One step at a time to a republic

republic
One of my top reasons for wanting independence is because I want a republic. From day one after Scotland votes Yes to independence in a referendum or in a popular vote, I’ll be campaigning for the abolition of the monarchy and for an elected Scottish head of state. It’s only when we have broken free from the publicly funded obscene wealth of the Windsors and their covert influence on our politics and public life that Scotland will truly be an independent nation.

The chances of the Westminster Parliament ever offering the UK a choice on whether or not to abolish the monarchy and have an elected head of state are precisely zero. Even if by some miracle they were persuaded or coerced into allowing a referendum on the future of the monarchy, Westminster would simply introduce some stitch up ensuring that even with an elected head of state there would be no fundamental changes to the structures of the state itself. The same elites would continue unchallenged, the same British establishment would waive the rules. A Westminster referendum on the future of the monarchy would operate along similar lines to the referendum of 2011, when Westminster offered the UK a choice between keeping the unfair and undemocratic first past the post electoral system, or the only alternative that was even worse.

Only in an independent Scotland is there a serious and realistic option of a Parliament which allows a truly free and fair referendum on the monarchy and the choice of a head of state. Personally I favour a system like that of the Irish Republic’s, where the head of state – the Uachtarán na hÉireann – is elected by a popular vote but the post is largely ceremonial in nature. The Ceann-Shuidhe na h-Alba / Preses o Scotland / President of Scotland should be elected in a similar way, and likewise have a largely ceremonial role.

The dangers of a hereditary monarch have been highlighted recently by two incidents. Firstly there was the intervention of the Queen in the Scottish independence referendum. The Palace not only enthusiastically cooperated with Prime Minister David Cameron’s suggestion that the Queen make some sort of public statement in order to assist the Better Together campaign, it also ensured that BBC and other reporters were on hand so that the Queen’s remark received the maximum possible publicity. It was the coordinated and deliberate intervention of a supposedly politically neutral institution in a democratic debate, with the blatant aim of influencing the outcome to one of the monarch’s pleasing.

This issue was widely known at the time, although it was dismissed as conspiracy theorising from a bitter independence campaign. It was confirmed recently when David Cameron described the episode in his memoirs. The reaction has been, not outrage that the monarch exceeded her constitutional role by intervening in a democratic vote, but outrage that she was found out. Apparently the real constitutional outrage as far as the British establishment is concerned is that David Cameron should never have spoken publicly about his private conversations with the Queen. The real crime is not that the offence took place, it’s breaking the vow of omertà. The real offence in the eyes of the British establishment is that the public should discover the political influence the Queen really has, not that she has any in the first place.

Potentially far more serious however is the role of the monarch in the recent decision of the Prime Minister to prorogue Parliament. We shall discover on Tuesday whether this decision was illegal. Rumours are that the ruling is likely not to be favourable to the government. If it finds against the Government, this ruling will be framed in terms of the Prime Minister having lied to the Queen.  However everyone and their granny knew the real reason why Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson prorogued Parliament, so it beggars belief to imagine that a monarch who has been dealing with Prime Ministers for almost 70 years and who has her own team of political advisors didn’t know precisely what he was up to either.

An elected head of state would have had the authority from their own democratic mandate to tell Johnson where to get off and would have defended democracy by refusing to allow a Prime Minister without a majority to escape parliamentary scrutiny by closing down Parliament.  Yet instead of preventing the Prime Minister from closing down Parliament in order to escape democratic scrutiny, Buckingham Palace colluded with him in doing so. The priority of the office of the head of state was not to protect what passes for a British constitution, it was to minimise any potential damage to the monarchy. In other words, the office of the head of state of the UK does not exist in order to defend the constitution of the UK, it’s a self-serving institution which exists solely to protect and defend itself – and bugger the consequences to democracy and to the rest of us.

These are all compelling reasons why the British monarchy is incompatible with proper democracy. A proper democracy demands that its head of state has as their main concern the defence of democracy and the upholding of the constitution. That is clearly not the role of the Queen. The role of the Windsors is to continue to enjoy their private influence and privilege at that same time as benefiting from their publicly funded highly expensive lifestyles.

All that said, it would be a mistake to fight the next independence referendum on an overtly republican platform. Fundamentally, independence is about one question and one question only, and it’s no more about deciding whether we are a republic or a monarchy than it is about accepting the Scottish Government’s proposals for the rate of Corporation Tax. Independence is about deciding who gets the final say on what choices Scotland makes, not about prejudging what those choices must be. Choosing independence means asserting and establishing the right of the people of Scotland to have the last word on what sort of country this is, and what path this country takes.

There should only be one question before the Scottish people when we next decide on independence, and that question is about establishing the sovereign right of the people of Scotland to decide what sort of country this should be. Just as the nature of our relationship with Europe is a question that only the people of an independent Scotland can decide after we have established our independence, so likewise the question of how we choose a Scottish head of state can only be decided after we have established our independence.

In my view Scotland should and must abolish the monarchy. But that’s a discussion for the people of Scotland to have once we have established and asserted our sovereign right as a nation to determine our own path. One step at a time to a republic.


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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.


newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free. You can order here –
https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2019

You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to weegingerbook@yahoo.com, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email weegingerbook@yahoo.com


Woof! The best leader… for the Yes campaign

gordiebroon
Former TV fitba pundit Airchie Macpherson wasn’t happy with the independence referendum. It was a negative and depressing experience for him. He was in particular shocked that people reacted negatively to his own negativity about independence. That sort of thing doesn’t happen in the 1970s bubble where Airchie’s at his happiest. It was a time of big tie knots, and equally big knots tying Scotland into the UK. It was a time when no one scoffed at the right of the British state to rule Scotland, and no one scoffed at a dodgy comb over. But most of all it was the time of the 1979 General Election when the SNP were blootered out of the park. Woof!

Airchie’s description is a commonplace one of the independence campaign amongst opponents of independence. On the other hand, supporters of independence typically describe the campaign of 2014 as positive, uplifting, and a joyous expression of public involvement in big political questions. Neither side is lying about their own perception of their own experience. The difference is due to the nature of the campaigns that each side fought. The No side fought a negative, fearful, and deceitful campaign. It’s hardly surprising that those involved in it report it as being a negative and depressing experience. On the other hand the Yes campaign was happy clappy and resolutely positive. We’re longing for a rematch with a fervour that is only matched in its intensity by the dread with which no campaigners look upon it.

The next time, the No campaign is going to be even more negative, fearful, and threatening than it was the first time around, because the anti-independence parties themselves have blown up anything that might have passed for a positive case for the UK. They’ve trashed the Vow, pissed all over “the closest thing possible to federalism”, taken us out of the EU, destroyed the UK’s reputation for being a stable and secure democracy, undermined the devolution settlement, and have given us a Prime Minister whose sole achievement is his willingness to lie and to disregard the basic standards of democracy. Naturally Airchie isn’t at all looking forward to another independence referendum. He’d rather the whole subject would just go away and leave him in peace to enjoy his reminiscences of how well Rangers played in the 1976 cup final.

But there is one thing upon which even the most fervent supporter of independence can fully agree with Airchie. That’s his suggestion that Gordie Broon needs to be the leader of the next No campaign. Please please pretty please make it so. Airchie wants Gordie to be the leader because there’s no one else. Ruth Davidson has waltzed off in the expectation that there’s a daytime TV sofa awaiting her in a BBC studio sometime soon. She can hardly come back and tell Scotland that we need to suck up a Conservative Prime Minster and his policies that she herself so publicly couldn’t stand. The remaining Tories are stuck with defending a Brexit that’s as toxic as their party. No one can remember Labour’s Scottish branch office manager Reinhart Lunchpacker’s name long enough for him to lead the campaign. So that just leaves Jeauw Sweynseun with her amazing mutating accent and her equally mutating support for austerity. However if you fancy yourself as the leader of a campaign to keep Scotland a part of the UK, don’t you think that it might be a good idea to actually live in Scotland and not just to stay with yer maw in Milngavie when you deign to visit your constituency? If you’re putting all your hope in the Lib Dems to save the UK, you might as well admit that your team is already as sick as a parrot, to use one of those 1970s sporting metaphors so beloved of Airchie.

That just leaves the Gordosaurus. Airchie is quite correct that there’s no one else left. And Gordie would be a great leader of the No campaign, for the Yes campaign that is. He’d actually have to appear in venues other than those solely populated with tame Labour hacks and carefully selected members of the press. He might even, may all the gods help him, have to answer some questions. We could ask him what happened to his Vow. He could be interrogated on what exactly transpired with his solemn promise that he personally would ensure that the leaders of the main parties upheld their commitments to the people of Scotland. We could question him on the likely estimated time of arrival of that closest thing to federalism that is now strangely overdue. Wasn’t it within a year or two of a No vote that he said it was going to happen? And we could ask him why, given that all of his promises from 2014 have turned out to be as empty as the acreage of scalp that Airchie’s 1970’s comb over was covering, should anyone believe a word that he has to say this time around.

Realistically however, Gordie won’t be heading the campaign. He’s far happier repeatedly intervening for the very first time. Heading the campaign would expose the hollow nature of his arguments and his promises. Self-awareness might not be in the top ten list of qualities that are associated with Gordie, but he’s aware enough to realise that. So it’s not going to be him. However the fact that his name is being touted merely illustrates one of the biggest problems facing opponents of independence as we head into another referendum campaign. They blew their credibility in the first campaign, and now they’re running on empty. No politician who still has ambitions for a political career will want to lead a campaign that looks to be doomed to failure. A former PM like Gordie won’t want to lead it as his legacy is pretty threadbare as it is. He has only been saved from the title of worst PM since WW2 because the Tories have scored a hat-trick with Davie, Theresa, and Lyin’ Bastert Johnson.

The No campaign finds itself in the position of not having any positive argument to put to the people of Scotland, having to explain and defend its failure to deliver on the promises and commitments that it made in order to win the 2014 referendum.  The Labour party will not wish to be associated with any campaign in which the Tories play a major part.  And there is no one who could credibly lead that campaign anyway. No wonder that they are so desperate to prevent a referendum from happening in the first place. They know that Scotland is going to show them the red card and blooter them off the pitch. As Airchie so famously said, woof!


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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.


newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free. You can order here –
https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2019

You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to weegingerbook@yahoo.com, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email weegingerbook@yahoo.com


The Perfidious Albion clause

perfidiousalbionclause
Sometimes newspaper headlines are misleading. Sometimes they’re just flat out wrong. And sometimes they’re just pathetically desperate. A headline in the Herald today (Saturday) falls into that latter category. “Nicola Sturgeon confirms a Yes vote on independence could be reversed” it screams, as though she is the one who would be doing the reversing.  The implication is that she might change her mind after a Yes vote and decide that this whole independence business was a bad idea because it was upsetting to that terribly nice Murdo Fraser.

A far more accurate headline would have been, “Nicola Sturgeon confirms Scotland would still be a democracy after a Yes vote.” Yes, who knew it, after a Yes vote which has as its aim ensuring that the people of Scotland are able to get governments that do what the people of Scotland want, Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that after a Yes vote the people of Scotland will get a government that does what the people of Scotland want.

Naturally that also means that should, for some bizarre and unfathomable reason, the people of Scotland collectively decide that circumstances have changed and they don’t want independence after having voted for it, and they vote for a government with a mandate to hold a referendum on rejoining the UK, then that is what the people of Scotland will get. That’s how democracy works. This proposition should only come as a surprise to British nationalists in Scotland.

The point, the point which the Herald and the anti-independence parties are conveniently overlooking, is that the people of Scotland have right now got a government which was elected with a mandate to hold an independence referendum should circumstances change as circumstances have indeed changed. That’s not a hypothetical government with a hypothetical mandate either. It’s an actual government with an actual mandate whose existence the anti-independence parties are hell-bent on denying. Democracy doesn’t mean that people only have the right to change their minds as long as they change their minds in a direction that you approve of. Except if you’re Jeauw Swaynseun. But then there’s as much chance of the Lib Dems acknowledging their hypocrisy as there is of the Queen apologising for having interfered in a democratic vote.

The headline and accompanying article are clearly designed to do two things. First of all it seeks to play into the fears and suspicions of those in the Yes camp who are openly expressing their doubts that the SNP is at all serious about pursuing independence. Oh my god! They’ll be saying on Twitter, Nicola has no intention at all of pursuing independence. I’m ripping up my SNP membership card and will never vote for the party again. And by doing so they will be making a resolutely anti-independence newspaper very happy indeed. Job done. Although I very much doubt however that outside of a miniscule minority of the perma-outraged who inhabit Twitter that anyone would really think that. In any event, those in the independence camp who are fed up with a lack of action from the SNP would hardly believe a Herald headline that told them it was raining even if they were to look out of the window and see that it was tipping down.

The other, more serious, goal of the piece is to give further wind to the notion that opponents of independence would be justified in insisting that the next independence referendum should be a two-parter. Following a yes vote in the referendum they’d then insist on a confirmatory referendum on the independence deal negotiated between Holyrood and Westminster. This sounds on the surface to be all very fine and dandy and democratic, but what it means in the real world is that they are wanting Holyrood and the Scottish Government to agree in advance that Westminster has the right and the ability to negotiate in bad faith after Scotland has voted for independence in order to ensure that a Yes vote can never be implemented. It’s essentially a Perfidious Albion clause.

The Perfidious Albion clause would in practice give Westminster, which doesn’t exactly have a great reputation at the best of times when it comes to fairness and negotiating in good faith, carte blanche to insist on all sorts of ridiculous and unacceptable conditions during independence negotiations. This is because as a result of the Perfidious Albion clause the purpose of independence negotiations for Westminster would no longer be to negotiate with Holyrood with the aim of getting a workable deal on independence that was acceptable to both parties, it would be to negotiate with the aim of setting conditions that they know that Holyrood could never agree to in a million years. For Westminster, the negotiations would become about ensuring that a deal could not be achieved rather than achieving one.

Then when the confirmatory vote comes along, opponents of independence would be able to say that Scotland was going to have to take a leap into the unknown without any independence deal. Opponents of independence would tell us that Westminster wouldn’t recognise an independent Scotland because there was no agreement on the terms of independence, there was no agreement. And then they would tell us that in turn this would mean that we’d not be able to join the EU or any other international body because Westminster wouldn’t recognise Scottish independence and wouldn’t agree to it.

Naturally the plan is a non-starter. No independence supporting party or organisation would accept a referendum predictated upon giving our opponents the right to negotiate in bad faith after a Yes result. They want us to trust them, but the entire reason for independence in the first place is because Westminster has repeatedly proven that it cannot be trusted in its dealings with Scotland. The anti-independence parties amply demonstrated that in the way in which they trashed all the commitments and promises that they made to the people of Scotland in order to win the referendum of 2014.

What the Perfidious Albion clause would boil down to is Westminster saying – yes you can have an independence referendum, but only if you give us the right to ensure that a Yes vote can never be implemented. It is the height of British nationalist arrogance that they should even imagine that this insulting and anti-democratic idea might fly.

But those British nationalists who advocate this plan are playing with fire. By airing the idea they are tacitly acknowledging that it’s the people of Scotland – and only the people of Scotland – who have the right to decide their future, and this undermines their opposition to allowing a referendum in the first place.

Their desperate plans and machinations are further confirmation that they know that when there is another vote on Scottish independence, a vote that they will not be able to stall forever, that they’re going to lose. Because they already know that they’re going to lose, they’re going to play dirty. That in itself further erodes the UK, because it’s only going to make even more people in Scotland realise that the only way in which Scotland’s democracy can be defended is with independence. The Perfidious Albion proposal is one more frayed thread in the ever-loosening ties that bind the UK.


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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.


newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free. You can order here –
https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2019

You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to weegingerbook@yahoo.com, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email weegingerbook@yahoo.com


Dugcast with Philippa Whitford – 20 September 2019

Welcome to the 20 September edition of the Dugcast. This week Callum Baird and I are joined by a very special guest, Philippa Whitford MP. We chat about the developments in Westminster, the prospects for another indyref, the General Election that’s coming soon, Philippa tells us how independence is the only way to protect Scotland’s NHS from creeping privatisation. And I get told off for always interrupting Callum.


newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free. You can order here –
https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2019

You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to weegingerbook@yahoo.com, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email weegingerbook@yahoo.com


You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Please log into Paypal.com and send a payment to the email address weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Or alternatively click the donate button. If you don’t have a Paypal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.
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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 lie at the heart of the UK constitution

headofstate
During the independence referendum, those who suggested that David Cameron’s government had intervened with the monarchy in order to get the Queen to make a statement favourable to the Better Together campaign were dismissed as cranks, conspiracy theorists, and crackpots.

That’s OUTRAGEOUS!!!! We were told in capital letters with multiple exclamation marks because if you’re going to affect to be outraged you may as well go the whole hog. The Queen is NEUTRAL!!!! That’s what being British is all about and the fact you can even think to the contrary that shows that you are a vile untrustworthy person who can never, NEVER, aspire to the heights of moral probity of the British state and you’d put Scottish democracy at risk. How very DARE you vile cybernats impugn the neutrality of Her Majesty who has never, NEVER, had a political thought in her entire life. Or indeed any thought that didn’t involve horses or protecting her second son from accusations of being pally with a paedophile. Well this is precisely the kind of conspiracy theorising we can expect from these vile cybernats with their evil ways and horrible tendency to throw an egg, an egg I tell you, at that nice Mr Jim Murphy. Vote yes and it’s one step to the end of civilisation.

Yet now we know that is precisely what happened. In his expensively written memoirs, coming soon to a Bargain Bookshop near you with a £1 sticker on the cover, former Prime Minister David Cameron admits that he did indeed intervene with the monarchy after he was panicked by an opinion poll which showed that support for independence was edging ahead. He didn’t want to go down in history as the man who’d lost Scotland. No indeed. Instead because of his Brexit referendum he’ll go down in history as the man who lost the entire UK.

What Liz did in response was to tell a random royalist punter stood stanning outside Crathie kirk that people ought to “think very carefully” before casting their vote in the referendum. This was taken in the spirit in which it was intended by the BBC and the rest of the British media. It was the sort of “you need to think very carefully about that” you’d get from yer maw just after a teenager told her they intended to get a facial tattoo and she knew that if she’d said “For god’s sake don’t be such an idiot” that they’d go ahead and do it just to annoy her. This is because even though the form of the words “think very carefully” are in themselves studiously neutral, no one has ever been told to “think very carefully” by another person who shares their belief that they are doing the right thing.

That’s exactly how the Queen’s words were presented by the media. She knew that is what they’d do. There was no intervention from the palace to clarify that the Queen meant that both sides in the debate needed to think very carefully, or that what she meant was that she hoped that both sides in the debate should carefully consider their positions. She was quite happy that her wee intervention should be used as an aid to the Better Together campaign. That’s always exactly how it was intended.

Today we’re hearing reports from the palace that the Queen is channelling Victoria and is not amused by Cameron’s none too surprising revelation. Apparently there is “an amount of displeasure” about the former Prime Minister’s admission. I’ll bet there is, quite a large amount too. But it’s not displeasure at having intervened in a democratic debate, it’s displeasure at having been found out. Coming as it does on top of the crisis provoked by Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson’s decision to abuse the royal prerogative and prorogue Parliament in order to escape democratic scrutiny, it’s a very bad time for anyone to be shining the spotlight on the monarch’s true role in politics.

We have been told this week that Lyin’ Bastert Johnson lied to the Queen in order to prorogue Parliament, when in fact she was well aware of what he was doing and why he wanted Parliament to be prorogued. The dugs in the street knew the real reason. All of Parliament knew the real reason. The judges in the highest court of Scotland knew the real reason. Everyone knew the real reason. It is ludicrous to suggest that a monarch who has been dealing with Prime Ministers since the early 1950s didn’t know the real reason too. Indeed there have even been rumours that the Palace planned the entire affair with Downing Street.

This is far bigger than the decision of a deeply conservative member of the British establishment, indeed the very figurehead of the British establishment, to intervene against Scottish independence. That development was always entirely predictable, and she will do exactly the same the next time round. All the more so because the next time round the British state will not be going into the independence referendum campaign with the same casual arrogance that it’s going to win handsomely that it had early in 2014. There will most certainly be some weasly worded intervention from the monarch, carefully phrased in order to be deniable. However the next time round we will be able to assert that there has been political intervention citing David Cameron as evidence that opponents of independence had done it before. We will no longer be able to be dismissed as conspiracy theorists for making the allegation.

What this is really about however, is the systematic weakness of the collection of laws, conventions, traditions, and precedent which together comprise the British constitution. An unelected head of state is not and cannot be any sort of guarantee against undemocratic actions on the part of the executive. An elected head of state would have told Lyin’ Bastert Johnson where to get off if he had approached her or him with the proposal to prorogue Parliament for such nakedly political, anti-democratic, and self-serving ends. Instead of placing the protection of democracy as its paramount concern, Buckingham Palace had as its priority the minimisation of damage to the Queen’s reputation.

It is one thing when an extremely expensively funded head of state has no political influence and is merely a decorative figurehead. It is quite another when that head of state does have political influence, but those of us who pay for the privileges and luxurious lifestyle of her and her family are not allowed to know what that influence is. Then the monarch shifts from being merely a massive waste of public money, to becoming a massive waste of public money and a danger to democracy. The real scandal here is not that Lyin’ Bastert Johnson lied to the Queen, it’s that the entire British constitution rests upon the lie that the head of state has no political influence.


newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free. You can order here –
https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2019

You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to weegingerbook@yahoo.com, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email weegingerbook@yahoo.com


You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Please log into Paypal.com and send a payment to the email address weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Or alternatively click the donate button. If you don’t have a Paypal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.
Donate Button

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.

We stood, and we still stand

thedawniscoming

It’s been five years since Scotland went to the polls in the independence referendum. The poll might have produced a win for no, but the result merely signalled the beginning of the question about Scotland’s place in the world and not the end of it. Five years on and we’re still asking, and the voices calling for Scotland to retake its rightful place amongst the independent nations of the world are louder and more confident than ever. There is a better Scotland, and it is shimmering on the horizon, almost within our grasp. There is a dawn coming.

The Scotland of 2019, the Scotland of these past five years, is not the same Scotland that existed prior to the referendum. We awoke on that morning of bitterness five years ago. We wept. We cried. We railed at the injustice. We nursed our wounds. And then we stood up and said, no. We said that our dreams would not be crushed. We said that we would hold those triumphalist victors of the referendum to account. We said that we would never go back into the shortbread tin. We resolved that the Cringe was dead within us and that we would mock those who tell us that we are not good enough, that we are too small, too weak, to poor, too stupid. Because they are not talking about us, they’re talking about themselves. They’re talking about North Britain, not Scotland. They’re talking about their own inadequacies, not ours.

We stood and we still stand, because we had learned how to hope and that was a lesson that we were never going to forget. The campaign of 2014 taught a nation that it could define itself. That it could be open, accepting, that Scottishness has nothing to do with where you come from, or who your ancestors were. It taught us that Scottishness is a state of mind, a mind that has resolved to make this country a better place for all of us, for the marginalised, for the poor, for the disabled, for the old, for migrants and those who were born here alike. It taught us that if we want to achieve that better Scotland we need to do it for ourselves, because nae other bugger is going to do it for us. We learned that we had a voice, whether we live in Morningside or Easterhouse, our voices count the same. We learned how to stand up. We learned how to sing. We discovered that hope changes everything. That hope still animates us, still flows through our veins. It still burns brightly. And it will guide us to the Scotland of our dreams.

The unleashing of hope has made this a country increasingly at ease with itself, increasingly confident in itself, increasingly impatient with the contortions, confusion, and contempt that issue from that Parliament on the banks of the Thames. This is a country where the issue of independence has not merely been normalised, it has been brought right into the centre of Scottish political debate. It is now the question around which all of Scottish politics revolves.

We did that. You and I. The pensioner from Fife. The lobster fisherman from Skye. The disabled activist from Glasgow. The carer from Aberdeen. We changed Scotland. We changed Scotland with our canvassing, our conversations, our belief, our memes, our blog posts, our local groups, our self-organisation. We did it without the support of any traditional media outlet with the honourable exception of the Sunday Herald and later the National. We did it in the teeth of opposition from the entire broadcast media, the print media, the anti-independence parties and their pals in business, the combined weight of the British establishment. We did it all by ourselves. Because the little people together make a movement, and a people in movement cannot be stopped. We made Scotland a different country, a country no longer prepared to be silent and quiescent as decisions are made for us by politicians in a distant parliament far away, politicians who know little about Scotland and who care even less.

Those who oppose us are still arrogant, still contemptuous, still preaching that this land that their precious Westminster rules over is weak, poor, and incapable. They’re still blind to the truth that if what they themselves say is true then it is no argument for continuing Westminster rule, it’s an indictment of it. But their arrogance is hollow, their contempt a mask for their fear. They know that in 2014 the people of Scotland gave them one more chance, and they know that they have blown it. It’s not the Scottish independence movement which has destroyed confidence in the Westminster Parliament. The Westminster Parliament has done that all by itself. One by one, the British establishment has trashed all their own arguments against independence. Now all they have left are scare stories, fear, and threats.

They know, and we know, that all they can do is to stall the people of Scotland from having their say, because once we do have our say our verdict will condemn them. They can only pray that we will give up and go away, that we will get back into the shortbread tin and close the lid on ourselves. But that’s not going to happen. We have shown them over the course of the past five years that that is not going to happen. We are certainly not going to give up and go away when faced with a British state that has lied to us, deceived us, treated us with contempt, broken every promise it made to us. They can’t hold back the waters forever and we are the rising tide.

We have changed Scotland over the past five years, and we shall propel it yet further on its journey. All of us, on our mission to make this a better place. We hoped and we still hope. We believed and we still believe. We stood and we still stand. The dawn is coming.


newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free. You can order here –
https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2019

You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to weegingerbook@yahoo.com, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email weegingerbook@yahoo.com


You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Please log into Paypal.com and send a payment to the email address weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Or alternatively click the donate button. If you don’t have a Paypal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.
Donate Button

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.

Grasping at red white and blue straws

graspingatstraws
You can take a poll seriously when it has been carried out by an avowedly anti-independence organisation, at least you can when it uses standard methodology and a standard question. However there’s no point in taking a poll seriously when it has been carried out by an avowedly anti-independence organisation using a skewed and misleading non-standard question about independence. Sadly this doesn’t stop large parts of the Scottish media from doing exactly that.

Zoomers to the Crown, Scotland in Union, have published another of their polls using a question patterned after the question used in the EU referendum, and surprise surprise have discovered that 59% of people in Scotland would prefer to “remain in the UK”. This is considerably higher than most other polls show opposition to independence, and has been greeted with relief by the likes of the Scottish Tories who are currently desperately in search of a straw to grasp. So here’s a simple message for the media and the Scottish Tories – when you use a non-standard question, you get a non-standard result. Scotland in Union’s poll is meaningless.

All reputable polls about the independence question use the question which was employed in the independence referendum of 2014. That question was a model of clarity, and agreed to be such by the Electoral Commission. You cannot compare the results of a question asking “Should Scotland remain in the United Kingdom or leave the United Kingdom?” with the results of a question asking “Should Scotland be an independent country?” The two questions are not asking the same thing.

Everyone understands what is meant by independence. It means a Scotland which is a European state just like the Netherlands or Iceland. It means a Scotland which makes its own decisions on issues like whether to remain a part of the EU or to leave it. It means a Scotland which is responsible for the entirety of its own financial affairs, its own defence, and its own international relations.

On the other hand Scotland in Union’s poll question is essentially meaningless as it does not define what either leaving the UK or remaining in it actually mean in practice. Remaining in the UK could mean anything from the abolition of Holyrood, through the status quo, to dominion status as a independent state sharing the monarch as the head of state along with the rest of the UK. Meanwhile leaving the UK suffers from the same lack of clarity. It could be referring to an independent Scottish republic, or something akin to the same status as the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands – which are not a part of the UK.

However the real reason for the poll question’s lack of clarity is that it muddies the water – deliberately – by confusing people with their attitudes towards remaining or leaving the EU. And that, no doubt, was precisely the reason that Scotland in Union chose that format for their question. The fact that it frames independence in negative terms, as leaving, was just a bonus.

What is perhaps most gobsmacking of all, after three years of disputes, confusion, and uncertainty about what “leaving the EU” actually means, is that there are still those who believe that the question used in the EU referendum is a model that any sane person would seek to copy. But then, this is Scotland in Union we’re talking about here. They are desperate to avoid what they see as the negative framing for the UK implicit in the question “Should Scotland be an independent country?” As an organisation which is opposed to independence under all and any circumstances, naturally they’re going to be attracted to forms of question which they imagine will work best for them no matter how confusing or misleading that question might be. It’s a pathetic sign of their desperation. They are more to be pitied than anything else.

We shouldn’t be surprised that opponents of independence are frantically seeking a drop of water in the desert. The news for them recently has not been great, to put it mildly. There they were in 2014, confident in the strength of British democracy, the security of the UK’s place within the EU, the stability of the pound, and now the UK has turned into the basket case of Europe, the bonfire around which the rest of the continent sits with its popcorn while the pound heads for parity with the dollar, and the Supreme Court of the UK is currently deciding whether the British Prime Minister is in fact a big fat liar who has broken the law and trashed the constitution in an attempt to become a dictator.

Over the past few weeks we’ve seen the anti-independence parties lining up to say that they will not permit another independence referendum whether the electorate of Scotland give a mandate for one or not. We’ve seen suggestions that if there is another referendum then it should have to pass by a two thirds majority. We’ve seen suggestions that there should be another confirmatory referendum after the independence negotiations with Westminster have been completed, in effect giving Westminster licence to negotiate in bad faith. And now we see Scotland in Union trying to change the standard question on independence into something more favourable. It all smacks of not so much desperation as blind terrified panic.

The proof of the pudding lies in Scotland in Union’s shonky poll itself.  In November 2018 a Survation poll said that 35.64% of voters in Scotland were opposed to another independence referendum being held at all.  Scotland in Union’s new poll tells us that the figure has dropped to 27.6%.  That’s a significant fall.

The inescapable fact, the truth that the British nationalists in Scotland do not want to face up to, is that they are crapping themselves at the prospect of another independence referendum, because they know that they have nothing to offer Scotland except scare stories, intimidation, and threats. The supposed advantages and positives of being a part of the UK have been destroyed by the British government itself in its blind pursuit of right wing English nationalist populism. They know, and we know, that if they were certain that another independence referendum really would deliver a resounding majority against independence that they would be the very first people demanding that one be held.

But one will be held. One way or another the people of Scotland will cast their verdict on the behaviour of the British government, the way in which the British state has treated Scotland, and their view on the broken promises of the Better Together campaign. And when that verdict comes it will be a damning one. No amount of shonky polling questions will be able to avoid it.


newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free. You can order here –
https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2019

You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to weegingerbook@yahoo.com, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email weegingerbook@yahoo.com


You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Please log into Paypal.com and send a payment to the email address weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Or alternatively click the donate button. If you don’t have a Paypal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.
Donate Button

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.