front of you waving a YES placard, and insisting that they’re really halfway around the planet hiking up a mountain in Borneo.

In truth it’s public trust in the Conservative project which has gone away. The party is, in Ruth Davidson’s words, having a bit of a “nervous breakdown” as any semblance of a political consensus in the UK collapses and the Tories cannot agree on how to respond. Just a few months ago the Tories were riding high and were convinced that there was a huge majority in the UK for their version of a hard line Brexit and a return to a red white and blue political nostalgia, taking Britain back into some sort of Downton Abbey. Then they got a rude awakening when Theresa May lost her majority.

These are not political circumstances in which there’s no appetite for Scottish independence. These are political circumstances in which most people who don’t consume politics are either hoping desperately that everything will work out in the end, or are refusing to think about the impending train wreck. Time is however, running out, and when it does run out the independence movement will be there to provide a vision of a way out of the disaster wrought by an arrogant and selfish British establishment.

The Tory party is so adrift from any moorings in reality that a significant section of the party honestly believes that the way to attract back voters who are interested in the socially progressive and anti-austerity messages of Scottish independence or Corbynism is through the hardline Thatcherism and social conservatism that are in store with the ludicrously affected 18th century schtick of Jacob Rees Mogg. Another equally deluded part of the party thinks that the me me me-ism of Boris Johnson is the road to salvation, because in Boris Johnson the party has found the perfect distillation of the selfishness and self-interest that Conservatism stands for.

Today, Tuesday, Boris Johnson gave a speech to the Tory conference in which he waxed lyrical about all the wonderful things that a post-Brexit Britain can achieve for the rich, for global corporations. Meanwhile back in the real world the European Parliament overwhelmingly passed a resolution saying that insufficient progress has been made in Brexit talks for the EU to enter into negotiations with the UK about a trade deal. The Parliament supported a motion stating that the UK has seriously impeded talks because of a lack of clear proposals on the part of a British government. MEPs spoke about their frustration and anger that one of the biggest obstacles in the negotiations was due to the fact that the EU didn’t really know who it was negotiating with and their belief that the British government was putting the needs of the Conservative party before the interests of the UK. The Tory party is lost in a fantasy world of its own creation, and its dragging the whole country with it.

Maybe if David Mundell called on his own party leaders to concentrate on the day job instead of their obsession with jockeying for personal position, he might have delivered a speech that would have made slightly more people pay attention. Instead the Conservatives prefer to indulge in their own selfish and petty games, and throw the blame at everyone else for seeking a way out of a disaster that the Tories have created. All the Conservatives have to offer Scotland is some non-entity with no power or influence sounding off about his fantasy life in an empty room. Independence is the politics of the real world.

 


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 Internationale – Scottish Labour version

A reworking of the Labour anthem the Internationale for all those Scottish Labour people who were acting on social media yesterday as apologists for the brutality of the Spanish state.  Internationalists my arse.

 

The worker’s flag is deepest red,
but this song’s just a figurehead,
Cos when the people fight the state
SLab cheers for what the state dictates.

CHORUS:
Let’s raise the bloodied batons high!
Cheer as the rubber bullets fly.
Catalans may flinch and Scot nats sneer,
Labour backs the police in riot gear.

Barcelona’s bloodied under Spanish might
while the people’s party denies the right
of the people to decide their fate
and Labour hacks cheer Rajoy’s hate.

Conference songs about solidarity
only mask the cruel reality
Scottish Labour will be the friend
of the establishment right to the end

We’re Scottish Labour and what we do
is to keep Scotland’s flag red white and blue.
We may fight like ferrets in a sack
but we’ll keep the Tories on your back.


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 day that Spain died

Can you imagine the outrage and shock if Westminster imported 6000 armed police officers from the rest of the UK in order to prevent the people of Scotland peacefully and democratically exercising their right to determine their own future? Can you imagine those police officers causing hundreds of injuries? That’s exactly what’s going on in Catalonia today. When the response of a state to a demand on the part of some of its citizens for a referendum on self-determination is violence, you’re no longer a democracy.

Today’s the day that Spain died. The concept of Spain as a liberal democracy is dead. This is supposed to be a modern liberal democratic state where the right to freedom of expression and freedom on opinion is sacrosanct. You can’t claim to be a democratic country when police fire rubber bullets at people who are peacefully queueing up to vote. You can’t claim to be a democratic country when your answer to the voicing of an opinion is a cosh over the head. You can’t claim to be a democratic country when the ballot box, the symbolic altar of democracy, is charged at and forcefully removed by armed paramilitaries. You can’t claim to be a democracy when you make voting illegal and voters are dragged kicking and screaming from the polling station, coshed on the head and abandoned bloodied and bleeding in the street.

In Catalonia masked and armed paramilitaries have been marching into ballot stations and forcibly ripping the voting papers from the hands of the people waiting to express a legitimate and peaceful democratic choice. Those are the actions of fascists. Those are the actions of a state that is afraid of its own citizens. Those are the actions of a state which believes that citizens have a duty to listen to the state but the state is under no obligation to listen to the citizens. It is fundamentally anti-democratic to refuse to allow citizens in a modern European country to express their peaceful opinions in the first place.

The Spanish government claims that the Spanish constitution makes an independence referendum in Catalonia illegal, but constitutions are supposed to serve the people, the people aren’t supposed to serve the constitution. The correct response, the democratic response, of a state which claims that its constitution forbids a peaceful independence referendum on a part of its territory is to allow that peaceful vote to go ahead and then to negotiate afterwards, to deal with the political consequences in a mature and calm manner. By refusing to concede that anyone in Catalonia could express their view on the future of Catalonia, Madrid took a problem and converted it into a crisis. Now they’re converting it into a tragedy. The blood of the Catalans is on Rajoy’s hands.

A government which refuses to recognise the right of a national minority to self-determination has no right to call itself democratic. Spain is telling the Catalans that they are a minority and that they will forever remain a minority, that Catalans don’t have the right to determine the future of their own nation. And if the Catalans don’t have the right to express themselves democratically, then neither does anyone else in Spain.

Any state in which a large part of its population wants independence from that state is a disorded state, and dysfunctional state. It’s a state which has problems. Scotland has its independence movement largely because of the failures and shortcomings of the British state. If we were all just thrilled with Westminster rule we wouldn’t be campaigning for a Scottish state, a state in which we can do things better, in which we can remedy the shortcomings of British rule. It’s exactly the same in Catalonia. Catalans want independence because of the shortcomings and problems of the Spanish state. Ignoring those problems won’t make them go away. Violently repressing those who seek to exercise a right to self determination won’t cure what ails Spain. It only makes the situation worse in the longer term. It’s the politics of anger, the politics of desperation, the politics of a state which has nothing to say and nothing to offer. It’s the politics of a state that has only achieved the appearance of democracy, but not its essence.

Mariano Rajoy has signed the suicide note of the Spanish state that existed until today. The Madrid government with its repressive and violent actions has shown that there is no space in Spain for peaceful and democratic dialogue between the state and supporters of Catalan, Basque, or Galician independence. There will be no compromise. There will be no dialogue. There will only be rubber bullets, batons, and a bonfire of ballots. Hundreds of thousands in Spain who were previously undecided on the question of independence will be looking on today’s appalling and unnecessary events and saying that there is no space for them in Spain either. All that happened today was a retrenchment and reinforcement of the independence cause, not just in Catalonia but also in the other Catalan countries, in the Basque lands, in Galicia, in the Canaries. Before they were determined. Now they’re determined and angry. Madrid’s iron fist is choking the democracy out of the Spanish state.

The Spanish state can continue to oppress the Catalans with force and violence, but the desire for Catalan independence is not going to go away. The Catalan independence movement isn’t going to go away. It’s going to continue to challenge Madrid. The great danger now that Madrid has closed down peaceful and democratic avenues of protest is that some will resort to other means. That would be a tragedy for Catalonia, a tragedy for Spain, and a tragedy for all of us.

The world is watching. If we are silent in the face of this injustice we are part of the problem, we are on the side of the oppressors, on the side of the violent ones. There will be more tears, and more pain, but one thing remains – the unstoppable will of the people of Catalonia to express their right to self-determination. They will have their say. Their voices will not be silenced. Independence for Catalonia will come. Because of the violent and oppressive response of the Madrid government Catalan independence is now more certain than ever.

Visca Catalunya lliure.


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.