You’ll have had your unity then

A guest post by Samuel Miller

Yesterday oor PM, Treeza of the ‘strong and stable’ party, marked the Uk’s one year to Brexit countdown with what was called a whistlestop tour of the UK. This apparently, in order to promote unity within her presiousss, presciousss union. By whistlestop what they mean is basically back hame in time fer tea and a spot of cabinet whack a mole or Brexit bingo.  No public walkabouts, no unscripted public questions and no fanfare. Selected venues, photo op, meeja questions only and a hard day of pure uniony unifying over and done with. Quite the speedster.

Oh, and so far as the devolved legislatures are concerned there’s no such thing as a power grab. Treeza sez –  “Let’s be clear, there is no power grab, we are not taking back any of the powers that are currently devolved to the Scottish Government, indeed the Scottish Government will be receiving more powers as a result of us leaving the European Union,”. (my bold)  Which, y’know, is weird. As I understand it those powers currently are not in the remit of UK gov either, nor are they covered by the current devolution settlement. They have been exercised by the EU and again as I understand it, those powers not specifically reserved by Westminster government should revert to the devolved legislatures on repatriation.

Question: If there is no power grab, then why the need for a negotiation process with the Welsh and Scottish governments? Certainly sounds like a power grab, doesn’t it? (shrugs)

Moving on and in a further show of unifying unity. Mr Mundell, our Secretary of State for something or other (squirrels, wildebeest, who knows?), insists there’s no need for Scottish Government representation on the Migration Advisory Comittee. Seems the SoS for small cuddly toys didn’t take too kindly to being pressed on the issue by the SNP’s Pete Wishart either. When questioned on Scotland’s particular population needs and demographics. Mr Mundell, in a blistering display of unity replied, “We do take a different approach, Mr Wishart, because  I don’t want to see Scotland in a separatist manner, that everything in Scotland has to be separate and different if that is not the best way to deal with it”. (my bold) He doesn’t want to see Scotland in a separatist manner? He doesn’t? Righto.

As both an aside and yet more comic relief, Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes reply to Mr Wishart’s questioning also merits a special mention. This is Ms Nokes view on Scottish Government representation.  “I do not think there is any greater case to put a Scottish Government official on it than one from the Welsh Assembly or indeed any county council who wanted to come forward pointing out there was a specific shortage in their area.” (my bold)

Can you feel the luuurve readers?  That is just the past few days and of course the latest in a long line of what many would consider a litany of casual arrogance and ignorance by representatives of the Westminster establishment.

Good God! They’re still spinning like a top over what is widely perceived the recent betrayal of the fishing communities of the UK. An action which displays, for any reasonable observer, the complete lack of Scottish Conservative representation at ANY significant consultative level on Brexit negotiations. Apparently they were pure ragin’. Ignored mainly by the PM, but still, pure ragin’.

For the removal of doubt though, let’s have a look at that word unity. Just in case there’s some misunderstanding of the concept.

UNITY: NOUN: oneness, being one or single or individual; due interconnection of parts; harmony between persons etc; thing forming a complex whole; Math: the number one.

Any part of that definition resemble today’s UK to you readers? Are you feeling a particular oneness or harmony?

It’s been three and a half years since Scotland’s indyref of 2014. Had the British state been remotely interested in the concept of unity, of promoting unity, it’s had ample time and opportunity to put words into practice.

Smith Commission, Scotland bill debates, general election, Scottish elections, Brexit, another general election. Throughout ALL of the above, the parties of the Westminster establishment sought to belittle, to punish, to alienate the Scottish Government and its support. All with the seemingly willing aid of the Uk’s media. The current government have seriously endangered standing agreements with devolved legislatures. They’ve broken pledges and assurances made to Scotland’s electorate throughout their indyref and as for their assurances to demographics of the UK electorate post EU ref? See under CFP, N.I. border issue and settling financial commitments to the EU. Oh and don’t forget impact reports.

There hasn’t been a day without some Essenpee badness, some Scottish service or institution undermined and portrayed in deepest crisismageddon. As for the alienation of half Scotland’s electorate? What can you say that hasn’t already been said?  If you are a supporter of Scottish self determination, it’s safe to say that there’s been a positive dearth of olive branches out there from Unionist politicians and their more vocal support. You’d be forgiven for believing that you pretty much live on the same level of popularity as the infamous fart in a lift. But, y’know. That’s politics as it is practised… apparently.

The United Kingdom is anything but united. There are serious divisions along political and societal lines. Divisions created by the same political establishment that now wants you to forget their appalling narratives and unite to save their arses and the lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed. Unite to save the UK from what has been described as “an extraordinarily painful process of national self-mutilation”.

Personally and after the past three and a half years? I’d say you’ll have had your unity then.

 

As others see us – com les altres ens veuen

A Scottish court has had the good sense and common decency to free Clara Ponsatí on bail while she fights the extradition order brought against her by the Spanish government seeking to prosecute her on politically motivated charges which could potentially result in the former Catalan education minister facing up to 30 years in a Spanish prison. Scotland’s courts have in this instance proven themselves to be more humane and to have a greater respect for human rights than the German court which refused bail to Catalan president Carles Puigdemont.

Despite the fact that senior figures in Labour in Scotland like Ian Murray MP have tweeted that they support the arrest and extradition of Clara Ponsatí, some in that party are, gob-smackingly hypocritcally but entirely predictably, trying to use her arrest as an excuse to indulge in some SNPbaddery. Some in Labour, like Labour Youth, are trying to claim that the SNP supports the repressive measures of the Spanish government because the Scottish government has said that it cannot interfere in a legal process. Can you imagine the outrage from that same Labour party if the SNP had indeed said it was going to interfere in a legal process? Exactly. Labour in Scotland has two faces, both are covered in egg, and each one is supported by a brass neck.

Given the hypocrisy of the Labour party in Scotland who are keen to tell us what they think people in Catalonia think about the SNP, it’s worthwhile to have a look at what people in Catalonia are saying about the response of the Scottish government and the people of Scotland to Clara’s arrest. Why listen to Labour’s monkeys when we can listen to the Catalans themselves.

Clara’s arrest and her fight against extradition is the lead story today in the leading Catalan language pro-independence digital news site Vilaweb.cat. The newspaper reported that through her lawyer Aamer Anwar, Clara had released a statement thanking the people of Scotland for their support saying, “Scotland is a true friend of Catalonia in these dark hours.” The newspaper also highlighted the support given to Clara by various members of the SNP, reporting that they had condemned the persecution that she was facing. It went on to report that the Scottish government has written to the Spanish embassy in the UK to complain about the European extradition orders against Puigdemont, his ministers, and members of the Catalan parliament. It reported that Scottish justice secretary Michael Matheson had spoken in the Scottish parliament to criticise the failure of the Spanish government.

Meanwhile the Spanish language Catalan newspaper La Vanguardia is reporting that Clara has been freed on bail, and the story is the most commented on and most liked on the paper’s website today. La Vanguardia is a right wing newspaper, which is fiercely anti-independence, it’s sort of like the Hootsmon but with ageing Francoists, but many of the comments under the article express thanks and appreciation to Scotland.

The pro-independence left wing daily El Punt Avui also carries the story on its front page, as it does with the story that the Scottish government has written to the Spanish embassy in London to complain about the use of European arrest warrants against members of the Catalan government.

El Punt Avui carries a far more detailed story about the protests of the Scottish government than anything you will read in the traditional Scottish media, with of course the honourable exception of The National, which gets a mention in El Punt Avui’s article. The paper reports in full on the comments in parliament of Michael Matheson, and talks about the letter written by the SNP’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Fiona Hyslop to the Spanish embassy. The paper also reports on the call from Alex Salmond published in The National saying why we should all be speaking out about the Spanish government’s treatment of Catalonia, and gives a link to the video published by our only pro-independence Scottish daily newspaper.

The pro-independence Ara.cat has likewise made the Clara Ponsatí story its leading article, and also reports on the incredible success of Clara’s fundraiser.

The support being given to the fundraiser by ordinary people in Scotland is being seen and heard in Catalonia. It is being perceived, rightly, as a sign that the people of Scotland are giving their backing to our sisters and brothers in Catalonia, that their struggle for self-determination is our struggle.

What absolutely no one in Catalonia is paying the slightest bit of attention to today is what the Labour party in Scotland is saying, and neither should we. On the other hand, they are talking about the support that Scotland is demonstrating for Catalonia. It has been noticed, and it is appreciated.  They know that many people in Scotland and the Scottish government are on their side, whatever nonsense Labour in Scotland hacks might put out on social media.  Their views are not being reported in Catalonia, the support that Catalonia is receiving from Scotland is very much in the Catalan news.

The above article on Vilaweb.cat has now been replaced as the lead story by the news that Clara had been released on bail and that her lawyer is saying that it’s the Spanish police who ought to be answering for the brutality and violence of their actions. Meanwhile the paper is also reporting that the crowdfunder to raise money to fight her extradition had wildly exceeded all expectations. The original target was £40,000, but that was smashed through within a few hours. At the time of writing this blog article, the crowdfunder had exceeded £176,000.

We need to show our support for Catalonia in its hour of need, because if Scotland doesn’t stand up for Catalonia, we cannot complain if no one stands up for Scotland when we’re the ones needing support.  Their struggle is our struggle too.

You can donate to the fundraiser here – https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/defendclara/

I am off to the USA for two weeks on Friday as it’s my partner’s birthday and we’re going on holiday together. Sam (Macart) will do his usual sterling job of looking after the blog in my absence.


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.


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Getting pecked to death by a chlorinated chicken

There’s a lot of very serious stuff going on. It’s being alleged that Cambridge Analytica and the Vote Leave campaign stole the EU referendum and it’s entirely possible that the UK is being dragged out of the EU on the basis of a fraud. It’s bad enough that the Conservatives have decided after the event of the vote that it was a vote for the hardest possible Brexit, outside the customs union and outside the EU single market. It’s bad enough that the campaign was characterised by lies and mendacity. But now it seems that the entire leave campaign was fought unfairly and it is being alleged that the leave result was only obtained because electoral law was broken. All of our futures have been negatively affected because of data that was collected by Facebook against our knowledge and which was used by Cambridge Analytica without our consent because the leave campaign threw large amounts of money at them in an alleged breach of electoral law. This is an attack on the very foundations of the democratic process. The EU referendum divided the UK, and now it seems that it was dishonest.

Then, in order to cast aspersions on the credibility of one of the whistle blowers, a policy adviser in Downing Street, a man whom Theresa May counts as one of her closest aides, outed the whistleblower as gay. This is one of the worst things that one gay person can do to another. It’s a sin that is rarely forgiven or forgivable. The right to come out at the time of your own choosing is a precious thing. Outing someone else against their will is quite literally depriving them of the right to self-determination. I knew long before it became public knowledge that Kezia Dugdale and David Mundell were gay, but despite my many and varied political disagreements with them, despite the many and varied ways in which I’ve had a go at them, I would never had dreamed of outing them. There are some things you just don’t do. What makes it even worse is that the whistleblower concerned comes from a conservative Muslim family of Pakistani origin. His life is now at risk if he wants to visit his relatives in Pakistan. Yet Theresa May has refused to condemn her adviser, refused to discipline him, and refused to apologise. Did the Prime Minister’s office collude in a gross act of homophobic abuse? Theresa isn’t saying.

The Prime Minister has likewise shrugged off the links between the Conservative party and Cambridge Analytica. SCL, the parent company of Cambridge Analytica, donated £700,000 to the Conservative party between 2004 and 2017. One of their major shareholders of SCL, Jonathan Marland, served as a trade minister in David Cameron’s government, while the company’s chair Julian Wheatland campaigned alongside Cameron in 2015. Julian Wheatland was chair of the Oxford West and Abingdon Conservative Association until January 2017. Cambridge Analytica was in contact with the Conservatives in December 2016, offering its services to the party. Today The National reported that Cambridge Analytica had also offered its services during the Scottish independence referendum, although it was unclear to whom. Given the company’s close links to the Conservatives, it’s vanishingly unlikely it offered to help the Yes campaign.

Meanwhile Boris Johnson and Michael Gove are doing an impression of Ruth Davidson in a debate about fish. The normally loquacious pair are strangely silent on what they knew about the alleged collusion to break electoral law within the leave campaign of which they were such prominent members. What did Johnson and Gove know about the channelling of funds to AggregateIQ, a company with links to Cambridge Analytica, allegedly in breach of electoral law. You’d be as well asking Ruth Davidson’s party not to betray the Scottish fishing industry.

As if this was not enough, the UK government is continuing to rattle its sabre at Putin’s regime over the Salisbury affair. They’re not showing anything like the same degree of interest in preventing the UK being used as a safe place for Russian kleptocrats to store their ill-gotten gains, and they’re desperate to distract attention from the obvious truth that when the UK makes itself a haven for gangsters from a country where the distinction between gangsters and government is, to put it mildly, blurred, then you’re also making the UK a haven for the methods of the mobsters. Although given the behaviour of the Conservative party, the methods of mobsters were already very much at home in the politics of the UK.

With all this going on, with this sickness at the very heart of the British state, you might think that the Scottish media would be shouting and screaming at the parties of British nationalism, to get their houses in order, to ensure that they keep their promises to Scotland in order to keep Scotland happily esconced within the UK. But then if you thought that you probably also thought that the Scottish Tories really meant it when they said that they’d bring down Theresa May’s government if it doesn’t defend the rights of Scottish fishing communities.

The Mail on Sunday was getting itself in a lather because the SNP has spent money on adverts on Facebook. The Mail on Sunday didn’t see fit to mention that the amount that the SNP has spent on adverts on Facebook is less than the amount that the Scottish branch office of Labour party spent, and quite a lot less than Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives™ has spent, but you know. SNPbad. The Mail was outraged at the nerve of Thatessempee spending its money on adverts targetted at people who voted Tory or Labour last time, because apparently a political party should never ever try to persuade people who haven’t already voted for it to vote for it. Who knew? Next week, the Mail on Sunday will have a searing expose about the SNP’s office having an internet connection, a telephone, and a dog eared copy of the Yellow Pages.

The real issue today for the British nationalist media in Scotland is that a guy with links to the SNP has registered a domain name that could be used in a future independence referendum campaign. Oh. My. God. Someone has planned ahead. That’s just not British. If people thought ahead there might actually be a plan for Brexit. We should at least be grateful that the domain name wasn’t registered to Alex Salmond’s telly show, or we’d never hear the end of it. Reading the British nationalist press in Scotland is like a beakless chlorinated chicken trying to peck you to death. It’s trivial, pointless, and poisonous. Luckily for us, it will poison itself before we consume enough of it to kill us.


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.

Defending democracy

Today, Sunday, came the news that the former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont has been arrested by German police acting on a European warrant issued by the Spanish authorities. Puigdemont had fled to Belgium after Spain announced that it was seeking to arrest him and members of his pro-independence government. Spain filed an international arrest warrant against him, but he appealed the warrant in the Belgian courts because Spain had charged him with rebellion, a crime which does not exist in Belgium. This resulted in the Spanish authorities withdrawing the warrant. As the warrant had been withdrawn, he felt free to travel elsewhere in Europe, however the Spanish authorities reactivated the warrant upon hearing that he was in Finland. He was rearrested on his return to Belgium as he was travelling through Germany.

The Catalan digital newspaper Vilaweb is reporting that leaders of Junts Pel Sí, the leading Catalan pro-independence party, are calling for the use of all mechanisms in order to prevent the extradition of Puigdemont. It is thought likely that an appeal will be made against the extradition request and it will be fought all the way through the German courts to the highest possible level. This may be more difficult in Germany than it was in Belgium as unlike in Belgium rebellion is recognised as an offence in Germany.

In a tweet this afternoon, Fransesc de Dalmases of Junts Pel Sí said that Germany now has an opportunity to reconcile its history with Catalonia. Quim Torra Pla, a Junts Pel Sí deputy in the Catalan parliament, said that Puigdemont’s arrest is not just a German matter, but rather it’s the whole European Union which has responsibility now. Meanwhile Carles Riera, who is a deputy in the Catalan parliament for the pro-independence CUP said, “Let’s hope that the German state demonstrates a truly democratic will and not repressive and anti-democratic connivance with the Spanish state.”

The Asamblea Nacional Catalana has called for a demonstration outside the offices of the delegation of the European Commission in Barcelona to protest the arrest of the former president. Demonstrations are also being planned in Tarragona, Lleida, and Girona. Another 500 demonstrators assembled on Sunday afternoon in Place de Schuman in Brussels, outside the seat of the European Commission.

Puigdemont’s arrest follows the imprisonment of a number of other senior Catalan politicians, including the former vice president Oriol Junqueras and the former minister of the interior Joaquim Form who have been in prison since the second of November on a charge of rebellion. The former speaker of the Catalan parliament, Carme Forcadell, was imprisoned on the same charge on Friday. Two senior figures in the broader independence movement, Jordi Sànchez of the Asamebla Nacional Catalana and Jordi Cuixart of the cultural organisation Òmnium Cultural have been in jail since October last year. Amnesty International has described the imprisonment of Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart as excessive and disproportionate. Both have been charged with rebellion and sedition.

The Spanish Supreme Court is now pursuing charges of rebellion, misuse of public funds (because of spending on the Catalan referendum), and disobedience (a charge roughly similar to contempt of court) against 25 senior figures in the Catalan independence movement. The Spanish Supreme Court is acting against the Catalan independence movement because, according to Judge Pablo Llarena, they were warned of the risk of violence if they proceeded with the referendum, but went ahead with it anyway. Think about that for a moment, the Spanish Supreme Court is prosecuting the leaders of the Catalan independence movement because they were warned of the risk of violence from the Spanish state. Officers of the Spanish paramilitary Guardia Civil under the control of the Spanish interior ministry in Madrid were responsible for the violence, but it’s the victims of that violence who are facing court action because of it. It’s like the story of the man who was charged with damaging police property because a policeman scuffed his boot after kicking the man in the head.

In a sign of the growing anger amongst some sections of the Catalan independence movement, Judge Llarena’s home in the Catalan region of Cerdanya has been targetted by members of Arran (meaning ‘level with’ in Catalan, not a reference to the Scottish island!) the youth organisation of the pro-independence left. The street outside Llarena’s home in the village of Das has been painted with graffiti calling the judge a fascist, and saying “Llarena, fascist, not in Das, not anywhere” and “Liberty for political prisoners.”

One of those facing prosecution is Clara Ponsatí, who was the Catalan education minister. She is currently in Scotland, where she had a post at the University of St Andrews before being appointed to Carles Puigdemont’s government. She fled to Belgium along with Puigdemont, and later returned to Scotland. According to reports, she is now also facing a European arrest warrant and Spain is seeking her arrest and extradition. The Spanish press reported yesterday (Saturday) that the Office of the Procurator Fiscal has acknowledged that it has received the European warrant against her, but in a statement to the Spanish media said that it would be inappropriate to comment further.

Speaking in an interview with the Catalan television channel TV3 on Saturday, Clara Ponsatí commented that she had believed that Spain would react with a lot of violence and said that the actions of the Spanish state were provoking fear amongst some pro-independence politicians and affecting their activities in parliament. “We have received a great thumping,” she said, “We have to recognise that after the huge success of the 1st of October the rest has been a great setback and it will cost us to recover.”

She denied the accusation that the Catalan parliament had disobeyed the Spanish courts, saying, “What does it mean to disobey? The Parliament never disobeys. We are accepting the language which is being imposed on us by the authoritarianism of the Spanish state and the courts.” She added that she was at the disposition of the legal authorities in the UK, and was confident that she would not be extradited because the warrant against her was politically motivated.

On Sunday morning Police Scotland tweeted, “We can confirm that we are in possession of a European arrest warrant for Clara Ponsati. We have made a number of enquiries to try to trace her and have now been contacted by her solicitor, who is making arrangements for Ms Ponsati to hand herself into police.”

Meanwhile in the UK we have discovered that Scotland, which voted to remain in the EU by a very large margin, is being taken out of Europe on the basis of a majority vote in the rest of the UK that was achieved illegally by campaigning groups which allegedly broke electoral law and who based their campaigns on lies and false promises. Does this invalidate the result of the EU referendum? In any normal world it would. Does that mean that the UK government will have to run the referendum again? Will it buggery. The British government is going to continue with its reckless wrecking path to a senseless Brexit, and will continue to use something that the people of Scotland voted against in order to destroy the devolution settlement, something that the people of Scotland voted for.

We may not be facing the overt oppression that Catalonia is struggling with, but democracy in Scotland is every bit as threatened. The Spanish government is using the courts to tackle what is a political problem, and with the recent decision of the UK government to challenge the Scottish Parliament’s EU Continuity Bill in the courts, the British government seems determined to follow a similar path. We have to demonstrate our opposition using every legal means, and we must demonstrate our solidarity with Catalonia. The only way to defend Scottish democracy is with Scottish independence.


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.

Nae fish and yer passport is French

For the rest of the UK, and particularly for those people in England who voted to leave because they really believed in the myths of British exceptionalism, the entire Brexit process must be very like discovering what it feels like to be the Scottish fitba team. There they were, chanting Eng-er-land Eng-er-land and looking forward to the sunlit uplands of free trade deals and all those countries who would be flocking to the UK’s door to do business, and instead it’s just one humiliation after another and the abject failure of the British negotiating team to score. And they still haven’t got to the end game where they’re put out by Germany on penalties.

The UK government is trying to pretend that they negotiated a deal with the EU, but really what happened is that they agreed to everything the EU demanded of them. Now there is no need for the EU to give any more ground. They’ve already got everything they wanted. They have guaranteed access to British markets and full access to the fishing grounds. There’s plenty more British humiliation still to look forward to.

This week we’ve had the betrayal of the fishing industry. It was the one job that the Scottish Tories gave themselves that wasn’t about SNPbaddery and saying no to another independence referendum, and they failed spectacularly. They took a situation that they said was intolerable for the Scottish fishing industry, and they made it even worse. Now Scottish fishing communities will still be subject to the full rigours of EU fisheries policy, only there will be no UK involvement in setting fish quotas and no UK presence in any of the discussions. The Tories swear blind that this situation will only last until the end of the transitional period, but then they also swore blind that the Scottish fishing fleet would be free of the EU fishing policy by March 2019. There is a cichlid floating upside down at the top of a fish tank that’s got more life in it that a Conservative promise to the people of Scotland. Despite Tory protestations to the contrary, it is highly likely that the Westminster government will continue to allow the EU access to Scottish fishing waters as part of the trade deal they hope to negotiate. They have previous for selling out Scottish fishing communities. They’ve done it twice already, they won’t hesitate to do it a third time.

Being humiliated by a dead fish is bad enough, but the passport debacle is the ultimate humiliation for Brexiteers. Vote Leave and you can get your proudly British blue passport back, they insisted. However it now transpires that their proud new British blue passports are going to be printed and manufactured by a Franco-Dutch company, and may very well be printed in France. Take back control Britons, and get a French printed passport. It doesn’t really have much of a ring to it as a Brexit slogan does it, but it’s closer to the truth than anything that they ever put on the side of a bus.

Having made the decision to change the colour of its passports in order to please the Jacob Rees Moggs of this world, the British government had no option but to put the contract out to tender, because it has no state controlled printer capable of doing the job. It used to, but the Conservatives privatised the printing arm of HMSO in 1996. The French government retains its state owned printer, because it believes that the printing of passports is a matter of national security. Britain is taking back control so that it can have its passports printed abroad.

What makes the entire affair even more humiliating for Brexiteers is that it was always utterly pointless. Even though it was more black than blue, and even though there was absolutely no reason why the UK government couldn’t have retained blue / black delete as appropriate passports if it had wanted to. There is no EU rule saying that the passports of member states have to be burgundy. Croatian passports are still the same black colour that they were when Croatia joined the EU, even though Croatia is making ready to join the Schengen Zone, something that the UK never agreed to. Croatia expects to join the Schengen Zone early next year, there are no plans to change the colour of Croatian passports. The UK could have retained its blueish black passports all this time if it had wanted to.

The change in passport colour was always symbolic. It was always symbolism of a particularly inane variety because the colour of a passport is meaningless. The format of passports is agreed internationally, which is why we now have biometric passports, and that’s not going to change. The UK is not taking back control of the contents of a passport or its international validity. The entire Brexit passport affair is a literal example of judging a book by its cover.

It is of course wrong and childish to gloat, particularly when it’s ordinary punters who’re going to suffer Brexit’s consequences and not the Empire Loyalist Tories who are driving it, but you know : gloat emoji. There isn’t, at least to my knowledge, an official gloat emoji, although I’m scarcely an expert in things that get down wid da yoot. Until a few days ago I though instagram was a company running photo booths for those ugly mugshots for passports and thought snap chat was what kids talked about when playing cards. And every time I hear someone being described as “woke”, I internally correct it to woken because woke is a past tense and not a past participle. Bah humbug, young people today. They’re not bloody woke enough to know what grammar is.

Oh god I’ve turned into my English teacher from secondary school, the one who once threw a kid out of a window for sleeping in class. That was him woke. Well, it was the 70s, back when casual violence, racism, and homophobia were a way of life and there were no words in any Scottish language for a father to say I love you son. Anyway, I digress. If there were a gloat emoji it would certainly look like Jacob Rees Mogg being slapped in the face with a wet fish carrying a blue British passport printed in France. Take back control for Britain they said, and what you’ve got from them is nae fish and yer passport is French.


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.

HOOP: Hands Off Our Parliament

There’s an important event taking place in Edinburgh tomorrow. HOOP, Hands Off Our Parliament is a demonstration outside Holyrood to show the Conservative government that we the people of Scotland value the devolved parliament which we voted for, and that we will not sit back quietly while Theresa May and her minions use Brexit, something Scotland voted against, as an excuse to diminish and undermine the devolution settlement, something Scotland voted for. This is Scotland’s parliament, not Westminster’s toy.

Tomorrow’s event aims to form a human chain, hand in hand around the Scottish Parliament in a symbolic gesture of protection. The event starts at 10am and goes on until 5pm. The dug will be there, and so will I, so if you do plan to come along it will be great to meet you. You don’t have to attend for the whole day, just come along and show your support for an hour or a half hour or so. The Yes Bikers will be there, and the event will be family friendly. Assemble outside the Scottish Parliament.

Here’s a rough timetable for tomorrow, supplied by one of the organisers:
10am Assemble
11am Speakers and Music
12 pm Human Chain round the parliament estate. Each lap is 0.4 mile. We hope to get 4 times round.
12.45 Speakers and Music
1.30 pm The Sound of YES Biker THUNDER
2.00pm 101 Saltire Shields in a schiltron without pikes will be arranged defensively along flanked by some YES biker Heavy Horse Power.
2.30 pm Speakers and Music
3.30 pm Arrival of the car convoy.
4..00 pm Speakers and Music

Although this event is being organised by pro-independence campaigners and there will be plenty of pro-independence campaigners there, it’s not in itself a pro-independence event. HOOP is a pro-devolution event, a pro-Scotland event. HOOP is not about demanding something that Scotland doesn’t currently have, it’s about protecting and defending what Scotland has already got. It’s about showing our support for the powers of Holyrood and telling the Conservatives that Scotland does not consent to them using Brexit as an excuse to traduce the democratic will of the Scottish people. Everyone who believes in the devolution settlement and who is opposed to the Conservative attempt to grab powers from Scotland is welcome, whether you want independence or not.

The Scottish Parliament’s Continuity Bill was supported by the SNP, the Greens, Labour, and most of the Lib Dem MSPs. This event is about reaching out across the constitutional divide, and uniting to defend Scotland from a rapacious Conservative government which believes that the result of the EU referendum is the only one that needs to be respected. But Scotland voted by a huge margin in the 1997 referendum in favour of the existing devolution settlement. Scotland voted by a much smaller margin against independence in the 2014 referendum because of a promise that devolution would be entrenched, extended, and that the powers of Holyrood could only be altered by Westminster if Holyrood gave its explicit consent, a commitment which the Conservatives signed up to. Now Theresa May and her hangers on are unilaterally ripping up the devolution settlement. The hypocritical Tories are very fond of telling others that they need to respect the result of referendums, but they themselves have no intention of respecting referendums that don’t suit their interests.

Some talking heads in the media have claimed that there is no massive popular outrage in Scotland at the Tories’ attacks on our Parliament. And sadly that would be true. It’s true in the exact same way that someone who has been cat-burgled isn’t outraged about their losses until they realise that they’ve been robbed. We have a media in Scotland which is overwhelmingly opposed to independence, and which is terrified of doing anything that it worries might assist the independence cause, so it shies away from explaining the full ramifications of what the Westminster Conservatives and their Holyrood allies have in store for devolution. They’re not telling the people of Scotland that they’re being robbed. They’re not explaining how the devolution settlement is being undermined and hollowed out from within.

Of course people in Scotland aren’t going to be outraged about something that the Scottish media isn’t explaining to them. For media figures to say smugly that there will be no massive popular outrage in Scotland at the British government’s attack on the devolution settlement is the very definition of a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you don’t tell people what’s going on, if you don’t explain to them how the hard won Scottish devolution settlement is under threat, if you don’t detail how the Conservatives are cynically violating and ripping up the promises and commitments that they made to the people of Scotland, of course people aren’t going to be outraged. Before you can be outraged, you need to know what’s going on. But if you don’t know what’s going on, then those in power can do whatever they like while the people of Scotland lie helpless and uniformed, kept in the dark by the very organisations and institutions which are supposed to cast light.

It’s up to us, all of us, the ordinary people of Scotland, to do the job that the overwhelmingly British nationalist media isn’t doing. We have a media which is so terrified of independence that it is hamstrung and will not stand up for Scotland even within this so-called Union. Back in 2014 they told us that Scotland as a part of the UK would enjoy the best of both worlds, instead we’ve got the worst of all worlds. The promised security of our place within the EU has turned into a hard Brexit run and organised in the interests of the Conservative right wing. The promised strengthening of devolution has turned into a weakening.

Come along tomorrow and show that you do not consent to the Conservatives running roughshod over the will of the Scottish people. Show them that we do care, that we are outraged, and that we do not consent to their unilateral power grab. Scotland has devolution because the people of Scotland fought for it, campaigned for it, struggled for it, over long and painful decades of Conservative rule. We will not consent to the Conservatives destroying it. This is our parliament, not Theresa May’s.

HOOPnational

You can get a full sized copy of the above poster in tomorrow’s (Friday’s) The National. The paper will be there and will give full coverage of the event in Saturday’s edition.


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 British Boak Off

You might be forgiven for thinking, given that the promise to stand up for the interests of the Scottish fishing industry was the only commitment made by Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives™ during last year’s General Election that consisted of saying more than “We don’t want another referendum”, that the Scottish media would now be hounding St Ruth Davidson the Messiah of Britishness and Saviour of the Union over her party’s abject failure to do so. All the more so since Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives™ were consistently branded as Ruth’s party and answerable to Ruth and to Ruth alone. However this is Scotland.

In Scotland there are 38 daily and Sunday newspapers of which 36 are constantly seeking stories to undermine the SNP and the cause of independence, and a broadcast media which takes its news agenda from that 94.7% of the press that is British nationalist. That would be the same media that has recently been tsking about the heavy bias in the media in Russia. Supporters of British nationalism don’t need Cambridge Analytica in Scotland. We have a constant diet of SNPbaddery.

Because the mainstream Scottish media is so overwhelmingly biased, supporters of independence develop a siege mentality. We are constantly attacked, belittled, criticised, and demonised by the great majority of the press. That has the unfortunate side-effect of making independence supporters intolerant and suspicious whenever another independence supporter, or one of the few pro-independence outlets that we do have, is perceived to be attacking other independence supporters or parties, or when they say something we disagree with. It’s perceived by some as a form of betrayal, and causes anger which is out of all proportion to the supposed offence. That’s precisely what anti-independence forces are hoping to achieve. You may not like it when Angela Haggerty, Cat Boyd, Stu Campbell, Bella Caledonia, me, or anyone else says something that you might perceive as being unhelpful to the independence cause, but when we attack one another we’re only doing the British nationalists’ job for them.

Angela and Cat come in for sustained criticism. I know both of them personally and have not the slightest doubt about their commitment to Scottish independence. You or I might not agree with what they say, we might not agree with their tactics, but they have a right to say it without being subject to the sexist remarks they constantly receive. There’s little doubt that as women they are given a harder time than men. Angela receives particular criticism because she’s achieved a public profile few independence campaigners have done. You might be rubbed up the wrong way because both of them can be contrarian, but let’s not help British nationalism by attacking other independence supporters with a different point of view.

It’s the same with the attacks on Stu Campbell, who is likewise a contrarian. I certainly don’t agree with everything he says, but constantly attacking him doesn’t help the Yes movement. He does a job that no one else does, and if you want to remove his influence from the movement you’re not going to do so by trading insults on social media. If you want to remove the influence of Wings Over Scotland, do the job Wings does, and do it better.

In other words, we all need stop carping about one another, and start rebutting the anti-independence media. God knows we need more of that. Independence is supported by about 50% of the Scottish population, but we only have 5% of the media on our side.

Diversity within the Yes movement means that it’s going to contain opinions and views that you or I find disagreeable. It’s going to contain people who have views that you vehemently disagree with. Let’s be calm and measured. Let’s disagree without being disagreeable. Let’s leave the hysteria to those people on social media with Union flegs in their avatars. Let’s focus our criticisms on those people who truly deserve our criticisms – that would be those people who support and sustain British nationalism in Scotland. That would be the anti-independence parties and the press which promotes them. It’s not like they’re not doing much which is worthy of our negative attention.

Pointing out the shortcomings of St Ruth the Redeemer of the Union doesn’t figure high amongst the priorities of the Scottish press. If it doesn’t involve calling on Humza Yousaf to resign because Gaelic place names on road signs cause pot holes, the Scottish press isn’t really interested. If it doesn’t involve gleefully reporting on yet another supposed division within the Yes movement, the Scottish media doesn’t want to know. If it’s not about screaming about how shite everything is under the SNP, the Scottish media doesn’t really care, especially not when those same public services are even more shite under the Tories south of the border because that’s not relevant. However on those occasions when public services are better in England, we get to hear all about it as then it suddenly becomes relevant. Because SNPbad.

The fact is that the Scottish media has given Thatalicsammin more negative coverage in the past week than St. Ruth Davidson has had in her entire career, and he’s not even a serving politician. Over just the past few days the supposed scandal of Thatalicsammin’s telly show on Russia Today has featured on Reporting Scotland four times, and on BBC Radio Scotland several times more. The Scottish media wants us to believe the fact that a former politician has a telly show on RT is far more important than the fact that the Scottish leader of the UK governing party has not only failed to deliver on the only promise that her party made to the Scottish people, but that her party has made the existing situation far worse. And moreover this Scottish leader was bummed up by that same Scottish media as being in charge of the Conservatives in Scotland, whose MPs would vote as a bloc to defend Scottish interests and who would personally ensure that Theresa May’s government attended to Scottish interests.

However whenever there is a spot of difficulty for the Tories in Scotland, the normally publicity hogging Ruth is harder to find than a Scotsman editorial that says something nice about Thatalicsammin. Yet today Ruth Davidson, lead singer of the Scottish media’s favourite band Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives™, is back in the public eye doing what she is best at. What she’s best at is schmoozing with light entertainment presenters. On Wednesday in the Herald there was a wee piece about St Ruth which made a mediaeval hagiography seem overly cynical. It was a nauseatingly sweet digest of her adventures in British light entertainment and not a fish quota in sight. It was the Great British Boak Off.

Meanwhile Ross Thomson, MP for Aberdeen South – a city which voted by a larger majority to remain a part of the EU than it did to remain a part of the UK – appeared on a boat in the Thames alongside Nigel Farage, throwing dead fish into the river. It was a metaphor for the Scottish Conservatives’ promises to Scotland, but you can be sure that his exploits will be given considerably less coverage than Thatalicsammin.

We’re up against the Great British Boak Off. As independence activists our task is to highlight the many and manifest shortcomings of the British nationalists in Scotland. It’s to paint a picture of the better country that independence can achieve. That’s our day job. I’m going to get on with it. I hope you will too.


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.