Johnson’s hot air

hotair
The one man political pollutant that is Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson doesn’t want the Scottish First Minister anywhere near the climate summit planned for Glasgow next year. It’s a British summit for British people. Scottish people will only be allowed anywhere near it if they adopt an accent like Jeauw Sweynson’s or Michael Gove’s and produce photographic evidence that they attended last night at the proms wearing a union jack bowtie or frock.

The last thing that Lyin’ Bastert Johnson wants is the Scottish Government to get any credit for the steps it has taken to tackle climate change. I’d say that was because he’d be embarrassed by the fact that Scotland is miles ahead of the rest of the UK, thanks to Scottish Government policies, but that would be silly. Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson was born without the genes for shame or guilt. He just wants to take the credit for Scottish efforts himself. That would be those efforts which his predecessor David Cameron promised during the independence referendum would benefit from millions of pounds of UK investment if Scotland voted No, and then after the 2015 General Election he cancelled the Renewable Obligation subsidy scheme. That move cost Scotland 5500 jobs in the renewable energy sector and an estimated loss of £3 billion in investment.

“Faugh faugh waffaugh waugh!” Lyin’ Bastert Johnson told an audience of adoring fan boys and girls at the Scottish Tory fringe meeting during the Conservative party conference. If we could only harness the powers of self-delusion contained in that room we could save ourselves a fortune in energy production. His speech contained some old gags that weren’t especially funny when he trotted them out in the House of Commons. At least we should be grateful that he didn’t promise us 40 new hospitals that turned out to be some building repairs on a half dozen existing ones.

Then he went on, “Lots of union flags faugh waugh fafaugh!” The way for this Prime Minister to ingratiate himself into the hearts of the Scottish populace isn’t to change tack so he’s not actually taking the UK into an authoritarian nightmare where the rule of law is merely a serving suggestion for a Prime Minister. It’s certainly not to take Scottish concerns about Brexit into account. It’s to stick loads of British flags on things. His audience of Scottish Tories all cheered, the same people who scoff at independence rallies and marches saying that seeing Scottish flags won’t change anyone’s mind about independence. So now we know how the Tories propose to fend off their impending electoral disaster in Scotland. Voters in Scotland will be happy to accept a box of crap, as long as it’s presented in union flag themed wrapping paper.

And there you were thinking that the problem with Westminster rule was the democratic deficit, which means that Scotland more often than not doesn’t get a British government that it voted for. Oh no. It’s not that. It’s not Brexit and Scotland being taken out of the EU by the very same people who told us in 2014 that the only way to ensure Scotland remained in the EU was to vote against independence. It’s not even the way that the Vow was trashed and Scotland has been lied to and treated with contempt. No. It’s nothing that can’t be solved by sticking more Union flags on things than you’ll see at an Orange Walk. When they said they were going to bang the drum for Britishness, we didn’t realise they meant a Lambeg. But it’s the SNP which is sectarian, according to that oil stain on politics that goes by the name Michael Gove.

Anyway, the way that Lyin’ Bastert Johnson’s career is going, it’s quite likely that he won’t be at the summit either. This is the worst Prime Minister in British history since the last one. At the rate at which he’s currently haemorrhaging supporters, by the time of the summit he’ll be left solely with the backing of Jackson Carlaw. Jackson would still be telling Gordon Brewer that Boris is doing a marvellous job, even if video evidence were to come to light showing the Prime Minister decapitating a kitten and making a deal with Donald Trump to sell the NHS to Macdonalds in return for a lifetime’s supply of chicken nuggets for the cabinet. You won’t be able to afford a hip operation, but you will be able to get a Happy Meal with a plastic model of a nurse.

Naturally even this would be just fine and dandy with the Scottish Conservatives, whose sole reaction to being told to bend over and make ready to be shafted by the British government would be to inquire just how far up their rectums would Westminster like them to shove whatever it is that passes for their self-respect. Although, to be fair, the Scottish Conservative definition of self-respect is what a normal human being would interpret as the submissive role in a kinky sex-scene. Scottish Conservative patriotism means wearing a union flag themed gimp mask and ball gag.

Johnson doesn’t want Scotland anywhere near the summit because it will only show up the gulf between the achievements of the Scottish government and the British government when it comes to tackling climate change. The British government talks about tackling climate change. The Scottish government does something about it.

Scotland has been leading the way within the UK on climate change. In 2018, renewable sources produced 74.6% of Scotland’s electricity consumption. Scotland’s vast potential for renewable energy production continues to be developed. Last year, this country’s electricity exports almost doubled compared to the previous year, rising from 12,868GWh in 2017 to 24,379GWh in 2018. And Scotland has done this despite, not because of, policy decisions made by Westminster. https://www.power-technology.com/news/scotland-renewable-energy-record/

By way of comparison, total renewable electricity production for the entire UK in 2018 made up just 33% of total electricity production. This figure includes the Scottish figure, so the proportion of energy produced from renewable sources in the rest of the UK without Scotland is considerably lower. https://smarterbusiness.co.uk/uk-renewable-energy-percentage-2018/

In 2016 (the last year for which I was able to find statistics comparing the nations of the UK), Scotland produced a total of 42.92% of its electricity from renewable sources. England’s much larger electricity generation capacity only managed to produce 23.15% of its electricity from renewables. The figures for Wales (12.33%), and Northern Ireland (25.33%) were also considerably behind those for Scotland. The British Government has little to boast about when it comes to its commitment to renewable energies. It’s only because of Scottish efforts that the UK isn’t regarded as the polluter of Europe as well as its political basketcase. https://www.greenmatch.co.uk/blog/2018/03/renewable-energy-in-the-united-kingdom

Scotland leads the way in the UK on tackling climate change. We could do a lot better. We would do a lot better if we weren’t being held back by a Westminster government whose greatest contribution to renewable energy is the amount of hot hair it produces.


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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


Taking our fate into our own hands

ukprison
There’s been a lot of discussion within the independence movement recently about the timing of the next referendum. There are those who are deeply suspicious of the SNP leadership, and whether Nicola Sturgeon is serious in her pursuit of a Section 30 order and a referendum next year. Some want a referendum right now, before Brexit starts to wreak its destructive effects. They warn that the momentum will go out of the movement, that the devastation of a no deal Brexit will drive EU citizens away. Others call for caution and point to the slow rise in support for independence in opinion polls as evidence that we can and should wait for support to rise to 60%. Then they say, when there is a referendum we can be certain of winning it.

It’s important that we never forget that this is not a disagreement about our goal, it’s a disagreement about tactics. All of us within the independence movement want the same thing, independence for this country. We may have different views about how we get there. We may have different ideas of the kind of independent Scotland that we seek to build. However we should, we must, agree to disagree without being disagreeable, because it’s only as a product of that respectful disagreement that a new consensus can emerge.

For my own part I believe that we are not yet at the end of the Section 30 order road, but we’re approaching the sign that tells us that the bridge is out and an alternative route will be required. I do not believe that a Section 30 order is the be all and end all of Scottish independence. It is not a necessary precondition to another referendum, although in this current political landscape it is desirable to seek one. That may change in the near future.

The reason why it is presently a good idea to pursue a Section 30 order is because that is the best way to ensure that soft noes and undecideds can be carried with us. They must see that the Scottish Government has exhausted every possible means of getting Westminster’s cooperation before they will agree with us on the necessity of an alternative strategy. Only once it becomes apparent to soft no voters and undecideds that the anti-independence parties are being dishonest in their refusal of another referendum will we be able to count on their support for a different route to independence. Those of us who already support independence already know that the anti-independence parties are being dishonest and anti-democratic, but we’re not the ones that the SNP needs to prove a case to.

I share the frustration that is widespread in the grassroots movement that the SNP leadership is not being assertive enough in pursuit of independence, but I accept that their strategy is to court soft noes and undecideds, and the way to do that is to prove to those voters that the Scottish Government is sincere in its opposition to a damaging Brexit. Again, it seems to me that the SNP strategy is to ensure that soft noes and undecideds are carried with us. Those of us who are nailed on independence supporters feel that this approach is marginalising us. Although it may be understandable, it is frustrating.

Those frustrations are growing ever more strong because the political pressure is rising. We are facing an execution date in the shape of Brexit day on 31 October. It’s only a month away now, and there is still no apparent solution to the Brexit problem and we seem no closer to another independence referendum. We have a British Prime Minister who is taking a blowtorch to what passes for a British constitution and who is indulging himself in dangerous language designed to whip up his base into a frenzy of fury. It would have been unthinkable a few short years ago, but we are now actually living in a UK where the rule of law is being challenged, and where democracy is under threat – and the threats to it come from the British government itself. So much for that safety and security of the UK that Scotland was promised in 2014.

It’s difficult to see how Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson can get around the Benn Act which requires him to ask the EU for an extension to Article 50 in less than three weeks time if there’s no deal on the table. It’s even harder to see how this Prime Minister can get a deal, all the more so since he’s been making only perfunctory moves in that direction, moves which appear to be designed more at putting the blame for no-deal on the EU and his opponents in the Commons than in achieving a deal. We feel stuck, with no idea how the current situation can be resolved.

We are mired in uncertainty. It’s that uncertainty which is responsible for the rising sense of anxiety that so many of us feel. You can’t go about your daily life without knowing what’s happening just a month down the line. It’s a recipe for panic, for depression, for worry. It is known that uncertainty is a cause of stress, and that stress in turn is a cause of depression. The feeling that you are powerless to influence your fate leads many into a sink of despair. It leads others to lash out. It leads some to anger.

What we do know is that there’s going to be a Westminster General Election sooner rather than later. We have no clue how that election is going to work out at a UK level. But we can be fairly sure that unless the SNP does something spectacularly self-destructive between now and election day that it is poised to make substantial gains at the coming election. So for the time being I am still prepared to give the SNP leadership the benefit of any doubt. The British political landscape will change after the coming election, and the Scottish political landscape will change even more. There is an excellent chance that Scottish Conservative and the Labour party in Scotland MPs can be substantially reduced in number or perhaps even wiped out entirely. Parties which have suffered electoral defeats on that scale are in no place to claim that the party that defeated them has no popular mandate.

I doubt that Westminster will be any more disposed to cooperate with a Section 30 order after the next election than it is at the moment, for the exact same reason that it won’t be disposed to cooperate should opinion polls show a substantial and consistent lead for Yes. Westminster and the anti-independence parties will be even less disposed to facilitate a referendum than they currently are, because then they will know with absolute certainty that they are going to lose the referendum. They’re not going to cooperate with their own destruction. They will only find some other spurious grounds for denying a Section 30 order. In turn this means that should we wait until the polls show a strong and consistent lead for independence, or we wait until after the next election when the SNP return 50 or more MPs, then we’re still faced with the problem of how to bring the referendum about in the face of Westminster’s opposition. So we’re right back to where we are now.

However what can change after the next General Election is the SNP’s determination to pursue another independence referendum. A significant and substantial boost to the party’s electoral fortunes could and should embolden the leadership. Immediately after an unequivocal victory at the ballot box in that election, an election which must be fought on a mandate to give Scotland the right to choose its own path, the SNP must press vigorously for a Section 30 order. Not to request it, but to demand it as the right of the Scottish people. We must ensure that the focus of our campaign if that demand is rebuffed should be the perversion of Scottish democracy by a Westminster Parliament which refuses to recognise a mandate given by the Scottish people at an election. The right of Scotland to determine its own future is not conditional on the permission of non-Scottish MPs.

When this demand is made, it must be made clear to whoever is in Downing Street at the time that his or her cooperation is not necessary, that Scotland has a sovereign right to determine its own future and that right is not subject to a veto from a British Prime Minister whom Scotland did not vote for. If Westminster wishes to ensure that it still seen to respect the decisions of Scotland, that this really is a union, then it is very much in Westminster’s interests to agree to a referendum. That’s the only hope in hell that the anti-independence parties have of going into the independence referendum as defenders of a union of nations and not as apologists for a unitary Brexit Greater England. But it must be made plain to Westminster that Scotland will be deciding irrespective of a Prime Minister’s yes or no.

If Westminster refuses yet again to cooperate with a Section 30 order, then I believe it will be time for alternative routes to an independence vote. Joanna Cherry’s legal expertise could and should be used to test the legality of a referendum without a Section 30 order. Anyone who tells you that a referendum without a Section 30 order is illegal is offering you a political opinion, not a legal fact. The only legal fact is that the matter has never been tested in the courts. It should be.

Simultaneously with a legal challenge, the independence movement should start preparations for a plebiscite election. The next election in Scotland after this General Election should be transformed into one which seeks a mandate not for a referendum, but for independence itself. We must make it very plain to the anti-democratic forces of British nationalism in Scotland that one way or another, the people of Scotland will have their say. And they will do so without seeking permission from Westminster.

The inescapable truth that the British nationalist parties don’t want Scotland to realise is that if we have to demand our right to vote, it can only be because they are trying to thwart democracy. If a democratic mandate is refused then you’re not living in a democracy. A Scotland that isn’t allowed to choose its own future is a Scotland that’s imprisoned. One way or another, Scotland is going to have its say. The best cure for the anxiety that is bred by uncertainty is to take your fate into your own hands.


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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.


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


Big Enough, Smart Enough, Rich Enough

gdp
We are a not for profit group aiming to promote Scotland and her resources to the people of Scotland. Our aim is to challenge the idea that we’re too small or too poor to be independent.

Our first campaign involved putting motion graphic adverts on televisions in pubs and clubs across the central belt, but we want to do more. We want to raise enough money to advertise on billboards, and we want to help other groups to advertise in their local areas.renewables

We want to raise funds with half to be used for a billboard campaign using Colin Dunn’s (Indy Poster Boy) designs such as the ones on this page. The rest will be used to match funding with groups across Scotland. Local people know best how to advertise in their area and we will help them do that, but we need your help.

 

exports

The Crowdfunder has reached its initial target. With more money we can do even more, so we’ve booked 4 weeks of “socialite” advertising in pubs and restaurants across Glasgow and Edinburgh and 2 weeks of Colin Dunn’s billboards. That’s from half the money raised so far. The other half of what is raised will be spent to fund other Yes groups in their own area so they can do what they think would work there. We’re looking to fund 12 groups at £500 matched funding so that could really go quite far. For example in Yes Aberdeen they’re looking to buy an advertising trailer that we can then loan out to others in the area and print different banners for. In the Borders they’re looking at maybe doing bus stop adverts if they can get approval. The idea is to get one campaign in each area so that we cover more of Scotland. The more we raise, the more we’ll be able to do.

Please give what you can, all revenue will be put into advertising across the country and persuading our fellow citizens that we’re Big Enough, Rich Enough and Smart Enough to be independent. Just click on the link below to go to the fundraising page. Please give generously. Every pound raised will go to showing people in this country that Scotland is big enough, smart enough, and rich enough to be a prosperous and stable independent country.

https://gogetfunding.com/lets-show-scotland-that-we-are-big-enough-smart-enough-rich-enough-a-scottish-independence-advertising-campaign/

Dugcast – 26 September 2019

Today’s dugcast is a day early because tomorrow (Friday) the dug and I are off to Arran. I’m giving a talk about the history of Scottish languages in the Ormidale Pavilion in Brodick. Doors open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start. I’m really looking forward to a Brexit free evening! If you’re on Arran and fancy hearing about Scotland’s languages, please come along.

In this week’s dugcast, The National’s Stewart Ward and I discuss the Supreme Court ruling this week, a bad tempered couple of days in Parliament, and the impact upon chances for an independence referendum.


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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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.


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 Etonian Erdoğan

authoritariannightmare
We’re living in dangerous times. The UK has a government of liars, of charlatans, of law-breakers, who are totally shameless about their disregard for the law, for the courts, for parliament, and for anyone who does not agree with their naked power grab. This is a government of posh boy bullies who display their entitlement as a badge of pride. This is a government which broke the law and which reacted by using the language of contempt and disdain, and acted as it were those who had found them out who were the moral transgressors. Yet perhaps even worse than any of that, this is a government which has signalled that it is quite prepared to break the law again.

We saw Attorney General Geoffrey Cox boorishly boom that it was the opposition parties who were morally bankrupt even though it was his own faulty legal advice that encouraged the Prime Minister to break the law. We saw Michael Gove oleaginously slime his way through non-answers to serious questions about the preparedness of the Government for a no-deal Brexit, glibly playing to the Tory backbenches as though the highest stake was a prize in a students’ debating society and not the fate of thousands of jobs and livelihoods. But not Michael’s job or livelihood.  He’ll be just fine, and his lack of concern and care oozed out of every pore in his oily persona.

And then we had the main event. Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson appeared before Parliament, refusing to admit that he had done anything wrong even though the judges in the highest court in the UK had unanimously ruled that he’d broken the law. He thinks the judges are wrong, not him. And with that statement we saw his entitlement in the raw. He believes that he knows the law better than the judges of the Supreme Court. He believes that their ruling shouldn’t apply to him. He believes that the greatest wrongdoing of all is that his wrongdoing is called out and checked. How dare anyone seek to hold him to account.

He used words of division, deliberately, calculatedly. His tactic is to stir up public anger, to create an artificial atmosphere in the coming election of the people against the parliament where the upper middle class Eton educated cousin of the Queen poses as the champion of the common man and woman. He destroyed the last vestiges of the dignity of his office in his pursuit of a General Election at a time and a framing of his choosing. He has unleashed the beast of right wing populist English nationalism, and now is worshipping at the altar of the mandate of the EU referendum, sacrificing democracy, the rule of law, and tolerance to nourish the flames of the ERG’s hatred. He used the language of surrender when referring to the bill compelling him to ask the EU for an extension, framing his self-inflicted predicament in terms of warfare with him as the action hero. Those who oppose him are enemies of the people.

Watching him speak, you could see the goddess of democracy shrivel and die with every lying self-serving word that he uttered. And those so-called moderate Tories on the back benches applauded him, cheered him on, gave succour and comfort to the death of those British traditions of democracy, moderation, and tolerance that they keep telling us they hold dear. Authoritarian governments don’t get into power solely on the strength of fascists and bigots. They do so with the help of those who do nothing to stop them because they’re more interested in their own careers and their own selfish interests. They fancy their chances of advancement in the authoritarian right wing state that Johnson has in mind for us all. Even when confronted with clear, undeniable, unequivocal evidence of this Prime Minister’s authoritarian rule of law denying agenda, they say nothing. We’re looking at you, Scottish Conservatives. We’re recalling your promise to be a strong voice for Scotland within the UK. Your electoral day of reckoning is coming.

The Prime Minister’s performance was a truly shocking exercise in arrogance. He boored. He bloviated. He blustered. There was no hint of contrition, nothing to suggest that he could even intellectually grasp the proposition that he was in the wrong when he prorogued Parliament unlawfully. Nothing to suggest that he understood that in a democracy, the Prime Minister cannot silence those who disgree with him. Nothing to suggest that he grasped the concept that as a Prime Minister without a majority he has no right to ram anything through a democratically elected legislature. His speech represented his unassailable and unshakeable right to rule unchallenged by bothersome MPs who insisted that they possessed a democratic mandate from their constituents.

Yet he managed to trump even his own trumpian ditch digging. Labour MP Paula Sherriff raised her concerns about the death threats that she has been receiving, threats which echo some of the language used by the Prime Minister and his supporters. It’s language of betrayal, of treason and traitors, of surrender or victory, and threats that if those MPs don’t comply then they will be dealt with violently. And this Prime Minister dismissed those fears as humbug, even though a woman MP was shot and killed by a right wing extremist who used the style of language that the Prime Minister so cynically deploys. He even suggested that the only way for MPs to be safe was for them to ensure that Brexit goes ahead. Think about that for a second. We have a Prime Minister who really believes that the physical safety of MPs should be conditional upon how they vote.

The language of Brexit harks back to the days of Empire. It’s language of conquest, of victory, of colonialism, of masters and slaves. There is no room for democratic debate with Brextremists, just as there is no room for democratic debate between a colonial power and the people it has colonised and exploited. They cast Europe as a coloniser, because in a world view with no shades of grey there can only be villains and saints. If the England of their imaginations cannot be at the pinnacle of power, then it must be enslaved and colonised. When you accept that view, then any action becomes justifiable in order to remove the source of the perceived injustice.

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson deliberately panders to that infantile reactionary English nationalism. He nurtures it. He seeks to enrage. He wants to inflame. He knows that under the skewed and flawed system of Westminster elections he only needs to secure the support of a third of the electorate who bother to vote in order to win a majority in the Commons. That’s why he wants an election and not another referendum, because he only needs the support of one third in order to pursue the no-deal Brexit that his backers crave, not the support of more than half. And in pursuit of that goal he will lie, he will cheat, he will connive, he will dissemble. God knows what he’ll do if he does win a majority in the Commons.

It is incumbent upon any serious and responsible politician to weigh their words with care, to reflect upon how those who do not necessarily support them might perceive what they say. It is their duty as public servants to reach out and to heal the divisions that their campaigns might have created. We’re not going to get that from this Prime Minister. He is neither serious nor responsible. Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson thinks that being Prime Minister means never having to say that you are sorry. Because he’s not sorry. He’s interested in one thing and one thing only, the pursuit and maintenance of his own power, and he doesn’t care who gets hurt, who gets trampled on, or who suffers in the process.

The ultimate loser will be British democracy. Back in 2014 anyone who tried to argue that Scottish independence was necessary in order to protect and defend democracy itself would have been laughed at. Now the defence of democracy has become the most important and pressing reason for independence. Democracy is endangered in the UK. Look at Bolsonaro’s Brazil, look at Erdoğan’s Turkey, look at Viktor Orbán’s Hungary. Wrap that in a union flag and you can see a future that’s coming here all too soon. Yesterday in the Commons, the Etonian Erdoğan announced its arrival. We’re living in dangerous times.


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.


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 dodo government

dodo
Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson has come back from the USA doing his best impression of Catherine Tate’s Lauren character if she’d gone to Eton. Look at my face. Do I look bovvered? Or more exactly bothahd. But just like Lauren, the joke is that we all know he’s extremely bothahd indeed. As bothahd as his new best pal Donal Trump, who discovered yesterday that an impeachment investigation is to be opened up against him. Yesterday was a bad day for wannabe authoritarians.

A normal Prime Minister who had been found to have broken the law in order to abuse his power and silence Parliament unlawfully would resign. A normal Prime Minister would then take early retirement and would never disgrace themselves by appearing on so much as the pages of the local parish newsletter ever again. Hell, never mind a normal Prime Minister, a normal human being with a functioning capacity for moral judgements would do so. Anyone who has ever come as close to an understanding of shame as the distance of the radius of Boris Johnson’s ego – which is a distance measured in thousands of light years – would have resigned immediately. But none of this applies to this Prime Minister or this government. They’re not merely law breakers, but they’re shameless law breakers.

The priority for the Prime Minister is to get through the next few days. In order to do so he’ll probably throw a few of his cabinet colleagues and advisors under his Brexit bus, starting with Attorney General Geoffrey Cox. The Prime Minister was in hiding as Parliament reconvened, so it fell to Geoffrey to boom a semblance of a defence like a failed repertory actor auditioning for King Lear. Which was only right and proper seeing as how this government is a tragedy.  It was as though someone had forced a Brian Blessed impersonator to have a shave.

Geoffrey had given the Government legal advice saying that the prorogation was lawful and that anyone saying otherwise was saying so for political reasons. As he made his statement to the House, the Attorney General notably refused to rule out a further prorogation of Parliament. However Geoffrey was forced to give a humiliating statement to a deeply irked Parliament saying that if he had to resign every time that he lost a legal case then he’d never have had a legal practice. It’s just a pity that he serves under a Prime Minister who won’t resign under any circumstances at all, not even after he’s been found to have broken the law in an attempt to abuse his power and silence Parliament. A Prime Minister who is now hell bent on making Geoffrey the fall guy for a decision made by Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and his advisor Dominic Cummings. Geoffrey’s learning a painful lesson in the truth that if you lie down with the morally incontinent, you end up covered in piss.

Geoffrey isn’t going quietly, and he certainly wasn’t going to be made to feel as though he or his government had done anything remotely wrong, even though the highest court in the land had ruled they’d broken the law. He’s going to subject us to his orotund perorations some time longer. If he has to resign, he orated like a bank manager with a side hobby in Widow Twanky doing Shakespearean recitations, then why don’t all the judges whose findings differed from that the Supreme Court have to resign as well.

Warming to his self-righteous theme, he called the Parliament a disgrace, said that it was cowardly, growing increasingly red faced as he tried to deflect from the essential point of the day, that he’s the fruity voice of a government of liars and cheats. “This Parliament is a DEAD parliament it should no longer sit, ” he pontificated, “It has no moral right to sit on these green benches!” It was like being lectured on the morality of shoplifting by a armed bank robber. Shame is an alien concept to these people. Not even being found to have broken the law can make them admit to being in error. He had all the defiance of a child caught with their hand in the sweetie jar, denying that they were stealing sweeties. All that is happening here is that Geoffrey and his shameless bunch of cabinet colleagues are demonstrating is that the British tradition of honourable gentlemen and women acting honourably is even more dead than Geoffrey thinks this Parliament is. There’s more life in a dodo than there is in the ability of the British political system to hold power to account.

Of course what Geoffrey knows as well as the rest of us is that the reason that the opposition is refusing to move a motion of no confidence in the Government is because no one trusts Lyin’ Bastert Johnson not to try to get around the law requiring him to request an extension to Article 50. This is a government of proven law breakers. The opposition parties have no intention of allowing him to have an election on his own terms. They’re not going to let him go to the country until he’s been seen to have broken his promises not to ask for an extension and to have left the EU on 31 October come what may.

Assuming that the Prime Minister can indeed get through the next few days, which is highly likely since the opposition parties have every interest in keeping him squirming, then what are the options?

He can try and get a deal. There’s about as much chance of that happening as there is of Geoffrey Cox addressing Parliament in the voice of Karen from Will n Grace, which would at least be appropriate as she’s possibly the only person who could rival this Government for shamelessness. So far he’s still not put forward any proposals that meet with the EU’s objections, and nothing remotely realistic that can substitute for the Northern Irish backstop. Even if he could get a deal, the only deal that would be acceptable to the EU is a deal that neither the DUP nor the ERG is going to accept, and he’s now facing a Parliament which isn’t disposed to do him any favours at all. A deal before 31 October isn’t going to happen. We know it’s not going to happen because the Prime Minister is insisting that it’s what he’s going to do.

He can ask the EU for an extension. Despite certain noises from parts of the EU, it’s highly probable that it would be granted. The EU is no more disposed to look kindly upon Lyin’ Bastert Johnson’s career ambitions than most of the House of Commons is, and they know that if he has to ask for an extension he’ll go into the next General Election with a very much reduced chance of winning it. Brextremists will be calling the Prime Minister all the same names that the rest of us have been calling him for months.

Alternatively he could of course ignore the law and refuse to ask for an extension. The Supreme Court has shown that it is perfectly prepared to challenge him. He could be found in contempt of court and face fines or even prison. But even that wouldn’t prevent an extension being requested. Parliament could authorise someone else, such as the Speaker, to do so instead. Alternatively the Scottish courts could order that a court official could step in under the power of officium nobile and do so in the Prime Minister’s place.

It’s quite likely that the Prime Minister will try to prorogue Parliament again. Geoffrey Cox and the Prime Minister himself refused to rule it out. However it’s also likely that Parliament will take steps over the next few days to ensure that option is not available. They could do so by passing a bill saying that Parliament could only be prorogued if Parliament voted in favour of it. The numbers are not on the side of the Government. The next few days are going to be characterised by all sort of machinations, manoeuvres and counter manoeuvres.

There is of course always the option for the Prime Minister to resign, to admit his guilt, and to leave public life. That would be nice, but it’s not going to happen. This Prime Minister is certainly the worst and the most completely useless in history. He even makes Theresa May seem competent, but he’s going to have to be prised out of office. Resignation is about as likely to happen as Gordie Broon’s federalism fairy is to fly over the chamber of the Commons and wave her sparkly wand, delivering a jobs first Brexit and full fat federalism for all.

Finally, there is always the option that Boris Johnson could go and die in a ditch. This is certainly the option which most of Scotland would look most favourably on. We’d even volunteer for digging duties, although there’s no need. This is a government which is good for one thing only, and that’s digging its own grave.


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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.


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 law is not an ass

lawisnotanass
Well this is fun. If you define fun as the UK being mired in the biggest constitutional crisis in living memory. Which if you’re the sort of person who’s been arguing for years that Scottish democracy can only be guaranteed with a written constitution in an independent state is quite a good definition of fun, come to think of it. No one can now seriously argue that the UK provides Scotland with a political security and stability that independence couldn’t offer. There are spinning plates being supervised by a drunk man on an acid trip that are more stable and secure than the UK’s political system.

Never mind the rugby, constitutional law is far more entertaining. Sitting in the Supreme Court with her statement brooch, Lady Hale dropped a mic that was the same size as the Prime Minster’s ego. Boom. The effect of her ruling was simple and devastating. This is a Prime Minister without a majority or a mandate who unlawfully suspended Parliament in order to escape democratic scrutiny. And it’s not on.

The Supreme Court has made a ruling that went further than most expected. The Supreme Court ruled unanimously. It refused any avenues for further appeals. No one had expected that the ruling would be so emphatic in its condemnation of the Government. Before the case was heard, there was a lazy assumption on the part of the metrocommentariat that of course the UK Supreme Court would take the same decision as the English High Court and overrule those uppity Scots. How dare those Caledonians imagine that they can impinge upon the mighty High Court.

However as the case in the Supreme Court progressed, it became clear that the Government had no serious case other than the overweening entitlement of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and the belief that goes down into his bones that laws do not apply to him. No one could be found to make a sworn statement to the court that the reason for the prorogation was the one that the Prime Minister had claimed. The government’s sole argument was that this was a matter for Parliament and not the courts. However as the Supreme Court has ruled today, prorogation is not a matter for Parliament. Prorogation is something which is imposed upon Parliament from above. Parliament cannot hold a Prime Minister to account for proroguing it since prorogation means that Parliament is not sitting.

We are now in the incredible position of having a Prime Minister leading a minority administration who has been found to have acted unlawfully in his attempt to silence opposition. He broke the law in order to undermine the basic principles of democracy. Any other Prime Minister would resign immediately after such a ruling, but this is not a normal Prime Minister. This is a Prime Minister with a brass neck that even those tribal women from South East Asia would marvel at.

The court went even further than merely saying that the Prime Minister had acted unlawfully, and ruled that the prorogation was not merely unlawful, but that it was null and void and had no effect. It was, as the court says, as though the paper signed by the Queen ordering the prorogation was blank and contained no order at all. The court clearly made this ruling because the judges did not trust the Prime Minister to act appropriately if they had kicked the decision back to him, so they took it out of his hands. This was a court determined to prove that the law is not an ass but that Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is.

The Speaker of the House of Commons has made a statement saying that Parliament will sit again tomorrow.  Today’s ruling means that it is now impossible for the Prime Minister to ignore the law obliging him to ask the EU for a further extension to Article 50. The Supreme Court has ruled firmly and unequivocally that he has to obey the law exactly as the rest of us do. As Joanna Cherry said on the steps outside the court, this ruling proves that neither the Prime Minister nor the Monarch is above the law.

He’s only had the top job for a couple of months, and in that short space of time he’s managed to lose every single vote he’s faced in the Commons, lied to the country, lost his majority, broken the law, and abused his power. But apart from that, he’s doing really well.

Speaking on Sky News, the Prime Minister said that he strongly disagrees with the decision. People convicted of crimes often disagree with the guilty verdict, it doesn’t make them innocent. He repeated his determination to leave the EU on October 31. He has refused to resign. He insisted that there was going to be a Queen’s speech, which suggests he plans to prorogue Parliament again. He seemed to think that he was going to carry on regardless even though his strategy has clearly failed. This is a stiff upper lip that has numbed his brain to reality. The Prime Minister’s hubris and arrogance are dangerous. He still thinks that it’s not him that’s wrong, it’s the court. He still thinks that he can ignore the law.

We have a Prime Minister who is unfit for office. If somewhere deep down in that blawhardery that passes for his persona there is an atom of honour and self-respect, he’d resign immediately. But there is no hope of that. This is a man who lied and cheated his way into office, who made the decision about whether to back Brexit solely on the basis that it was better for his career. You can’t shame the shameless. Lyin’ Bastert Johnson is the epitome of all that is wrong with British politics and the British system. He’s what you get when privilege is more important than talent, when connections count for more than ability, when entitlement is more influential than principle. He oiled and schmoozed his way into power, coasting on a carpet of deceit as he charmed the charmless Conservatives. They thought he was on their side, but the only side he’s ever really been on is his own.

The great flaw of what passes for a British constitution is that there’s very little that anyone can do to punish this creature of contempt, this Dolos of deception. Consequences are for little people. If he refuses to resign, Parliament could pass a motion of no confidence in him, which would give opposition MPs two weeks to cobble together a makeshift coalition with the goal of preventing a no deal Brexit. They will certainly seek to take action to prevent him from proroguing Parliament again. They may even seek to impeach him. Parliament tomorrow is going to be interesting. Get the popcorn, the British state is the biggest disaster movie on show.


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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.


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 solidarity of back stabbing

laboursolidarity
So far, the Labour party conference has been dominated by party infighting and attempted purges. Knifing each other in the back is supposed to be the Conservatives’ USP but the Labour party decided to spend the first couple of days of its conference in a naked attempt by Corbynites to rid themselves of a deputy leader whom they can’t stand. And we’re told that Jeremy knew nothing about it. Aye. Right. Uh huh.

Now with today’s decision to uphold the leader’s fence sitting on Brexit, it’s a conference which is defined by granting even more power to the leader to act in an authoritarian and unchallenged manner. So exactly like the Conservatives then. Equally incompetent, and equally hopeless. They’ve been watching the Tories at War documentary and have decided that they want a piece of that too.

However on Monday the Labour party decided to take its hopeless incompetence to the next level. The party voted to throw away the next General Election. It was never likely to win it anyway, but the decision at the party conference not to take a firm position on Brexit will condemn the party to irrelevance in a General Election which is going to be defined by Brexit. Labour wants people to vote for it, so that it can decide at some unspecified point in the future whether or not it wants to remain in the EU or to leave it. Labour has gazed upon an almighty mess created by the Conservatives, and said “Hold my beer. We’re serving stale fudge.” The only position that the Labour party has on the most important, the only topic, facing the UK at the next election is not to have a position at all. Gods help us.

Now what Labour canvassers will be telling punters on the doorstep in the next General Election campaign is that if they vote Labour, the party will negotiate a good Brexit deal, and then might campaign against it afterwards. Mind you, there’s no more such a thing as a good Brexit deal as there is such a thing as good dysentry. The only Brexit deal which is going to protect jobs and guarantee the full rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU is no Brexit at all. But Saint Jeremy doesn’t like the EU any more than the Tories do. With Lyin’ Bastert Johnson, his opposition to the EU is entirely transactional and pragmatic. For him it’s all about what’s best for his career and his ego. Jeremy on the other hand is a true beLeaver.

Even the way this confused and shambolic decision was taken was itself confused and shambolic. It’s possibly the only way in which the Labour party is a model of consistency and clarity. After a series of speakers, there was a show of hands on what is potentially one of the most important decisions in the party’s recent history, and the motion calling for a clear anti-Brexit stance in the election was defeated. Or at least it was apparently defeated. There were many hands raised in favour of the motion, enough to cast a shadow of uncertainty, yet calls for a card vote to ascertain the numbers for or against with certainty were rejected. Now one half of the Labour party is implacably opposed to the other half. Just like the Conservatives, the main political enemy of most of those in the Labour party are other people in the same party as themselves.

As the official opposition, and the second largest party in the Commons, Labour has a responsibility to provide clear leadership on the most important issue facing the UK. Yet the party has abdicated from that responsibility, preferring instead to hide itself away in the daydreaming politics of socialist goodies that it’s never going to be able to implement because it’s refusing to face up to Brexit. Labour has turned itself into a bar room fantasy football team making up pretendy positions, when it ought to be playing in the Premier League. They’ve had over three years to come up with a stance, yet the only stance they’re able to adopt is the one that involves ramming the party’s collective head up its collective arse. The party’s descent into fantasy was unwittingly summed up by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell when he hailed the Scottish branch office manager Reingold Lardlicker as the next First Minister. Uh, and indeed, huh.

There are many Labour supporters who say that the only reason why the party is not cutting through to the electorate is because Jeremy Corbyn is the subject of a media barrage of stories designed to undermine him. While it’s certainly true that there is heavy media bias against him and his policies, the exact same applies to the SNP yet that party is forecast to do exceptionally well at the next General Election. Despite the media barrage arranged against it, the SNP is getting through to the electorate in a way that Labour could only dream of. Recent opinion polls also suggest that the SNP is well placed to increase its representation in the Scottish Parliament too. Yet the media in Scotland does little else but indulge itself in SNPbaddery, while the party is regularly sidelined and ignored by a state broadcaster that wouldn’t dare no-platform Labour in the same way. So no, Corbyn apologists, it’s not all because of the media. Yer man really is useless.

For Scotland, the descent of Labour into irrelevant madness means that there’s only one realistic choice for this country in the General Election to come. Labour, just like the Tories and the Lib Dems, refuses to acknowledge that Scotland has a right to decide its own fate. The Scottish branch office manager Raymundo Lionsdinner has even gone so far as to deny that pro-independence parties winning a majority in Holyrood would be enough to demonstrate support for another independence referendum. He’s denying the basic principles of parliamentary democracy itself.

The British nationalist parties are only demonstrating that they are a danger to democracy. On top of that, we now know that Labour – like the Tories – will not respect the decision of Scotland to remain a part of the EU, or failing that a part of the single market and the common customs area. It is imperative that at the next election Scotland demonstrates to Rodney Lavalamper that this country has no time for him or his party.

Tomorrow we find out whether the Prime Minister broke the law in order to silence Parliament, but the malaise in British politics goes much deeper than a single rogue proroguer. The entire British party system is irredeemably broken. British politics can’t be fixed, and any solutions offered by Scotland would not be listened to even if it could be. Labour’s selfish self-implosion means that the chances are that the next election is only going to return a victory for a Prime Minister with authoritarian tendencies who will take the UK out of the EU without a deal, if he hasn’t already done so by then. Labour’s self-inflicted contorsions on Brexit only make the choice of independence for Scotland an even simpler one to make. For the Labour party, solidarity means that everyone gets stabbed in the back.


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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.


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


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, 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-Suidhe 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!


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.


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