Priorities

We need to learn from Catalonia. Catalonia provides an inspiration to Scotland, but it also provides a warning. Catalonia gives us a warning about what happens when an independence movement falls prey to infighting and internal divisions and doesn’t keep its eye focussed on the main prize, the prize of the better country that can only be achieved with independence. When elements within the independence movement fall out with one another over differing visions of independence, the only beneficiaries are opponents of independence, those who don’t want any version of independence at all. Right now the Catalan independence movement has lost its momentum, the Spanish state criminalises prominent voices within the movement, while those remaining at liberty fall out over tactics and strategy.

In Scotland the British state might not be threatening anyone in the independence movement with jail, but the British state is the winner when Scottish independence supporters attack one another over different visions of what they want Scottish independence to achieve. It’s self-harming, the only force which is damaged is the independence movement. When we focus on our disagreements with one another we only make it less likely that there will be any version of an independent Scotland. That’s why the anti-independence press is giving massive publicity to even marginal figures within the movement who have issues with the Growth Commission report. Media outlets which are opposed to independence don’t do that because they want to promote a diversity of voices within the independence movement.

No one is demanding that we must all get 100% behind the SNP Growth Commission’s report, but the way to deal with your disagreements with it is to develop and publicise your own visions of what an independent Scotland could be and not to give ammunition to those who want to preserve the inequalities and injustices of the British state. Accusing other independence supporters of betrayal because they don’t happen to support your own particular vision of what an independent Scotland could be doesn’t make it any more likely that your own vision of an independent Scotland can become a reality. It makes it less likely. It only makes it more likely that all of us will remain subject to the vagaries of British rule and dependent upon the vague hope that voters in the rest of the UK and the right wing British press might one day consent to a government that’s left of centre.

Let’s be real here, if you are pinning all your hopes on Jeremy Corbyn you’re in for a big disappointment. Jeremy Corbyn may very well preach a radical redistribution and campaign for a serious attempt to redress the gross inequality that blights the UK – I don’t doubt his sincerity on that score – but the fact is that even when faced with the most inept, incompetent, malicious and mendacious Conservative government in living memory, he’s still incapable of taking a lead over them in the opinion polls. That may very well be because of the unfairness of a British media which doesn’t give the left a fair crack of the whip, independence supporters know all about that, but it’s not going to get any easier for him during an election campaign. The truth is that during the next General Election the Tories will be led by a shiny new leader who will be benefiting from a honeymoon period with the press. Jezza will be yesterday’s man and yesterday’s news and his own contradictions and evasions on Brexit will have caught up with him. His best chance of getting elected was in the General Election last year.

England is a country which historically tends to vote Conservative. The last time that Labour was able to get elected in England it could only do so by transforming itself into the Tories, and we got Tony Blair. Scotland on the other hand has a centre left majority. So ask yourself, which country is more likely to vote in a left wing government? Which country is more likely to repeatedly vote for left wing governments? It’s a no-brainer.

We already have two very different papers on the economic potential of an independent Scotland, there’s the SNP Growth Commission report, and there’s the Common Weal book on How to Start a New Country. If you disagree with the report received by the SNP, a report which is, let us not forget, a discussion paper and not official government policy, then publicise and promote the more radical and ambitious proposals put forward by Common Weal. Or there is nothing to prevent you from developing proposals of your own. Scotland is, after all, a democracy, and it will still be a democracy after we achieve independence. We have two well developed, coherent, and well thought out proposals on how to develop the economy of Scotland with independence. There is nothing remotely comparable from the anti-independence side. The priority here is to attack British nationalists for their failure to produce coherent and realistic plans to develop Scotland within the UK, not for supporters of one vision of an independent Scotland to attack supporters of a different vision.

What this independence movement is about above all is Scottish democracy. It’s not about the particulars of policy. It’s not about whether an independent Scotland is a monarchy or a republic. It’s not about whether an independent Scotland is a member of the EU or not. It’s not about whether we have our own currency or we continue to use the pound. Independence is about one thing and one thing only. It’s about who gets to choose the direction Scotland takes, who gets to decide what sort of country Scotland is, who gets to elect the government that makes Scotland’s laws. Fundamentally it’s about who is the sovereign body in Scotland. Should that be the people of Scotland, or should it be a Parliament on the banks of the Thames in which Scottish representatives are a permanent minority which can be sidelined, ignored, and marginalised. That’s what this debate is about – it’s not about currency or tax policies. It’s about who gets to decide about currency or tax policies. We support independence because we believe that it should be for the people of Scotland to make those choices.

Those of us who place ourselves on the left of politics should support Scottish independence because in the real world there is a far better chance of the electorate in an independent Scotland voting in a left of centre government. In an independent Scotland there is a much better and more realistic prospect of successive governments which adopt and develop policies which tackle inequality instead of encouraging it. It’s all very well arguing about what the priorities of an independent Scotland must be, but before that can happen we must first establish the principle that the people of Scotland should be governed by a government which they elect and which is answerable to the people of Scotland. Otherwise we’re all stuck with Tory rule, Brexit, the widening social inequalities and injustices of a British state which seeks to ape the worst aspects of the USA, and pinning all our hopes on the vague hope that voters in England might just choose to elect a Labour government for a change. Let’s take our destiny into our own hands.


Mapa Gàidhlig na h-Alba / Gaelic Map of Scotland

albarevisedThe Gaelic map of Scotland is now available, the cost is £15 plus £7 P&P within the UK. Please note P&P outwith the UK is more expensive. P&P to Europe is £10, P&P to the rest of the world is £15. If you require multiple copies of the map, you only need pay once for P&P, up to 3 copies of the map which is the maximum that can fit in one postal tube.

You can purchase a copy of the map by Paypal by clicking the donate button at the end of this page and entering the requisite amount. Please also include the address to which the map should be posted. If you prefer another payment method, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for alternatives.

Please note that the map is currently at the printers and I won’t be able to start posting maps out to buyers until the week starting May 28.


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.

Nation : Faroe Islands, the connected nation

Here’s the first episode of the new series I’ve made with Al of Phantom Power about the Faroes – one of Scotland’s successful and inspiring wee European neighbours.
I hope you enjoy it. If you do please share it – especially to friends and family. We are hoping to make another 4-5 films about other small, northern countries – Iceland next, then Norway & Finland. To do that we need to raise some cash. If you can share the link and maybe ask your branch/group to make a donation to our crowd-funder that would be brilliant. We were lucky to get some cash from a mystery source (itself launching in the next two weeks) which helped us make this first film. But we have no further funds to help publicise or distribute, no cash to get to Iceland (though we’ve booked flights!) and no Scottish broadcaster behind us. So we are relying on people power. No pressure!

Thanks

Lesley Riddoch

To contribute to the fundraiser and help produce more of the best documentaries about the potential that can be unleased in a Scotland that dares to take charge of its own destiny, documentaries that you won’t be seeing on your national public service broadcaster any time soon, click here –

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/nation

We all own this movement

Not everyone in the independence movement is thrilled by the Scottish Government’s Growth Commission report. Mildly left of centre and fiscally timid party produces mildly left of centre and fiscally timid economic report, shock horror. Imagine that eh, the SNP hasn’t come up with an economic plan that adopts all the measures favoured by the Socialists or the Greens. The Scottish Government hasn’t developed an economic plan that’s all about me me me and my favourite analysis. Cue a lot of stamping of feet and throwing of dummies. Cue some anguished articles in the overwhelmingly anti-independence press, and a far larger number of gloating articles in that press about how the independence movement is split and divided.

That’s not to say that the plans favoured by the Socialists or the Greens are not as worthwhile or capable of persuading people to the cause of independence as the SNP’s plans, of course they are. Personally I find some aspects of the Common Weal’s proposals for kick-starting the economy of an independent Scotland rather more appealing than some of the points made by the Growth Commission. But the point is that this independence movement is a broad movement, above all it’s a grassroots movement.

By definition not all the players within a grassroots movement are going to sing from the same song sheet. By definition a mass movement is going to contain people with whom you disagree. That’s kinda the point of a grassroots mass movement. That’s our strength, our beauty, our appeal. There’s something there for everyone and no one person or party can own our movement. This is not Nicola Sturgeon’s independence movement. This is not Alex Salmond’s independence movement. This isn’t Robin McAlpine’s independence movement. This isn’t my independence movement. It isn’t Loki’s and it isn’t Jonathon Shafi’s either. It belongs to all of us, and we don’t all have to agree on everything.

The Growth Commission report is a discussion document, not holy writ. You’re not supposed to agree with everything in a discussion document otherwise there is nothing to discuss. It’s a bit like being asked for your opinion but immediately stomping off in a huff because the person asking your opinion hadn’t telepathically absorbed your point of view and didn’t already know what you thought. If the Scottish Government had published its paper and every single person within the Yes movement had said – well yes my thoughts exactly, I’m neither going to criticise it nor make suggestions for improvement – then we would have been accused of being a cult. The entire idea of a discussion document is to act as a basis for discussion. So why react to it as though someone has slapped you in the face with a sterlingisation proposal and announce with outraged harrumphery that you’re disassociating yourself from the movement?

In travels across the length and breadth of this country, I’ve met thousands of people in the independence movement. Every single one of them, without exception, wants Scottish independence because they recognise that there is much that is wrong with this country and it needs to be fixed. They recognise that successive Westminster governments which have presided over and created the rampant inequalities and social injustice which blight this country are not going to fix the conditions upon which British rule depends. But where we all differ in this movement is in our ideas of what we want to achieve with Scottish independence and how we want to go about achieving it. I have my vision of the better land that an independent Scotland could be, it may not be the same as yours.

It has to be said that there is a certain section of the independence movement which is more concerned about ideological purity than it is about independence. They’re putting the cart before the horse. It’s all very well demanding that an independent Scotland must have swings and a roundabout and they must get first dibs on them, but the point is that we need to get the land for the playground first. Once we’ve achieved that. Once we have secured the land, then that is the time to fall out about swings, roundabouts, or chutes.

The irony is that those who preach ideological purity are no different from any one else in this campaign in their desire to achieve independence for pragmatic and practical ends. We all want independence in order to make this country a better place for all its citizens, to make Scotland a better place, a peaceful country that’s a beacon of hope and progressivity. Independence is the starting point, it’s not the final goal, and the ideologically purist wing of the movement is no different from anyone else in this campaign in that regard.

It’s just that some people insist that this movement, this campaign, has to be run according to their preferred set of ideological goals and if it isn’t then they’re going to carp on the sidelines and devote as much if not more time and energy complaining about and criticising other independence supporters than they do attacking the British state and establishment which has produced the unacceptable Scotland that all of us want to change. It’s like fighting with someone who has a different idea of what the cure is rather than tackle the underlying illness. They want a mass movement, but at the same time they want everyone else to agree with them. You can’t have it both ways. This is a mass movement aiming for Scottish independence. We’re not playing at student politics here.

This is not a call to everyone to agree all the time. It’s not a call on everyone to shut up for independence. It’s a call for people to stop attacking others within the movement with whom you have a different point of view about how to achieve a better Scotland. Because the only people who benefit from that are those who don’t want any of us to achieve a better Scotland. The only people who benefit are those opponents of independence who gloat and smirk about divisions and splits within the independence movement. When you attack other supporters of independence because you disagree with their tactics or their vision of the better Scotland we can win, the anti-independence media doesn’t give you airtime or column inches because it wants to promote diversity within the Yes movement. It does it because it wants to weaken and discredit us.

The way we can achieve independence within this mass movement is for all of us to continue to put forward our own hopes of the better Scotland that shimmer before us in a beautiful vision. If you are going to attack anyone, attack those opponents of independence who tell us that there is no such thing as a more beautiful Scotland, that this British state is the best we can hope for. When you attack other independence supporters, all you’re doing is making it more difficult to achieve your own dream. That’s precisely what the British state is depending on.

Let’s not forgot that we all own this movement, and it’s respectful diversity and debate within this movement which will produce respectful diversity and debate within the better Scotland that we’re all campaigning for.


Mapa Gàidhlig na h-Alba / Gaelic Map of Scotland

albarevisedThe Gaelic map of Scotland is now available, the cost is £15 plus £7 P&P within the UK. Please note P&P outwith the UK is more expensive. P&P to Europe is £10, P&P to the rest of the world is £15. If you require multiple copies of the map, you only need pay once for P&P, up to 3 copies of the map which is the maximum that can fit in one postal tube.

You can purchase a copy of the map by Paypal by clicking the donate button at the end of this page and entering the requisite amount. Please also include the address to which the map should be posted. If you prefer another payment method, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for alternatives.

Please note that the map is currently at the printers and I won’t be able to start posting maps out to buyers until the week starting May 28.


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.

An open letter to Ruth Davidson

Dear Ruth,

You’re very fond of addressing the nation from the pulpit of the national press, but you’re not so good at responding to questions from your constituents, and you run and hide whenever you’re faced with something that can’t be answered with “Scotland doesn’t want another referendum.” Your myth is the biggest myth to come out of Scotland since the Loch Ness monster, and your substance is every bit as elusive. Yet on Sunday you took to the pages of the Mail on Sunday in order to lecture the people of Scotland about what they can or cannot do, as though someone voted you the arbiter of Scottish democracy.

You present yourself as the new face of Conservativism. You’ve only been successful because you get an easy ride from your pals in the Scottish press.  You complain about members of the public following you in the street to ask you a question, the Scottish media sure as hell doesn’t do that. They reserve that treatment for SNP politicians, and they collude with you when you make up stories about burly men and abuse. You’ve been successful because you avoid difficult questions. On the rare occasions you have been subject to more rigorous interviewing, you collapse like a drunk after an Orange Parade. You are all flute and no toot, all big drums and no boom, an aggressive swaggering walk that leads to the past.  The British media might buy it, but we don’t.

What your soft focus media treatment doesn’t probe you on is that any success you’ve enjoyed has been built on the back of dog whistling to the most reactionary and regressive elements in Scottish society. You’re the darling of the Orange Lodge as well as the British media. Ever since you became leader, your party has been mired in the scandal of one Tory after another being exposed as a sectarian bigot, a racist, a supporter of the extreme right. Other Conservatives have come out of the closet to complain about how you surround yourself with a wee group of sycophants and the only means to advancement in the Scottish Conservatives is to sook up to Ruth.

None of that happened under your predecessor. Auntie Annabel wouldn’t have tolerated the bigots and racists that fill Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservativecooncil seats. She was far more a modern Conservative than you could ever dream of being.  She at least had respect for democracy. You preach the politics of modernity, you practise the politics of the past. You don’t care who you tread on, who you crush. Anything at all to get you to the top. You are the ultimate practictioner of Conservative politics, the politics of greed, the politics of selfishness. It really is all about you. You’re well matched with Michael Gove, a man whose ego and estimation of his own abilities is every bit as inflated as your own.

We’re sick to the back teeth of listening to your stuck record. You’re very keen for the SNP to respect the result of the 2014 referendum, but you’re not so keen on respecting the promises and commitments that your own party made in order to win it. The people who need to be held to account for the outcome of popular votes are not the people who lost them, it’s the people who won them. Democracy didn’t stop in 2014. The people of Scotland did not hand you and your party a blank cheque to do with us as you please for as long as it suits you. The No vote in 2014 was a conditional vote. It was conditional on the promises and commitments of the Better Together campaign which you actively supported. You’ve failed to fulfil your party’s commitments. We are here now on the verge of a second referendum because of your failures, your shortcomings, your betrayal of your promises. You don’t get a free pass. You don’t get to cry that it’s only the SNP that needs to be held to account.

One of the promises that your party made was that the powers of the Scottish parliament would be enshrined in law, and that no Westminster government would ever make any changes to the devolution settlement without the express consent of Holyrood. Remember that Ruth? Because we do. We also remember that the UK Supreme Court ruled that this provision in the Scotland Act has no legal force, we remember that the supposed legal guarantee of the permanence of Holyrood and the devolution settlement was nothing more than meaningless sophistry. We remember that you told us that the only way Scotland could remain in the EU was to vote against independence. We remember that you told us that if Scotland wanted an independence referendum then the people of Scotland needed to vote for a party which had that as a manifesto commitment, and then that party needed to secure a majority in the Scottish Parliament.

If you were so eager to ensure that the result of the 2014 referendum was to be respected, then you’d be fighting tooth and nail against your own government’s proposals to use the EU referendum result which Scotland voted against in order to undermine the devolution referendum result which Scotland voted for. Even on your own terms you fail. You demand that Scotland remains a part of the UK, but you refuse to stand up for Scotland within the UK.

We know your type. You’re the consummate opportunist. You’re an ego-driven lookitme. We know that if you sincerely believed that you could win a second Scottish independence referendum for No by a handsome majority, then you would be the first to be calling for one. Then you could pose as the saviour of this so-called Union that’s not a union at all. Your opposition to a second independence referendum is founded in fear, the fear that you’re going to lose. That fear is the only realistic thing about your politics.

So even if you’ve forgotten who you really are, we haven’t. You’re the jumped up leader of a minority party. If you want to lecture the Scottish people and the Scottish government about what they can or cannot do, then get a majority in Holyrood. It’s called democracy. Your determination to block something that the people of Scotland have already voted for, which the Scottish parliament has already voted for, shows that you’re nothing near to the modern caring sharing compassionate Conservative of your media hype. You’re just a 21st century Scottish female version of the Ulster Says No of the last century. You’re Ina Paisley. You are no friend of democracy. You stand for the paternalism and passivity of the past. You’re yesterday’s news wrapped up in 21st century dressing, you’re as pointless as instagramming the 1950s. You do not speak for Scotland. You do not even speak for everyone who voted No in 2014. You speak for the Scottish Conservatives, a minor party with just 31 MSPs out of 129. Holding less than a quarter of the seats in the Scottish Parliament doesn’t give you the right to determine the path Scotland takes.

Here’s the thing Ruth. Here’s what you either don’t remember or don’t wish to think about. Here’s what you certainly don’t want the people of Scotland to realise. If Scotland wants to hold another independence referendum, your permission is not required. Theresa May’s permission is not required. This referendum is above all about whether a minority Scottish Conservative party gets to dictate the future of Scotland to the rest of us, and that minority Scottish Conservative party sure as hell isn’t going to dictate whether that referendum happens or not. We will be having our vote Ruth, and you’re not going to stop it.

xx

1.6 million Yes voters


Mapa Gàidhlig na h-Alba / Gaelic Map of Scotland

albarevisedThe Gaelic map of Scotland is now available, the cost is £15 plus £7 P&P within the UK. Please note P&P outwith the UK is more expensive. P&P to Europe is £10, P&P to the rest of the world is £15. If you require multiple copies of the map, you only need pay once for P&P, up to 3 copies of the map which is the maximum that can fit in one postal tube.

You can purchase a copy of the map by Paypal by clicking the donate button at the end of this page and entering the requisite amount. Please also include the address to which the map should be posted. If you prefer another payment method, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for alternatives.

Please note that the map is currently at the printers and I won’t be able to start posting maps out to buyers until the week starting May 28.


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 choice of challenges

As was entirely predictable, opponents of independence have spent the past couple of days frothing at the mouth. And as was equally predictable, not one of them have proposed any plans of their own for boosting Scotland’s economy within the UK. For a bunch of people who are very keen on telling Nichola Sturgeon that she should use the powers Scotland already has – at least powers that it has until Westminster decides to take them back – none of them have come up with any proposals for a Scotland within the UK which are remotely comparable to the Growth Commission report.

As part of the UK Scotland is shackled by the economic decisions made by Westminster. Scotland has the powers of a band-aid, but is not allowed to treat the underlying disease. A Scotland within the UK can do nothing to protect itself from decisions made by Westminster which are not in Scotland’s interests, all it can do is attempt to mop up some of the mess afterwards. It’s like being told that you should be using your ability to put a poultice on a minor skin rash when you’re being held down and your head is being kicked in by a gang of rabid Brexiteers.

The inability of opponents of independence to develop coherent and comprehensive plans for Scotland to grow its economy irrespective of the political and economic priorities of the British government is a tacit acknowledgement that a British Scotland is Blanche Dubois Scotland, always dependent on the kindness of strangers. Only in Scotland’s case the strangers in question are the British Conservatives, a bunch of people who have never knowingly done anything without first calculating what’s in it for them and how they can profit from it.

There’s much to be happy with in the report. It presents a detailed, cohesive, and convincing plan to grow Scotland’s economy. It is above all realistic, and means that the independence movement can no longer be accused of wishful or magical thinking. That now lies entirely with the British state and its increasingly delusional Brexit. The report means that Scotland has an infinitely more detailed plan about the future of its economy than the UK did before Brexit, and still does even two years after the vote to leave the EU. This report signals that the romantic nostalgic dreamers in Scotland’s constitutional debate are very firmly on the anti-independence side of the equation. Scotland can have the Growth Commission report, or along with the rest of the UK it can pursue economic plans which the EU has already ruled out.

It’s important to remember that this report is a discussion document, it is not a holy writ set in stone. It provides a solid foundation for economic discussions about the best way to develop the Scottish economy. What’s certain is that differences of opinion about the best way to develop the economy of an independent Scotland do not aid the cause of British nationalism, because none of the options under discussion are possibilities for a Scotland that remains under Westminster rule.

It’s perhaps regrettable that the Growth Commission report felt the need to set a definite timetable on the continuing use of the pound by an independent Scotland, instead of stating that Scotland would move to its own currency when it suits Scotland, and that preparations to move towards the new currency would start upon the country achieving independence. That would have gone some way towards ensuring the support of those who believe that a Scottish currency is an essential instrument for developing the economy of an independent Scotland. The currency proposals are the weakest part of the Growth Commission report and have been disappointing to many for their apparent timidity.

But we should recognise that the proposals in the report for the unilateral use of sterling by an independent Scotland for a period of time does achieve one vital goal, and that’s to destroy the British nationalist lie that Scotland needs Westminster’s permission to continue to use the pound. The political importance of that cannot be underestimated. The cry “You won’t be allowed to use the pound” has been silenced. Scotland will use the pound irrespective, and Westminster can’t prevent it.

It is eminently sensible for Scotland to do as this report does and to compare itself to other small developed countries. Scotland possesses resources and assets that most of those other nations can only dream of, Scotland has an embarrassment of natural resources, and a highly educated population. Yet those other small countries consistently out-perform Scotland on a variety of economic indicators. The reason is because of the macro-economic decisions made for Scotland as a part of the UK, decisions which Scotland can do little to influence. Scotland is blighted by inequality and deprivation, by huge differences in wealth and income. Economic studies consistently demonstrate that there is a correlation between reduced inequality and economic growth. Westminster’s policies promote inequality, and Brexit is only going to make that situation even worse.

Above all, the report is a realistic assessment that Scotland as part of the UK faces immenses economic challenges, and that getting out of the mess created for us by successive British governments is in itself going to be a challenge. It is an optimistic assessment of the potential of Scotland’s economy, a potential which is being squashed by a British state with very different priorities. It’s a report that demonstrates how an open and accepting Scotland that welcomes migrants is a Scotland that can thrive. It’s the opposite of the narrow and inward looking xenophobia that lies behind the British Brexit.

There is no status quo any more. Scotland faces a choice of challenges. Brexit brings challenges. Independence brings challenges. We only have a plan to tackle one of those challenges. We only have the power to influence the outcome of one of those challenges. The lesson to take here is that the choice facing Scotland in the coming independence referendum is going to be a choice between the challenge of independence, which is the challenge of rising to the top, or the challenge of remaining a part of Brexit Britain, which is the challenge of struggling not to be submerged. We can swim with independence, or sink as a part of the UK.


Mapa Gàidhlig na h-Alba / Gaelic Map of Scotland

albarevisedThe Gaelic map of Scotland is now available, the cost is £15 plus £7 P&P within the UK. Please note P&P outwith the UK is more expensive. P&P to Europe is £10, P&P to the rest of the world is £15. If you require multiple copies of the map, you only need pay once for P&P, up to 3 copies of the map which is the maximum that can fit in one postal tube.

You can purchase a copy of the map by Paypal by clicking the donate button at the end of this page and entering the requisite amount. Please also include the address to which the map should be posted. If you prefer another payment method, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for alternatives.

Please note that the map is currently at the printers and I won’t be able to start posting maps out to buyers until the week starting May 28.


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.

Not asking permission

I’m trying to get a whole load of Gaelic maps parcelled up, labelled, and posted off. So there’s a lot to do today. However like a lot of independence supporters, I’m also trying to get through the 354 pages of the Sustainable Growth Commission report which was published today – to the predictable harrumphery of speed-reading British nationalists.

Let’s be honest here, it’s not exactly a gripping read, economics reports never are. No one gets murdered in it, and there is a distinct shortage of wee cute kittens. This will undoubtedly be reflected in the way that Reporting Scotland covers it. The BBC has already informed us that the snap reaction of David Mundell to the report was “Scotland doesn’t want another referendum.” But it’s not clear whether they did actually manage to speak to him. Scotland doesn’t want another referendum is what it says when you get through to his voicemail.

Some preliminary thoughts. Given the publicity that Ruth Davidson is going to get this weekend to tell us all that Scotland doesn’t want another referendum, it would be nice, seeing as how some journalists will have got her attention, if they could press her on the bigots, racists, far right extremists, and troughers who seem to infest her party. And while we’re on the topic of reprobates, it would be good to remember that many of the British nationalist soi-disant economic experts who’ll be crawling all over the media this weekend to tell us how rubbish Scottish economic prospects are are the very same experts who have presided over the UK’s near £2 trillion in debt, the rampant greed of the City of London, austerity, and a catastrophic Brexit.

But back to the report. First off it’s always worth remembering that it is far easier to create fear, to foster uncertainty, and plant seeds of doubt than it is to offer a vision for a better future and to work to build one. British nationalists in Scotland have no vision for a better future. What we have now is as good as it can possibly get. It’s narrow, restrictive, and myopic. It’s a view based on fear and lack of confidence. It’s a view founded in paternalism and poverty of ambition and spirit. So when you listen to the tidal wave of negativity which is bound to hit our overwhelmingly anti-independence media today and over the weekend, remember that nowhere among it will there be any vision of how Scotland can create a better future for itself within the UK.

It is quite astounding that in their response to the document the British nationalist parties and their friends in the media are still acting as though we’re in 2014 and the status quo is still an option. It’s not. There is no status quo any more. There is no safety and security of the known quantity of the UK. There are only two choices, taking a back seat as the Brexit bus is driven off a cliff and being utterly unable to have any say the matter, or taking our destiny into our own hands and making our own decisions. That’s it. No other options are available.

It’s worth repeating, shouting from the rooftops. There is no status quo. There is only change. It’s up to Scotland to decide whether we want to be active agents in our own future, or to sit back passively as decisions are made for us by people who do not necessarily have our best interests at heart and for whom the interests of Scotland are merely one set of considerations amongst many, considerations which are far down their list of priorities.

Others are smugly pointing out that not everyone who supports independence agrees with everything in the report. My god. Imagine that. People who aren’t SNP supporters having a different opinion from the SNP. Who ever saw that one coming eh? It’s not entirely clear why they think that citing people who support independence but who have a different opinion about what they’d like to see in an independent Scotland from the SNP Government helps them to argue that Scotland shouldn’t become independent at all. It doesn’t help opposition to independence by pointing out that some people who support independence think that things in an independent Scotland could be done even better than this report states. But knock yourselves out guys.

The currency plans are central to the report. It ditches the currency union plan which hampered the independence campaign back in 2014. It may very well be the case that the currency union would have been the most sensible currency strategy for both countries after Scottish independence, but politically it was impossible to sell. In effect we were saying “Haw Westminster we want to be independent from you. By the way, we’d like you to cooperate with us on this key aspect of our economic policy.” It was giving opponents of independence a big open goal to say no, one which they exploited to the full.

Instead the report proposes that Scotland does what Ireland did when it became independent. Ireland unilaterally continued to use the pound sterling until it was ready to introduce its own currency, the Irish punt, six years after independence in 1928. The punt was then linked to sterling at parity until 1979 when Ireland began making preparations to join the eurozone. During the initial period of independence Scotland will be able to introduce the necessary arrangements for transitioning to a Scottish currency when it is appropriate. Depending on economic circumstances at the time, the new Scottish currency can be linked to the value of the pound or not. Scotland will decide that for itself. The key message here is that post-independence Scotland can continue to use the pound. Scotland will use the pound. Scotland is not asking for permission.

The plan of the Growth Commission report to unilaterally stick with sterling in the initial years of independence doesn’t please those who want a new Scottish currency immediately, but it removes that nawbaggery from the British nationalist armoury. It provides a simple and easy answer to the “What currency are you going to use?” jibe. We are not asking for their permission or cooperation. We’re just going to do it anyway. That all by itself puts the independence movement in a stronger position. After all, if you believe in self-determination, it means you believe that you don’t require permission to determine what’s best for you.

The Growth Commission Report is a realistic assessment of where Scotland is and what Scotland can do in order to create a stronger and better economy for the benefit of all its citizens. It doesn’t gloss over the difficulties. It is a strong and solid foundation upon which to build arguments for independence. Compared to the wing and a prayer of Brexit, it is comprehensive and detailed. What this means is that Scotland is already more prepared for independence than the UK is prepared for post-Brexit Britain. The risks and uncertainties and insecurity lie with remaining a part of the UK.


Mapa Gàidhlig na h-Alba / Gaelic Map of Scotland

albarevisedThe Gaelic map of Scotland is now available, the cost is £15 plus £7 P&P within the UK. Please note P&P outwith the UK is more expensive. P&P to Europe is £10, P&P to the rest of the world is £15. If you require multiple copies of the map, you only need pay once for P&P, up to 3 copies of the map which is the maximum that can fit in one postal tube.

You can purchase a copy of the map by Paypal by clicking the donate button at the end of this page and entering the requisite amount. Please also include the address to which the map should be posted. If you prefer another payment method, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for alternatives.

Please note that the map is currently at the printers and I won’t be able to start posting maps out to buyers until the week starting May 28.


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.

Can Scotland afford not to become independent?

Back in 2014 the question constantly put forward by the forces of British nationalism in Scotland was – can Scotland afford to become independent? With the implication that of course it couldn’t. As we face the inevitability of a second independence referendum, one which has been brought about by the lies and deceit, the shortcomings and failures of British nationalism, the question now facing Scotland is – can Scotland afford not to become independent?

The reality is that Britain costs us, and it costs us dear. For a Scotland that’s a part of the UK there is a heavy economic, political, psychological, and moral cost. Britishness costs. The British state and the Conservative ethos which dominates extracts a price. In return for the heavy price we pay, Scotland is belittled, ignored, sidelined, and taken for granted by a British establishment which has no interest in doing what’s best for Scotland.

The economic cost to Scotland of being a part of the UK lies above all in the inability of Scotland to develop its economy in the interests of the people of Scotland. A recent report from the Fraser of Allander Institute demonstrated that Scotland exports over £9 billion annually of Scottish produced wealth to the rest of the UK and abroad. The levers of macro-economic control rest firmly with a Westminster which jealously guards its power. Despite devolution, the UK remains one of the most centralised states in Europe, and that centralised power is used in the economic benefit of London and the south east of England.

Opponents of independence point to the GERS (Government Expenditure and Revenues Scotland) figures as “proof” that Scotland is subsidised by the rest of the UK and that we’d be unable to provide for ourselves as an independent state. But that argument rests upon a fundamental fallacy, the fallacy that an independent Scotland would make the exact same economic and political choices as are made for it by the British state. The entire point of independence is to enable Scotland to make different choices, better choices, economic choices which work to Scotland’s benefit, choices which Scotland cannot take as part of the UK.

When an opponent of independence claims that Scotland can’t afford to become independent, they are in fact admitting that the economic policies of the UK have impoverished Scotland. They are arguing that the way in which the British state has failed the people of Scotland means that Scotland must continue to depend on the state that has failed us. That nonsensical view is given huge amounts of airtime, its fundamental illogicality is almost never pointed out in a Scottish media which is overwhelmingly opposed to independence.

Brexit has made a bad situation even worse. We were told in 2014 that independence would cost Scotland £500 per year per household. Now we discover that Brexit is costing every household £900 per year. We are worse off than we would have been even under the worst case scenario promoted by opponents of independence back in 2014. What you can be certain of is that the economic cost of Brexit will not be felt by the Boris Johnsons and Jacob Rees Moggs of this world. It will be felt by you and me.

We are told that Scotland can’t afford to become independent because the majority of Scottish exports go to the rest of the UK. For starters it must be pointed out that this is an estimate, not an accurate figure, because as part of the UK Scotland is also deprived of the precise and exact economic information that is required to make detailed economic decisions. However it’s most certainly true that the bulk of Scottish exports go to the rest of the UK. The answer is – so what? The great majority of Ireland’s exports were once likewise destined for the UK, but as an independent nation capable of making its own economic decisions, Ireland now exports more to the rest of the EU. An independent Scotland could do the same.

Meanwhile the issue of the Irish border looms large in the Brexit negotiations. Ireland and the EU are demanding, rightly, that the UK abides by its commitment not to introduce any perceptible border within the island of Ireland. It is likewise politically impossible to introduce a border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. The UK cannot threaten a Scotland which is a member of the customs union, the single market and the common travel area with a border, when it has guaranteed no border with another state which is a member of the customs union, the single market, and the common travel area. And if there is no perceptible border, it matters not a jot if the majority of Scottish exports go to the rest of the UK until an independent Scotland rebalances its economy.

The political cost of the UK to Scotland weighs heavy on our shoulders. We were promised in 2014 that we’d be a valued and equal partner in a family of nations. That’s nothing more than meaningless cant designed to make Scottish people feel better about the subservient position of Scotland within the UK. The political price Scotland pays for being a part of the UK is that Scotland gets what England votes for. England makes up 85% of the population of the UK, an unassailable majority. Scottish votes can only make a difference when opinion in England is very finely balanced. Most of the time, Scottish votes are irrelevant.

As long as Scotland and England were on the same page politically, alternating between Labour and the Conservatives, Scotland could kid itself on that it was participating in a Union. Scotland got what it voted for often enough and we could pretend to ourselves that Scotland was an active agent in UK politics. The truth is that when Scotland got what it voted for, it was mere coincidence, not agency. We got it because England just so happened to vote the same way.

Brexit has destroyed any pretence that Scotland is politically relevant within the UK. With a General Election we could always tell ourselves that if Scotland didn’t get the UK government it wanted, there was always the election in five years time. We could hope for the coincidence of English votes going the same way as votes in Scotland and pretend to ourselves that Scotland was an active agent in its own destiny. Brexit has blown that out of the water. Brexit is forever. Scotland has no voice, no input, no say, despite the fact that in the EU referendum Scotland voted to remain a part of the EU by a considerably larger margin than it voted to remain a part of the UK in 2014.

You cannot delegate your political decisions to your neighbours and tell yourself that you live in a functioning democracy. There’s only one way in which Scotland can get what Scotland votes for. There’s only one way that Scotland can be anything other than a coincidental democracy. That’s to take the powers of self-government into Scottish hands.

There is a heavy economic cost to Scotland for remaining a part of the UK. There is a punishing political cost to Scotland for remaining a part of the UK. There is also a crushing psychological cost. It’s called the Cringe. The Cringe is a product of the cognitive dissonance that arises when you are a member of a nation that isn’t allowed to act like a normal nation. The mismatch between Scotland’s concept of itself as a proud and ancient nation, which is automatically to be compared with other nations like Denmark or Finland, and the reality of a part of the UK which the British state equates with a glorified English county, exerts a significant psychological toll. The Cringe is what comes of trying to reconcile two different realities, the reality of how you see yourself versus the reality of how you are seen by those with power.

The Cringe is what produces the Proud Scot But. I’m a proud Scot but … we cannae dae that. I’m a proud Scot but … we won’t be allowed to. I’m a proud Scot but … we’re too wee. I’m a proud Scot but … Europe wouldn’t want us. A person who tells you that an international organisation wouldn’t want their country is a person who has internalised the view that their country is a lesser place, that it’s not good enough, that it’s inadequate.

The Cringe tells us that we’re not good enough. The Cringe tells us that if something is Scottish then it must by definition be a subject of ridicule. That’s why British nationalists are happy with the Scots language being used in comedy but not with it being used in serious news reporting. It’s because the Cringe tell us that Scottishness is funny, a wall of laughter to hide the pain and insecurity that lurks within. The Cringe is responsible for the Great Scottish National Inferiority Complex, the deep rooted sense amongst so many of us that we’re not quite good enough.

British nationalism feeds on the Cringe. It nurtures it. It depends on it because the mental chains of the Cringe are what keep Scotland in the British state. The Cringe is the psychological cost of being a member of a nation that can’t act like a country. Scottish independence is the radical notion that Scotland could be normal. That terrifies and threatens those whose wealth, privilege, and preference depend on the Cringe.

Scotland pays a moral cost for being a part of the UK. We pay that moral cost in the deaths and injuries of young Scots men and women who enlist in the armed forces because they have few other options, and who are then deployed in the many wars that the British state engages in in its insane post-imperial drive to prove that a medium sized European country is still a global player. Scotland pays a moral cost in the deaths, the injuries, the displacements, the destruction, the refugees produced by British military adventurism. Scotland pays a moral cost by acting as a host for British weapons of mass destruction.

Scotland pays a moral cost in the treatment of refugees and migrants to our country at the hands of a Home Office with a policy of creating a hostile environment. As long as Scotland remains a part of the UK, the international shame of the UK is our shame too. It makes no difference that we voted against it. It makes no difference that we oppose it. We are perceived by those outwith the UK as being every bit as complicit as anywhere else. No one condemns the actions of the Russian state but makes an exception for the people of Yakutia or Mari El. When people abroad talk about and criticise the actions of “Inglaterra”, they mean Scotland too. We pay a moral cost by making ourselves invisible, by subsuming ourselves into a larger whole over which we exert no effective control. The first step to gaining moral agency is to find your voice. Only with independence can Scotland find its voice. Then we will be responsible for our own actions, and not complicit in the actions of the British state.

The costs of Britishness are heavy and burdensome. It’s a cost which empties our pockets, which destroys our agency, which crushes our confidence, which taints our soul. It’s a cost we can’t go on paying. Scotland can’t afford not to become independent.


Mapa Gàidhlig na h-Alba / Gaelic Map of Scotland

albarevisedThe Gaelic map of Scotland is now available, the cost is £15 plus £7 P&P within the UK. Please note P&P outwith the UK is more expensive. P&P to Europe is £10, P&P to the rest of the world is £15. If you require multiple copies of the map, you only need pay once for P&P, up to 4 copies of the map.

You can purchase a copy of the map by Paypal by clicking the donate button at the end of this page and entering the requisite amount. Please also include the address to which the map should be posted. If you prefer another payment method, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for alternatives.

Please note that the map is currently at the printers and I won’t be able to start posting maps out to buyers until the week starting May 28.


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.