2020 visions

2020vision

The world that we live in in 2020 is a very different one from the world of 2010. A decade ago, but it seems like a lifetime. In 2010, the Labour party dominated the Scottish political landscape, and talk of independence for Scotland was easily dismissed as the bar room rantings of a few barmy romantics. The primacy of the UK was seemingly unchallengeable. British nationalists could still pretend that support for the UK meant that they were not nationalists at all, and told Scotland that British insitutions were all that stood between Scotland and atavistic anarchy. Only Britain could guarantee decency, toleration, and moderation. We were told that independence was a vanity project, because there were no substantial political differences between Scotland and England.

That’s all changed. No one can now seriously argue that Scotland and England are on the same political page. Well, OK, they can make that argument. But then they’re subject to a Twitter pile on of people laughing at them and making them into memes. There is after all no end to the self-delusion of those who would oppose Scottish independence under all and any circumstances. This self-delusion is equal only to that of this blog’s very own trolls, who continue to post insults and abuse even though their comments are automatically filtered and end up in the trash folder where they get auto-deleted after 30 days without anyone ever seeing them. So, stamp collecting Jim in Livingston and the rest, you’re wasting your time. It does amuse me intensely that trolls keep posting repeatedly on this blog to tell me that my words are having no effect. They’re clearly having a very big effect on the likes of Stamp Collecting Jim.

On a side note, when we do finally achieve independence, I’m going to write something uplifting and optimistic about how this new Scotland belongs to everyone, yes voters and no voters. About how we need to put the past behind us and move on together, that there’s no place for rancour or anger. About how we need to heal and come together as an independent nation. About how yes voters and no voters must hold hands, hug and let bygones be bygones because there’s no yes or no anymore, only citizens of a new and better Scotland, a kinder Scotland, a gentler Scotland. Except you, Stamp Collecting Jim in Livingston. You can fuck off.

But back to the here and now. The Scotland that stands at the dawn of 2020 is a country with a different vision from the rest of the UK. This is a country which has rejected Brexit, rejected Boris Johnson, rejected the transatlantic Trumpian fetish that drives the modern Conservative party. Scotland sees itself as a European nation, informed by the values of social democracy. Scotland understands the importance of ensuring that those who are fortunate in life contribute to those who are less fortunate, because there but for the graces of the gods go all of us. Scotland wants to be open to the world, to look to the future. This is a land that understands that when someone comes here to live, love, work and raise a family, they are honouring us. Scotland understands that migrants are not a burden to be feared or resented.

In retrospect, the cracks forming the political divide between Scotland and the rest of the UK were already visible in 2010, now they have widened into a chasm. Not even Boris Johnson’s fantasy bridge can unite the two sides. British politics are set to descend into further disrepute. Boris Johnson has promised to increase the minimum wage by four times the rate of inflation. He’s promised record investment in the NHS. He’s promising major new infrastructure projects. Yet at the same time the vultures of the Tory party are expecting tax cuts and the prospect of a no deal Brexit is now greater than it ever was before. This is looking very like a prime minister whose honeymoon in office will end in the most spectacular fashion. All this will only increase the dissatisfaction in Scotland, and will continue to boost support for independence.

Brexit will happen in a few weeks. It can no longer be avoided or delayed. However formally leaving the EU will not “get Brexit done”. The coming months will be marked by increasingly bitter and rancorous arguments between the EU and a UK that still expects cake and eating it, still expects unicorns that crap out cherries. The UK will be out of the EU, and there will no longer be remainers in UK politics. For those who support EU membership or closer alignment with the EU than Boris Johnson will permit there will only be a debate about the quickest way to achieve it. For Scotland, that will only make independence a more attractive prospect for many.

We have already seen a change in attitude towards Scottish independence from the EU since the Brexit vote. After the UK formally leaves the EU, there will be even fewer constraints on EU and European figures voicing their support for an independent Scotland. British nationalists claim that the EU wouldn’t want Scotland, but even if Scotland was the economic basket case that they claim it is – which if true would in itself would be an argument that Westminster rule isn’t working – the EU would not be able to resist the symbolism of welcoming a Scotland which became independent from the rest of the UK because of Brexit. It would be both a massive vindication of the European project, and a massive up you to a UK which has rejected Europe. Contrary to popular belief, Germans do do irony.

There is an event due in the coming months which has the British nationalist trolls rubbing their hands in unseemly glee. That’s the trial of Alex Salmond. Our opponents know that they are having an ever more difficult time selling the UK to a Scotland that feels ever more alienated from it, they will not hesitate to weaponise the Salmond trial. It’s a sign of their desperation that it’s all that they’ve got left. However, no matter how that trial works out – and as the matter is subjudice please refrain from commenting on the details of it – it will not have the effect on support for independence that British nationalists are hoping it will. Nothing about the Salmond trial changes Boris Johnson as Prime Minister. Nothing about the Salmond trial changes Brexit. Nothing about the Salmond trial changes the contempt and disdain with which Scotland has been treated by Westminster. Nothing about the Salmond trial alters the underlying dynamic which drives support for independence. Batten down the hatches for the duration, because we’re in for a shitstorm of SNPbaddery from the media, but once the trial is over, that underlying dynamic will reassert itself.

What has become impossible to see is any way in which Scotland can be reconciled to a Westminster that’s controlled by a triumphant Boris Johnson who commands a large majority in the Commons. Johnson may try to cajole, bribe, persuade us, but based on his character and previous actions it’s far more likely that he will use his majority to try and bludgeon Scotland into submission. Fundamentally, the vision that he has for the UK is one which Scotland has rejected, and Scotland has already demonstrated that it’s immune to the dubious charms of the deliberately tousled liar.

Johnson will almost certainly resist another independence referendum. What we in the indy movement must never do is to concede that Scotland requires his permission in the first place. A referendum without the blessing of Johnson would not be unlawful, would not be “wildcat”. It would be an exercise in Scottish democracy. The Scottish government currently seeks to persuade the Westminster government that it’s very much in the interests of the British state to cooperate with that process, because if Westminster doesn’t cooperate, it’s only going to make independence more likely. They are adopting this strategy in order to ensure that those who are less certain about independence, those whose support we need in order to win handsomely, will be on board if the time comes for an alternative route. However make no mistake, one way or another, Scotland will have her say. Our job in the wider movement is to ensure that the pressure is kept on.

There is only one trajectory now, and that’s the one that leads to independence. The road is rocky. There will be temporary reverses along the way, but Scotland is increasingly finding its voice and its place in the world. That’s a voice and a place that don’t need to be moderated or channelled through a Conservative dominated Westminster. 2020 will be a crucial year in Scottish history. It will be the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath. This will be the year when Scotland makes a new declaration of faith and belief in itself as a modern, progressive, outward-looking European nation. This will be the year when the vision of a better Scotland, an independent Scotland, comes into focus.


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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


Scottish democracy can never be illegal

The SNP and the wider independence movement as a whole are in need of a New Year’s resolution. And that should be to expunge the phrase “illegal referendum” from the vocabulary of independence supporters and from that of SNP politicians in particular. Not only that, but every independence supporter needs to challenge anyone who uses the phrase in the context of a Scottish independence referendum without a Section 30 order. We need to get on top of this particular myth that’s being propagated by our opponents, and to squash it before it gains any more traction. Above all else, what supporters of independence must do is to avoid doing the work of British nationalists for them.

There is only one legal fact about a referendum without a Section 30 order, and that fact is as of now that no one can definitively state whether such a referendum would be lawful or not. The reality is that there are good legal arguments both for and against the lawfulness of a referendum without a Section 30 order. The argument against is that constitutional issues are reserved to Westminster under the Scotland Act. The argument in favour is that a consultative referendum in Scotland on the question of independence does not infringe upon reserved matters as it would remain up to Westminster to act, or not to act, after the people of Scotland have advised them of their view.

The matter has never been legally tested in the only forum which is capable of giving a legal judgement on the matter, and that forum is a court of law. Until such time a referendum without a Section 30 order is a constitutional Schroedinger’s Cat. That means that when anyone tells you that such a referendum would be illegal, they are not giving you a legal fact, they are giving you a political opinion. We must not concede the legal argument before it has been tested.

When as independence supporters we surrender to the language used by our opponents, we are conceding the framing of the argument to them. By using terminology like “unionists versus nationalists” we implicitly concede that the Scottish constitutional debate is a debate between nationalism and non-nationalism. All that does is to justify the opinion of those who try to persuade people who dislike nationalism to oppose independence. It validates the delusion that by opposing independence and therefore implicitly backing the British state, you are somehow making a non-nationalist choice. In fact you’re not.

There are nationalists and non-nationalists on both sides of Scotland’s constitutional divide, and it is one of the strongest arguments of independence supporters that it’s the current and dominant incarnation of British nationalism which is the dangerous, reactionary, and parochial nationalism. So for that reason, as independence supporters we need to avoid using language which continues and bolsters that false narrative. That’s why I prefer to talk about Scottish independence supporters, and British nationalists. As an independence supporter I should not be in the business of fostering the delusions of British nationalism that it’s better than other nationalisms by virtue of not being nationalist at all.

To call opponents of independence “unionists” furthers the equally false narrative that Scotland is a partner in a union, an equal and much loved member of a family of nations. That’s a sick and cruel myth when those who support that so-called union claim that a Prime Minister whose party was rejected at the polls in Scotland in favour of a party asserting the right of Scotland to decide its own future has the absolute right to prevent Scotland from even having the democratic conversation. So let’s not call them unionists. Call them British nationalists. Call them that because it annoys them, because it is more accurate, and because it means we do not participate in perpetuating their false narrative.

A similar argument applies to the phrase “illegal referedum”, or “wildcat referendum”, or “unlawful referendum” when applied to a vote on Scottish independence that does not have the consent of Boris Johnson. Use of these phrases implicitly concedes that the Prime Minister has a democratic, moral, and legal right to prevent a Scottish referendum. Yet his legal right to block an independence referendum remains an unknown quantity because it has never been tested in the courts.

He has no democratic right to block a referendum because his own party stood in Scotland on a manifesto of preventing another independence referendum and lost over half of its seats while the main party standing and asking the people of Scotland to provide it with such a mandate won handsomely. By any democratic standard, there is a political right for Scotland to hold another independence referendum.

Finally there’s the moral right. Scotland is constantly being told by the very people most opposed to independence that within the UK Scotland is a valued and much loved partner, an equal participant in the British family of nations. That was the prospectus upon which a no vote was sold to Scotland in the referendum of 2014. The Westminster parliament itself agreed to the Scottish Claim of Right, which asserts that the people of Scotland have the right to determine the form of government best suited to their needs. There is no rider after it in invisible ink which says “as long as it’s politically convenient for Boris Johnson.”

So whenever a journalist or anti-independence politician uses the phrase “unlawful referendum” or something similar, we must call them out for it. They are using a British nationalist buzz word in an attempt to prejudge the issue and restrict Scotland’s democratic choice. Scotland has an absolute right to decide for itself whether it wishes to revisit the question of independence. We are not as a nation beholden to anyone in pursuit of that right. Using phrases like “unlawful referendum” implies that Scotland is dependent upon the permission of a Conservative Prime Minister, that we are trapped in this UK until such time as the political priorities of forces outwith Scotland concede that it’s in their own interests to allow Scotland a voice. It frames the narrative of a referendum in a way that is beneficial to our opponents.

Our New Year’s resolution needs to be to avoid allowing our opponents to frame the argument. They’re the ones who have just suffered a massive electoral defeat, they’re the ones who are politically and democratically on the back foot. Let’s not do their job for them. There’s no such thing as an illegal referendum in Scotland, because that’s tantamount to claiming that democracy is illegal.


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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


Μπορίς Τζόνσον ἐστί πρωκτός

The title of this article is Ancient Greek. Μπορίς Τζόνσον ἐστί πρωκτός means “Boris Johnson is an arsehole.” It is pronounced, approximately, Boris Johnson esti proktos. And now you know why it is that a doctor who dons a rubber glove, lubricates their finger and sticks it up your backside is called a proctologist. It’s because proktos is the Ancient Greek word for arsehole. Don’t ever say that this blog isn’t educational. You may be wondering why it is relevant that Boris Johnson is an arsehole in Ancient Greek. Or more accurately you may be wondering why this is especially relevant today, as knowing that Boris Johnson is an arsehole is relevant every single day that the boorish one imposes his carefully tousled self upon the public consciousness.

The reason we are discussing the arseholishness of Boris Johnson in Ancient Greek today is because on the Twittersphere as an early Christmas present, a wee video of Boris Johnson is trending in which he mangles the opening stanzas to Homer’s the Iliad in Ancient Greek. Although he claims to be speaking the words in the orginal as might have been uttered by Homer himself, his accent bears as much relationship to anything that might be recognised by an actual Greek as the stripped twig that a chimpanzee uses to scratch its proktos does to the Antikythera mechanism. In fact, just by intoning the phrase Boris Johnson esti proktos you are pronouncing Ancient Greek with considerably greater accuracy than our soi-disant Classical scholar of a Prime Minister is apparently able to.

The video was posted to social media by a Tory fanboy, who triumphantly flourished “Your move, Labour” as he was apparently secure in the knowledge that the object of his boriscrush was in an intellectual league of his own. And this would be true. It’s just that the league we are talking about is the one that teams of uncoordinated five year olds get relegated to. See, the thing about posing as a scholar of Ancient Greek is that it’s a very easy thing to do when your audience knows bugger all about Ancient Greek. Then you can wow them with your apparent erudition and they’ll all think that you’re a genius because you can quote things at them in a language that they don’t understand. They just have to take your word for it that what it is you are quoting is in fact what you say it is. That’s what makes it a cheap party trick, and not an actual exercise in erudition.  All the more so when you are taking at face value the word of a known liar.

The problem with posting such things to social media is that then they can be scrutinised by those who do actually know considerably more about the subject than Boris Johnson claims to. His discourse in Ancient Greek was heard by some real Classical scholars who pointed out a number of interesting things about it. The first was that Boris Johnson’s Greek pronunciation is dire and bears little relationship to the sounds that a real Ancient Greek would have used.

Ancient Greek was pronounced differently from the modern Greek language, as you might expect of a language that has been attested for several thousand years the sounds of the language have evolved. However it’s a fairly safe bet that the Ancient Greek letter y was pronounced like German ü whereas in modern Greek it’s pronounced like English ee, while the letter ph was probably pronounced like a p followed by an h, and not like an f as it is in modern Greek. Boris Johnson doesn’t bother with any of these niceties. He just speaks Greek as though it were English, complete with that very peculiar pronunciation he has of the vowel oo, which he utters as though it were ew. Johnson doesn’t do things, they’re things he’s going to dew. And now I’ve heard that I can’t stop hearing it. I’ve added it to the long and ever lengthening list of “Things about Boris Johnson that really dew get my goat.”

This comes as no surprise to anyone who has heard Boris Johnson, who is hailed by his fans as being fluent in French, speaking in French. His accent is atrocious. It’s shockingly bad. My Spanish is fluent, but my own French is limited. I can read a newspaper, engage in a basic conversation. I don’t claim to be fluent. However I do know that my French pronunciation is considerably better than Boris Johnson’s, who comes out with a toe-curling accent that the cast of ‘Allo ‘Allo would be embarrassed by.

Boris Johnson’s party trick is to quote random pieces of Ancient Greek text, when I lived in Spain my party trick was to speak Spanish with an exaggerated English accent, much to the hilarity of my Spanish friends. And I was still pronouncing it better than Boris Johnson speaks French or Ancient Greek.

However a more serious error in Boris Johnson’s party trick was pointed out by a Classical scholar on social media, who noted that although Johnson was claiming to recite the opening passage of Homer’s the Iliad, he had in fact omitted line 8, lines 17-18, and then he ended the piece with some random piece of text from an entirely different work. It’s as though you tell people that you are going to declaim Hamlet’s soliloquy, and after saying To be or not to be, you say is this a dagger I see before me.

But even if he was quoting it accurately, so what? It doesn’t require anything other than normal intelligence to remember a quote. As exercises in intellectual activity go, it’s on precisely the same level as remembering all the Scottish cup finalists and the scores since WW2 to date. There’s no more intellectual merit in remembering a passage that you studied in childhood than there is of remembering M. Marsaud est dans le jardin beep beep from your French class at school. It’s exactly the same as remembering the lyrics of David Bowie songs, or being able to recite a poem. All it proves is that you can remember something, and as we’ve seen in the case of Boris Johnson and the Iliad, he can’t remember it properly. But then he can’t remember his children’s names either. All we have learned from this episode is that Boris Johnson is as crap a classical scholar as he is at telling the truth in politics.

However there is a quote lifted directly from a venerable Ancient Greek text which sums up Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson perfectly. It comes from the play The Frogs by Aristophanes, verses 739-40
πῶς γὰρ οὐχὶ γεννάδας,
ὅστις γε πίνειν οἶδε καὶ βινεῖν μόνον
It translates as “Of course he’s a gentleman, fucking and drinking are all he knows.”

And with that, I am definitely taking a few days off for the holidays. Καλὰ Χριστούγεννα! That’s Ancient Greek for Merry Christmas!


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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 messiah of gammon

messiahofgammon
It’s about this time of the festive season that someone pops up to complain that we really need to remember that it’s all about Christ. There’s no need for that this year, as it’s patently obvious that the UK is all about making us say “Oh. Christ.” According to rumours, Nigel Farage is getting a knighthood in the New Years honours list for his services to politics. This is merely the latest incident in the rapidly lengthening list of things about the UK that make you want to hit your head off a brick wall in the vain hope that you can either wake up and discover it was all a dystopian nightmare brought on by a surfeit of gammon, or at least put yourself into a coma that with a bit of luck will last until the multicoloured shittiness of it all has gone away.  Mind you the expression arise Sir Nigel is quite correct, but only if you omit the i in arise.

No, seriously. This is a thing that’s happening here and now in this state that fancies itself as the mother of democracy. Sir Nigel Farage. The Nigel Farage who is what you’d get if Sir John Falstaff had a love child with Leni Reifenstahl. That Nigel Farage. We’re a bawhair and a face like a scrotum away from Dame Katie Hopkins. Next up, Harold Shipman is getting a posthumous OBE for his services to medicine, and Gary Glitter is getting made a peer for his services to 1970s episodes of Top of the Pops. The dug’s arse is more deserving of a knighthood than Nigel Farage. At least what comes out of it promotes growth. There are dog turds slowly decaying in the long grass in the park that are more deserving of a knighthood than Nigel bloody Farage, they’ve never spread crap inside our homes. If you were harbouring any illusions that the UK is a place in which Scotland can sit comfortably, you can be disabused by seven simple words, “Prime Minister Boris Johnson”, followed by “Sir Nigel Farage”. This is what we’re better together with, allegedly.

When Farage announced in the weeks before the General Election that he was going to stand down Brexit Party candidates in seats held by the Conservatives, it pretty much ended any serious chance of a hung parliament. The move provided a huge boost to the Tories and virtually guaranteed the nightmare that we now face – Boris Johnson sitting in the House of Commons with an unassailable majority because it ensured that in Conservative held seats the Brexit vote would not be split between the Tories and the Brexit party. It was fiercely denied at the time, and is still being denied, that there was anything in it for Nige personally in making a move that undercut his own party and all those mugs, sorry potential candidates, who had paid him cash money in order to have the chance of standing as a Brexit party candidate in the election. And now we’re discussing the possibility of arse Sir Nigel.  And that’s not a typo.

Totally coincidentally, of course. No connection between those two things at all. Oh no. It’s as totally coincidental as Rangers entering into a partnership with Orange County Soccer Club in California, whose email inbox is now full of angry messages about sectarianism that have the Americans utterly perplexed.

The British establishment is rewarding a man who shamelessly scaremongered about immigration. During the EU referendum campaign it was Nigel Farage who unveiled that disgusting poster showing a long line of Syrian refugees, implying that EU membership would mean hordes of Muslims descending upon the UK. He did so despite knowing that the UK was never a part of the EU’s common asylum policy.

The British establishment is rewarding a man who claimed that opposition to his vile politics in Scotland was based upon anti-English racism and not upon the fact that Scotland rejects his politics of exclusion, of xenophobia, and British nostalgia for Empire. For a man who is very eager to stir up racist hatred against foreigners, against Muslims, against asylum seekers, he’s even quicker to play the racism card and play the victim. There is no greater victim than the middle class white English conservative whose entitlement is threatened.

The British establishment is rewarding a man whose lies about the EU are second only to Boris Johnsons in their pernicious effects upon the British body politic. He’s misrepresented the proposals for a common EU defence force, something which the UK could never have been compelled to participate in. He’s misrepresented the role of EU commissioners. He’s sat as an MEP and never bothered his arse to use any of the power or influence that elected position gave him to try to make any changes to the operation of the EU. Instead he used it as an opportunity to grandstand and to spread his deceit even further.

The British establishment is rewarding a man who up until the EU vote in 2016 was telling one and all that the UK could be just like Norway. And now he’s saying that even Boris Johnson’s deal isn’t a hard enough Brexit and will only be satisfied with the UK leaving the EU with no deal at all. He’s wrested the centre ground of British politics so far to the right that dog-whistle racism, xenophobia, lying, and refusing to be held to account are considered perfectly normal. The centre ground has shifted so far to the right that Stephen Yaxley-Lennon – or to use the name he’s more commonly associated with, Tommy Fucking Feart of a Milkshake Robinson – wants to join the Tories. The centre ground of British politics has shifted so far to the right that the Conservative candidate for Lanarkshire was quite comfortable appealing to sectarianism in an attempt to gain a few votes. This is the legacy of Nigel Farage. Ar(i)se Sir Nigel, and smirk upon the havoc and destruction that you have wrought.

The British establishment is rewarding a man who was bigged up by the BBC at each and every opportunity. He’s as much a media creation as Ruth Davidson, foisted upon our TV screens by producers who think of politics as a species of light entertainment and not as a series of decisions that directly affect our lives, our opportunities, our futures. There is a special place in hell for the production team of BBC Question Time. For all eternity they will be forced to listen to the spittle flecked rants of Derek from Northamptonshire about how his grandfather fought Nazis in the war, and all so that Derek could be a racist today.

The UK honours system is hopelessly corrupt. It’s used by politicians as a means of giving favours and extending patronage. It’s used to reward donors, and to ensure that politicians who have been kicked out by the voters can continue to enjoy the privileges of political careers and influence. Awarding an honour to a man who has destroyed the UK’s international reputation shortly after he did a favour to the ruling party simply confirms the perception that the UK is as corrupt and dysfunctional as any middle eastern potentate.

And so as we reach the end of 2019, we reach a new low in the moral bankruptcy of the UK. This is a state which rewards the likes of Nigel Farage, while denying that democratic will of the people of Scotland. It’s a reward for the Messiah of Gammon, the knight of Little England. The real tragedy here is that with a large majority in the Commons for Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, the liar’s liar, the UK’s descent into moral and intellectual bankruptcy has only just begun. Next year we’re going to see consistent majorities in opinion polls for Scottish independence. The UK cannot be reformed, it can only be escaped from. Merry chuffin’ Christmas. Merry Oh Christ must we. Well, no. We don’t. Scotland is leaving.


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


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

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

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


The dangerous fool

dangerousfool

Colonial Governor Alister Jack was much to our collective intense disappointment not amongst those Tory MPs in Scotland who got his jotters along with Stephen Kerr, Kirstene Hair, whoever it was who was pressed into service as the stunt double for Ross Thomson, and the rest. This means he’s still gracing our airwaves and making the sort of comments that make it even more difficult to comprehend what this clueless creature is doing infesting our public life like an upper class public school boy on a gap year. Last week he was being interviewed on BBC Good Morning Scotland, natch, and was asked what his response was to the statement by Nicola Sturgeon that the UK was a voluntary union of nations.

His reply ought to have been plastered all over the front pages of the press in Scotland. It ought to have elicited a shocked reply and an intensive follow up from the journalists on GMS Scotland. Because what he said, after a bit of waffle about how fantastic and enduring the “union” was, was that he didn’t agree with that at all. He didn’t agree that the United Kingdom is a voluntary union of nations. Oh. So it’s an involuntary union. It’s a prison. It’s like the Hotel California, only in this case it’s a crumbling 1950s seaside holiday camp where you can check in but you can never leave. Scotland is doomed forever to a cold leaky chalet and some undercooked cabbage.

In one bumbling interview, poshboy Alister ripped out the very foundations of Scottish Unionism. Those are foundations that were in part cemented into place by a certain law professor of the name Adam Tomkins, whom Alister may be familiar with. But possibly not, as the only people he’s really familiar with are other poshos, and Adam’s a bit too common. Useful for a rich Tory, but not properly one of us, a sort of glorified butler really, serving up legal opinions that can come in handy.

Adam was a member of the panel of distinguished legal British nationalist brains who drew up a report called A Constitutional Crossroads: Ways Forward for the United Kingdom in the wake of the independence referendum of 2014. The report was later the basis of a draft bill that was presented to the House of Lords by Sir Jeffrey Jowell QC. The bill describes the UK in its fundamental principles saying, “the United Kingdom is a voluntary union of the UK nations and parts expressed through informed and democratic processes.”
https://www.biicl.org/documents/595_a_constitutional_crossroads.pdf

This was also the description of the United Kingdom used by Tory peer James Douglas-Hamilton, addressing the House of Lords on the 1st of June 2015: “Let us never forget that the Union is a voluntary partnership of different nations.” Douglas-Hamilton used to do Alister’s job back when the Tories were trying to fend off calls for a Scottish parliament. The Tories lost that battle, they’re going to lose this one too.

In its report, The Union and Devolution, published by the House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution, the House of Lords agrees with Douglas-Hamilton’s description and in addition confirms that Scotland, as well as the other components of the UK, have the right to self-determination and independence. So totally not like Spain then.
https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201516/ldselect/ldconst/149/149.pdf

Under the section “Support for the Union”, chapter 26 says: “This popular support [for the Union] is a vital element that underpins and supports the continuance of the Union. It is an essential characteristic of what a number of witnesses described as a voluntary union of nations. The UK Government and Parliament’s agreement to the holding of the referendum on Scottish independence acknowledged implicitly the right of Scotland to secede from the Union through a popular vote. Section 1 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 explicitly states the same right for the people of Northern Ireland. Although it has not been tested, it can be assumed that the same right exists for the people of Wales.”

What’s interesting in this paragraph is what it doesn’t say. It omits all mention of the largest nation in the UK, England and its right to self-determination. The underlying assumption appears to be that England already has it. This merely confirms that in the eyes of British nationalism, the UK is simply England writ large. The other parts of the UK might have the right to self-determination, but essentially as parts of the UK they are parts of a Greater England.

So what the First Minister said about the nature of the UK was actually the least contentious part of her speech from the point of view of those who describe themselves as Scottish Unionists – but who are really British nationalists pretending not to be nationalists at all. The characterisation of the United Kingdom as a voluntary union of nations is what underpins the claim of British nationalists in Scotland that their nationalism is better than other nationalisms – that would be your nationalism you Scottish separatist you – by virtue of not being nationalist at all.

In fact, it’s only if the UK is conceived as a voluntary union of nations that there can be any truth at all in the claim that the desire for Scottish independence is nationalism, but opposition to it is also opposition to nationalism in general as well as opposition to Scottish independence in particular.

The position espoused by Alister Jack is dangerously close to that propounded by the infamously Persil-phobic Manky Shirt Guy himself, Alistair McConnachie. Whose parents at least knew how to spell Alistair properly. McConnachie’s politics are those of the extreme right, marginal and beyond the pale for any rational democrat. This is after all a guy who was expelled from Ukip for denying there was evidence for gas chambers in the Holocaust and who has worked for the Orange Order.

Yet McConnachie gave a speech to the far right wing pressure group The London Swinton Circle, which claims to be dedicated to the promotion of “traditional Conservative and Unionist principles” on Thursday 18 June 2015, and told the massed ranks of gammonistas that the UK was a unitary state. Although now offically outside the Conservative party, the London Swinton Circle continues to be closely associated with leading Conservatives. Conservative MPs Liam Fox and Owen Patterson have been guest speakers.

Now we find that the Secretary of State for Scotland apparently holds the same marginal view on the nature of the UK as those on the extreme far right of British politics. That’s a deeply alarming development. Let’s be clear, I am not saying that Alister Jack is an avid political follower of McConnachie. I am not saying that he even knows or has heard what McConnachie has been saying on the matter. However what I am saying is that Boris Johnson’s government has normalised the politics of the far right and brought it into the mainstream of British politics, and that this Conservative government is using the arguments of the extreme right to deny the democratic right of the people of Scotland.

What I am saying is that Alister Jack is too stupid, privileged, and arrogant to understand how he is destroying democracy in Scotland and undermining that Scottish Unionism he professes to love. He’s consumed by his own ambition, his own drive for a power to which he believes he is entitled. This is what happens when you have governments that you can’t hold to account. You get a government of dangerous fools. You get governments which unleash the demons of fascism and which are enabled by useful idiots like Alister Jack.

Remember during the independence referendum campaign when Better Together assured Scotland that the only way that this country could protect itself from political extremism and anti-democratic forces was to remain a part of the sensible and moderate UK? Now we know the truth, it’s the UK which is normalising the far right, it’s the UK which threatens democracy. We have a British government which has destroyed the traditional understanding of Scottish Unionism, of Scotland as a voluntary partner in a union of nations, and replaced it with a quasi-fascist conception of a unitary state.


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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 fury of a patient nation

takingthefuture
Classical references are the new big thing these days, what with Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson name dropping Ancient Greeks and Romans at every opportunity in a vain attempt to convince us that he’s not merely an expensively educated boor. So here’s a quote from the Roman author Publilius Syrus, which has direct relevance to a Scotland under the thumb of that upper class exercise in artfully tousled arrogance. And it’s this – Cave furorem patientis – beware the fury of the patient one. Scotland is patient. We are patient still. But the anger is rising and our reserves of patience are not infinite.

A more modern savant, Gloria Steinem, said that the truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off. Scotland doesn’t need anger management. It just needs Westminster to stop pissing us off. Since that’s as likely to happen as it is that Boris Johnson will tell us how many children he has or that Michael Gove is going to stop being an oleaginous irritant, we must ensure that the truth that Westminster will always continue to piss Scotland off is directed into the movement to set Scotland free from Westminster. At the moment, we are faced with a Boris Johnson who is doing his utmost to piss Scotland off in the misplaced belief that there’s nothing we can do about it. He is aided in his delusion by a media which is happy to continue to parrot the line that the 2014 referendum was a once in a generation affair after which democracy stopped in Scotland, and which is equally happy to insist that Scotland requires the permission of the UK Prime Minister in order to ask itself about its own future.

There are those within the independence movement who are telling us that we must stay calm, that we must resist anger. They are correct, up to a point. We must indeed avoid the red hot anger of rage that leads to foolish and precipitous choices. We must refrain from allowing our anger to cloud our judgement. Taking action without carefully thinking through the consequences is likely to rebound upon us. Demanding that something be done before the conditions are correct isn’t going to help us achieve our goal of an independent Scotland. It will merely play into the hands of the smirking tousled liar.

However not all anger is the anger of rage, of rash decisions taken in the heat of the moment. Not all anger is ill-considered or a knee-jerk response to a provocation. There is a cold anger, a controlled anger, an anger which burns like ice, an anger which is carefully directed and aimed with precision, an anger which carefully and patiently bides its time until it is unleashed in a tidal wave of calculated and appropriate revenge. That anger is a careful anger, a considered anger, a proportionate and determined anger. That second kind of anger is the one that the Scottish independence movement needs to cultivate. That second kind of anger is the one that Pubilius Syrus warned about all those many centuries ago. His lesson still holds today.

So it is not a matter of calming down. It is good and proper, it is a moral imperative, to rage rage against the lying of the right. However it’s a matter of controlling one’s rage and directing it into a productive channel, so that when the rage is finally released it will have the correct effect and will be aimed squarely and directly at its proper target. That kind of anger is effective and productive anger. It is positive anger. Anger is an energy that we can channel into our campaigning, a fuel that will drive us through the bullshit and lies that Westminster and its allies will throw at us, but only if we contain it, direct it, and channel it properly, otherwise it’s wasted in an explosion of impotence. A carefully considered anger is the motivating force that will see the independence movement triumph.

There are going to be plenty more provocations in the weeks and months ahead. They are intentional. The Tories want us to lose control, to explode in an impotent and useless fury that will only damage our own cause. They want us to lose our own battle, because then they won’t have to campaign to protect their privilege. We must remain resolute in refusing to accept that Westminster has a right to veto Scotland’s inalienable right to self-determination, and we must direct our righteous anger at their proddings and provocations into campaigning, canvassing, protesting, marching.

However campaigning all the harder in the face of a repeated no is not going to be enough. Eventually there will come a time when ultimatums must be made, challenges put, and Westminster’s dictats must be faced down. If Boris Johnson refuses to concede that Scotland has provided the SNP with a clear and unequivocal mandate for another independence referendum, there must be immediate steps to a legal challenge to establish the lawfulness of a referendum without a Section 30 order. The leadership of the SNP must demonstrate that they’re not going to accept that denial of Scotland’s inalienable right by simply accepting that they must campaign harder and win yet more mandates that can be ignored.

Secondly, the SNP leadership must be resolute in calling out anti-independence parties and a media which routinely refer to such a referendum as illegal or wildcat when the only legal fact right now is that no one knows what the legal status of such a referendum would be. It needs to be tested in the courts first. The Scottish Government must ensure that the British Government understands that its permission is not required, but rather that agreeing to a Section 30 order is the only hope in hell that so-called Unionists have of proving that Scotland is indeed a partner in a union. Do not confuse our politeness with weakness.

Finally the wider movement must start to build toward using the 2021 Holyrood election not as a means to provide yet another mandate for a referendum to put on the mantlepiece along with all the other mandates for a referendum that the SNP already possesses. We must start to operate on the assumption that in 2021 we will be fighting an election based upon securing a mandate for independence itself. Because Westminster and the international community cannot ignore that election, the anti-independence parties can’t boycott it, local authorities controlled by the Tories or Labour can’t refuse to facilitate it. This is not Spain. We will fight that election campaign against British nationalist opponents who will have proven that Scotland is in their eyes not a partner in a union, but a possession that can be dictated to. We will fight that election campaign against opponents who have already lost the moral and democratic argument.

Above all, what we must do is to respond to Boris Johnson’s refusals with a determination that displays the unshakeable conviction that whether Scotland has its say on its own future is not for Boris Johnson to decide. The future of our country is not his gift to give. It is for us to take. It’s not so much a question of how cautious or bold the SNP leadership is, but how bold we are. Our determined anger is what will see us through. Boris Johnson should beware our fury, because it will be calculated, cold, and tightly focussed. Beware the fury of a patient nation.


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 magic money tree

A guest post by Mark Russell

(You may have heard people mention “Modern Monetary Theory”, but like me you may not have known what it is. So I asked someone who does know what it is to write a piece explaining it. Hope you find this article as informative as I did! WGD)

A few miles north of Bridge of Orchy, as the A82 skirts Loch Tulla and climbs steadily over the Blackmount towards Rannoch Moor and Glencoe, a lone rowan tree grows atop an enormous boulder, just a few yards from the road. It’s an improbable place for a tree; its roots taking support and nourishment from the shallowest crack in a rock in the most inhospitable environment.

Yet every September it produces an impressive harvest of berries and does so year after year, despite its exposure on a seemingly barren piece of rhyolite. In 1970, it was almost six feet high – as tall as my Dad – who climbed up the rock one day to cut a small branch to bring home to Lochgelly for our garden. Within a few years, it too was heavy with berries at the end of each summer.

Throughout my childhood, the rowan would invariably be cited in parental lessons about money. Unlike berries, money didn’t grow on trees – it had to be earned and saved before it could be spent – a mantra reinforced repeatedly over the years by my elders and politicians like Theresa May, who claimed ad nauseum, that government had no Magic Money Tree – particularly when defending her policies of austerity.

It isn’t true.

On 8th October 2008, the then PM, Gordon Brown, announced his package to rescue the British banking system and immediately made available £400 billion to eight banks and building societies. Few asked, “where’s the money coming from” or “how are we going to pay for it” – but the bankers and politicians knew the source and understood precisely how the government was going to ‘pay’ for it.

The government (or currency issuer) was the source – and it was ‘paid’ by imputing numbers into a bank account. The money wasn’t transferred from government deposits or by raising funds through bonds, gilts or taxes; it was created out of thin air by pressing a few keys on a computer. It’s that simple.

De La Rue’s printers didn’t go into overdrive – nor was there hyperinflation – and the bankers were naturally delighted that the consequences of their greed and dishonesty were ameliorated by the UK government’s very own Magic Money Tree. One day they were skint and facing penury; next morning they were celebrating with champagne, pay-rises and bonuses. Quelle surprise!

‘Quantitative Easing’ was just the Bank of England buying bonds, shares and other assets in exchange for deposits made by the central bank in the commercial banking sector, by crediting their reserve accounts through a digital transaction. The purpose was to create excess reserves that could be loaned to chase a positive rate of return, which in turn would provide greater liquidity and stability. All well and good, but the ‘money’ was no more than an accounting adjustment in the respective accounts to reflect the asset exchange.

The secrecy of the global banking system and lack of transparency in government fiscal reporting obscure, deliberately, the true nature of these financial exchanges and capital creation. However, thanks to a small group of economists and academics, a new economic paradigm has evolved that provides a greater understanding about these financial mechanisms and how they may be harnessed by governments to fund their operations and policy objectives.

Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) outlines the principles for a progressive, sustainable society, which has no funding constraints. It is, in effect, the Magic Money Tree – and if used responsibly, could transform society across the planet.

At this point in history, our civilisation faces enormous challenges. Pollution of our atmosphere and oceans threaten our very existence, primarily as a result of uncontrolled population growth and all the attendant waste that humanity produces. The impact of pollutants on the climate and weather systems is well recognised, but the deterioration in air quality in particular, poses a far more immediate and deadly threat than extreme weather and rising sea levels.

We all have to change the way we live if humanity is to survive – and that level of readjustment, together with all the environmental restoration that’s urgently required, cannot be funded sustainably (or desirably) by borrowing from the banks or markets. But for currency issuing countries like the UK – that isn’t a problem.

MMT is best explained as a macroeconomic framework that says monetarily sovereign countries like the U.S., U.K., Japan, Russia and Canada are not operationally constrained by revenues when it comes to government spending. In other words, such governments do not need taxes or borrowing for spending since they can print as much as they need and are the monopoly issuers of the currency.

“The United States can pay any debt it has because we can always print money to do that. So there is zero probability of default”
Alan Greenspan. 2011

MMT challenges conventional beliefs about the way the government interacts with the economy, the nature of money, the use of taxes and the importance of budget deficits. These beliefs, in part reinforced by our well-intentioned parents and grandparents, are really no longer accurate, useful or necessary.

You may ask if that is the case, why do we have such horrific levels of poverty and homelessness in the UK? Why the cuts to public services and infrastructure if government spending isn’t constrained by revenues? Why do we have universal credit instead of a universal income? Why is Holyrood’s budget restricted? How could Gordon Brown magic-up £400,000,000,000 from thin air and gift it to the wealthiest in society whilst child poverty reminiscent of Victorian times rose during his tenure in No10?

Why – if not to preserve the status quo? I guess those responsible for these policy decisions have their reasons, but at least they can count on being suitably rewarded for their loyalty once their time in office comes to an end. But at what cost to the rest of us?

Scotland, therefore, can do something quite remarkable should it choose independence. It still retains the rights to issue the Scottish pound and can legally establish its own currency issuer or central bank, through which its government can credit the commercial banks’ reserves to provide sufficient money for the economy and all its policy objectives. Without reliance on raising taxes, issuing bonds or borrowing from the private sector and markets.

“Too wee, too poor and too stupid”, really isn’t applicable anymore. Everything Scotland needs to be an economically sustainable, progressive sovereign country is within its grasp – providing it adopts and exploits the MMT paradigm to create its currency reserves then applies transparency and good housekeeping principles to all transactions.

Is there a risk? The reality is that governments across the world have been using their own Magic Money Tree to create any amounts of cash for many years. The USA printed billions of dollars and shipped them out in crates to Iraq and Afghanistan to fund day-to-day military and security operations during the ‘war on terror”. The money wasn’t taken from the American people through taxation; if recorded anywhere; it is merely as an accounting entry on a Federal Reserve ledger.

Japan embarked on a course of fiscal stimulus, money creation and increased government spending following the asset collapse and economic crash in 1992. It runs a substantial deficit and will continue to do so – but that does not constrain or limit its spending in any way whatsoever. Its economy is stable and its citizens enjoy a high standard of living, despite the enormous impact of the tsunami and the ongoing operation to recover and isolate the nuclear corium from the Fukushima power plant.

And the UK – which eventually gifted some £535,000,000,000 to the commercial banks since 2008. Where did it all go? Can it all be accounted for? How much ended up off-shore in our own secretive banking network? I wouldn’t like to guess, but it also raises the question that if the UK government utilised these arrangements to create over half a trillion pounds for the banks, has it done so to fund other commitments and expenditure – and what might that be for?

One of the founding proponents of MMT, Professor Bill Mitchell, gave a lecture at the Labour Party Conference on the 23 September this year, where he outlined the potential for sovereign nations to adequately fund the Green New Deal. I’m certain a Scottish audience would be extremely receptive to his suggestions.

Scotland’s reputation for building a progressive and inclusive society was gained in no small part through the wisdom of its famous sons and daughters during the Enlightenment. In ‘The Wealth of Nations’, Adam Smith observed:

“What improves the circumstances of the greater part can never be regarded as an inconvenience to the whole. No society can surely be flourishing and happy [when] the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.”

Smith could never imagine a Magic Money Tree when he wrote his book in Kirkcaldy during 1775 – and would likely be incredulous at the suggestion. Yet today, a few miles along the coast in North Queensferry, sits a Fifer of lesser repute who certainly knows otherwise.

Scotland has an incredible opportunity to take a completely different direction with the ability to fund it fully without impoverishing its citizens – indeed, quite the opposite. Its Magic Money Tree is in Holyrood, not atop a boulder on the Blackmount, but its harvest could be just as productive and beautiful as the rowan.

Use it responsibly. Use it now. Before it’s too late.