When even astroturf is too common

It’s been a rough couple of weeks for Scotland in Union and its claim to be a grassroots organisation. Poor sowels. There you are, telling anyone who’ll listen that you represent the voices of grassroots supporters of the British state and along come those pesky cybernats with their Scoobie Doo impressions who bust you and prove to the world that not only have you come up with a conspiracy plan that even Enid Blyton would consider somewhat childish, but that the nearest you get to grassroots is a small formal lawn in an extensive estate which is attended to by your private forelock tugging gardener. A lawn, moreover, which only grows because it’s fed with copious amounts of expensive and artificial shit. Scotland in Union is so posh that even astroturf is a bit too common for them.

We have Stu Campbell of Wings Over Scotland to thank for revealing the information about Scotland in Union’s funding, and uncovering the truth that the organisation operates on large donations from a relatively small number of rich and well connected people. Independence organisations have to crowdfund, seeking small donations from large numbers of people, but Scotland in Union is backed by lords, ladies, and lairds. An organisation which is about to host a fund raising “Robbie Burns” supper, is predominantly funded by the kind of people that the Bard decried as a parcel of rogues. Many of us in the independence movement have suspected this for some while, but it took Wings Over Scotland to give us the truth.

Stu Campbell is a controversial figure in the independence movement for some, but until his critics are prepared to do the job that he does, to do it better, and to do it in a way and expressed in a language that makes it accessible to your average Scottish punter, he’s going to have an important role to play in this movement. You don’t have to agree with everything he says to recognise the value of the work he does.

It’s clear that Scotland in Union is an organisation in meltdown. First off a bunch of zoomers who were too frothy even for an organisation that counts certain splenetic individuals who shall remain nameless amongst its prominent supporters split off and formed a new pro-Brexit group of their own. And in the process they made some risible videos inviting separatist scum to come along for a wee chat if they think they’re hard enough. That split all by itself tells you that there are serious tensions running right through the very heart of Scotland in Union. For an organisation that claims to promote the value of unity its members are pretty poor at staying in union with one another.

Then Scotland in Union members were caught out in a wee conspiracy to bombard newspapers with letters, pretending to come from ordinary concerned individual citizens and not as part of some organised campaign. Naturally lots of the letters get published, since a very large majority of Scotland’s press outlets support the Unionist line so the letters agree with the editors’ preferences. But they got busted by an independence supporter who had wormed his way into the confidence of certain Scotland in Union members. The result was that their letter writing campaign turned them into a laughing stock. For an organisation which spends so much time claiming that the independence movement is a cult, they’ve adopted some suspiciously cult-like tactics of their own, spreading the word of the union in the Press and Journal, the Courier, the Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser, the Shetland Times, Pravda, and the Ouagadougou Telegraph.

Now we’ve discovered that Scotland in Union operates largely on Tory money, on money from the rich and well connected, the powerful and the titled. It fundraises in elite London clubs, and at shooting parties for the wealthy. It’s hardly surprising that people who have done very well out of the British state want to see the British state continue its rule in Scotland.  There are more titles amongst Scotland in Union donors than there are on the shelves of a local library that’s just been closed due to Tory cuts.

The funding strategies of Scotland in Union reveal the uncomfortable truth about those who campaign against Scottish independence – they are engaged in a fundamentally conservative project, a fundamentally reactionary enterprise. Opposing independence isn’t about making Scotland a better place for all its citizens, it’s about preserving the privilege and wealth of those who already enjoy privilege and wealth.  Anything else they tell us is just a Vow on the front page of the Daily Record.

However the really interesting story here isn’t the predictable truth that much of the group’s funding comes from rich Tories and landed gentry, it’s that there is someone high up within the organisation who is so monumentally pissed off, fed up, angry, and frustrated that they’re prepared to reveal its embarrassing financial secrets to Stu Campbell, Vile Cybernat Prime himself. Whoever tipped Stu off to the existence and location of the information had to have had a position of some responsibility in order to know how to access data which is sensitive and confidential. It speaks volumes about the amateurish and incompetent nature of Scotland in Union that the data remained accessible on a public Google Drive folder, unencrypted and not protected by a password even after a very public falling out amongst members of the organisation which had led to some of them breaking away to form a rival group.  There will most certainly be other tensions and other arguments within Scotland in Union which have not – yet – seen the light of day.

Still, I am sure that our fearless traditional print media will be on the case just as they are whenever independence supporters have a wee spat on Twitter. Oh. Right. They’ll probably tell us there is no story here, as the person who tipped off Stu Campbell had really intended to email the Campbell who’s Duke of Argyll instead.

Naturally the implosion of Scotland in Union has created a great disturbance in the Yoonstream – which is the technical term for the batshit end of British nationalist support on social media. Twitter troll and journo pal Brian Spanner has even been trying to take the moral high ground, but sadly for him he doesn’t know where it is.  [A wee hint for Brian – it’s about 3,000 metres above your head, love.]

What has come to light about Scotland in Union hasn’t come thanks to the traditional Scottish media. It’s come through social media, and through the efforts of online independence campaigners. What we’ve learned is that Scotland in Union is a microcosm of the British state which it seeks to protect. It’s elitist and top down, but it’s also amateurish, shambolic, childishly inane, and it’s dysfunctional and riven with petty jealousies and rivalries. But most importantly of all, it exists to protect the interests of the rich and the powerful. It’s entirely appropriate that a British state which isn’t fit for purpose is defended by an organisation which is equally unfit.


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

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Reasons to be cheerful in 2018

Sorry about the lack of blog posts over the past week or so. On a whim I decided to spend Christmas with my significant other in the USA because otherwise it was looking like I would be spending the holiday by myself. So thanks to @PaulaHoneyRose the Belle of Brechin who agreed on extremely short notice to look after the dug over Christmas and allowing me to spend the holiday with Peter. And thank you also to the regular readers who emailed asking if I was OK because they were worried about the lack of posts. Nice to know I was missed! Normal blogging service will now be resumed.

One of the best things about my recent trip was that I’ve now actually managed to get on the telly. Peter and I went to a shopping mall just before Christmas Day to get some last minute presents, and were sitting in a big queue of traffic to get out of the car park when we – or rather the car – got filmed by the local TV channel doing a piece for the evening news about the Christmas shopping rush. Admittedly you only caught the briefest of glimpses of me sitting in Peter’s car, but that’s a damn sight more TV exposure than I’ve ever managed to get in Scotland. So if you’re an independence supporter and you want to get on the telly, you can either slag off everyone else in the indy movement and you’ll be on the BBC as soon as you can say, “That Stu Campbell is a bastert”, or schlepp across the Atlantic and sit in a traffic jam in a shopping mall car park in Connecticut. Personally I prefer the latter, and not just because it means I get to spend time with my partner.

Despite a few entirely unnecessary bouts of infighting, and despite a British nationalist media which is determined to claim that the wheels have come off the cause of independence, this has been a good year for the indy movement. Next year promises to be even better. While we’re getting on with the business of building and strengthening our grass roots movement, it’s the British state which is increasingly wheel-less – although to be fair it has being doing an impression of Del and Rodney’s Unreliant Robbin’ for quite a while now. That rickety excuse for a vehicle is going to look like a Maserati in comparison to the broken down contraption which will be all that’s left of the British state once Brexit starts to bite.

Although the SNP failed to win the Scottish part of 2017’s General Election by as crushing a margin as they won 2015’s, a circumstance which our not at all biased oh no media tried to spin into a victory for Ruth Davidson, opinion poll after opinion poll confirms that support for independence remains in the high 40s. We’ve had nothing but SNPbad all year, and the desire for independence remains undented. No wonder the British nationalists are keeching themselves about the prospect of another referendum. The big selling point of the Better Together campaign in 2014 was why risk the security and stability of the UK for the uncertainties of independence. Now there are no countries in Europe facing a less secure and less stable future than the UK, and it’s independence which offers certainty and safety.

Paradoxically, the independence movement is now able to mount a convincing argument that the only way in which Scotland can preserve the good aspects of the British state – the NHS, free universal education, a decent old age pension, a comprehensive social security system, employment rights, free and untrammelled access to the rest of Europe – is by voting for independence. All these things are at great risk under the Tories at Westminster, and all of them could be lost with their plans for Brexit. There’s precious little certainty left in the British state, but we can all be certain of one thing – the Tories aren’t pushing for a hard Brexit in order to improve our employment rights and deliver us better social security. So if you want to protect and defend what is good about Britain, you need to vote for independence.

If you hate nationalism there is no place for you in the insular and inward looking Britain of the red white and blue flag wavers who want to cut us all off from the rest of the world in order to sell everything that’s not nailed down, and most things which are, to global companies while feeding us on a diet of glorification of the military and royal events. Brexit Britain is about suspicion of the foreign. It’s about retreating into a nostalgic romanticised past that never really existed. It’s the attempt to reverse the direction of the planet so that the sun hasn’t set on the Empire. It’s about immersing yourself in a narrow nationalism whose distinguishing feature is the claim that it’s better than the nationalisms of lesser nations because it’s not nationalist at all. It’s the nationalism of blind stupidity. The future of Britain was summed up in 2017 in that photo of Theresa May alone and friendless at a summit of European leaders. It’s only by voting for Scottish independence that you can vote against parochial nationalism. Oh the irony. And the British nationalists have done all this to themselves. They’ve surrendered all their strengths and all their arguments and delivered them to the independence movement.

Meanwhile the British state has destroyed anything approaching a carrot to offer voters in Scotland. Whenever an apologist for the British state makes a promise that Scotland is going to get some new power or new investment or more jobs, all we have to do is to point out that they said the exact same thing in 2014 and it turned out to be a lie.

In 2018 the goal for the independence movement is to plan, to prepare, to organise. It’s to avoid getting distracted by the self-righteous outragederatti on social media. It’s to concentrate on making the arguments for a better Scotland, a self-determined Scotland, an independent Scotland. It’s coming. It’s in the air. It’s shimmering before us like a beautiful dream. And we’re going to make it come true. The apologists for Britain live in the past, but we own the future.


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.
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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 season of good will

A guest post by Samuel Miller

This’ll be short and sweet, so pay attention at the back. 2017, the year where Brexit, austerity legislation, societal disenfranchisement and the empowerment of the nastier side of right wing demographics started to really deliver on it’s inevitable payoff. The economy of the UK, so far as the vast majority are concerned, is doing a swirly in the lavvy and is on the verge of disappearing round the U bend. The politics of the UK have meanwhile descended into a farce resembling nothing so much as a group of cartoon chimps on a sugar rush throwing poo at each other whilst the rest of us wait for something resembling a competent central government to make an appearance.

All of this as the UKs former closest trading partners and international political allies, decide whether it’s worth their while, or even whether they can be bothered, holding out yet another lifeline to the ungrateful boneheads who used them repeatedly as media scapegoats only to tell them to take a hike in a moment of colossal self harm. Safe to say, things have pretty much gone as a lot of bods in the YES movement feared back in 2014. So close to their worst nightmare they become desperate maybe?

Quite the year to be sure and another beaut promising to follow in 2018. You can see why frustration, recrimination and not a little desperation might creep into some people’s thinking. Some may start to wonder on the reasons why they were deprived of a different resolution three years ago. Who voted no to self government and why? How can they be persuaded or… ignored? Been more than one conversation over the past year on incomers v natural born, aged v youth vote, rich v poor etc., and there’ll probably be more as 2018 proceeds and things get a little more desperate (which they will). For many, it won’t just become an imperative that there is another referendum, but that it must be won at all costs. All costs though? Right or wrong? Fear’ll do that. Pretty understandable and all too human.

How and ever, people should perhaps consider that economic ineptitude, bad or punitive legislation, resultant poverty and loss of life chances and rights, much like natural disasters, don’t care where you were born. They don’t care what colour you are. How you worship. How old you are. Who you love, or indeed what part of spam valley your bungalow rests on. Just like the natural disasters of flood, fire and quake they’ll impact your life regardless. Once enacted, they don’t discriminate. Only people do that.

Some people will never change their vote of 2014. For good or ill, no matter how bad it gets and no matter the suffering of others around them, they will vote out of loyalty and belief that their system and worldview will come right in the end. They are entitled to that choice and that opinion. They are also welcome to it.

Here’s some political reality though. If Scotland and its electorate are to become self governing and make our own choices in the near future, we’re going to need some of those who voted no in 2014 to change that vote.  Around 6% would do, but I’m greedy and would prefer more. A great deal more. Oh, and residency is the criteria for voting eligibility. You live in Scotland. You pay your taxes in Scotland. You contribute to life and community in Scotland, then you get to vote on Scottish matters. Call it the Karmic balance to those disasters which don’t care who you are. Voting based on residency is a human being’s way of saying we don’t care who you are, your opinion matters. Does it make winning a YES vote any easier given voting breakdowns from 2014 onwards? No, not really. Then again, no one said winning the right to govern yourself was ever going to be any easy thing. In some parts of the world and throughout history, it’s been downright dangerous.

In my own opinion? Vote by residency is also the right thing to do. Scottish self governance… I’d say it’s not simply winning it which matters, but how you win it. The foundations for the society you want must be solid. The establishment parties and their practice of politics really should be a heads up as to the shit storm you build up over time when winning by any means necessary. When you divide and rule. When you win without care or consideration for others.

Seems to me that Brexit, austerity, fractured society, political elitism, bigotry, intolerance, exceptionalism and isolationism might be seen as reason enough NOT to repeat their mistakes? You govern for ALL in your care, or maybe you shouldn’t be governing? Just a thought.

What we see in the UK today is a direct result of the politics of societal division. Me? I’m more of a hugger. I’ll hold my hand out and welcome folk from any point of origin or walk of life who want to work for a more socially just Scotland.

In the season of good will and given all that 2018 may bring our electorate, it’s maybe worth remembering that a little good will and understanding can go a long way.

Are we there yet?

A guest post by Samuel Miller

2017… It’s a bit of a badly written disaster movie, isn’t it? What is it they call them? Mockbusters? Politics and its institutions falling apart and brought into disrepute near daily. Economy teetering on the brink of brexitmageddon. A society constantly having their frustrations, anger, fears and uncertainties stoked by the next horror headline. Headlines mainly supplied by policy wonks looking to snag a vote for their agenda du jour, or a motivated meeja themselves looking to make a quid and support their party sociopath of choice. Oh, and after two referendums, the winning slim majorities and campaigns of both tainting the whole of UK society with the nasty stank of intolerance, exclusion and isolationism. Just to add a degree of difficulty we really, REALLY, needed in our lives about now. As for trust? In any major institution of central government? Do NOT get me started. It’s more than taken a kicking in the recent past. Welcome to Brexit/Austerity UK. The inevitable destination of the politics of me, masel’ and I.

No, I’m not seeing many laugh out loud moments in this particular mockbuster script either.

People aren’t born to hate or fear you know? No, that gets taught. It’s what you experience. It’s driven by outside forces in your life. It is also what I find most unforgivable about politics as it is practised UK style. Democracy cynically managed. Democracy undermined. Democracy and identity defined by the powerful, managed to favour a parliament and political class, then re-branded and marketed for public consumption. Politics and government for the population made worthless. The tail wagging the dog as it were.

Establishment parties in our own system made it ‘OK’ to hate someone. They ensured that the politics of greed, envy and self was the norm. The messages they sent out through their media chums made it acceptable to demonise and disenfranchise whole demographics for political gain, that the ends justified the means. The normalisation of the worst in our natures. Parties with decades of Westminster entitlement, preaching loyalty and unity, paying lip service to tolerance, whilst telling people who to exclude, hate and punish. Dehumanising your intended victims is where it starts. Where it ends? Historically… rarely any place good.

This past year in politics has been one long Q.E.D. moment. Lot’s of folk, especially in the media, telling us who to include on their exclusion list. Well, big whoop! They’ve succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. So, how is Brexit working out for everyone? Everybody just peachy in Better Together’s pooling and sharing union of equals? Is this the vision of the UK going forward you thought it would be?

Put it another way. If you’re poor, disabled, a supporter of Scottish self government, a person of furren origin living in the UK, furren in general, a remainer, or any number of other ‘minority’ groups*, are you all feeling the lurve of one nation unity about now? Do you feel wanted, included, significant? Do feel as if your views are valued, respected… heard even? (*Yes, I know. Not really insignificant minorities. Pretty much fairly major demographics)

If you don’t. If you feel that the language and practice of our political class has been less than honest or caring. If you feel the rhetoric and publicity generated by the mainstream media has been less than conducive toward the creation of a cohesive and tolerant society,  then where does the buck stop? The source of the message? The ever so willing messenger, or those the message is aimed at?

Back in August 2016 I posted the piece Who needs a sword (fades to wavy lines);

“The written word is powerful. People can be moved to acts of great kindness and humanitarian aid, or they can be moved to acts of intolerance and great inhumanity. They can be motivated to feel true empathy, humour, regret, hope, aspiration even. Or they can be made to feel doubt, uncertainty, anger, fear and hatred. In the hands of a true wordsmith it is a tool or a weapon that can influence the emotions and opinions of individuals and populations alike for good or ill.”

As I said, the whole year seems to have been one long Q.E.D. moment. Right wing politicians and media have gone to town on major demographics of the UK in pursuit of Brexitmageddon. The reborn ‘kinder, more honest’ Labour party have gone to war with seemingly everyone else in politics whilst searching for political relevance and a long lost soul. The Libdems have sat on the sidelines and learning from their betters, now speak fluent hypocrite demanding a referendum ‘do over’. BUT NOT FOR YOU SCOTLAND! Seems you’re either not far right enough for some, or you’re not left leaning enough for the other, and both extremes would still sell their granny for a sniff of the big chair. Their hypocrisy on tolerance and inclusion, loyalty and unity is basically a complete insult to any reasonable human being’s intelligence. In reality their idea of ‘unity’ is to seemingly shout at you a lot through their respective meeja channels, demand your loyalty, your compliance and a blind acceptance of their respective narratives. Apparently speaking to you like a human being and earning those things through actions are for lesser mortals.

Maybe just me, but given their respective narratives, strategies and ideologies, I’d say they’re going about this whole reaching out and unity thing in the wrong way.

The casualties, as per usual, are a general public who simply want a meal on their table at the end of the day and a roof over their heads. A public who want their servants to do the jobs for which they are amply paid, ensure that they are cared for and just as importantly… be respected and listened to. Doesn’t seem much of an ask, now does it? Seein’ as how we kinda do pay the wages and all. Most folk don’t want to hate anyone. They don’t want war or strife, or argument with their neighbours. Life’s hard enough thanks. They just want to cut along with their lives in relative peace and security. What they have though, is a system of government, political parties and a practice of politics which drives their opinions and emotions through fear, uncertainty and doubt on a daily basis. Who does that to the people in their care? (answers on a postcard etc.)

This ‘practice’ has done incalculable damage to the constituent parts of the United Kingdom. It has fractured society, outraged partners, alienated friends, dragged an economy to the brink and generally scared people shitless. When people are scared, they get angry, frustrated. They look for targets to unload their fears and frustrations upon. Cue the never ending cycle of spin, misdirection and scapegoating. Something the current Scottish government and the wider YES movement are all too familiar with.

So, are we there yet? Have we hit rock bottom with no way out? Well, no. No we haven’t hit bottom yet (hard to believe, I know), but there is a way out before we do.

Politically, all the electorate of Scotland have ever needed to do is empower and mandate a willing Scottish government to seek a dissolution of a treaty. Take their powers back from those currently misusing them and start doing what all normal countries do. Live. Make choices. Screw up sometimes and be a credit to the world at others. Do what grown ups do. That example stands a chance of starting something better throughout these islands. No more than that, but a chance nonetheless. Aspire to be better than we are and as good as everyone else.

On a personal level? I’d say that so long as you remember what caring and tolerance is really all about. So long as you refuse to be defined or pigeonholed by some political sociopath, or an out of control media, then you retain the power to choose. You can choose to not walk on by those in need. You can choose not to hate on demand. You can choose how you live. You can choose to think for yourself. You choose.

Sounds a bit like self determination really.

 

Normal sarcasm will be resumed after the artisanal baps, filled with (organically reared) turkey, have been consumed. All the very best of the festive season readers.

 

The evils of the Net tex

Darling, it’s just awful. As I was saying to Clarissa and Farquhar just the other day, we may have to forgo our second skiing holiday this year because of that horrid Sturgeon woman and her Net Tex. Or worse, we could end up having to go to some inferior resort in Austria instead of our usual jaunt down the piste in Gstaad. These separatists just don’t understand that they’re taxing aspiration and hard work.

Well yes, I know that Alasdair and I inherited almost all of our money from his father’s family, but he had to work bloody hard to keep on the old goat’s good side. All that smiling when his father pottered about on the golf course darling so that he’d recommend Alasdair for a job at the benk with one of his school chums from Gordonstoun. And then he insisted on living well past 85 and we had to visit him every Christmas instead of going to a lovely bijou resort in the Maldives like normal people. I know the meaning of sacrifice I can tell you. Because of this Net Tex we’re having to struggle by on a mere £6000 a week. I hate nationalism and now we’re paying the price for it. Alasdair and I fly the Union fleg from the flegpole in our garden in Perthshire to show just how much we hate nationalism. We’re patriots not nationalists, not like those nasty individuals with their saltires. Being British means we’re immune to nationalism, unlike lesser nations.

The Scottish government, well perish council really, says that this new tex is to provide public services. I don’t see why I should have to pay for it. I’ve not used a library for years. You can get all the Jilly Cooper novels you need on Kindle these days. And I don’t appreciate that some of our hard-inherited money is taken away from us in order to subsidise bus services. I wouldn’t be seen dead on a bus. These people could get a car if they wanted. They’re just not striving hard enough, and laying on bus services just encourages them. If they had to walk 20 miles in the snow to get to the job centre that would jolly well provide them with an incentive to get a job.

The working classes have got it bloody easy. Let them eat Gregg’s. They don’t have to source all their baked goods from Gwyneth Paltrow’s blog suggestions. Have you any idea how much it costs to buy a half dozen organic gluten free artisenal baps made from flour that’s been hand milled under a full moon by an 80 year old virginal Bulgarian peasant woman? I bet that Nicola Sturgeon doesn’t. Has no idea how real people live, that woman. And that’s the problem right there.

They certainly don’t appreciate just how difficult it is for me. I have lunches to go to, nail appointments to keep. This look isn’t easy to maintain. But one must have standards darling. Otherwise you’re no better than a socialist. Or worse, a Glaswegian. I’ve seen some of those SNPee politicians, and I’m pretty sure that none of them have ever been within a mile of a deep cleansing lotion that’s been confected in a spiritual balance with one’s chi. They don’t have a spiritual bone in their bodies. And darling, that’s what makes us better than they are.

I’m already making plens. I’ve cancelled the extra French tuition for Torquil and have found this lovely little woman who’s going to teach him conversational Geordie instead, so that he’ll be ready when we’re forced out of rural Perthshire and have to live in Newcastle. He’s already managing to say “Wey aye pet” and “Em aff doon the toon.” No, I don’t know what that means either. It does sound a bit too much like Scottish sleng if you ask me. But I’m sure we’ll fit right in. At least they’re proud to be British there, unlike those separatists. Or rupturists, as I prefer to call them.

At least there we will be able to afford to keep buying two dozen bottles of half decent Chablis every time we throw a dinner party. I mean, really. I expect those Nets imagine that we’d be satisfied with some cheap plonk from Sainsbury’s. Or worse, Oddbins. One of those wines with a screwtop. If those Nets had their way we’d all be swigging retsina out of the bottle in some cheap resort in Greece. I’m sure those people think a sommelier is a type of duvet. And not even one with a real down feather stuffing either.

It’s got so bad that we’re having to consider getting rid of the spare pony for little Annabelle. We’d be a one pony household. Can you imagine the shame? I haven’t been so mortified since we spent a weekend at Fiona and Rory’s pied a terre in Tuscany and discovered that it had some Italian brand wood burner and not a proper Aga. I could never show my face on the school run again. I mean I know that I don’t anyway, because our lovely little Polish au pair does it for me. But it’s the principle of the thing. Those Nets just don’t understand that. They have no empathy or interest in trying to appreciate someone else’s point of view, those vile and horrible people. I can’t recall what the Polish girl’s name is. It has far too many z’s in it. So I just call her Pola. We have such a laugh together. She’s terribly worried about Brexit, but I tell her not to fret. We can always find some girl from East Anglia instead.

Those horrible little virtual signallers on social media are always going on about how bad it is for people who get their every need catered for out of state handouts, but where’s the outrage for people like us, that’s what I want to know. I can’t go to a foodbank. Foodbanks don’t stock truffle arancini and waygu beef fillet. Where are the protests and publicity for those of us who have to do without a second skiing holiday? Well yes, I know that they’re all over the pages of Money Week, the Daily Mail, the Express, the Sun, the Scotsman, the Press and Journal, the Herald, the Times, the Telegraph, and the broadcast media. But apart from that, where are the protests and publicity? We’re being silenced by those vile cybernats and their social media memes. We’re the real victims here. We’re the silent majority.


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.

How to train your bandwagon

This week we learned about the real priorities of the British nationalists in Scotland. We learned what they get really outraged about. Apparently it’s far more worthy of condemnation that a comfortably off person has to pay £30 a year more in tax than it is that a person struggling to get by on disability benefits loses £30 a week. For the past few days the press has been full of manufactured anger about the so called tax bombshell on high earners, even though a far larger number of low paid Scots are going to pay less in tax. Some people who are already pretty well off, who bring home a lot more than the average earner, are going to find that they’re losing out by a few pence a week. You know, the kind of money that you can lose down the back of your sofa without even noticing it. You’ll have to earn almost £100,000 a year before you’ll be £1 a week worse off. Let’s be blunt here, if you’re earning £100,000 a year and you begrudge paying £1 a week in order to help provide basic services for people a whole lot less comfortable than you are then you’re such a selfish and uncaring git that you’re probably already a Tory politician.

But according to the British nationalist press in Scotland it’s really bad that people who are already comfortably off are going to be asked to make a tiny sacrifice in order to help pay for public services for people who are considerably worse off than they are. That’s worth days and days of newspaper headlines screaming about how unfair and wrong it is, in those same newspapers that couldn’t be bothered to report the recent study that showed that the Conservatives’ austerity policies and the restrictions they have caused on social care spending have cost the lives of 120,000 people.

Tory MSPs and MPs competed with one another to display their gross ignorance and stupidity on social media, safe in the knowledge that they won’t be held to account by the greater part of Scotland’s traditional media. Giving us a cheap laugh at how dumb they are is about the only thing that they’re any good for. That’s a statement that applies equally to Scottish Tory politicians and to their media apologists. It’s a field with much competition. Annie Wells implied that only people who earn more than £33,000 a year count as hard working. Because clearly if you’re slogging your guts out on a minimum wage job and have to take an extra job in the evenings delivering pizzas in order to make ends meet and make sure that your kids can have a couple of Christmas presents then you’re just a slacker.

However there has got to be a winner, and Dean Lockhart won the prize. Dean is the Tory list MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife. The sole justification for Dean’s existence on this planet is to give fellow Fife MSP Wullie Rennie someone to feel superior to. You have to say something pretty dumb indeed in order to make Wullie Rennie come across as an intellectual giant and a great moral authority, but Dean takes it in his stride. At least Wullie could have an alternative career as the driver of the number 17 bus to Kelty. That involves negotiating from point A to point B. Dean would struggle to find his arse even with the aid of a map.

Dean told us on social media that 393,000 nurses, police officers and train drivers are going to face a rise in their taxes. Since there are only about 17,500 police officers and 60,000 nurses in Scotland, that must mean that there are over 300,000 train drivers taking trains through stations with Gaelic names. And as we all know because the Conservatives tell us so, if you put Gaelic signs on things they automatically stop working. So it’s not like we have any working trains anyway, but still. However since ScotRail’s rolling stock consists of some 264 diesel motor units and electric motor units, that means there are almost 1200 drivers per train. Who knew? Every little boy is supposed to want to become a train driver, but this is ridiculous. Dean’s approach to numeracy makes Jackie Baillie seem like the winner of the Fields Medal, the Nobel prize of mathematics.

Obviously the real reason why there are delays to ScotRail services is because there are hundreds of train drivers having a square go in Waverley station as they fight to get the chance to drive the next train to Helensburgh Central. You might think that the train on your morning commute is overcrowded, but really it’s because of all the spare drivers. Not that you’ll be able to get a train now anyway, since according to Dean all those train drivers are just going to turn their trains around and take them straight to England. That Humza Yousaf has got a lot to answer for.

All we’ve heard for the past few days have been complaints about the “Nat tax”. If the Scottish government had decided not to raise income tax on the highest earners, we’d currently be up to our ears in complaints from the exact same people that the Scottish government wasn’t even using the powers it currently has, so why can it possibly want more devolution or independence? This is the trap for the Scottish government that David Mundell boasted about. And it’s not like he’s the brightest bulb in the lobby. Meanwhile nowhere, but nowhere, over the past few days has been any clear exposition in that selfsame media that the only reason there is any need for this tax rise on the highest earners is because of Conservative austerity and the UK government’s continual assaults on the Scottish budget. That’s a Conservative government whose yoke Labour campaigned to keep Scotland under, and now the hypocrites complain about SNP austerity.

It wasn’t for nothing that the only tax powers that Westminster agreed to devolve to Scotland are powers over income tax, the one tax that directly affects wage earners in their pay packets. It’s proof that the British nationalist parties have never been remotely interested in providing a devolution settlement that is good for Scotland. All they’ve ever cared about is a devolution settlement that is good for themselves and their own sectional and narrow party interests. Not even the existential threat of the 2014 referendum and the continuing prominent role that the independence question plays in Scottish politics have been able to shake the British nationalist parties out of their self-serving complacency. The past few days have proven that there’s no hope for them. But there’s still hope for Scotland.


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.
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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 dictionary of British politico-speak

Theresa May suffered her first big Commons defeat on Brexit this week. David Davis said that he was disappointed, which is politico-speak for banging your head off a wall until it bleeds while screaming for your mother. This isn’t the usual definition of disappointed, but when British politicians say words those words don’t usually mean what those of us who are encumbered by handicaps like merely being fluent in the language might expect them to mean.

It’s helpful these days to be able to decode what politicians actually mean when they say something, because the words that come out of their mouths bear very little resemblance to what has actually happened. What we really need is a dictionary of British politico-speak. Like when Boris Johnson said that he apologised if other people had misinterpreted what he had said, which really means that he’s a liar liar pants on fire and he’s upset that he got caught out. Or when Theresa May says she’s going to be very clear you know that what you’re in for makes less sense to the average human being than the collected works of Wittgenstein translated into Klingon by Google while using a Sinclair Spectrum computer. Or when anyone in the Conservative party refers to Michael Gove as my honourable friend, what they really mean is “that duplicitous backstabbing slimy wee bawbag bastert wi a coupon like a well skelpt airse”.

The defeat suffered by the government – well I say suffered by the government, it’s really the rest of us who have to do the suffering – centred on another of the 21st century’s British politico-speak novel interpretations. This time it was all about the obstensible reason for leaving the EU, which was taking back control and restoring full sovereignty to the British parliament. It’s just that restoring the full sovereignty of the British parliament has turned out to mean giving the prime minister of the day untrammelled powers to do pretty much whatever he or she likes without having to be held to account by a parliamentary debate or to bother their pretty little head with annoying trifles like having to explain themselves. Restoring the full sovereignty of parliament really means reducing the sovereignty of parliament. Although we were told by our honourable friend Michael Gove, amongst others, that the full sovereignty of parliament was going to be restored, which really ought to have told us everything that we needed to know about the veracity of the promise. And it wasn’t even written on the side of a bus. However, many MPs were unhappy with a government which planned on ramming through a Brexit deal which was supposed to be all about restoring sovereignty to the British parliament, and then not actually allowing that parliament to have any meaningful say on what that deal might be.

Some Conservatives actually had enough integrity to rebel and to insist that the government needs to give parliament a meaningful say on the Brexit deal. Although saying that there’s a Tory who has retained some integrity isn’t saying a great deal really. A piece of sweetcorn that’s passed through your digestive system and is excreted out the other end has also retained some integrity, but it’s still embedded in foul smelling crap and it’s not as if you’d like to have it on your plate.

The Daily Mail was furious though, so that was a result. As a rule of thumb, anything which annoys the Daily Mail is good news. The far right lunatic end of the Brexiteers, which is most of them really, were crying betrayal. It’s a remoaner coup! Although when a government is defeated in parliament by a vote of MPs that’s kind of the exact opposite of a coup, but then this is an article about how British politicians use words to mean the opposite of what the rest of us use them to mean, so that was only to be expected.

None of Scotland’s Tory MPs voted against the government, just like none of them voted against the government in an amendment the previous day which the Conservatives managed to defeat.  That’s defending Scotland’s interests in British politico-speak.  The amendmentwould have prevented the government from using the so-called Henry VIII powers to make unilateral changes to the devolution settlement. Scotland’s Tory MPs are quite happy for the government to do that, and they’re quite happy for the government to ram through a Brexit deal without having to bother with minor irritations like democracy or accountability. Let’s face it, if it doesn’t involve making crass remarks about the Travelling Community or disabled people, Scottish Tory MPs just aren’t interested. I’d say that their hearts weren’t in it, but that would imply that they had hearts to put in.

The Tories and the Scottish Unionist media are sure as hell not standing up for Scotland’s interests in this universe. It’s even unfair to say that there is a parallel universe in which the Scottish Conservatives and their pals in the Scottish Unionist media are defending Scotland’s interests. It’s more like a universe which has wandered off on a wee tangent of its own. It may be the universe where half the population of Glasgow are Tories, and most people in Dundee are posh people with upper class English accents. You know, the universe where Question Time finds its audiences.

It’s not that the Scottish Conservatives have burned out, because that would imply that they had some sort of fuel to begin with. They were in fact being entirely propelled by hot air from the Scottish Unionist media but that’s not enough to sustain them, hence their inevitable decline in opinion polls. Today the Tories are upset about the Scottish budget and an increase in income tax for high earners and hoping that their vileness and incompetence in Holyrood can be a distraction from their vileness and incompetence in Westminster. “It’s a tax on aspiration!” harrumphed Murdo Fraser. Some of us aspire to have decent public services though. Some of us aspire to live in a society where the better off pay more than the poor.  Some of us aspire to a country which provides for the disabled.  Personally I’m happy to pay a wee bit more in tax if it means pissing off some raving British nationalist zoomer on the internet.

Naturally there was a howl of outrage in the Scottish media about how the Tories are less effective at standing up for Scotland in Westminster than some wet toilet paper studded with a couple of pieces of digested sweetcorn. Of course you need to read that sentence in the same way that you’d read any sentence uttered in British politico-speak, so it really means “Oh no, the other thing.” The same newspapers which trumpeted the Vow and yelled to the heavens that a No vote really meant stronger devolution and entrenched powers for the Scottish Parliament were predictably silent when Westminster delivered the opposite, just as they’re silent on how Ruth Davidson and her wee band of saviours of the Union are doing precisely bugger all to stand up for Scotland’s interests.

You might think, if you were a reasonable person, that it would strengthen the Union if Scottish Tory MPs defended Scottish interests and if Scottish Unionist newspapers held a Westminster government to account. Clearly neither the Tories nor their media pals consider the people of Scotland to be reasonable. They might hope that we don’t notice, but we do. That’s precisely why the UK’s days are numbered.


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