The shitty shreds of May

Sometimes you can progress just by standing still. Sometimes you can win by doing nothing much at all. Sometimes you win by holding firm to your beliefs and allowing your opponents to destroy themselves. The writer Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World, once said that people have an infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That’s also true of the Westminster parliament’s attitude to Scotland. Arrogance is taking what a nation offers for granted, wisdom lies in taking what a nation offers with gratitude. There is no gratitude from the Westminster system, only the arrogance of entitlement. Their arrogance is destroying them.

Even more than because those of us who believe in independence succeed in promoting the case for independence, Scotland will achieve independence because the case for remaining a part of the UK has been destroyed by those who believe in the UK. Each of those who say that they love Scotland’s place within the UK and who are entrusted with protecting it has killed the thing they love. If you love something, you must nuture it, cherish it. You must give it an opportunity to breathe, to stretch out. Love means granting space, giving respect. Love means saying sorry. Scotland doesn’t get love from our Westminster rulers, instead we’re treated like a chained captive in a basement playing out the role of the submissive in fifty shades of red white and blue.

It’s human nature to take things for granted when there is no threat of losing them. During the 2014 referendum, in those last few weeks when Westminster’s politicians descended into full blown panic with the realisation that Scotland was actually serious, that Scotland just might really vote for independence, for a short and glorious time Scotland was not taken for granted by Westminster. We were told how much we were loved, how necessary we were. We were promised that we were equal partners in a family of nations, a vital part of the most perfect union ever created.

What cut and wounded so deeply wasn’t so much the betrayal of the promise that Scotland’s parliament would be granted more powers, entrenched powers, promised that no changes could be made to the devolution settlement without its express consent. What really hurt the cause of British nationalism in Scotland was the betrayal of the promise that this country would be listened to, that it was an active partner in deciding its own destiny. What really hurt was the realisation that the second that there was no longer any immediate threat of Scottish independence, Westminster returned to its arrogant and high handed business as usual. Out with the protestations of love and affection, and back to the contempt and disdain. So much for all the fine promises, the devolution settlement has been reduced to the shitty shreds of May. That’s not what we voted for in 2014. That’s not what we voted for in 1997.

Which means that Scotland is left asking itself, the question that will be forefront and centre in the next independence referendum, what sort of union is it where the smaller nation can only get listened to by threatening to leave. What sort of union is it when the smaller nation has no means at all of holding the joint parliament to account for commitments and promises that are made to it. What place does Scotland have in a United Kingdom which neither consults with nor takes into account the concerns and needs of Scotland. And the answer is, it’s no union at all. Scotland’s place is the same as that of Lincolnshire County Council.

A union isn’t an event. A union is a long and complex dance, a giving and taking, a balancing and rebalancing. A successful union poises itself between the expectations of those who participate in it. A successful union liberates its partners. If you want a union to last you must never abuse it. A successful union is a safe place, where those who participate in it are able to be heard and able to influence.

But that’s not what Scotland experiences in this so-called union. A good union is like a good marriage, and in a good marriage what’s important isn’t how you deal with the things you have in common, with the things you agree on. What’s important is how you deal with the things that are different between you, with the things you disagree on. As part of the UK Scotland is dictated to, it is given instructions. It is limited and constrained, unable to shape the course of events.

The union is dead, it was killed by British nationalists. The only way that the arrogant colonial governors in Westminster will learn the worth and value of Scotland is when they no longer possess it. The union is ending, not because of the entreaties of those of us who strive for independence, but because of the arrogance and presumption of those who call themselves unionists.

Scotland won’t become independent because of those of us who are committed to independence. It will be because those in Scotland who didn’t feel strongly about it will look upon the so-called union and realise that there’s nothing in it, that it’s a hollow promise, that it’s based upon a lie.

This coming independence referendum will be a very different proposition from the previous one. In 2014 we had to argue the case for independence, but the case for the union was taken for granted. Next time round that won’t be so. The case for the union, the security and stability that it promised, the status quo, the guarantee that things would remain the same, that’s been destroyed by Brexit and the insane contradictions of this Conservative government. There is no safety and stability in the UK any more. There is only the choice between two uncertain futures, one which Scotland is powerless to influence, or one which Scotland gets to determine.

The choice facing Scotland now is the choice between being a country, being a nation, being a sovereign state which makes its own decisions, or being a glorified county council in a unitary Greater Brexitshire which prioritises the politics of the Boris Johnsons and Jacob Rees Moggs of this world. There are no other options. Choose a voice, or choose being silenced and left with the shitty shreds of May.  The union is already dead.  The only question left is whether Scotland wants to continue to be shackled to its corpse.

I won’t be blogging this coming week as I have another commitment that I can’t get out of. Sadly it doesn’t involve traipsing off to furren pairts. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.


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.


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.

Respect starts with self-respect

This week was the second anniversary of the Brexit referendum. Twenty four months down the line and any reasonable person would have expected that any halfway competent government would have used this time for careful planning, highly detailed project management, and comprehensive decision making, all of which should have laid out a clear road map for the glorious post Brexit future which we were assured is going to await the UK. By this stage in the game, with the date when the UK is out of the EU looming, we should have had some sense of what the government is aiming for.

Instead, what we’ve got is a toxic mix of confusion, in-fighting, wishful thinking, fantasy, nostalgia, and sheer utter self-delusion, all of which have created a deep uncertainty and instability and the looming threat of a catastophic expulsion from Europe which will poison our links with those countries which are supposed to be our closest allies. Jobs are at risk, public services are threatened, businesses are making plans to relocate elsewhere, and the UK has turned into a peripheral and unimportant state which is only prevented from being the laughing stock of the world because it does not have Donald Trump as head of state.

We have all those things, in fact, which supporters of the British state claimed that were in store for Scotland if this country had opted for independence in 2014, and which could only be avoided by remaining a part of the UK. Is that what they meant by telling us that by voting against independence Scotland could have the best of both worlds? Still, at least we know what currency we’re using eh. It’s just a pity that it’s worth a lot less now than it was two years ago.

Here we are, two years down the line, and we still have no idea what the British government’s Plan A is. We had a general election which was supposed to give Theresa May her mandate to seek whatever kind of Brexit suited her, the result being that she lost her majority as the electorate looked upon the self-centredness, the confusion, the greed, the xenophobia, and said “naaa”. But despite losing her majority Theresa hasn’t changed tack.

Two years ago we were told that a soft Brexit was remaining a part of the customs union and the single market, a hard Brexit was leaving them, and crashing out with no deal at all was an unthinkable calamity that no one was even considering. Two years down the line and now we’re told that not leaving the single market and the customs union is no Brexit at all, leaving them with a deal is a soft Brexit, and the swivel eyed British nationalists in the Conservative cabinet think any sort of accommodation at all with the EU is a betrayal. The prospect of crashing out of the EU with no deal is a very real prospect.

It’s a litany of depressing gloom that’s worse than a November weather forecast. There’s no realistic plan to solve the conundrum of the Irish border. British citizens who live in other EU states and EU citizens who live in the UK have no clear idea of what’s going to happen after Brexit. Health workers are leaving the NHS and going abroad. There is no planning for the queues and delays that will be created at ferry ports as lorries use motorways as parking lots. Successive British governments have always relied on the financial sector to drive the British economy, but this week the European Banking Authority warned that Britain’s preparations for the impact of Brexit on the financial sector are inadequate. The EU’s most senior banking regulator has advised that banks should proceed on the assumption that the UK would crash out of the EU in March 2019 without a deal. Airbus and other major companies have announced that they are having to consider whether to shift production and other facilities out of the UK. Instead of the promised bonanza of extra spending because the UK will no longer be contributing to the EU, we’re faced with an unprecedented squeeze on public spending, a massive ballooning in government borrowing, and rises in taxes.

Any normal person who was responsible for this magnitude of fuckwitted-fuckuppery would be traumatised by the sheer horror and disaster that they had unleashed upon millions of people and would be unable to sleep easily in their beds, kept constantly awake by the terror of realising the harm that they have caused, crying into their pillow as they desperately tried to make peace with whatever deity they worship. But Theresa May’s government are not normal people. They get to sleep just fine, in coffins, wearing full evening dress. The only god they worship is the god of their own ambition. They don’t give a toss about the effect of Brexit on the rest of us. They’re going to be just fine.

Meanwhile, Tony Blair warns that we’re at risk of a return to the dark politics of the 1930s, apparently unaware that he’s possibly the single individual who has done more than anyone else to destroy public trust in traditional politics. The UK is descending down a dark and threatening path, the safe accepting place that Scotland was promised it could be a partner of back in 2014 doesn’t exist. The Britain that Scotland was told it was a part of doesn’t exist. There’s only the vainglorious Britain of shattered dreams and broken promises.

Two years after the Brexit vote, and there has been no meaningful input into the process from Scotland. So much for being a valued and much loved partner in a family of nations. The British government is instead using Brexit as an excuse to undermine the devolution settlement in its pursuit of a post-Brexit unitary state. That is not what Scotland voted for in 2014. Westminster disrespects Scotland, lies about it, then comes to us smiling and claiming that there’s nothing wrong. Well there is plenty wrong. Not taking action when you are disrespected is the most certain guarantee that the disrespect will continue. You cannot collaborate with those who treat you with contempt.

Amidst all the confusion, the muddle, the uncertainty, two years after the Brexit vote one thing at least is clear. If Scotland wants respect from Westminster, we need to start with self-respect. That means this country needs to start making its decisions and acting on them.


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.


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.

Reclaiming the future

Opponents of independence are very keen on attacking visions of an independent Scotland. They tut and they tsk. They tell us a million and one reasons why Scotland can’t possibly achieve things that any normal country can achieve. They insist that uniquely amongst the nations of Europe, Scotland is incapable of having money, of running a health service, of providing for its citizens. But what they’re not so keen on is telling us how Scotland can become a better place by remaining a part of the UK. Where’s your plan B, they sneer at independence supporters, while they themselves haven’t even thought to create a plan A.

Their only plan is for Scotland to shut up and do what Whitehall tell it. They can’t even pretend any more that they believe in the primacy of the House of Commons, not after Theresa May and the Conservative leadership have done their utmost to ensure that they can impose the Brexit they want without parliamentary scrutiny. The only plan is for Scotland to submit to an elected dictatorship which Scotland has little influence in electing and which doesn’t care about Scotland’s needs.

Opponents of independence are very eager to tell Scotland what it can’t do, what it can’t achieve, what lies beyond the capacity of this land of inventors and dreamers, but they never tell us what Scotland can do, what it can achieve. British nationalism in Scotland is a religion without faith, a belief without hope. Wheesht noo. Be quiet. There’s the shortbread tin with its Great British branding. Sit silently inside it while the lid is sealed. If you’re very, very lucky, you might get a Great British airhole, from which you can have a tiny and restricted vision of a world you’re not allowed to participate in.

Scotland’s fate is in the hands of Westminster ideologues. Which would be bad enough. However Scotland’s fate is in the hands of Westminster ideologues who have no ideas. Which means that all we’re left with are the logues. Short thick pieces of wood. The UK is a xylocracy. That’s ancient Greek for government by planks, not xylophones. It’s just that we’re the ones being played. Coincidentally, on a scale of 1 to 10 of the Conservative government’s list of priorities, Scotland scores less than a planck length. That’s the smallest unit of measurement, where the classical laws of physics break down. That’s why they can lie to us so brazenly and still assert that they’re being honest. It’s because they’re no longer dealing with a reality that any of us would recognise.

Boris Johnson is so obsessed with the purity of Brexit that when warned about the decision of Airbus to leave the UK and negative effect on business and jobs he reportedly said, “Fuck business.” This is a Tory talking about business. The one thing a Tory politicians fetishised above all else, at least until Brexit. If senior members of this Conservative government are prepared to fuck over business in order to get the pure Brexit that they crave, they’re not going to hesitate to fuck over Scotland.

Confidence in the willingness and ability of the British government to work in the interests in Scotland has plummeted. According to the latest Scottish Social Attitudes Survey, just 20% of people in this country trust in the British government to work in Scotland’s best interests. Even most people in Scotland who identify primarily as British over Scottish don’t believe that the British government is working in Scotland’s interests. That’s a pretty damning assessment. You might think that this would be the headline news in newspapers reporting the latest results of the survey, and indeed it is in The National. The rest of press has decided that it’s far more important to lead with the news that confidence in the Scottish government has dropped by 5% to 60%. The overwhelming majority of people in Scotland don’t trust the British government – but that’s not the “real” news. The real news is that now marginally less than two people out of three have faith in a Scottish government which has been in power for a decade. The utter distrust with which the overwhelming majority of people in Scotland regard the British government, that’s not worthy of comment.

The really surprising thing is that as many as 20% of people in Scotland still think that the British government has our best interests at heart. The utterly amazing and gobsmacking thing is that 16% of the people of Scotland still believe that as far as Scotland is concerned, the British government’s decisions are fair. But then these are probably the same people who think that Miles Briggs is witty and amusing. The same people like that girl on Love Island who didn’t know what Brexit is. Although to be fair, no one really knows what Brexit involves, least of all the British government. But those figures are significant, because they mean that not even everyone in Scotland who voted Conservative believes that the British government has Scotland’s interests at heart and makes fair decisions for us.

All you have to do to destroy people is to take away their future. That’s what the UK does to Scotland. It deprives the people of this country of any say in our future. It destroys hopes, it vanquishes dreams, it slays ambitions, it’s the graveyard of aspiration. There is no vision, there is nothing to inspire, nothing to strive for. All that the British state offers is a nostalgia for a romanticised past as we sit passively and get what we’re given by people who don’t give a toss for us.

The big difference, the essential difference, between the campaign for Scottish independence, and the campaign to keep Scotland a part of the UK. The first looks to the future, the second is afraid of it and anaesthetises itself with pageants and parades and bunting and royal weddings. The first wants to progress, the second wants to regress to an imaginary past. The first wants to make Scotland a better place, the second thinks that this sorry and inadequate state of British affairs is as good as it gets.

It’s only independence that gives Scotland its future back. Scotland is more than just a country. It’s an idea, it’s a dream. All that the UK offers Scotland is a dreamless slumber as we sleepwalk to insignificance. This isn’t as good as it gets. We have a future, let’s wake up and grasp it.


 

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.


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.

Falbhaibh is gabhaibh ur gnùisean airson càca

At the All Under One Banner marches and rallies there are many people with whom to disagree. Disgreeing with people is part and parcel of any grassroots movement. There are plenty of people who disagree with Tommy Sheridan, both with his politics and with his person. There are plenty of people who disagree with the more business friendly wing of the SNP and its overly cautious approach. There are plenty of people who disagree with the virtue signallers on the Scottish left who seem to spend more time on social media slagging off other parts of the independence movement than they do attacking the British state that is the root cause of so many of Scotland’s problems.

But what the vast majority of these diverse and often contentious voices within the independence movement have in common, even as they argue amongst themselves, is that they recognise and celebrate the diversity of experiences and backgrounds of the people who make up modern Scotland.

The vast majority of the independence movement doesn’t just accept the Scottishness of people born elsewhere who come to Scotland and who choose to make their lives here, we actively encourage and praise it. We do so because it proves that Scottishness isn’t narrow, inward-looking, and limited. It proves that Scotland and her people are outward looking and engaged with the world. It proves that we are not afraid of change and not threatened by difference. That’s what makes the Scottish independence movement a qualitatively different thing from the narrow British nationalism that drives Brexit.

So I want to say here and now, that anyone who campaigns for a Scotland that’s based on ethnicity is not campaigning for a Scotland that I want to live in. As a Scot of Irish descent, I know what it feels like to be called not properly Scottish, to have other Scots insist that I’m not Scottish enough. As a gay Scot of an older generation I know what it feels like to be rejected by my compatriots and to have to seek to build a life outside of Scotland. I don’t want the mistakes of the Scotland of the past to visit the Scotland of the future. This country and movement that I love are inclusive, not exclusive. They are welcoming, they don’t slam the door in anyone’s face.

Representing the true spirit of Scottish hospitality means extending a welcome even to those who have been your enemies in the past. It means that banners which read “Tory scum out” only serve to alienate people who might be persuadable to the cause of independence. They’re self-defeating as well as so very 1980s. The independence campaign shouldn’t be stuck in a time warp, let’s leave that sort of thing to the British nationalists who have the copyright on it.

The issue here, for the sake of clarity, isn’t with the anti-Conservative sentiment, that’s shared widely. It’s with the use of the word “scum”. If you’re going to be insulting at least try to be inventive and amusing about it fur feck’s sake. It’s the word scum that gets plastered all over Scotland’s overwhelmingly anti-independence press, and it’s that which exercises the holier than thou tendency which is disproportionately represented on Scottish social media, not the positive message of inclusivity preached by the vast majority there.

So to Sìol nan Gaidheal and their schtoopit banner I’d just like to say – Falbhaibh is gabhaibh ur gnùisean airson càca. Because that would be a whole lot more useful to the cause. That means “Away youse and take yer faces fur a shite,” in case you were wondering. Actually a banner that reads May, Davidson, agus Mundell, falbhaibh is gabhaibh ur gnùisean airson càca would be infinitely better than “Tory scum”, and no one would object to it.  [phonetically – very roughly fa.luh.viv iss ga.viv oor groon.shin er.son caach.ka]

But more importantly and more seriously, let us never forget that when Scotland is independent it will be a democracy. That means it’s going to contain people who espouse centre right politics, and I say this as someone who identifies with the political left. We’re not going to attract those on the centre right of Scottish politics to our side, as we must if we are to achieve a majority, if we alienate them before we can even start to speak to them. Let’s leave the numpty banners to the zoomers and green crayon gang of Scotland in Union please.

Equally this is why we should have no time or sympathy for groups and organisations which divide the people of Scotland into those whom they deem to be properly Scottish and those who are not. People who support an ethnic vision of Scottishness are not fighting for a Scotland that most of us would be welcome in. We already have xenophobia and fear of the foreign in the British Brexit state, we don’t need any more of that sort of nonsense, we need to escape from it. The reason so many of us support independence is precisely because independence represents an escape to a more tolerant, accepting, and saner country. You don’t build a better country by repeating the mistakes of those you seek to escape from.

Those who refer to English people who live in Scotland as settlers, and who refuse to acknowledge that by coming here and throwing their lot in with Scotland English Scots have as much right to determine the future of this country as anyone else, do not represent this independence movement and have no place of honour or respect within it. They represent the frightened and frightening xenophobia that this independence movement is seeking an escape from. You don’t build a refuge from the madness of the likes of Ukip by indulging in a similar madness of your own.

Thankfully those who espouse a narrowly ethnic driven vision of Scotland are a tiny minority. They do not represent the mainstream of our movement, and our movement must disavow them. They harm us all, because they allow opponents of independence to paint our beautiful tolerant and open movement as “anti-English”.  We should not march behind their banners. We should not allow our open tolerant and inclusive movement to become a platform for their negativity and exclusivity.  Give them a wide berth and mock them.  They do not speak for us. They do not represent us.

If you think that the campaign for Scottish independence is about ethnic nationalism, if you think that it’s just for people who are “ethnically” Scots, then you’re doing Scottish independence all wrong. If you think that the cause of independence is only for those who are born Scottish, then you’re not doing independence any favours, you’re playing into the hands of the British state. You’re only giving opponents of independence the ammunition that they need in order to paint our entire movement as something that any decent person should shun. It means that you’re a useful idiot. Don’t be an idiot. Be a real patriot. Real patriots recognise that the wider the support base is for independence, the stronger the cause for independence becomes.

Being a real patriot means that you don’t limit your patriotism to those who have inherited it. It means that you believe so much in your country that you want to share it. Being a real patriot means that you believe that your country is not weakened by diversity but is strengthened by it. Being a real patriot means that you’re not threatened by those who choose to come to live in Scotland and to build their lives here. It means that you are honoured by their presence. Being a real patriot means that you recognise that people who come to live in Scotland from England, from Pakistan, from Syria, from Poland, from Angola, from Denmark, from anywhere else in the world, bring to us their experiences, their cultures, their cuisines, their perspectives, and by doing so they enrich us all. They make Scotland a richer place, a more interesting place, and by accepting them as our own we demonstrate that Scotland is a bigger country. It’s bigger in spirit. It’s bigger in heart.

Independence is about real patriotism, and that’s the patriotism of sharing, of acceptance, of tolerance and understanding. Let us never forget that that’s the Scotland we’re striving 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.


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.

Bringing Theresa May down to earth

Tomorrow, Monday, there’s a vote in the House of Commons on the expansion of Heathrow airport. Until recently the measure was going to be backed by the SNP because even though it’s a Conservative government measure, it was going to come with promises attached that should the SNP vote in favour, then Heathrow Airport Ltd and the UK government would back certain vague and unsubstantiated measures to support Prestwick airport and other equally vague economic gains for Scotland. The press was certain that the SNP was going to back the measure, that Heathrow airport expansion would be passed by Westminster, and Theresa May’s minority government could chalk up another victory.

Aviation is a reserved issue, which is why the SNP can vote on the expansion of an airport in England. Flights to Heathrow have consequences for Scotland, not the least of which is that Heathrow is a major aviation hub for Scotland. It might be better for Scotland to develop its own aviation hubs, but that’s a matter for after independence. As part of the UK Scotland is going to have to rely on Heathrow. However the exansion plans did come with a promise that, amongst other things, Prestwick would be used as a logistics hub during the construction work. We’re told that there would be lower landing charges for planes flying from Scotland and there would be more flights from Scottish airports to Heathrow. There are promises that the expansion of Heathrow and the building of a third runway would lead to the creation of 16,000 jobs in Scotland. However there’s a remarkable lack of detail on how that would happen.

However the agreement with the SNP was reached several years ago, back in a distant age when the British government could still lay claim to a fig leaf of honesty and honourability, or at least when it was still pretending that it could. That fig leaf was stripped off and doused with paraquat during the EU Exit Bill debate when the British government revealed that it regards Scotland with contempt. It revealed the ugly truth. There is no respect. There is no equality. There is nothing but contempt and disdain and the dead and shrivelled claim of the British government to represent all parts of the UK equally.

So bugger Heathrow for a gemme o sodgies. The behaviour of the British government over the far more important issue of Brexit and their shameful betrayal of the devolution settlement means that no Scottish MP should back any measures brought in by Theresa May. No Scottish MP should cooperate in any shape or form with anything that allows Theresa May and her bunch of constitutional vandals to crow about any victory whatsoever. The SNP should tell Theresa, you’ll have had yer Heathrow expansion. You can’t do deals with people who can’t be trusted, and the only thing that Scotland can trust in Theresa May’s government is the knowledge that it can’t be trusted.

After the barefaced lies told by representatives of the British government during the EU Exit bill debates, after the way in which they have reneged on their promises to Scotland, after the way in which all the promises and commitments made to the people of Scotland by the anti-independence parties have been broken, exactly how can we trust anything that they tell us at all? Vague promises of unsubstantiated economic advantages for Scotland should the SNP support Heathrow expansion are not enough. Even a written promise signed in blood would not be enough. The British government has proven that it does not see itself as being bound by any promise that it makes to Scotland or to the people of Scotland, no matter how solemnly it is vowed.

Why should Scotland believe in the promises of the British government that if the SNP backs Heathrow expansion then the British government will help to ensure that there are some vague and unspecified economic advantages for Scotland in the deal? We remember that they promised us that if Scotland voted no in 2014 there would be massive investment in the Scottish renewable energy industry. That didn’t happen, and now renewable energy companies are taking the expertise they’ve developed in Scotland abroad. We remember that we were told that jobs in Scotland would be safe if Scotland voted against independence, yet those jobs are at risk now with Brexit.

Time after time after time, the British government has demonstrated that once it has secured whatever it was seeking to secure, then it no longer feels any need to fulfil the promises it made in order to secure it. This isn’t a one off lapse. This hasn’t even happened on a mere handful of occasions. It happens time after time. The betrayal of a Westminster promise to Scotland is the norm, not the exception. Why should the promises made to Scotland in order to secure the support of Scottish MPs for Heathrow expansion be any different? All the more so since the promises made to Scotland about Heathrow are vague and uncertain.

Over this weekend, there are hints in the press that the SNP is getting cold on the idea of supporting Heathrow expansion. There is not enough detail about how benefits to Scotland would be delivered. That’s code for the British government giving itself a get out clause the width of the space between Ross Thomson’s ears. We have that infamous Vow as the classic example of what happens when Scotland allows itself to be persuaded by vague and uncertain promises made by Westminster.

It’s not just Scotland that the British government is lying to about Heathrow. The claim that Heathrow expansion can be delivered within the UK’s international carbon reduction commitments looks highly unlikely. And let us not forget that the same government which is claiming to deliver a third runway within its environmental and carbon reduction commitments has recently proven itself to be unwilling to develop and invest in Scotland’s renewable energy industries.

You don’t do deals with liars. The only thing you can do is to demonstrate to them that there are consequences, and one of those consequences is to cease to cooperate with them. The SNP should not just refuse to support the bill allowing expansion of Heathrow to go ahead, it should actively oppose. Scotland should not be in the business of facilitating any victories for Theresa May and her band of constitutional vandals. The SNP should bring them down to earth.


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.


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 heart that beats stronger

Chris Deerin, yes that Chris Deerin, Chris Deerin of “voting No is the moral choice” Chris Deerin, Chris Deerin the apologist for British nationalism because it’s not nationalist at all Chris Deerin, Chris Deerin who’s never come across any mud he’s been incapable of slinging at the independence movement Chris Deerin, has just published an article in the New Statesman in which he acknowledges something that independence supporters have known for quite some time. It’s actually the British state in its Brexit incarnation which is the practitioner of the narrow inward looking xenophobic nationalism which Chris has always decried, whereas the Scottish independence movement is an advocate of inclusivity and firmly rejects the narrow ethnic based nationalism which is on the rise and which blights so much of the world.

Anyone who has read this blog, or the output of any of the mainstream of the Scottish independence movement already knew that. This blog, just like other outlets for the mainstream independence movement, has always argued for an inclusive Scotland, welcoming of new Scots wherever their place of birth, and I have always advocated a vision of Scottish identity that is defined by where we’re all going together and rejected one based on where people come from. Because the Scottish independence movement is about the future, not the past. It’s not about your genes, it’s about your heart. It doesn’t matter where you were born, where your family came from, by coming to live in Scotland and contributing to Scottish society, by committing to this damp cold and heartwrenchingly beautiful and sometimes infuriating country perched on the edge of a continent, you’re just as Scottish as anyone else. Scottishness is not defined by ancestry, or by place of birth. Scottishness is a state of mind.

In fact just yesterday I blocked someone from posting on this blog because they were advocating that a vote in an independence referendum should be denied to people born in England. We don’t need xenophobia in the Scottish independence movement. We already have the British state and the Home Office for that sort of thing. The whole point of Scottish independence is to create a better society, a better country, and we’re not going to do that by drawing up hierarchies of who’s a more authentic Scot. There is no place for that sort of nonsense in our movement. We hold our faces to the sun, and we welcome the dawn of the new, the new Scots who do us the honour of choosing to come to Scotland and to build their lives here, to contribute to making this a better place for all of us. They illuminate and enlighten us all.

Contrary to the assertions of the knee jerk British nationalists who are blind to their own nationalism, it’s that outward looking acceptance which defines us as a movement. It’s a broad and multicoloured tartan ribbon that runs through the heart of the independence movement. The point of that tartan is that there is a colour there for everyone. This is what makes us morally superior to the ethnic nationalism and suspicious xenophobia of the right wing Brexit advocates who dominate and drive the British Government, and I make no bones in stating that. Because, yes, we are better than the Jacob Rees Moggs and Boris Johnsons of this world. And unlike the British Labour party our solidarity is truly international. It doesn’t stop at Gretna, and it doesn’t stop at Dover either.

Those who base their desire for independence on a narrow ethnic and exclusive nationalism are the exception not the rule within the Scottish independence movement. Of course such individuals exist, but they do not define the independence movement. They do not shape the direction we take or determine the vision of the Scotland we seek. They are roundly rejected by the mainstream of the Scottish independence movement, but that doesn’t stop apologists for the British state trying to define all of us as anti-English bigots. However their British nationalist counterparts to do increasingly define the direction that the British state is taking. Far from being rejected by the mainstream, the bigot-Brits have colonised the mainstream of British nationalism. British nationalism is increasingly defined by all those slurs that apologists for British nationalism and the British state hurl against the Scottish independence movement.  That is the realisation that appears to be dawning on Chris Deerin.

Chris Deerin hasn’t come out in support for independence, but he does appear to be coming to the slow recognition that the values and strengths that he once saw inherent in Britishness are no longer to be found there. They are instead to be found within the Scottish independence movement. Paradoxically, the only way to preserve the good aspects of the British state is with Scottish independence. Tolerance, acceptance, being welcoming to the outside world, connecting with it and engaging with it, a social security system that protects and defends the vulnerable, a comprehensive and universal health service, all these things are now at threat of destruction by the British state and its insane drive off the Brexit cliff. They can only be maintained and cherished within an independent Scotland because those are the values that the independence movement espouses, values which are being rejected by the Conservative defined Brexit that is in store for the UK.

There have been some seismic changes in the political landscape recently. The British state has destroyed its credibility in Scotland. The devolution settlement lies charred and burnt in the ashes of British nationalist arrogance. People we never thought would ever support Scottish independence seem to be changing their minds. Even the man who drafted the Vow now disavows it and espouses independence. We have to be accepting of the sincerity of people’s change in mind and change of heart. It is imperative that we accept them with open arms. The more prominent that someone was within the Better Together campaign, or the more forceful that they were as an advocate for the UK back in 2014, the more powerful the impact of their conversion to yes. Their change of mind must be welcomed with open arms and a warm heart. The hurt of 2014 must be left behind. We’re playing a different game now, a game we’re going to win. A heart that is capable of change is a heart that beats stronger.

All of which means I’m going to have to start being nice to Chris Deerin now. And if that’s not making a huge sacrifice for the cause I don’t know what is. I draw the line at being nice about Tom Gallagher though, the man who called me a Gaelic imperialist for drawing a Gaelic map of Scotland. We all have our limits.


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.


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.

Lies, damned lies, and newspaper headlines

When you see a newspaper headline that baldly states, “Court rules fracking is not banned, despite SNP rhetoric,” what are you going to think? What are you going to think happened in court this week when you know that the chemical giant Ineos has been taking legal action to challenge the Scottish Government on fracking and has been seeking a legal judgement allowing it to go ahead with fracking in Scotland? It’s not looking good for a fracking free Scotland, is it.

Judging from that headline, which appeared in the Herald on Tuesday, you’re going to think that the court found for Ineos and the prohibition on fracking in Scotland has been overturned. Fracking isn’t banned, says the headline. SNP very very bad, says the headline. Ooooh get that Nicola Sturgeon telling us all a big fat lie, eh, eh. Let’s go down the pub and get all worked up about it. Never mind any of that Westminster contempt for the people of Scotland and their destruction of the devolution settlement. Nicola Sturgeon has been lying about fracking! It said so in a Scottish newspaper headline. It’s the pineapple that every gammon craves.

Based on that headline you’re going to think that the courts have given the green light to the fracking industry in Scotland. That was precisely my first thought when I saw it. You’re going to think that the Scottish Government has been deceiving you when it has said that there will be no fracking in Scotland, and you are most certainly being encouraged to get annoyed with the Scottish Government for claiming that there will be no fracking in Scotland only for it to turn out now that a judge with a wig and everything has said there’s no ban on fracking after all. And we all know how important pronouncements are when they’re made by men in wigs, at least those of us who’ve been watching RuPaul’s Drag Race on Netflix. The shade of it all honey. That’s the only reasonable interpretation of that headline. Cue major harrumphage, SNPBaddery, and British nationalists posting their outrage on social media.

Only this is the through the mirror wonderland of British nationalist newspaper headlines in Scotland, that topsy turvy world where words are carefully chosen to give the opposite impression of what really happened without technically telling an out and out porkie. It’s the careful selection of some facts in order to create an impression that is counterfactual, which is achieved by omitting some rather more important facts. It’s the media equivalent of responding to an advert for Portugal versus Morocco world cup seats for £150 a pop, only instead of getting a ticket to the match the postie comes to your door with a parcel containing a broken old deck chair to which has been stapled an A4 sheet of paper saying “Portugal v Morocco World Cup” written in crayon – so exactly like a British nationalist newspaper headline in Scotland then. It’s not technically a lie, but you’re still going to feel that you were misled and deceived and cheated, because you have indeed been misled and deceived and cheated.

In fact, as opposed to the deliberately misleading selective factoids of the Herald headline, the court upheld the position of the Scottish government, and found against Ineos. The judge ruled that Ineos’s legal challenge was based upon a “series of fundamental misunderstandings of the Scottish Government’s position”.

As any fewl no, or at least anyone who has been paying attention to the division between devolved and retained powers ought to know, which really should include Scottish newspapers, energy policy is retained by Westminster. That means that the Scottish Government doesn’t have the legal power to directly ban fracking, instead the Scottish Government is using planning regulations, which it does control, to effectively ban fracking. No local authority in Scotland can grant permission for any planning application for fracking that comes before it. That was the situation last week, it’s the situation this week, and will remain the situation for the indefinite future. There will be no fracking in Scotland. There is no legal ban on fracking in Scotland, that much of the Herald’s headline is true, but there is an effective and practical ban on fracking in Scotland because the Scottish Government is blocking one of the key steps that must be taken in order for fracking to happen.

It’s a bit like if a maw tells her teenage son that he’s not going to a festival because he got rat arsed with his pals last week and she doesn’t trust him not to do it again, so she confiscates his car keys and demands the immediate repayment of the money he owes her for his car insurance. He’s not technically banned from going to the festival and getting rat arsed in a field, but without his car keys he’s not going to be able to get there and because he’s had to pay his car insurance he’s not got any money to get there or to buy a ticket or to get rat arsed if he does. There’s no legal ban on him going to the festival, but he’s still not going to get there. He’s effectively banned from going to the festival and getting rat arsed in a field. Which is a pity, because it’s a very pretty field now that we can be certain that it won’t be getting fracked. The Scottish media wants us to focus on a selectively literal interpretation, and not on the effective outcome.

Then the press wonders why people get annoyed about being lied to and are losing faith in the media. In response certain Scottish newspaper reporters take to Twatter to patronise the public and explain in exasperated tones that proper journalism means it’s the punters who are wrong for imagining that there’s anything misleading going on at all. Cos only professionally trained journalists are qualified to understand what words really mean and if you point out that a headline gives the exact opposite impression of what happened in yer actual fact then you’re exactly the same as Donald Trump and the only thing distinguishing you from the Child Snatching US Prez is your lack of an orange skin and the fact that you haven’t yet been to B&Q to buy the chicken wire to construct a cage to put your neighbour’s weans in. Cos the orange people in Scotland are all on the side of UK and think Ruth Davidson is just great, and she’s pregnant and you’re not allowed to criticise pregnant politicians.

So you’ve not been misled at all, you’re just either really stupid, or a vile cybernat with a badly fitting kilt and a foul agenda, or you’re possibly an agent of Vladimir Putin. Or all three simultaneously. And it’s pretty certain that criticising a Scottish newspaper headline for being misleading means that you’re just a bawhair short of building a chicken wire cage at Gretna to put English weans in. You racist. When you’re a professional journalist you know these things.

And when you’re a member of the public in Scotland, you know that our overwhelmingly British nationalist media isn’t fit for purpose. You also know that the job of the independence movement is to act as an alternative media, and to support the pro-indy media that we do have. It’s up to all of us to tell our friends, relatives, and acquaintances the truth that the Scottish media doesn’t want to tell us. Let’s get loud.


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.


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.