Wee Ginger Dugcast – 22 November 2019

In this week’s edition of the dugcast, The National’s Stewart Ward and I discuss this week’s goings on in the General Election campaign. We chat about the debate between master-debaters Corbyn and Johnson on ITV, Jo Swinson’s transformation into Doctor Strangelove, Channel 4’s decision that the most important thing about Scottish independence is how it affects Cumbrian farmers, why the UK is beyond repair, and a lot more besides.


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


Breaking up isn’t always hard to do, part 2

Channel 4 is generally the best of the broadcasters when it comes to coverage of Scotland’s independence movement, although it needs to be stressed that we’re talking about a very low bar here. However last night they let themselves down with a report on “the union” which was billed as giving Scotland’s perspective. A significant chunk of the report was taken up with speaking to farmers in Cumbria, because of course how England is affected by Scottish independence is the most important part of the Scottish debate.

We also heard from those two groups much pursued by the Tories, farmers and fishermen. What we didn’t get was much in the way of comment from those of us who live in the Central Belt, in industrial Scotland, in the big cities. You know, where the great majority of us actually live and where the question of independence will ultimately be decided. If your sole source of information on Scottish politics was reports broadcast on the UK media, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Scotland was made up of fishing communities and dairy farmers, and little else. But then that’s precisely how they think of us in London. Rural, far away, and scattered in isolated communities.

What we did get were a few Better-Togetheresque sound bites from Ian Rankin. If it’s proving so difficult to leave the 40 year old union of the EU, just imagine how hard it’s going to be to break up a union that’s over 300 years old, he opined in a sentiment that came straight out of Jo Swinson’s Little Book of Reasons to Say No. Or rather, Sigh Neuw. The exact same point had been made by the Lib Dem leader when she was interviewed on ITV for her segment in the “Oh bugger we need a sop to tell the court because they’ve sued us for not allowing her or Nicola Sturgeon to participate in the leaders’ debate” Show. What we didn’t get was much in the way of input from anyone putting the other side of the argument.

So I’ll do it here, even though I’ve done it before. The reason that Brexit is proving so difficult is not because it means leaving a union. The reason that it is proving so difficult is because those doing the leaving have no clear idea of what their final destination ought to be, and because they hope to achieve mutually contradictory aims by leaving. On the one hand Brexiteers want to have the freedom to make trade deals as they please, and to rip up all EU rules and regulations. On the other they want to keep an open border with Ireland and expect full and unfettered access to the EU’s markets. You can’t do both.

Scottish independence is a very different proposition. Those of us who advocate independence have a very clear idea of our final destination. We seek a status that is the same as that of the Irish Republic. There you go, in one simple phrase you can explain the final destination of Scottish independence. You can’t do that with Brexit.

One reason that Brexit is full of unknowns is because no country has ever left the EU before, however dozens of countries have become independent of the UK. Comparing Scottish independence in terms of difficulty with Brexit is rather like saying that someone you know had a terrible time when they went on a road trip, they got lost, they ended up being stranded in the wilderness, because they had no maps, no GPS, no idea where they actually wanted to get to before they left the house, and wanted to visit two different places simultaneously, and then saying that this means that it’s going to be equally traumatic to set off on a journey where you know the route and you know exactly where you want to go. It’s like comparing an Arctic expedition into the wilderness with a train journey. Now ScotRail might have its issues, but as far as I know no one has ever actually been eaten alive by a polar bear while waiting on the platform at Edinburgh Haymarket.

However the highlight of Channel 4’s coverage was an interview with Michael Gove. Well, I say highlight. I say interview. It was rather more like being slimed very politely by someone who thinks that good manners mean that you can’t be a sociopath. “I’m always happy to answer questions,” oozed Michael. Other than the ones he’s actually asked, that is. He refused to apologise for the Conservative Campaign HQ disguising itself as a neutral factchecker and deceiving the public, and he refused to say that it wouldn’t happen again. The sense of entitlement is of a Prince Andrew level. The difference is that Prince Andrew is a 59 year old man who got grounded by his maw. The Tories don’t think that anyone can ground them. For the most part the media doesn’t even try. Ciaran Jenkins’ interview was a rare exception.

The interview was a classic exercise in gaslighting. How very dare Channel 4’s Ciaran Jenkins try to hold him to account. When he was asked precisely how many hospitals the Conservatives are building, six or forty, there was no answer, only an attempt to cast aspersions on Channel 4 for daring to ask the question. Watching Michael Gove in action is like watching Donald Trump twitching net curtains and tutting like an elderly Daily Mail reader.

It can only be because Channel 4 is a left wing broadcaster trying to make a polemic argument with a socialist agenda, and not because the Tories have actually done anything wrong when they disguised their twitter account as a neutral factchecker or because Michael is incapable of providing a simple answer to a simple question. The irony of someone who campaigned for Vote Leave posing as a factchecker is off the scale. Michael Gove is about as reliable and trustworthy as a month old prawn sandwich that’s been kept in a hot car.

On Scotland, he was concerned to make sure that Alister Jack was slapped down for talking out of turn when he said the previous day that if Scotland’s voters gave the SNP a majority in 2021 then there might possibly maybe perhaps be a mandate for another independence referendum. There would be no such thing, he harrumphed. Scotland would get another independence referendum when the Conservatives in Westminster said so. Which would be never. It’s not for the Scotland Secretary to make decisions about Scotland. That’s way above his pay grade.

The Tories have sunk to depths that we wouldn’t even have imagined that they were capable of during the Thatcher era. They lie shamelessly, and when caught out on those lies shrug their shoulders and tell us that they don’t care. They deny that the people of Scotland have any right at all to determine their own future. They have destroyed the understanding of the union that Scottish unionists have always prided themselves on. They dismiss anyone who tries to hold them to account with tactics straight out of the Trump playbook. They scoff at the damage that they cause to social cohesion, to the poor, to the vulnerable. They have become a grave threat to the future of democracy. They are the party of sociopathy. Breaking up with the Tories isn’t hard to do. Ensuring that we vote them out in Scotland, and in the rest of the UK, is a moral priority.


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


Toxic and useless

There’s been a bit of time now to digest the debate last night between Corbyn and Johnson. It’s only becoming more and more of an outrage that Scotland’s largest political party was excluded from a debate during which the future of Scotland was such a key topic. There was no one there who was willing to challenge either of the two party leaders when they stated that Scotland wouldn’t be “allowed” to decide its own future in the UK until such time as it suited them. Poll after poll has shown that Tory party members would be happy to sacrifice Scotland in order to secure Brexit. They’d be only too happy to trash Scotland in order to keep it within the UK. These are not people who have our interests at heart, and there was no one from Scotland there to point that out. We only had Jeremy Corbyn telling us that Scotland doesn’t deserve another referendum until it suits him.

The debate had only just started when Nicola Sturgeon was mentioned by name and SNP policies were attacked. Yet there was no right to reply except in a separate programme one hour after the end of the debate. Social media was full of British nationalists in Scotland crowing about the exclusion of the SNP. Yet it’s their own right to have their voices heard that they’re celebrating. It’s their own nation’s impotence that they’re extoling. Imagine having such a low opinion of your own country that you believe that denying it the right to democratic self-determination, denying it even the right to debate its own future on its own terms, is something to be proud of. Imagine having such a low estimation of yourself.

We can be certain now, as if there was any doubt beforehand, that there is no place in the UK’s political system for Scotland’s distinct political voice. The highlight so far of the UK General Election is two London politicians telling Scotland what’s good for it, having first made sure that there would be no one from Scotland there to tell them otherwise. The UK’s political priorities are England’s political priorities, anything else is unimportant, regional, parochial. Keep that sort of thing for your pretendy wee elections to your pretendy wee parliament. The big boys and girls in Westminster will make all the important decisions, and don’t you dare imagine that they’ll listen to Scotland’s voice in Westminster elections.

The debate itself only confirmed that neither Johnson nor Corbyn are fit for leadership. Johnson lied, dissembled, and distracted his way through the hour, talking over everyone else, in love with the sound of his own fnaugh-fnaughing. Corbyn missed open goal after open goal. There’s only one question that needs to be asked of Boris Johnson when the subject of his trustworthiness arises, and that is “How many children do you have?” It’s not a question that Corbyn is ever going to ask, even though it’s the easiest question in the world to answer for the vast majority of people, and the hardest one of all for Boris Johnson.

The Tories even proved their untrustworthiness during the debate. The Conservative Press Office took to rebranding itself as “FactCheckUK” for the duration of the debate, masquerading as a neutral fact checking organisation like Full Fact. It was a classic and blatant example of fake news, of Conservative lies, of deliberately misleading the public during an election campaign. Yet when challenged about it on the BBC Breakfast show the following day, the foreign secretary Dominic Raab claimed, “No one gives a toss about the social media cut and thrust.” Lie often. Lie blatantly. Lie confidently. And when anyone pulls you up for it, shrug your shoulders and say you don’t care. That’s the Conservative way.

We know the Tories don’t give a toss. They don’t give a toss about being found out to be liars. They don’t give a toss about the poor. They don’t give a toss about those whose futures and livelihoods are threatened by Johnson’s Brexit. They don’t give a toss about Scotland. The only thing that they give a toss about is raking in dark money donations from big corporations, offshore trusts, and Russian oligarchs.

In the wee interview section an hour after the debate had ended, during which other party leaders were given a few minutes in an arse covering exercise by ITV, we got the usual ignorance about Scotland masquerading as sharp political questioning by an ITV reporter who would struggle to find Scotland on a map. There was no awareness from the interviewer that Scotland might have a democratic right to determine its own future, that this UK General Election is an election for Scotland as much as for the rest of the UK, and that Scotland’s priorities have every bit as much right to a respectful hearing as England’s.

Jo Swinson got a noticeably easier ride than Nicola Sturgeon. Funny that. She was allowed to go on about the damage Tory policies do, without having to explain why she was so enthusiastic to support those policies just a few short years ago. The exchance was notable solely for yet another illustration, if we needed another illustration, of What Is Wrong With the UK, evidence exhibit number 802193. Swinson was asked whether she’d be prepared to use nuclear weapons. “Yes,” was the immediate reply.

Yes, the Lib Dem leader is quite happy to state that she’d evaporate hundreds of thousands of people in her pursuit of power. Yes, Jo Swinson has no questions about the utility of the UK nuclear so-called deterrent. Yes, the Lib Dems don’t question whether the UK is right to spend billions of pounds on weapons of mass destruction and keep them just a few miles away from Jo Swinson’s own constituency, the one that she doesn’t live in herself. The interviewer thanked her for her “brilliant short answer”. ITV doesn’t have any of those questions either. Trident is a weapon of mass destruction, a political device that exists purely in order to allow the UK to pretend to itself that it’s still a global power. But we’re not allowed to question anything about it, we are only invited to castigate those who point out that it’s morally bankrupt, financially ruinous, toxic, and useless. A bit like the UK, come to think of it.


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


You’d have been better off watching Eastenders

I wasn’t going to watch the debate between Corbyn and Johnson this evening, figuring that since they’re ignoring Scotland’s voice it’s only right and proper that we ignore them. The Twitter hashtag for this evening’s proceedings is #ANationScorned. Anyway, who needs to witness Boris Johnson lying through his teeth and going fnaugh fnaugh fnaugh at a geography teacher for an hour. But then I saw a photie of the studio, and it looks like something out of Star Trek. This is possibly confirmation that Boris Johnson is indeed a lizard alien. It also probably means that the guy in the red gets wiped out in the first scene.

Meanwhile, in other news, the only Brexit MEP in Scotland has resigned from the party complaining that it’s racist and homophobic. The rest of Scotland has filed this under surprises as big as the discovery that Boris Johnson is a liar, and that Prince Andrew is an entitled prat with all the self awareness of a slime mould. Not to be outdone, the Conservative candidate for Aberdeen North has been suspended from the party after it came to light that he’d suggested in a series of appallingly spelled online comments that the Holocaust was exaggerated, some deeply Islamophobic musings, and wondered that if everyone turned gay then the human race would go extinct. We are all wishing that Tory MPs would go extinct in Scotland, and many of us are working hard to achieve that outcome on 12 December. We just didn’t expect that Tory candidates would do the job for us.

A hacker has released a whole load of direct messages on Twitter between Arron Banks and his Leave.EU pals. But it’s OK. There’s nothing untoward in any of the leaks as he was in a Pizza Express in Woking at the time. No sweat. Andy Wigmore, one of Banks’s associates who describes himself as one of the bad boys of Brexit, took to Twitter to harrumph that those who were spreaking the leaks were guilty of breaking General Data Protection Regulation rules. That would be those GDPR rules which are – letsee – an EU regulation from the EU Parliament providing protection to, ahem, EU citizens. Oh.

Back in Scotland, Alister Jack, the governor general for the Caledonian Colony, has suggested that if the SNP win the Holyrood election in 2021 then this might just possibly constitute a mandate for another independence referendum. In making the remark he has contradicted Boris Johnson, who says that he won’t permit another independence referendum as long as he’s Prime Minister. Still, we don’t need to worry too much about the contradiction, since Alister will be out of a job in a couple of weeks. All the Scottish Tory MPs are the red shirts in this episode of Conservative Star Trek.

It is interesting to ask why the anti-independence parties think that there can only be a mandate for another independence referendum after the 2021 election, and not in an election to the parliament which does actually have the power to change the constitution. A dispassionate and uninvolved observer might think that a mandate delivered to Scottish MPs was of greater weight than one delivered to MSPs. She or he might also wonder why the media in Scotland was not pressing the anti-independence parties on this issue. Just what right do they have to ignore the will of the Scottish electorate as delivered on 12 December? Or indeed the mandate for another independence referendum that Holyrood currently possesses. Or is it only those votes which suit the anti-independence parties that count? Answers on a postcard to Pacific Quay, because they don’t even seem to think that there’s a question to be asked.

Right, so onto the debate. That’s what you pay me for. You only have yourselves to blame. Oh god. Oven ready. Unleash. Dither. Fnaugh fnaugh. Get Brexit done. Referendum. Rinse and repeat.

The opening question is “Can you assure me that we won’t be talking about Brexit forever?” The only truthful answer to this question is “no”. Naturally Boris Johnson lies and spends his time attacking Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn tries to be reasonable, which is like trying to talk a gall wasp out of implanting its larva in your cold paralysed flesh. Johnson is still claiming that he can get a trade deal done in under a year, when in the general run of things trade deals take years. We’re only a few minutes in, and he’s saying oven ready already. Someone stick his head in that oven, please. Johnson won’t shut up. He keeps talking over the host, Julie Etchingham. This isn’t just a metaphor for his attitude to women. The most noticeable thing about Jeremy Corbyn is that his glasses are wonky.

The next question is, “Is the union worth sacrificing for Brexit?” This is the question where the SNP, if they’d been present, would have had a chance to explain why it’s so important that the people of Scotland get their say and have their voice respected. Johnson claims that his deal keeps the UK together. Ha ha. Said half of Scotland. He repeats his lie about a deal between the SNP and Labour. He says he’s ruling out another independence referendum. Johnson’s great idea for keeping the union together is to ignore the will of the people of Scotland. He won’t give the people of Scotland any right to make up their own minds. Silence from the audience. Tories in England don’t care what happens to Scotland.

Corbyn denies that there’s any deal, says Johnson’s comments are nonsense. No one here is prepared to say why they think it’s remotely democratic to ignore the will of the Scottish electorate. For Scotland this debate is like overhearing people talking about you, but not to you. Johnson claims another referendum would create chaos. “We’ve had nine years of chaotic coalitions already,” says Corbyn. Biggest cheer of the night so far.

God, Johnson can’t shut up.

Question from the audience about how this debate has been made toxic. How can the nation trust either to have integrity. Johnson fnaughs. Corbyn does his reasonable geography teacher thing. He comes across as warmer, more human, and more accessible. But then that’s not hard. So does one of the lizard aliens in Star Trek. Johnson gets laughed at when he tries to claim that he’s trustworthy. He said he would deliver certain policies when he was the mayor of London, and he is just getting round to it now. So that’s reassuring.  Does the truth matter? Asks Julie Etchingham.  “I think it does,” says Johnson.  The audience laughs.

Corbyn stresses how seriously he takes accusations of antisemitism and recognises the suffering of the Jewish people throughout the 20th century. Johnson won’t answer the question about his own trustworthiness, instead he prefers to attack Corbyn. This is a question about his own personal integrity and character. It’s about the nastiness in political debate. Johnson just keeps on being nasty. He can’t help himself. Nothing about Islamophobia in the Tory party. The former Tory candidate in Aberdeen North will be relieved. When Johnson is asked about his own character, he responds by attacking someone else’s. That tells you all you need to know about his character.

Advert break. You might not agree with all his answers, but so far Corbyn has made honest attempts to respond to the questions. Johnson has been his usual blustering fnaugh fnaughing self, incapable of answering even simple questions. Still, it could be worse. We could have had to put up with Jo Swinson as well. No wonder they didn’t want to debate Nicola Sturgeon. She’d have run Saturn sized rings around this pair.

The first question after the ad break is about how the two would ensure that the NHS is able to meet the demands placed upon it. This is Corbyn’s specialist subject on Politics Mastermind. The NHS, he says, is under the greatest stress it has faced in the past 20 years. Johnson says he’s building 40 hospitals. Didn’t we find out that was a lie a couple of weeks ago? Corbyn demands an end to privatisation within the NHS. Johnson says that he’s not going to privatise it, says it won’t be up for sale in any trade deal. But he also said he was going to die in a ditch. Corbyn challenges him on the 40 hospitals lie. No clear answer. Apparently it’s all because we haven’t got Brexit done. He keeps waffling. Corbyn is much clearer and much more convincing. But that’s not really saying much.

This is poor stuff. If this is the calibre of leadership in the UK it’s really no wonder that the British state is, to use a technical political term, royally screwed. I’m losing the will to live. Can we not just get independence please, then we can protect Scotland’s NHS from this lot forever.

A question about austerity. Johnson tells us that he’s going to cancel his proposed cut in Corporation Tax. So he’s shelving a plan that only he was planning to do anyway. Isn’t that great. Accusations that Corbyn doesn’t just have a money tree, he’s got a money forest. Corbyn says that the reality of austerity is that local authorities, young people, education, and the poor have borne the brunt. He wants to prioritise spending on those areas.

Now we move on to some rapid fire questions.

Is the monarchy fit for purpose? Corbyn says, “Needs a bit of improvement.” Says that before we discuss Prince Andrew we should talk about the victims of his friend Epstein. Johnson says that the institution of monarchy is beyond reproach.

Is climate change the biggest issue? Johnson waffles. Corbyn wants a green industrial revolution to prevent damage to our natural world.

Which current foreign leader do you most admire? Johnson says he admires all the EU leaders because they gave him a great deal. Tries to attack Corbyn on Brexit again. Corbyn says it’s someone that no one has heard of.

What non political present would you leave under the Christmas tree for one another? Corbyn says he’d give Johnson a copy of A Christmas Carol so that he can understand how mean Scrooge was. Johnson says a copy of his Brexit deal, because he can’t stop himself from attacking others instead of listening to the bloody question.

Thank god. The final statements. We’re at the end now. You’d probably have learned more about British politics if you’d watched Eastenders on the other side. That’s also depressing and fictional. Who won? I don’t know. What I do know is that we’re all the losers with this lot as our political masters. Can we hurry up and vote for independence please?

I’d like to give a huge thank you to the SNP canvassers in Prestwick who helped me when my car got a flat tyre this afternoon when I was out with Philippa Whitford’s team. I wouldn’t have been able to change the wheel without your assistance. SNP Pitcrew, top lads.


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


Look out of the window

snowywindow
And in today’s instalment of “What the actual @*!& is wrong with the UK?”, we learn that it’s perfectly OK not to have the largest party in Scotland represented in a General Election debate to be broadcast in Scotland. Because union of equals. Because the most successful partners of nations in the history of the multiverse. Because Scotland needs us to look after it. Because we say so Jockos. Look, we let you vote in OUR elections – what more do you want?

Raise a glass to your imperial masters, Scotland, and salute their decisions about you. It’s just not on to allow anyone on the tellybox who’s going to put the case for Scotland having its own say on its own future. It’s for your own good. Far better to restrict the debate to those who think it’s perfectly fine to ignore a democratic mandate from Scotland. It’s cleaner. It’s simpler. It’s more British. That way no one is going to challenge Boris or Jeremy when they say that they’re not going to permit another independence referendum. It avoids all those nasty complications. When there’s an SNPbadfest, it only spoils the fun to allow those vile nats a right to reply. That’s how proper British democracy works isn’t it?

It’s not just the SNP. The Lib Dems aren’t being allowed to participate either. This is also a good thing. It would only confuse the voters to allow people who don’t think Brexit is a good thing to speak. You can’t have people voting in an election that everyone keeps saying is all about Brexit and then allow them to hear from parties that want to stop Brexit. Can’t be done. It would be wrong. Will of the people and all that.

This is a general election. It’s supposed to be at time when all sides in current debates get the opportunity to air their views, freely and fairly. We’re supposed to live in a parliamentary democracy. We don’t have a presidential system. But we have broadcasters who look at their American colleagues with the presidential debates and who long to have some of that. That’s the curse of the UK, doomed to forever look at America as the only possible model because few can be arsed to learn the languages of our nearest neighbours. You can have Republican or Democrat, Conservative or Labour. Anything else just isn’t to be taken seriously.

There’s only certain things that are considered fit for public discourse in the UK. It’s fine to allow right wing provocateurs on the telly, but not their left wing counterparts. It’s fine to glorify the military, but we must never, ever cast a critical eye on the actions of the British army. It’s fine to offer mild criticisms of individual members of the royal family, but never the queen, and never the system. Scottish independence likewise belongs to that category of things that are unBritish, and when discussed must only ever be examined like something unpleasant on the sole of a gentleman’s oxford brogue.

So what is going to happen is that the two largest parties, the Conservatives and Labour, will be given an unfair advantage in an election in Scotland in which the two of them combined have less support than a party whose presence has been rejected. This isn’t a UK election debate, it’s an English one. Because from the perspective of the Home Counties English and British are the exact same thing. That’s why the likes of Boris Johnson can declaim that the UK is the most successful union in the history of forever. For him and his like it’s successful because it puts no demands on him, it puts no demands on the ruling classes. It’s very successful for them if Scotland has been subsumed, silenced, and locked in the shortbread tin. You can have your democracy Scotland, just as long as you don’t place any demands on your betters.

We have a Prime Minister who lies every time he opens his mouth. And we have a public broadcaster that the public are forced to pay for which allows him to get away with it. According to the Conservative commentor Peter Oborne writing in the Guardian, he spoke with senior BBC executives who told him that they thought it would be wrong to expose Boris Johnson’s many lies as it would undermine trust in politics if the public were to discover that their rulers were liars. That’s the same defence used by the Vatican when it was confronted by accusations of abuse. Far better to maintain the great lie.

Johnson lies and lies again, and again and again the broadcasters indulge him. Just last week he was filmed sipping a whisky when he graced Scotland with his presence, safely tucked away from any of the public who might heckle him. Then the next day he claimed that he’d given up alcohol for the duration of the election. He lies on the big things too. He lies when he said there is an agreement between the SNP and Labour. He lies when he says that he’s going to get Brexit over and done with, when all that’s going to happen is that Brexit will drag out for years and years to come. Even after the UK leaves the EU, the topic of the UK’s relationship with the EU will dominate British politics for a generation. Brexit’s long and malign shadow can’t be wished away by Boris Johnson’s lies.

It’s not the job of a proper reporter to tell us that Boris Johnson says that it’s bright and sunny, but critics say that it’s snowing outside. The job of the reporter is to look out of the damn window. Yet time and time again, the broadcast media allows Boris Johnson to tell us that all is sunny when really the snow is falling.

The UK is being failed by its political leaders. It’s being failed by its media. It’s a corrupt dance of the self-serving, liars and enablers, locked in a fatal embrace. It’s a state of disgrace. This is not a state that can be fixed. There’s no federalism fairy about to wave a magic wand. This is only a state that can be abandoned. Scotland needs to escape. It’s time. Look out of the window, and vote.

I’m publishing today’s article a bit early as on Tuesday the dug and I are off to spend the afternoon with Philippa Whitford’s canvassing team in Prestwick.  We’re determined to do our wee bit to help get as many pro-indy MPs as possible.  So if you’re going to be helping Philippa’s campaign tomorrow, we’re looking forward to seeing you.  Philippa’s fundraiser has already reached its target, so here are some other worthy campaigns that need a bit of assistance.

Robert Leslie – Orkney and Shetland

Robert is the SNP candidate in Orkney and Shetland.  He’s got a mountain to climb to dislodge Alistair Carmichael, but Robert’s got his crampons and climbing rope at the ready.  Give his campaign a wee lift by donating to his crowdfunder

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/elect-robert-leslie-orkney-shetland

Patrick Grady – Glasgow North

Patrick has represented the north of the city of Glasgow since 2015.  Help him to get reelected and ensure that the city has a clean slate of SNP MPs.

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/re-electpatrickgrady

Amy Callaghan – Dunbarton East

Amy is standing against Jo Swinson, so naturally the Lib Dems are throwing everything into the seat.  She’s got a battle on her hands, but she’s young, she’s determined, and she can overturn the Lib Dem vote and give us a historic victory by unseating the Lib Dem’s national leader.

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/elect-amy-callaghan


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 state we are in

There’s a lot of talk about what this election is about. It’s about Brexit. It’s about an independence referendum. It’s about protecting the NHS. It’s about poverty and inequality. It’s about holding power to account. It’s about the lies and deceit of Boris Johnson. It’s about austerity. It’s about access to affordable housing. The truth is that it is about all these things. This General Election is about the state we’re in. The state we’re in is a desperate state, a decrepit state, a declining state. The state we’re in is the disUnited Kingdom, dysfunctional, and disgraceful, unthinking dumb.

Walk along any high street, and you’re confronted by homeless people huddling in doorways, trying to find what little shelter they can. They’re in every town, in every main street. Many are young, some are disabled. We walk by, because not even the kindest and most generous amongst us can help them every single one of them. Homelessness on this scale isn’t inevitable. It’s a product of political choices. It’s a product of a social security system that long since stopped being a safety net for those in need and instead turned into a lash to castigate and punish them for the crime of being poor. It doesn’t have to be this way. But this is the state we’re in.

In every supermarket there’s a basket asking for donations for your local foodbank. There’s always a local foodbank. There’s always people who rely on charity in order to feed themselves, in one of the richest countries in the world. They’re everwhere. They’re your neighbours, your friend, your relatives. It’s estimated that one third of children in the UK are being brought up in poverty, kids for whom a trip to the foodbank is normal. Well it’s not bloody normal. It’s a result of a government that decided to make the poor pay for the sins of the rich. It’s a result of political choices, political choices that Scotland never made, never supported, never wanted.

In every doctor’s surgery, in every local hospital, people are waiting, waiting, hoping for the best while they wait for their tests. The waits get longer, the pressures on staff grow like a cancer, the tumour of creeping privatisation that eats away at the soul of universal provision. This is happening because of choices that are forced upon us by people whose only prescription is I’m alright Jack. Scotland does better than the rest of the UK, but only because the Scottish Government is forced to make cuts elsewhere in order to prop up a system that’s dying from lack of care. It’s only going to get worse as the Borises and Jacobs and the Nigels look greedily upon their bank balances and the business opportunities that open up to them by opening up the NHS to US health companies. Boris Johnson says that he’s got no intention at all of privatising the NHS, but he also said he was going to die in a ditch. We’re still waiting, Boris, waiting. It doesn’t have to be this way, but this is the state we’re in.

This election might be the last hurrah of Nigel Farage, but although he’s lost his personal battle to get himself into power, he has won the war. He has transformed the Conservative party into his image. The extreme right has become the right. The Brexit party and Ukip have become an irrelevance because the Tories have turned into them. Brexit is now defined as the most extreme, the most estranged, the most divorced state possible. Just a few years ago those supporting Brexit said that they’d be happy with a situation like Norway’s, out of the EU but accepting freedom of movement and the customs union and single market. Now they tell us that’s not Brexit at all, and the Conservatives enthusiastically agree. It doesn’t have to be this way, but this is the state we’re in.

The devolution settlement that Scotland fought long and hard for in the teeth of opposition from decades of Tory rule is at threat like never before, because only some people’s will needs to be respected. The Conservatives are using the EU referendum as an excuse to undermine the will of the Scottish people to have stronger safer devolution, everything that they promised us in 2014, and now they tell us that we can’t complain. It was a once in a generation vote, they crow, telling Scotland that it has no right to hold them to account for their failure to honour their promises. Only some referendums need to be respected, those whose result suits the Tories. They tell us that it doesn’t matter how Scotland votes in December, it doesn’t matter how Scotland votes in 2021. It doesn’t matter how Scotland ever votes. We have no right to decide the future of our own country, we only have the right to sit in silence as our future is chosen for us by the Borises and the Jacobs and the Nigels. It doesn’t have to be this way, but this is the state that we are in.

Boris laughs and tells his weak jokes for the fourteenth time. He blusters, he fnaughs. Democracy in the UK is an after dinner speech for the East Surrey Conservative Association. He chortles as he breaks the law. His party takes money from Russian oligarchs and practises the dark arts of digital manipulation. Move along now, there’s nothing to see here, only the studied distractions of a man who has learned how high a dead cat can bounce. Even senior figures in his own party, former Chancellors, former cabinet ministers, warn about the dangers of allowing the dissembler in chief to have a majority in Parliament. He says he’ll get Brexit done, but he’s lying. What he means is that Brexit will be done to you and me. The Conservatives don’t want to leave the EU in order to turn the UK into a paradise of employment and social rights. They don’t want to leave the EU because they have a deep concern for the poor, the marginalised, and the vulnerable. They want to leave the EU because once the UK is no longer subject to EU rules and regulations it will be so much easier to screw us all over. It doesn’t have to be this way, but this is the state we are in.

This is the time to say no to Tories who don’t listen. Tories who are terrified of democracy. Tories who despise the people of Scotland and refuse to allow us a say in this supposedly precious union. Just today Boris Johnson referred to the UK as the most successful union of nations – successful for who? Because it’s not looking too successful for a Scotland that wants to strengthen its ties to the rest of the world and to Europe but which is being dragged out against its will into a low wage low tax low protection economy where the rich will get ever richer but there will be more kids begging on our streets, more mothers waiting for medical tests, more cold people trudging to a food bank in the rain because they can’t afford the bus fare. This is the state we are in.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We have a choice. We have a voice, and we can use it to say loud and clear that Scotland doesn’t agree, that this land of ours demands the right to decide that path that it takes. We will decide what state we are in, and we choose a Scottish state that respects the dignity of all.

I’d just like to say thank you to all the lovely people at Yes Caithness, and especially to Darren and Jim, for all their kindness and hospitality when I visited on Saturday.  The dug and I had a great time, and thanks to Yes Caithness the evening was a huge success.  All the best to Karl Rosie, the local SNP candidate in the General Election.  I would have included a link to his crowdfunder, but he doesn’t appear to have one! 

Crowdfunder for Brendan O’Hara

Brendan is campaigning to keep the Argyll & Bute seat for the SNP.  He’s a tireless campaigner for local issues – and originally from the East End of Glasgow.  So all round good guy in my book.

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/re-elect-brendan-ohara

Crowdfunder for Kirsten Oswald

Kirsten is hoping to take East Renfrewshire back from the Tories.  74% of local people voted to remain in the EU, yet the Tories are hell bent on taking us all out of it.  Let’s not make it easy for them.  Every Tory MP we can defeat makes it harder for Boris Johnson to steamroller us.

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/help-elect-kirsten-oswald-as-snp-mp-for-east-renfr


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


Dugcast – 15 November 2019

Welcome to the 15 November edition of the dugcast. This week I am joined by The National’s Stewart Ward and we discuss the developments this week in the General Election campaign. We chat about the SNP’s court case, Jeremy Corbyn’s visit to Scotland, Boris Johnson’s disastrous visit to the flood victims in South Yorkshire, the allegations from the Brexit party about Tory dirty tricks, and much more besides.

There won’t be any updates to the blog until Monday as I am off to Wick in Caithness first thing tomorrow to speak at an event for Yes Caithness. It’s a long drive from Glasgow, and will entail an overnight stay. If you’re in the far north of Scotland, please come along – the dug and I would love to see you. The event is at the Nethercliffe Hotel, Louisburgh St, Wick KW1 4NS and kicks off at 7.30 pm on Saturday evening. I’ll be doing a talk, and there will be a buffet afterwards. Admission is free. More details here – http://whatson.caithness.org/event.php?id=34234


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