A two-way street

A guest post by Samuel Miller

Respect (Noun)

1. a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements. 2. due regard for the feelings, wishes, or rights of others. 3. a particular aspect, point, or detail.

Lot of talk of respect doing the rounds in 2018. Seems the powers that be may have caught on to the idea that the United Kingdom is anything but united these days. Who knew?

Talk of respectful debate, respecting democratic will, respecting results, respecting agreements and so forth. Especially from politicians and mainly those who don’t seemingly respect anyone or anything very much themselves. We’ve all seen the state of the Commons debates by this point, yes? The braying, howling, arrogant and condescending pie fight at the heart of our system of central government. So, yeah. Respectful. It appears, to any casual observer, yer actual politicians have suddenly developed a social conscience. (Now don’t laugh. They’re trying to be all sincere)

Apparently even the Queen managed a reference in her annual Crimbo day commentary t’boot – “Even with the most deeply held differences, treating the other person with respect and as a fellow human being is always a good first step towards greater understanding,”

Which is nice and all very laudable of course. If however, you voted YES in the first indyref, or remain in the EU referendum? You’re probably not feeling a great deal of reciprocity on the whole respect agenda thingy. In fact you’re probably feeling ignored, intimidated, insulted and downright infuriated. You feel helpless and powerless. You feel very much cheated and almost certainly… disrespected.

And now? Now it seems those who created your misery are looking for your respect, your tolerance and your understanding. It’s a pure mystery so it is. Oh, whilst of course still intimidating and insulting you on a daily basis because… reasons.

It also kinda helps, on a personal and communal level, if it truly is a reciprocal arrangement. Certainly if you want people to live and work together with any degree of harmony or unity. Just a wee pointer for the odd policy gonk who happens by.

But is it really respect and tolerance they desire, or silent compliance and blind acceptance? Remainers (remoaners), supporters of Scottish independence (vile cybernats/tainted/separatists etc.), the Scottish government (generally Essenpee bad), the EU (furren bullies), immigrants (also furren and don’t go there) and all other agencies that aren’t behind the binary choice omnishambles of Westminster politics and its cheerleaders, aren’t exactly unfamiliar with the respect agenda meted out by the political class and their chooms in the media.

The bods suddenly asking for all this lurve and cuddliness would be the same political class who have made a mockery of the electoral process. Who sit in a house that is renowned for its venal practices and rampant party and inter-party backstabbery by the by. What they do for a living is commonly referred to as a dirty game. Some of the more cynical readers might say there’s a reason for that. So far as many people are concerned, currently it’s the place where the ‘art of the possible’ and the art of persuasion by debate has gone terribly wrong in the worst way imaginable. Its inhabitants and adherents support a system of patronage and politics that has arguably legislated against the welfare of its own population fer Gawd’s sake. They’ve more than also arguably made the UK ‘a global joke’ and now they apparently need your help to provide that joke with a punchline. They require a societal unity they’ve spent decades undermining in search of the voter demographic du jour. You can see where some folk would regard that as feeling very much like adding insult to injury.

Y’see, most people don’t have a problem with respecting and tolerating another point of view. They don’t have a problem seeing another human being for who they are and what they represent. They just want to get along with others and toddle through their lives with the least amount of grief possible. How and ever, should they be expected to sit on their hands in perpetuity while others with less respect or tolerance dump all over them from a great height?

Mibbies they practitioners of the dirty game should have thought about that whole respect thing BEFORE they set about using their narratives to fracture society and alienate demographics. Before using the media and their interpretation of the art of the persuasion to determine who was a fit and proper human being (voter).

Might be they should have thought about a lot of things and a LOT sooner than the fag end of 2018 and a looming conclusion to the Brexit process.

No. It seems to me that the greatest source for problems over respecting the views of another, showing tolerance and understanding, come from the top down. From those who should have been an example and set a tone, but who use intolerance and disrespect as a tool to gather political and corporate advantage.

Thing about the ‘R’  and ‘T’ words though? Many aspects of respect and tolerance are earned. They’re not an automatic due. More importantly? They have to mean something to those involved. There has to be trust. It can take a long time to earn either and a heartbeat to lose both.

It’s a sad irony that those who are perceived to foment intolerance and disrespect, require the exact opposite of those very qualities in others in order to thrive themselves. It also might be said that this time they’ve pushed their demands for the good will of those others too far. That their own insensitive and callous actions over many years have worn down the respect, tolerance and trust of too many who were supposedly in their care.

Anyone out there feel that either the Conservative government or their honourable opposition have put the work in? Are they even remotely capable of walking the walk down that two-way street?

I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if we found out the answers to those questions in 2019.

 

Our host is currently taking a well deserved leave of absence to be with his husband at this time of year. Normal banter should be resumed after all the festivities have concluded. I would like to take this opportunity to wish all readers, both regular and new, ALL the very best for a grand new year when it comes. Hopefully, 2019 will see more than a few Christmas wishes granted. 😉 (winky thing)

Twas the night before

A guest post by Samuel Miller

Righto. I’ve got the same artisanal baps on order that we had last year and Mrs M. will be making what is probably the world’s most potent (lethal) brandy butter to hide the taste of the shops own Crimbo pud. The turkey (small budgie) is being artfully prepared to resemble something larger and more impressive with the use of multiple packets of supasave stuffing and an airpump, so this WILL be quick. Also? There’s an exceptional bottle of Astifallindoonjuice with my name on it and nothing, but NOTHING, will get between me and my fav butt crease on the couch for the next week and a half.

Let’s keep this short and to the point for the sake of the Crimbo season and peace on earth.

Stupidgate aside, the sum total of the end of year business in Westminster was the alienation and disenfranchisement of a massive demographic within the UK. Oh, and we discovered that Ohhhhhh Jeremy Corbyn isn’t really capable of walking on water after all. In fact, his feet are well and truly rooted in clay. As for Mr McDonnell’s declaration that he could see Labour ‘working together’ with the DUP? Well? Not entirely unexpected really tbf. Seemingly Labour would deal with anyone in Westminster but the SNP, so long as it suited their political agenda of course. Or is there some other conclusion we’re all missing here?

This currently, is what Westminster parliament is reduced to. (No, I can’t quite believe it either.) The populations of these islands are hanging off a cliff edge and the two (supposedly) most senior placed politicians in the land are having a playground spat and the media (our watchdogs) are absent without leave (with only an odd very rare exception).

The explanation for the past two weeks of self harm? Labour apparently were, and until we’re all otherwise notified, waiting for the exact right moment to pounce. Their version of ‘Now is not the time’ kinda thing.

We’re literally a hop and skip away from what looks increasingly like a ‘no deal’ Brexit, thanks to their actions (some might say inaction), and Labour’s explanation is that it’s all been a cunning plan. Uh huh!

It couldn’t possibly be that as the official party of opposition in what is essentially a binary system of politics and for all the period since June 2016, they’ve remained as riven and confused as the Tories. The same ideological divisions, yet with less of a sense of purpose, direction, or identity than their chooms across the chamber. Their leader? Some would say he has some explaining to do to his membership around now. Regardless, Labour won’t be rescuing anyone from any kind of Brexit and the events of the past fortnight should make that abundantly clear by this point.

The only real opposition to the UK government and the Brexit narrative has come from the third party of parliament on down over this period and that should shame that chamber and the population it supposedly represents. A party by the by, that none of the above even want to see there (OH, the irony!), mainly because it upsets their hegemony and damages their calm. Can’t have northern oiks who don’t know their place lecturing folk on democracy, representation, or on how to govern the plebs. (tsk)

Basically around half the populations of these islands have no voice, no representation and no rights as things stand between UK gov and their honourable (?) opposition. How do either of those parties fondly think that’s going to play out in the future? Hmmm? When you alienate and disenfranchise half your population, do you think they’ll just shrug, forgive and forget what’s been denied them or is being done to them?

UK politics isn’t merely broken at this point. It’s seismically fractured. The populations of these islands are facing constitutional crisis, economic crisis, societal breakdown and political chaos. All of which has been brought about mainly by Conservative and Labour’s practice of politics. The outcomes of those biblically ignorant and arrogant practices almost inevitable some might say.

And those two (HM’s government and its official opposition), are STILL mucking about with party politics as if sitting in a big chair matters a damn.

At this time of year especially, you’d think that putting childish games aside for the good of ALL of those in your care might have been an idea? Apparently not. The duty of any government, any leader, isn’t a serving suggestion. Your job is the care of ALL of your population without fear or favour. When you ignore near half of that population? You shame your government, your parliament, your democracy and yourself.

Probably something to keep in mind when folks question Scotland’s First Minister and her stance around a people’s vote and supporting a representative voice for all peoples in the UK. Something that’s become popular in threads these days (shrugs). Might be that political maneuvering is in there somewhere.

It might also be that it’s about someone simply doing the right thing by their office and a very human service to ALL those in their care. Worth a thought.

 

Our host is currently taking a well deserved leave of absence to be with his husband at this time of year. I would like to take this opportunity to wish all readers, both regular and new, ALL the very best of the festive season and a grand new year when it comes. Hopefully, 2019 will see more than a few Christmas wishes granted. 😉 (winky thing)

Also? It’s a big ask at the moment for all the obvious reasons, but anything you can spare for local food banks, clothing charities where you are? Pretty certain that’ll be more than appreciated.

Breaking up isn’t always hard to do

Opponents of independence have got a new argument against independence. It’s not much of an argument, but then the British establishment is increasingly clutching at ever more desperate straws. The argument goes that Brexit has shown how difficult it is to leave a union, and therefore Scottish independence is likely to be even worse as Scotland is small and weak.

This argument is very like that other Brexit related argument against independence, which goes that we’d only be swapping control from Westminster for control from Brussels and that wouldn’t be independence at all. Serious people who really ought to know better have made this particular argument, but the truth is that if you really don’t understand the difference between the amount and quality of control exerted over a country by membership of the EU with the amount and quality of control exerted over a constituent part of the UK by Westminster, then you’re really making an open declaration of your political illiteracy and ignorance. If you think that those two things are the same then you really ought to refrain from commenting on either.

It’s like equating the wildlife roaming in a national park with animals locked up in cages in a Victorian zoo. It’s like saying, “Oh well, a national park isn’t *really* free is it. It’s got boundaries. So let’s just keep the animals locked up in cages.” And it is indeed true that being a part of the UK is very much like living in a Victorian zoo. You’ve only got to look at the House of Commons to appreciate that.

This latest argument, that leaving unions is oh so terribly difficult and so we shouldn’t attempt it is just like the previous nonsense argument in that it’s equating two very different phenomena. Hint, just because different things are called unions doesn’t mean that they are identical political beasts.

Leaving the EU has proven to be extremely difficult for the UK for a number of simple reasons. Firstly there’s the complete and utter unpreparedness of the British establishment. All the way through the Scottish independence referendum, independence supporters were told to come up with a Plan B, yet here we are two and a half years after the Brexit vote and there’s still precious little which passes for a credible Plan A from those who want Brexit.

This approach to international negotiations isn’t new for the UK. For centuries the UK was the big boy and could get its way by force or the threat of force. It didn’t need to learn how to negotiate. That lack is still very much a feature of how the UK deals with the rest of the world. When writing in his memoires about negotiations about Northern Ireland between Westminster and Dublin in the 1980s, the then Irish taoiseach Garret Fitzgerald wrote that the British delegation would make a proposal, which the Irish would consider, then the next day the British would suggest something totally different. Fitzgerald wrote that at first the Irish delegation thought that the British were engaged in some clever Machiavellian strategy to wrong foot the Irish, but after a couple of days they realised that it was just that the British didn’t actually have a clue what they wanted. The UK has approached Brexit negotiations in exactly the same way.

This lack of preparation and clarity has been compounded by the unrealistic expectations of the Brexists. They believed that they could continue to enjoy all the benefits of EU membership without any of the downsides. We see that in discussion of freedom of movement, it’s entirely about preventing EU citizens from moving to the UK. Brexit supporters are silent on the fact that this means that UK citizens will no longer be able to move to the EU. They demand free access to EU markets, while at the same time insisting on their right to negotiate trade deals with the rest of the world and import chlorinated chicken. And above all they want to leave the customs union and the single market and control immigration and the UK’s borders while at the same time being bound by a treaty obligation to maintain an open and invisible border with the Irish Republic. Brexit is the political pursuit of mutually incompatible goals by people who were utterly unprepared to begin with. No wonder it’s proving so difficult.

Unlike Brexit, independence isn’t a political novelty. There are many tens of countries all around the globe which have declared independence from the UK, indeed three of them are currently EU members. There is a tried and tested path towards independence. Other countries have done it. Indeed the very EU state which is creating the greatest reality check for the fantastists of Brexit is the Irish Republic, a country which itself declared indepenedence from the UK. It is one of the greatest political ironies of our age that the British border artificially imposed by the UK across the island of Ireland is now the instrument of the downfall of the UK’s imperial fantasies.

Another difference, one which should not be underestimated, is that Brexit has taught us that the only political grown ups in the room is the Scottish Government and SNP MPs in Westminster. They’re the only ones who have had a principled and realistic view. The Scottish Government published a series of impact papers looking at the effects of Brexit on the Scottish economy while the UK government was desperately trying to pretend that there were no studies at all. Scottish independence would be approached with the same realism. We might not all agree on the details but there is no lack of planning. There is no lack of discussion. There is no lack of preparation.

Breaking up is only hard to do when you have no idea what you want, when you have unrealistic expectations and beliefs about yourself, and when you have traditionally relied upon threats and bullying instead of negotiating like a grown up. In Scottish independence negotiations it will be the Scottish delegation which knows what it wants, which has a realistic set of expectations, which has a plan, which has friends and allies in Europe, and which will be the grown up in the room.

The greatest difference between independence and Brexit is that Scottish independence is not based upon a delusion like that of the British exceptionalists who have driven Brexit. Returning a country to the normal and usual state of affairs for a nation is a very different proposition from trying to attain an impossible dream based on a fantasy of imperial power and glory.

Scottish independence is not an attempt to pursue mutually incompatible political goals. It’s not about the quixotic pursuit of special favours, special deals, or an unrealistic and nostalgic vision of Empire 2.0. Brexit is the attempt to establish and assert British exceptionalism. Scottish independence is the attempt to establish and assert Scottish normalcy. Scottish independence means making Scotland into a normal European state just like all the others.


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Stupid is as stupid does

The British government unveiled its new immigration policy today, and as we’ve come to expect from this government it’s petty, cruel, restrictive and nasty. EU citizens will in the future have to earn over £30,000 a year in order to apply for residency in the UK. What the government didn’t say was that UK citizens who wish to reside in the EU will doubtless be subject to similar restrictions in future. Meanwhile all those UK citizens who reside in EU countries have been left in limbo.

Theresa May is obsessed with immigration. She is pandering to the nasty xenophobes who infest the comments sections of the press. Just yesterday there was a story in the Herald about a businessman in Scotland who is originally from Bangladesh. He has been refused permanent right to remain in the UK despite having lived here legally for 15 years and owning a successful business employing five people, people who now seem set to lose their jobs. The comments below the article from the usual British nationalist trolls were nasty, petty, and small minded. Empathy is a foreign quality to them. Compassion is a curse to them. These are the nasty little people that Theresa May has in mind when she frames her immigration policy. This is British nationalism in action. It’s not pretty. It’s not dignified. And yet it’s Scottish independence supporters who get castigated in that same press.

Later today the real opposition, which isn’t the Labour party, is attempting to bring forward a no confidence motion in the government. Labour will probably abstain. This is the first time in decades that a government has been subject to a no confidence motion, yet it’s lost in the shouting, the infantile behaviour, and the insult to the intelligence of the public which passes for parliamentary debate.

But none of this gets properly aired in parliament or the press. Instead of holding the government to account, instead we get a pantomime. And that’s quite literally what we witnessed today during Prime Minister’s Questions. It was a childish and stupid display of crowing and question avoiding of the sort we’ve come to expect from a government which has absolutely no intention of explaining itself, never mind being held to account by the Opposition.

Jeremy Corbyn reacted to this infantile display by muttering something. Now the news is dominated by the allegation that Jeremy Corbyn called Theresa May a stupid woman. Because apparently a perceived personal slur against Theresa May is the most important thing that’s happening just now.  To the allegations that Jeremy Corbyn is anti-semitic, we now have the allegation that he’s sexist.

It does need to be said that the phrase “stupid woman” is sexist in a way that “stupid man” is not. For centuries, millennia even, men have controlled and dominated women by belittling them and insisting that women were intellectually inferior to men. The trope of supposed female stupidity is one of the pillars of the patriarchy. That’s why in our current era mansplaining is a thing but womansplaining is not.

However Jeremy Corbyn insists that he didn’t mutter “stupid woman” after Theresa May’s display of childish stupidity which was accompanied by the jeering support of her braying backbench donkeys. He claims that what he said was “stupid people”.

It’s true that those two words can be difficult to distinguish when all you have to go on is lip reading. The words woman and people both consist of a series of labial consonants followed by a vowel and ending with a alveolar consonant. To pronounce both words you make two movements causing closure or partial closure of the lips followed by a tongue gesture towards the gum ridge, also known as the alveolar ridge.

When a person is muttering, as Corbyn was, lip movements are not always fully and clearly articulated. Not clearly articulating is kind of the definition of mumbling. Without any audio it’s impossible to tell which word he actually muttered during the exchange, and I’ve played the sequence over several times. It does look to me as though he did in fact say “stupid woman”, but I’m not a lipreader. He could just as easily have said “stupid weapons”, “stupid wombles”, or “stupid bampots”, all of which also consist of the sequence labial-labial-alveolar. Naturally the Conservatives are going to select the option that allows them to feel most outraged, and which conveniently distracts from their actual stupidity.

What looks bad is that right after the event Jeremy scuttled out of the chamber and didn’t make a formal statement to clarify his remark. If he’d got up immediately and stated that he’d actually said “stupid people” he could have killed off the matter. Instead the Tories are going to town on it, Corbyn looks evasive, and the government has got off the hook for its woeful performance on Brexit and its nasty immigration plans. It’s yet another own goal from the Labour leader. The greatest asset this woeful and pathetically inadequate government possesses is that it’s confronted by an equally woeful and pathetically inadequate official opposition.

Those same Conservatives who are now in full on harrumphage are the very same Tories who routinely cast racist and patronising slurs at Scottish MPs. It was just the other day that the SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford was told to “go home” by a Conservative MP. It was only a couple of weeks ago that another Conservative told Scotland’s representatives to consider suicide as a response to being ignored by the British government. That’s not worthy of such outrage however. Jocks are supposed to know their place. The point is that the Conservatives are by no means innocent wallflowers when it comes to insulting behaviour.  They’re certainly not innocent when it comes to pandering to racists and bigots in how they frame government policy.  You can judge for yourself which is worse.

However we’re now in a place where stupid people behaving stupidly believe it’s a greater insult to be called stupid than it’s insulting to everyone else for them to be dangerously and selfishly stupid. They’re wrecking all our futures, running roughshod over what passes for a British constitution, playing Brexit chicken in an effort to sideline parliament. But that’s nothing compared to a mumbled personal insult, if that’s indeed what it was. If that’s not proof all by itself of just how stupid the Tory party is, and more to the point just how stupid they think the rest of us are, I’m not really sure what is.


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The definition of tyranny

Despite the fact that it is clear to everyone that there is no support for Theresa May’s Brexit deal in Parliament, the Prime Minister blindly and stubbornly refuses to countenance any alternatives. We have a Prime Minister who heads a government which has, at every turn, attempted to block the MPs the people have resturned to this supposedly sovereign Parliament from having their say. She has stated that her government will use so-called Henry VIII powers and will make law by fiat. She allowed MPs to express their opinions for just three days then pulled the rug from underneath Parliament and refuses to have a vote because those MPs will give her an answer not to her liking. Her government was found in contempt of Parliament but instead of apologising and seeking reconciliation, she has merely redoubled her efforts to continue along the same path.

Theresa May is immune to criticism, deaf to advice, blind to danger, uncaring that time is running out, hell bent on pursuit of control and power for the sake of power, and bugger the consequences for anyone else. She’s playing chicken with Parliament and with the lives and jobs of everyone in the UK. Everything can be risked, everything can be destroyed, just in order to save the Prime Minister’s reputation. It was noticeable that this icy politician, totally lacking in empathy, warmth, or emotion, only became animated and displayed her emotions when she thought that the EU’s Jean-Claude Juncker had insulted her personally.

This is a Prime Minister who came to power in the wake of a narrow vote to leave the EU and decided that she would ignore that 48% of the population which voted to remain, and pander to the Brexit extremists in her own party. She ignored those who voted to remain, and she has ignored those nations in her preciousssss union which voted to remain. She has instead decided to use Brexit as an excuse to further centralise the UK. She has embarked upon a course of stripping powers from the Scottish Parliament, retrospectively removing rights from the people of Scotland which the people of Scotland had approved in a referendum.

All the while she claims that she’s doing so in order to respect the result of the referendum. A referendum fought on the basis of a lie, a referendum where the winning side cheated and deceived. But none of that appears to matter.

After claiming that the central goal of Brexit was to restore sovereignty to the British Parliament, the Prime Minister is now stalling, using every tactic imaginable, in order to avoid a vote in the Commons. The goal of this appears to be to use up as much time as possible in order to rule out the possibility of a second referendum so that when a vote finally becomes unavoidable MPs will be forced to choose between Theresa May’s inadequate deal or no deal at all. Acting consciously and deliberately in order to restrict the freedom of movement of a supposedly sovereign parliament is the open contempt of democracy.

When a government is found in contempt of parliament and the reaction of the government is simply to shrug its shoulders and no one resigns, we’ve passed from contempt into the open dismissal of democratic norms. Yet that is exactly what happened this month in the UK. It’s not just that no one in the government resigned over this appalling attack on the integrity of parliament, it’s that no one expected anyone would resign. That’s how low our expectations have fallen.

At every turn, at every opportunity, the UK government has acted in the selfish interest of the Conservative party. There are two minority governments in Scotland. The British government and the Scottish government. This week the Scottish government is negotiating with other parties in order to pass its budget. With the exception of the foot stomping Lib Dems it’s a discussion between grown ups. It’s a discussion about give and take. Compare that with the British government, a minority government that has continued to act as though it has an absolute majority and doesn’t need to consult with, never mind offer concessions to, anyone else.

Meanwhile this same British government has elevated cruelty from an unfortunate side effect of policy to the policy itself. There is the infamous “hostile environment” for those who live or who wish to live in the UK but who are not UK citizens. Families are divided. Children only see one of their parents in Skype conversations. People who have lived in the UK for decades fear the knock on the door and deportation to a country where they haven’t lived since childhood.

Deliberate cruelty is a central design feature in the punitive and brutal benefits system. Sanctions are imposed for trivial reasons, leaving claimants without food and dependent on charity. We now live in a country where it is normal that people go hungry and where the biggest growth industry is food banks. You cannot walk down a street in a city centre without encountering young homeless people. Kindess is no longer a virtue in UK government policy, but a weakness. Compassion is no longer a consideration in UK government policy, but a failing. Empathy is no longer an asset in British politics, it’s been replaced by the vitriol of the right wing press.

The UK has become a cold and nasty place, defined by casual cruelty, prioritising scorn and disdain over care and understanding. It’s driven by xenophobia, scarred by hatred, inward looking and fearful, medicating itself with the dream of past glory like a homeless addict in a doorway lost a spice fueled reverie of a better time.

If you check a dictionary you will find that the definition of tyranny is the cruel, unreasonable, or arbitrary use of power or control. It is government by a ruler or small group of people who have unlimited power over the people in their country or state and use it unfairly and cruelly. Unfair votes, breaking rules, the centralisation of power, the avoidance of democratic accountability, cruelty as government policy. Theresa May’s government ticks all the boxes.


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If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my 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.

GINGER2croppedGaelic maps of Scotland are available for £15 each, plus £7 P&P within the UK for up to three maps. T-shirts are £12 each, and are available in small, medium, large, XL and XXL sizes. P&P is £5 for up to three t-shirts. My books, the Collected Yaps Vols 1 to 4 are available for £11 each. P&P is £4 for up to two books. Payment can be made via Paypal.

The unwitting midwives of independence

Do you know your place yet Scottish people? The media and the Tories would like you to believe that the Scottish government was slapped down by the UK Supreme Court this week. The Court struck down important parts of the Scottish Government’s EU Continuity Bill, passed with the support of all parties except the Tories, so that’s youse telt, Jocks.

Only it’s not quite as simple as that. Despite the best efforts of Adam IT’S THE LAW Tomkins and the massed ranks of apologists for the British state in the social and traditional media to claim otherwise, the court ruled that the Continuity Bill had indeed been within the competence of Holyrood. That is until the UK Government retrospectively changed the rules to ensure that it wouldn’t be. Between the time of Holyrood’s Continuity Bill being referred to the court and the judgement, Theresa May’s government passed its own bill, and that included a provision that Holyrood could not alter the European Withdrawal Act. Remember that promise that Westminster wouldn’t ever do anything to alter the powers of Holyrood without the consent of the Scottish Parliament? That’s worth as much as a ticket for a night of comedy, anecdotes, and entertainment with James Kelly MSP or an appearance on Mastermind by Ross Thomson.

What has happened is a bit like deciding to buy a new car, but your evil fairy godmother Theresa tells you that you can’t afford it. You press ahead anyway because you know you have the money in the bank, but your evil fairy godmother casts an evil spell which empties your bank account and deprives you of your own money. Then she crows at you that you can’t afford the car and she was very clear about how right she was all along. Not only that, but she tells you that you had no legal right to a car in the first place.

There’s that precioussssss union for you. We’re being told that we are better together with thieves who steal power from the people of Scotland in order to force Scotland into the Brexit that Scotland never wanted. What the Supreme Court ruling makes absolutely clear is that contrary to the protestations of David Mundell Who Hasn’t Resigned Yet Westminster has indeed used Brexit as an excuse to grab back powers from Holyrood. Westminster has indeed been using Brexit to give it cover as it undermines the devolution settlement. Westminster has indeed been citing the need to respect the result of the EU referendum to traduce the result of not one but two Scottish referendums.

All this is bad enough. All this is proof positive of the bad faith of the British Government and the contempt in which it holds the people of Scotland. However what’s even worse is that this same Supreme Court ruling found that Westminster was perfectly within its power to do so. Yet again we see that the United Kingdom, this so-called most perfect union of nations, no zero constitutional checks and balances, no legal protections, no effective means, of protecting Scotland from the baneful effects of an exceptionalist English nationalism. We’re not in a union. The Tories, the soi-disant champions of unionism, have destroyed any pretence otherwise. In a real union, the largest partner doesn’t possess an effective veto over the wishes of the smaller partners.

Don’t you dare imagine that you can get above your lowly station, Scotland. If you try you’ll be slapped down, and you’ll be told you never had the right to do things that you previously had the right to do. And the ProudScotsBut think this is an embarrassment. Well they’re not wrong there. It is indeed an embarrassment, just not the one they think it is. It’s an embarrassment that Westminster is so pathetically welded to its power that it will undermine, destroy, and diminish the devolution settlement to ensure that nothing can stand in the way of its English nationalism wrapped up in a Union fleg. It’s an embarrassment that the ProudScotsBut are happy to see their own freedoms, their own rights, their own protections, destroyed in order to score a point against Thatessempee. “That’s one in the eye for Nippy!” they crow as they’re led blindly off the Brexit cliff.

The Conservatives can’t be trusted with devolution. They are venal, dishonest, and fundamentally immoral in their dealings with the people of Scotland. Nothing that they say, nothing that they promise, can be relied upon. The second that they decide that it serves the interests of their party better to shaft Scotland, that’s exactly what they’ll do. And their supporters will claim this is getting one over the SNP and not a political attack on Scotland as a whole. They rejoice in the subjugation of Scotland while telling us how proud they are to be Scottish. If Scotland’s freedom of movement is to be restricted, they want us to beleive that it’s only for our own good. We’re not really a grown up nation, you see.

They project their inadequacies and inferiority complex on to the rest of us, and tell us that they’re being realistic. Because the defining characteristic of those who suffer from the Cringe is to make the rest of us suffer.

This destruction of the devolution settlement and traducing of the will of the Scottish people is all in pursuit of a Brexit deal that entails cherries, an ever renewing cake, and a sense of entitlement that even Ruth Davidson would blush at. Well maybe not. That would involve the possession of a sense of shame, even a rudimentary one. There’s not much evidence for that amongst the Conservative contingent in Holyrood. They’re MSPs in a Parliament which they’re doing their best to undermine, diminish, and reduce in power and influence. Apparently that’s standing up for Scotland and getting the best deal for us within their imaginary Union. Well who knew.

The Tories have destroyed the post-war settlement which was the biggest argument for Scotland remaining a part of the UK. Now they’re embarking on the destruction of the devolution settlement, and the destruction of the UK itself. They say that those who love you are those who hurt you the most, that was never more true than it is for the Scottish Conservatives and their precious so-called union. The Conservatives will be the unwitting midwives of Scottish independence.

And finally : Twitter is a toxic environment. I left Twitter because I don’t wish to get sucked into the carping, the infighting, and the general nastiness. So don’t email me about your Twitter disputes and infighting. If you do, your email address will be blocked.


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That’s a fine forfochten fanklefyke the Tories have got us into

Yesterday the story could have been Labour’s to tell. Jeremy Corbyn could have stamped the Labour party’s mark on Brexit and alongside the SNP, the Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru, and the Greens he could have brought forward a motion of no confidence in the government and shown that there is substantial and principled opposition within the UK to the selfish insanity of a Conservative Brexit. He might very well have lost that vote, but it would have been close, and today Labour would be commanding the news agenda, demonstrating that sense and reason is possible in British politics.

They blew it. They blew it for the exact same reason that Theresa May blew it. They lacked the courage to take it to a vote. They lacked the understanding of symbolism in politics. They lacked vision. Now no one is talking about how the Labour party can seize control of the Brexit narrative.

Today the Tory leadership contest is the only show in town and British politics has turned into a forfochtin fanklefyke of galactic proportions. Because clusterbourach just doesn’t cut it any more. The requisite number of letters from disgruntled Tory MPs has been received by the Chair of the 1922 Committee, and a leadership election will take place if 158 MPs vote against Theresa in a secret ballot which is due to be held on Wednesday evening. If she wins, she’ll be safe in her job as the rules of the Conservative party prevent another leadership challenge for a year. If she loses, she will not be permitted to stand in the leadership election that will then be triggered. We will be told the result by around 9pm on Wednesday evening.

Yet again, the Conservative party has put the interests of the Conservative party first and foremost. There’s only a few short months left to go before the Brexit clock ticks its sorry last, and a substantial section of the Conservative party thinks that this is the ideal time for it to indulge itself in its internal battles. Let’s get this straight here. The Tories voted for Theresa a couple of years back, but now they think that voting for her wasn’t such a great idea and they want another vote. This seems like a good idea that could be implemented successfully elsewhere.

If Theresa May doesn’t manage to get the support of half the eligible Conservative MPs, there will be a leadership contest which is likely to take weeks to conclude. The new leader would be likely to be a Brexiter, who will take the deal back to the EU and who won’t get anything from the EU that Theresa with her fixation on ending freedom of movement wasn’t able to achieve. Dominic Raab C Brexit, David Davis, and Arlene Foster of the DUP have apparently teamed up to campaign for a “better deal”. This apparently entails magic technology, invisible borders, and lots of cake with cherries. But what do you expect when a woman from a party which doesn’t believe in dinosaurs teams up with a dinosaur. The truth is that if there was going to be a better deal on offer, someone would have come up with one by now.

However the chances are that Theresa May will win the vote this evening. This is what counts as reckless and foolhardy bravery in British political commentary these days by the way, making a prediction about what could happen in a couple of hours.

Winning the support of more than half of Conservative MPs isn’t necessarily enough by itself to ensure that an ailing leader remains in their job. If sufficient MPs vote against the leader, previous leaders have still felt the need to stand down out of a sense of principle. But then we’re talking about Theresa May here, a woman whose only principle is the inability to distinguish between being resolute and being stubbornly delusional. Conservatives don’t do resignations on points of principle any more. Just ask David Mundell.

Even if she scrapes home by just one vote she’s quite likely to hang on repeating her soundbites about getting on with the job and nothing has changed. Theresa May is the limpet of politics. Although that’s unfair to limpets as they have a greater understanding of their environment than Theresa does and a more highly developed central nervous system. The mess, the confusion, the political stalemate, is only going to continue. Clinging on as leader doesn’t make it any more likely that she’ll get her deal through the Commons when she does decide to put it to a vote. Clinging on as leader doesn’t make it any more likely that she’ll be able to cobble together some proposal that will enjoy the support of a majority in the Commons.

So, Better Together, are you still there? Are you listening? Although you’re almost certainly not because what we’ve learned over the past few sorry years is that nae bugger in the British establishment listens to Scotland. But on the offchance that you are – about that security and stability that you promised us …

However, even if she does win, Theresa May will preside over a party that’s divided and at war with itself. There will most certainly be a substantial number of her MPs who will vote against her, and they will have no incentive to get behind her leadership. They’ll be sullen, uncooperative, and will continue to plot, conspire, and put obstacles in her way. And even worse than that, we’ll have a Prime Minister who has learned that sticking her fingers in her ears and going la-la-la I’m not listening is a successful tactic.

The UK is enmeshed in a forfochten fanklefyke with no clear means of untangling itself. Everyone outside the Conservative party is looking on with dismay. Everyone outside the UK is looking on incredulously and with increasing frustration. Remember when Scotland was told that by remaining a part of the UK we’d be able to punch above our weight? Well it turns out that all it meant was that we’d be able to punch ourselves in the balls far more forcefully than we would have if we were left to our own devices.

If having a vote is good enough for Tory MPs, it’s good enough for Scotland. The difference is that a Scottish vote would actually solve the problem once and for all.


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If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my 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.

GINGER2croppedGaelic maps of Scotland are available for £15 each, plus £7 P&P within the UK for up to three maps. T-shirts are £12 each, and are available in small, medium, large, XL and XXL sizes. P&P is £5 for up to three t-shirts. My books, the Collected Yaps Vols 1 to 4 are available for £11 each. P&P is £4 for up to two books. Payment can be made via Paypal.