Inciting British nationalists to stupidity

It was just a few short days ago that I blogged about British nationalists’ unending search for victimhood status. It was only on the 17th of this month that I wrote about how apologists for the UK in Scotland, and particularly those who support the Conservatives – a party which demonises the poor and the marginalised as a matter of policy – are themselves convinced that they are the most oppressed and victimised group in the entire history of the multiverse. It hasn’t taken long at all for them to prove my point. And this time the vile creature who is victimising them is me.

Today I’ve been accused of incitment and of threatening Conservative voters. Threatening them with what exactly I’m none too sure. It’s probably not fabulousness. One charming individual posted my photo with the caption “this is the degenerate loser who’s threatening Conservatives”. I’m sure there was far worse, but I’ve long since blocked the most egregious frothers in the yoonstream so it doesn’t appear in my timeline.

Well, there’s a result. If I’ve managed to send British nationalists in Scotland off into a paroxysm of spluttering spittle flecked ire, that’s got to be a job well done. Although it would be a job even better done if they were angry about something that I’d actually said, instead of something that they only imagined I’d said, or a sentence that they’ve taken out of context in order to feed their sense of self righteous victimhood.

To be clear, it’s not that I have any problem with pissing off British nationalists. Indeed pissing off British nationalists is pretty much the entire point of this blog and much of what I write.  Any sensible person rejoices when learning that they’ve pissed off moronic frothers on social media who spend their days seeking something to feel offended by. When I hear that something on this blog has pissed off a British nationalist my immediate reaction is to laugh, and then to run with it and wear it as a badge of pride. A bit like the badge that Matt Hancock is offering to care workers, only without having to pay for it. So for example when Scotland in Union’s resident frother Tom Gallagher accused me of Gaelic imperialism after he discovered I’d drawn a Gaelic map of Glasgow, I simply resolved to use “Gaelic Imperialist” as the title of my autobiography if it ever gets written.

It’s just that when pissing off British nationalists does happen it is far more satisfying if it has happened deliberately, and not because they’re unable to comprehend basic English or because they’re reacting to a sentence taken out of context. I’d prefer it happened because of my actual words and opinions, and not because of what they think I’d said. I am quite happy to piss off the British nationalist morons of social media deliberately, but then I remember that when you’re trying to piss off a moron you shouldn’t really complain that the moron fails to grasp the point. So instead I’ll just file this latest outbreak of Scottish Tory harrumphage under “unexpected windfall”.

Today The National has published my regular weekly column. This week the article is about how no amount of SNP baddery will save the Scottish Conservatives at the next Holyrood elections. This is because Boris Johnson bears considerable personal responsibility for the mishandling of the current crisis by the British government. Towards the end of the piece there’s a comment on those Scottish Conservative politicians who mounted the ill-fated Operation Arse in 2016 in an attempt to prevent Boris Johnson winning the leadership of their party and becoming the Prime Minister. It’s this reference which has caused such a disturbance in the yoonstream.  It has generated some pretty foul personal abuse, quite a bit of being called a c*nt, and remarks about my personal appearance, none of which is leavened with any wit, or indeed intelligent thought.

Towards the end of the piece, there’s this paragraph, which I will quote in full because The National article is behind a paywall. The link to the entire piece is here : https://www.thenational.scot/news/18392734.no-amount-snpbaddery-will-save-scots-tories-next-time/

“Boris Johnson sought the position of Prime Minister through lies, deception, and mendacity. It should come as no great surprise, least of all to those Scottish Conservatives who mounted the ill-fated Operation Arse back in 2016 to keep him away from the leadership of their party, that having won the role through deceit and lies he lies and is deceitful in his performance of it. Those Scottish Conservatives are now very quiet, in their silence they prove themselves to be as deceitful and mendacious as Boris Johnson himself. Now the only goal of the Scottish Conservatives is Operation Arse-Covering. Scotland is a small country, we all know who you are, and we will remember your craven silence at the next Scottish elections. No amount of SNPBaddery is going to save you from yourselves.”

The reference here is clear. I’m talking about how we all know who it was within the Scottish Conservatives who organised and supported Operation Arse in 2016, and how those individuals are now very quiet and are rallying behind Boris Johnson. The electorate of Scotland is not going to forget that. However because The National, when they tweeted a push quote to promote the piece on social media, didn’t quote the entire paragraph, all the British nationalist frothers on Twitter immediately decided that they were being personally threatened with violence, intimidation, or worse. Nicola Sturgeon has already been called upon to condemn.  Some roaster has even tweeted at Police Scotland.

If there’s any incitement here it’s an incitement to get out and vote. It’s an incitement to remember what the Conservatives have done. It’s an incitement not to forget their hypocrisy and their lies.  If there’s a threat it’s the threat that they’ll lose votes at the next election. It’s the threat that their own actions only destroy their own credibility. However in the fevered imaginations of British nationalists on social media, this is tantamount to threatening all opponents of independence with violence. If it makes them feel better I’ll plead guilty to threatening them with sarcasm and a withering look.

This entire episode is a perfect illustration of the determination of British nationalists in Scotland to paint themselves as victims and only reinforces the point made on this very blog just a few short days ago. No matter how ridiculous it makes them seem, British nationalists will take any statement, any premise, any argument, and twist it so that they can act like a poor wounded puppy. That’s because they have no substantive arguments of their own to make, and the only hope in hell that they’ve got of attracting support is to play the pity card and hope that they can make people feel sorry for them. If that’s all they’ve got, they’ve already lost.

And finally, because we could all do with some cheering up during these difficult times…


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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 five stages

5stages
They’re at it again. We were assured by the unwavering flyers of the red white and blue that the London Olympics and all its oozy woozy better togetherness was going to kill off any hope of independence. Then it was the result of the independence referendum in 2014. Then it was the oil price crash that was going to do the trick. Then it was Ruth Davidson’s election as leader of the Conservatives’ Scottish branch office. Then it was Brexit. Then it was the SNP’s loss of seats in the 2017 Westminster General Election. And now it’s the coronavirus epidemic that’s going to provide the coup de grace on Scotland’s hopes for independence.

In the fond hopes of British nationalists in Scotland, there’s always going to be some external event that will come along and destroy the independence movement without the British state having to change anything about itself. It’s a hope that’s founded in a delusion, the delusion that the desire for independence in Scotland has nothing to drive it except some mythical hatred of all things English, or the equally mythical chip on the stereotypical Scottish shoulder, or that it is entirely a product of Thatessempee.

Yet independence does have a driver, and that driver is the way in which the British state is incapable of being simultaneously the union that it tells Scots that it is, and the unitary state which it behaves as. You cannot be two opposite and contradictory things at once, not even if you believe yourself to be the almighty and uniquely exceptional British state. It’s the tension between those two opposites, between claiming to be a union of nations yet acting as a unitary state and claiming to be one nation, which is what is really driving the desire for independence in Scotland. That is why the only possible way in which the British state will be able to destroy the drive for independence as a serious political force would be by making fundamental root and branch changes to the very structure of the British state itself. It shows not the slightest inclination to do so, and so its supporters are constantly turning to the political equivalent of winning the lottery in order to save them from themselves. They are left forever dreaming of some external event that will radically alter their fortunes for the better without them having to do any of the heavy lifting themselves.

The latest incarnations of British nationalist hopes of winning the political lottery come from Chris Deerin in the New Statesman and John Lloyd in The Times. Well I say the latest, the pair of them have been trotting out the same tired old British exceptionalism for years now. Both of them claim that the coronavirus epidemic has destroyed the previous arguments for independence. Chris wants us to know that it has made the Great British Family of Nations come together as one in joyful harmony all singing Kumbaya and so Thatessempee will have to come up with an entirely new set of arguments for “separatism”.

So for example we’re being told that the government bailouts which this crisis demands “prove” that we need the British government. But the British government is not giving us anything. It’s using the central bank to create money out of nothing, and its borrowing on the international markets. These are both things that an independent Scotland would be able to do. The British state is borrowing money which it’s going to spend in ways which are not necessarily the best for Scotland, then it’s going to lumber us with increased debt repayments and tell us that we’ve got too big a decifit to become independent. We’ve seen this trick before.

However the real problem with the happy family analysis is that it assumes that the British government is going to come out of the other side of this crisis as the beneficiary of public gratefulness for saving us from the virus. That’s an unwarranted assumption since it sadly looks as though the UK is on track to become one of the worst affected states in Europe, with a higher death toll than neighbouring countries despite the UK having a head start in making preparations for the coming catastrophe. A head start which the British government squandered. After we get through the current crisis, there will be a demand for explanations. The British government is not going to come out of that process well.

The way in which this British government has handled this crisis has gone through five approximate stages. Stage 1. Boris Johnson decided that his real priority was to spend time sorting out his complex personal life. We got “Crisis? What crisis?” Even as scientists and doctors warned that an epidemic was on the horizon. Stage 2. We got taking it on the chin and the British state would uniquely stand tall as the only place in Europe that would remain open for business during the crisis. So we got herd immunity and Boris Johnson making speeches comparing the UK to Superman. Stage 3. There was an “oh shit” moment as the government realised that its strategy meant that there could be as many as 250,000 deaths and that it was woefully unprepared. Then we had stage 4, when the British government desperately tried to play catch up. Nothing to see here. We’re following scientific advice and everything is in hand. Vera Lynn. Dunkirk spirit. And now we’re in stage 5. The latest phase of the British Government’s mishandling entails finding someone, anyone, else to blame for the fact that the UK is one of the worst affected places in Europe and where the NHS is struggling. It’s all the fault of the scientists. It’s WHO’s fault. It’s the fault of NHS management. Mostly it will be the fault of some working class people, and not government ministers. Never government ministers. This is not a recipe for a grateful Scottish nation deciding that it’s better off with Westminster.

For Scotland, being subordinate to Westminster has meant that we were forced to remain tightly aligned to the British government’s handling of this crisis. The result has been that Scotland has already suffered a higher death rate than other northern European nations of a comparable size. The price of union has been paid in human lives. Scotland did attempt to deal differently with the crisis within the constraints of the devolution settlement, yet even those limited and partial attempts to do things differently were subjected to a torrent of criticism and threats from the British government and its cheerleaders in the British media.

None of this is a convincing argument for the so-called union. Indeed, it’s a powerful and compelling argument for independence. If we had been able to deal with this crisis without having to contend with British exceptionalism or the UK government’s disastrous herd immunity policy and its failure to test and trace, and even now its failure to test travellers arriving from abroad, we could have done a whole lot better. And that means that some of those people who have so tragically passed away might still be alive today.

Right now there is a willingness on the part of the independence movement to put campaigning to one side to focus on the issue at hand. British nationalists confuse that with capitulation at their peril.

And finally, because we could all do with some cheering up during these difficult times…


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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 Empire Strikes Back

afterConservative apologists are out in force today. The government has published a five point rebuttal of the Sunday Times article. It was produced and published with a remarkable aclarity. We can only wish that the British government had responded to the looming epidemic in the same way.

The British government is incompetent, slow to respond, and lacking in energy and enthusiasm. Or at least it is when it comes to public protection, when it comes to the protection of their arses and their own careers, there is nothing to beat the British government in its speed, energy, and enthusiasm. Ever since the Sunday Times published its damning report into the many and manifest failures of the British government’s handing of the coronavirus crisis we’ve been subjected to a veritable torrent of UK government ministers robustly defending themselves. It’s just a shame that they don’t show one tenth of the energy defending the public good. What was that about taking it on the chin? It doesn’t seem to apply to criticisms of this government.

The rebuttal itself read like the product of a university debating club. Never mind how repugnant the argument, it’s how you defend it that counts. It’s an exercise in style not substace and has Michael Gove’s slime all over it. Michael Gove has built an entire career on insulting people’s intelligence.

The rebuttal is full of specious arguments, straw men, and deflections. We’re told that it’s outrageous to suggest that the virus only arrived on our shores simply because the Prime Minister didn’t attend some Cobra meetings and let Matt Hancock chair them instead. And that indeed would be an outrageous thing to claim if anyone had claimed it. It fails to address the real point – that everyone knew that the virus was going to result in a global crisis, the worst since WW2, and if that doesn’t count as a national emergency then what the hell does. If the Prime Minister couldn’t be arsed to attend Cobra meetings about it, it shows that the British government was not taking the threat seriously. That lack of understanding of the serious nature of the threat was confirmed by the public speeches that Boris Johnson was making at the same time.

Yesterday we had Michael Gove sliming all over the accusations, and Iain Duncan Smith angrily shouting over a reporter who dared to point out that Iain was – yet again – talking what could only politely be described as a considerable quantity of urine. Today we got Liam Fox demanding higher standards in public debate. Or to give him his full title, Disgraced Former Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox. Liam demanding higher standards and more truth in public life is like Harold Shipman demanding better standards of protection for elderly patients. We can only assume that he ought to know.

You know, I can cope with lockdown. I have come to terms with the worry of losing loved ones. I can deal with the loss of income. But what really sticks in the throat is the likes of Liam Fox or Michael Gove or Iain Duncan Smith pontificating on our TV screens as though they represented some sort of moral authority. They’re a greater infection in our public life than any virus.

Labour MP Rosena Allin-Khan, who like Liam is a qualified doctor, responded to the coronavirus crisis by going back to work at her local hospital. Liam’s contribution is to take to the airwaves to blame NHS staff for the failures of the government that he’s a part of. Liam is a man who has zero credibility. After a career littered with lies, dubious claims and a resignation under a cloud of disgrace, he’s still popping up as a voice of authority on our TV screens as though he had an ounce of credibility. If we lived in a society where there were those higher standards that Liam is demanding, Liam would have been removed from office a long time ago and we’d never have to listen to his specious self-serving finger pointing ever again.

Liam decided that this is the ideal time to tell us that after this crisis is over the management of the NHS is going to have a lot of questions to answer. Because everything’s just peachy with how the British government has been operating. Austerity didn’t happen. Underfunding didn’t happen. There was no ideologically driven running down of public services. There was no abandoning of the UK’s pandemic response plans. Boris Johnson hasn’t been missing in action. The Prime Minister didn’t give that speech at the start of February when he likened the UK to a superhero that would stand alone as a beacon of free trade holding out against lockdowns. The only problems with PPE are due to the NHS management. There’s unicorns, rainbows, and magic lanterns with genies in them for everyone. The fault is everyone else, not the Conservatives, never the Conservatives.

We have seen all this before. After Orgreave, they blamed the miners. After Hillsborough, they blamed the fans. After Grenfell, they blamed the fire brigade. After coronavirus, well you can see where this is going. According to the British government, “We have taken the right steps at the right time to combat it, guided at all times by the best scientific advice.” So there’s not one error, not one misstep or mistake, not a single failure, despite the death rate in the UK being so much higher than in other European countries even though Britain had a headstart, there are no issues with PPE or ventilators, there’s no problem with supplies to care homes. There are no issues around testing. Move along now, nothing to see here. So when the organisations representing hospital trusts in England directly attacked the government yesterday over failures in deliveries of promised PPE and spoke of their intense frustration and exasperation, according to the Tories they’re making it all up.  See : https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/apr/19/hospital-leaders-hit-out-government-ppe-shortage-row-escalates-nhs

The questions remain. Why does the UK have such a high death rate? Why was the pandemic response run down after 2010? Why was the UK so lamentably unprepared? Who stripped public services of funding? Why has testing been so slow? Why are there no health checks or mandatory quarantine for travellers arriving in the UK from abroad? We’re not interested in the Tory attempts to take the high ground. Do your job with a fraction of the energy that you put into saving your own sorry skins and we might, just might, listen to what you’ve got to say. But we’re still going to hold you to account.

And finally, because we could all do with some cheering up during these difficult times…


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


Johnson’s negligence is costing lives

locust
When the history of this epidemic is written, one of the villains of the story will be Boris Johnson. At a time of global emergency, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson lived down to the very worst expectations of his critics, and was absent from duty. This morning in Boris Johnson’s household Carrie Symonds is asking him if he’s left the kettle boiling – only to be told that it’s the sound of notifications on his phone as social media erupts in outrage as the true extent of him and his party’s dereliction of duty and abnegation of responsibility comes to light.

In one of the most damning articles ever published in the British press – and moreover in a traditionally Conservative newspaper – the Sunday Times today lays out the evidence for Boris Johnson’s shocking lack of diligence and interest in performing the task which he so eagerly sought. The position of Prime Minister is one which he has lied in order to get, which he has cheated for, deceived for, and which he has led the UK to ruin for. It should come as no surprise that he is not performing honestly and with honour in a position which he acted so dishonestly and dishonourably to win. Even so, it’s still shocking to see the extent of it laid bare.

The article itself hides behind Rupert Murdoch’s paywall, but some kind soul has published an archive version which is free for all to read. If you haven’t already done so, you should read it now. And you should also make sure that everyone you know reads it too, especially those who still have some lingering trust in the good faith of this British government to look after our interests. The link to the full article is HERE.

It has been known for some time that a pandemic was one of the most serious threats that the world faced. Like an earthquake in California, no scientist could say when the big one would strike, they could only warn that it was inevitable that at some point it would. It would be bad enough that if the British government was warned that a serious crisis was in the offing, it was to do nothing. It’s worse than that. Between 2001 and 2010 the UK was a world leader in terms of its preparations and planning for a pandemic. However when the Conservatives took office the British government ran down its preparations, defunded them, and deliberately neglected them in order to focus on Brexit and austerity. They knew the earthquake was coming, and they deliberately undermined the foundations of the house in order to give tax breaks to the wealthy. Calls to order PPE fell on deaf ears. Scientific warnings went unheeded. And the Prime Minister took time off to play happy families with his girlfriend.

At the start of February, when it ought to have been clear that a major catastrophe was about to befall us unless immediate action was taken, Boris Johnson gave a speech in London in which he likened the UK to a superhero defying the virus to keep free trade going. It was the crassest example imaginable of delusional British exceptionalism. Boris Johnson was determined to keep the economy running, while other nations went into lockdown – because they were lesser breeds. The cost in human lives never entered his head. He only thought about the cost to his pocket and the bank balances of the rich.

In the words of a senior Downing Street advisor quoted by the Sunday Times, “We were the envy of the world but pandemic planning became a casualty of the austerity years when there were more pressing needs.” Those more pressing needs were the political need to blame the poor for the fecklessness of the financial sector, to run down public services, and to pursue a no-deal Brexit. People are dying because the British state, the Conservative party, prioritised private greed over the public good.

We have learned that even as the true dangers of this pandemic were coming to light, Boris Johnson couldn’t be bothered to attend the first five Cobra meetings, being too preoccupied with his personal life. He wasn’t interested in chairing meetings. Colleagues were told to keep briefing papers short, because the Prime Minister couldn’t be arsed to read anything longer than a page. And instead of attending and chairing vital meetings to plan the UK’s response to the looming threat of Covid-19, Boris Johnson preferred to spend time relaxing with his girlfriend, and trying to repair the rift his new relationship had created between himself and his children that he actually acknowledges.

Now the UK is on course to be the European state with the highest death toll from this virus, both in absolute terms and per head of population. It’s for good reason that the Conservative government only publishes the statistics for deaths in hospitals, because there are reports that there could already be as many as 7500 additional death in care homes on top of the 15,464 that the UK government’s figures admit to. This is the estimate made by the care home organisation Care England, and it’s several times higher than the estimate of 1500 made by the British government.

If this estimate is accurate this would take the true number of deaths from the virus in the UK to around 23000, a death toll which is the same of that of Italy and greater than Spain’s. And we’ve not seen the last yet. The blame for this lies squarely with Boris Johnson and the British government which he leads. Still want to clap for Boris? There are 15,464 people plus God knows how many more who won’t be clapping for anything ever again. The likes of Tory apologist Toby Young think that Boris Johnson was sent by God. It can only be because God has run out of locusts.

The catalogue of errors and missteps is legion. Far from ensuring that the UK possessed sufficient stockpiles of PPE to see the NHS through a pandemic, in January this year this British government exported hundreds of thousands of items from its stockpile to China.

The government initially believed that this epidemic was going to act like the regular outbreaks of flu, and so pursued its disastrous herd immunity strategy. It was only after the realisation dawned that Covid-19 is not like the flu, that as many as 250,000 would have to die before sufficient natural immunity built up within the population was the policy abandoned. Or at least we were told it was abandoned. We are still nowhere near the level of testing required in order to achieve the kind of test, trace, isolate policy which has allowed countries like South Korea or Singapore to contain the epidemic successfully. The Sunday Times tells us, in the final indignity, that the British model of epidemic preparedness was adopted by Singapore, the difference is that Singapore implemented it whereas the UK abandoned it to pursue Brexit and austerity.

We see the UK’s lack of planning and preparedness in the fact that it’s one of the few places in Europe where travellers can fly in without having to go into quarantine. As a consequence the UK is now a magnet for the super rich who are using their private jets to come to the UK to escape more severe restrictions elsewhere.

We’re living in a state where a 99 year old man does more to assist the NHS than the British government. Tom Moore is rightly hailed for his magnificent efforts, but a society only needs to rely on charity when government has failed. It is a scandal that public services have to be funded by the efforts of an elderly man doing a marathon around his garden on a zimmer frame.

Boris Johnson has given abundance evidence to those who said that Boris Johnson merely wanted to win the job of Prime Minister, he didn’t actually want to do it. It was always, and is now, an exercise in entitlement and egoism from a supremely privileged charlatan. As a result of the negligence, lack of preparedness, complacency, and sheer outright British exceptionalist arrogance of the Westminster government which he leads, thousands of British citizens may have died needlessly. We are paying for his entitlement with our lives.

In any other profession, Boris Johnson would be facing charges of criminal negligence. As it is, he will try to ride out this storm, and then deflect criticisms by promising a public enquiry after the crisis is over. This will be a public enquiry in the long tradition of British public enquiries, full of activity, witnesses, and earnest promises which will conclude by telling us that a couple of minor civil servants may have been less than diligent in performing their duties while letting the likes of Boris Johnson off free.

What ought to be written on the political tombstone of this Conservative government are the words of a senior advisor within the Department of Health who told the Sunday Times, “We could have been Germany but instead we were doomed by our incompetence, our hubris and our austerity.”

40 new hospitals was a lie. We are better prepared for a pandemic than anywhere else was a lie. £350M for the NHS when we leave the EU was a lie. 50,000 extra nurses was a lie.  There’s plenty of PPE to go round was a lie.  There’s plenty of opportunities awaiting the UK once we leave the EU was a lie.  Scotland you’re an equal and much loved partner in a family of nations was a lie.  Lying on this scale isn’t a bug, it’s a feature.

Anywhere where there’s a properly functioning democracy, a government would not survive a scandal of this magnitude.  Where incompetence and deceit on such an epic scale has been revealed, leading to the unnecessary deaths of tens of thousands, the Prime Minister should resign and the government should fall. But this is the UK, not a properly functioning democracy. This is a government which cannot be held to account. Scotland can only seek to escape from it.

And finally, because we could all do with some cheering up during these difficult times…


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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 Governor General of the North British Colony addresses the natives

alisterjackhypocrisy
In an interview for Borders Television, in special episode of See It’s Me Street brought to you by the letters F and U, the Governor General of the North British Colonies Alister Jack addressed the natives. All through this crisis we northern barbarians have been deprived of the wisdom of the Great Tousled Haired One, the White-Elephant of the nation, and have longed for instructions from his pith helmeted representative in these benighted lands. Well, we mutht thuppothe that it’th called pith. Or at least, that’s how Jackie Boy looks at it. In his fond imagination, there’s an entire country full of loyal North Britons who hang onto his every word as though we were estate workers incapable of any action without orders from our green wellied laird.

Jack used his address to his subjects to insist that the village elders of Holyrood must not get above themselves and dare think about either lifting coronavirus restrictions or keeping them in place until such time as the British government does likewise in the rest of the UK. Because it would be wrong and separatist for rebellious Caledonian tribespeople to make decisions that are in their own best interests. What’s in the best interests of the natives is what the Colonial Office tells the natives to do. Anything else is just not civilised and would be a symptom of unBritishness that will not be tolerated. It would make Michael Gove come over all slimy. Or at least slimier than usual. It would make that vein on Dominic Raab’s forehead throb more obviously than usual. It would make Priti Patel smirk, and you won’t like that at all. Oh no. Any deviation from the incompetence, malign neglect, and herd-immunity-oh-no-that’s-never-what-we-had-in-mind-at-all of the British state will not be tolerated.

The man who is supposed to be representing Scotland at the highest level of the British government has been silent so far during this crisis. And for that small mercy we should be grateful. We’ve enjoyed several weeks of not being patronised, spoken down to, and ordered about by a clueless rich idiot who only enjoys his lofty position because he allows other rich and well connected Tories to use his estates for holidays. It is a measure of his utter uselessness that even David Mundell had a higher public profile, and David Mundell’s public profile would struggle to get over a roadside kerb.

When Scotland’s care homes were being told that they were not allowed to order vital PPE from suppliers in England on the orders of Public Health England, where was Alister? When Scotland’s self-employed were worried about the catastrophic loss of their incomes, where was Alister? When Scottish workers were terrified that they might not be able to pay their rent or their mortgages, where was Alister? At no time during this crisis has Alister Jack ever spoken up to defend ordinary people in Scotland and to fight for their corner within this British state that he’s always telling us that we need. Not one single word. Not one single syllable.

The British state does what is in the best interests of the British establishment and if that means Scotland’s needs are prejudiced that’s simply for the greater good and we have to suck it up. Yet the second that he thinks that his precious so-called union might be threatened by a Scotland that does what’s best for Scotland, up he pops like a red white and blue puppet. Alister’s job is to defend the interests of the British state in Scotland, the interests of Scotland within the UK – not so much. Well, I say “not so much”. What that really means is not at all.

Just the other day Alister told Good Morning Scotland that it was important that businesses get going again soon because “what we learned from previous analysis of recession and depression is that poverty kills.” Every single day for the past decade Tory imposed austerity and the poverty it has created and magnified has killed. Yet there was not word of complaint from Alister. Yet the second that he thinks that there’s a threat to his own interests and his own wealth, there he is lecturing us on the evils of poverty. The hypocrisy is breath-taking, even by the standards of the Conservatives in Scotland.

Alister wants us to come out of lockdown as soon as possible because he’s thinking first and foremost about business interests and what’s good for the economy not the people. However a Scotland-only decision about when it’s best to come out of lockdown might suggest that we’re not all in this together after all. Alister said in his short interview with Sesame Street, sorry, Borders Television, that the virus doesn’t respect borders, and neither does the economy. Yes, he actually said that. It will be useful to remind him of it when he’s trying to tell us that Scotland shouldn’t become independent. The SNP get slaughtered in the press for saying anything remotely related to independence during this crisis, but it’s just fine for the likes of Alister.

Naturally the interviewer didn’t think to ask him any difficult questions – like asking him if he thought that the Scottish government wasn’t capable of making a decision that’s best for Scotland, or asking him why he thought that Scotland should come out of lockdown if the Scottish government and Scottish public health bodies didn’t think that was the correct decision for Scotland. It’s not just human beings who are dying during this crisis, it’s basic journalism and holding the government to account.

There’s plenty in Alister’s short statement that ought to have provoked some serious and hard hitting questions from any journalist who was interested in doing more than providing a rich and privileged idiot with a platform from which to spout his entitlement. This is a man whose ideological attachment to the British state is so great that he would rather that Scotland remains in lockstep with the rest of the UK even if the evidence shows that Scotland’s situation is different and merits a different response.

If there is evidence that the lockdown can safely be lifted in Scotland but not elsewhere in the UK, Alister would prefer that Scottish workers can’t get back to work, and the economy can’t start to return to normal, as that’s better in his eyes than people in Scotland realising that there might ever be a time when Scotland could do things differently. Alister would prefer that Scottish workers lose their jobs and their livelihoods rather than risk any threat to his precious so-called Union. That would be bad enough, but it would be even worse if there were evidence that it’s not safe for Scotland to come out of lockdown when the rest of the UK comes out of it. Alister would prefer that people in Scotland risk their lives and expose themselves to the risk of catching a potentially lethal infection just in order to prove his Better To Die Together point.

Just because he talks with a posh voice doesn’t mean we don’t hear that he’s speaking bollocks. The days when cut glass posh accents led Scottish people to their deaths are over Alister. What is really worrying Alister is that his party and his government’s appalling handling of this crisis is putting his preciousssss at risk. There’s Alister there, who has done sweet FA for Scotland during this crisis, telling us that we need to do what’s best for the Conservative party and not what’s best for Scotland. He’s not just incompetent, he’s dangerous.

And finally, because we could all do with some cheering up during these difficult times…


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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


Jackson Carlaw’s desperate bid for attention

jacksoncomplaining
Jackson Carlaw is continuing his search for relevancy. We should be kind to him. It can’t be easy being the manager of a branch office whose predecessor had no policies at all except saying no to another referendum and posing for cheeky photo opportunities with an assortment of barnyard animals.

Because he has nothing much to say except, “Boris Johnson, isn’t he maaaaarvellous”, Jackson needs something else to get his name in the papers seeing as how Boris Johnson is considerably less popular in Scotland than taking a coronavirus bath. So he’s decided upon a wizzard wheeze, something that will really make the entire nation sit up and take notice of him. And this has indeed proven a success, although sadly for Jackson what it has meant is that the entire nation has sat up and wondered if Jackson has been taking attention getting lessons from Ben Fogle. Today Jackson is claiming that BBC Scotland is biased in favour of the SNP. Yes, he really said that. Jackson Carlaw complaining about pro-SNP bias on BBC Scotland is like a professional football player who loves true crime stories and his pet cat complaining that there’s far too much murrdurr, fitba and wee cute kittens on Reporting Scotland.

It must have seemed a great idea when Jackson got up in the morning and sipped on his giant cup of I’m Fecking Fabulous and admired his paintings. This is after all an easy story for the press to find a picture for, even during a lockdown. Because if you’re looking for a stock photie of Jackson Carlaw looking like he’s sulking, you’re going to be spoiled for choice.

This is the latest iteration of the unending search of British nationalists for victimhood status. They’re the most oppressed creatures in the entire multiverse you know. None of them have ever paused to wonder how come they’re such constant victims if this British state that they keep banging on about is indeed such a powerful and wonderful institution. You’d imagine that if it was capable of doing even a tiny fraction of all the things that they claim it does for Scotland, then it would manage to protect them from being perma-victims. And yet there is no bigger victim in Scotland than a British nationalist in search of a grievance. They haven’t really though this through, have they. They are always telling us that Scotland needs the British state to protect it, and then in the same breath they tell us how they’re victims of evil Scottish people and cybernats that the British state is apparently powerless to deal with. Who knew that a pro-indy granny from Methil with a Twitter account and a nice line in put downs was a greater danger to Scotland than a Trident missile.

But back to that cesspit of pro-SNP and separatist propaganda that is the BBC. This would be the BBC Scotland which has given far more airtime to – and spent far more of its time, energy, and resources investigating – decisions made by the Scottish Football Association than it has investigating what happened to cause PPE manufacturers in England to post notices on their websites stating that they have restricted sales to England only. This is because when the late Liverpool manager and Scotland player Bill Shankly famously quipped, “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that,” BBC Scotland decided to take him literally. This explains why BBC Scotland has devoted interminable hours of broadcast time to the question of what’s going to happen to the current fitba season that’s been aborted due to the coronavirus crisis, and only a couple of minutes telling us that there’s really nothing to see here when it comes to the provision of PPE to England only.

What Jackson’s really miffed about is that BBC Scotland, or the rest of the Scottish media for that matter, doesn’t love him the way that they loved Ruth Davidson. Ruth was a creature of the media, and the media was determined to build her up as the next Saviour of the Union™. She cheerfully obliged by delivering them plenty of cheery images that they could publish on their pages, and they obliged her in turn by not drawing attention to her lack of policies or her support for obscenities like the rape clause. On the other hand, Jackson would have a hard time persuading anyone that he’s the next saviour of his local rotary club.

The real problem that he’s got here is that the SNP leadership has announced that it’s not going to pursue another independence referendum for the duration of this crisis. This leaves the Conservatives in Scotland with nothing to say no to. All he’s got left is to complain that the opposition parties and the media need to relently press the SNP. The media in Scotland have been relentlessly pressing the SNP since 2007.

It’s not the SNP that’s getting off the hook, it’s the Conservative party. There are credible reports in the British media that Number 10 is leaning on journalists and the BBC to go soft on ministers during the current crisis. The BBC broadcaster John Humphrys claimed earlier this week that BBC bosses have warned journalists not to put Conservative ministers under too much pressure. There has indeed been a marked lack of the BBC taking the British government to task over its woeful handling of the epidemic, and the growing realisation that the UK may be one of the worst affected states in Europe. Instead we get clapping for the NHS and reports about what movies Boris Johnson is watching on his iPad as he recovers from his illness. Just before the current crisis broke, the Sky presenter Adam Boulton complained that Number 10 was trying to control the media by being selective in who it would allow into press conferences. Downing Street made threats about abolishing the licence fee and turning the BBC into a form of subscription service like Netflix.

Control of the BBC, as we all know in Scotland, is reserved to Westminster. At no point has the BBC in Scotland ever gone soft on the SNP. Indeed the most frequent complaint about the corporation is that it acts as the propaganda arm of the British state, complaints which were well founded given the BBC’s behaviour during the referendum campaign of 2014. What Jackson Carlaw is trying to do here is to get some publicity for himself and his party at a time when saying no to another referendum has no traction because there’s no referendum to say no to, and more importantly to deflect attention from the efforts of his colleagues in Westminster to pressurise the BBC not to investigate the policies of Conservative ministers which have led to the mishandling of this crisis.

There is a threat to the freedom of the press in Scotland, and it’s not the SNP. It’s the Tories. They yearn for the days when British nationalism had total control of Scotland’s media, and can’t cope with even the tiny foothold that support for independence has gained.

And finally, because we could all do with some cheering up during these difficult times…


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


What is really demeaning …

britishnationalismdemeaning

The British state and the British nationalism which drives it pride themselves on their exceptionalism, and indeed they are exceptional in a number of significant ways. As has been frequently pointed out by those of us of a pro-independence persuasion, British nationalism is exceptional in its insistence that it’s better than other forms of nationalism by virtue of not being nationalist at all. However British nationalists are also exceptional in their single minded pursuit of victimhood status.

We saw this most recently when it came to light that companies based in England which manufacture vital personal protection equipment were carrying notices on their online store checkouts informing buyers that PPE was only available for care homes in England. When this was pointed out, the fingers of accusation were immediately pointed at vile Scottish nationalists for making this a Scotland vs England thing. It’s demeaning, we were harrumphed at by British nationalists for whom self-righteousness is the air that they breathe, for “nationalists” to make this about England. Clearly they hadn’t noticed, or more correctly preferred not to notice, that what was making this about England were all those notices on the websites of companies selling life saving equipment that their goods could only be sold to England.

According to British nationalists the real issue here is not that companies in England were refusing to sell vital life saving equipment to care homes in Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland. No. The real issue here is that supporters of independence were pointing it out and daring to make a fuss about it. That’s the real crime. That’s what was, to use the words of a certain British nationalist columnist who never misses the opportunity to spin any situation into a blow for the SNP, demeaning.

It wasn’t demeaning that this situation had arisen in the first place. It wasn’t demeaning that care workers outwith England were in real fear that they were not going to be able to source the equipment that might save their lives. It wasn’t demeaning that we’re constantly told that we’re all in this together but it’s blatantly obvious that some of us are in it far worse than others. It wasn’t demeaning that the UK claims that it’s a family of nations but some of those nations were being put to the end of the queue. What was demeaning was that people in Scotland had the sheer uppity audacity to get angry about it. How dare you, you jockanese nationalists. You’re anti-English bigots for demanding equality within the UK.

At the same time, we have been gaslighted by a succession of British nationalist politicians and their apologists who insisted – and are still insisting – that no such thing was happening at all, despite the fact that the manufacturers of PPE were very clearly stating that they would not sell their wares to Scotland or Wales because of instructions that they had received from Public Health England. Indeed, the first question that some British journalists sought to ask in response to this revelation was whether there were Scottish PPE companies who were refusing to sell to England.

Despite clear evidence in the form of company web pages which plainly stated in simple English that the equipment for sale would not be sold to Scotland or Wales, British nationalists continued, and still continue, to insist that it was all a product of a febrile conspiracy theorist imagination on the part of vile cybernats. Because those signs that say that sales are only for England didn’t really mean that sales were only for England. Oh dear, we’re so terribly sorry for not possessing the ability to understand that the real meaning of a sentence is the exact opposite of what it actually says. Obviously that’s a skill that you only acquire when you have a Better Together avatar on your social media account.

And British nationalists continue to insist that the real villains here are those of us who demanded that this situation be dealt with and resolved. Because it’s perfectly OK for a company in England to state that following instructions from Public Health England it’s not allowed to sell its equipment to Scotland or Wales, the real sin here is when Celtic types make a fuss about it by pointing out that in this so-called union some parts are far more powerful and influential than others.

No one who is taken seriously really believes that this situation arose from a deliberate attempt by the Conservatives to punish Scotland or Wales, or to deprive Scottish and Welsh care workers of urgently needed equipment. There was obviously a major failure in communication and co-ordination, because someone at Public Health England told those different companies that they needed to restrict their sales of PPE to England only. It’s not the fault of the companies. It is implausible that four separate companies would make the same mistake independently of one another. If it had been just one company which made the announcement on their website, then we could assume that that company had misunderstood instructions. But the notice appeared on the websites of at least four companies, which can only point to incorrect or misleading information being given to those companies from a UK government agency. And what that means is that AT BEST what happened was that a British government agency, during a time of extreme crisis, failed to take into account the requirements of services and service users outside of England. It speaks of an ingrained Anglo-centric attitude at the very heart of the British state.

It is frankly insulting for those of us who got angry about this situation, and who ensured that it received maximum publicity in order that it was resolved quickly to be lectured at by those who would far rather keep schtum instead of risking doing anything that might let the public know that the British state wasn’t necessarily operating in the best interests of Scotland.

What’s most demeaning of all is to be lectured at by self-righteous British nationalists who refuse for selfish ideological reasons to accept that their precious so-called union can ever not operate to Scotland’s advantage. They’d be far happier if no one had ever clamoured for attention about the situation regarding the apparent prohibition of sales of PPE to care homes in Scotland and Wales, because then they could continue to believe that their preciousssssss was perfect. And if that meant that care workers continued to be at risk because it took longer for the situation to be resolved, so be it.

Those self same British nationalists propose to do the square root of feck all about anything that illustrates how the UK does not operate to Scotland’s advantage, because what’s far, far, more important to them is that absolutely nothing can be said or done that might show their beloved UK in a bad light and cause some people in Scotland to support independence. It’s union at all costs, even if that puts lives at risk. That’s what’s really demeaning here. British nationalists demean themselves, and threaten the rest of us with their supine and submissive inferiority complex.

And finally, because we could all do with some cheering up during these difficult times…


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


When is a union not a union: when it’s the UK.

fruitsalad
One of the constant themes from British nationalists is the assertion that the UK is the most successful and/or the strongest union in history. Yet they never quantify what they mean by success or strength, they give us no guidelines as to how success or strength are being measured.

There are however any number of possible quantifiers which could be used. Are we measuring by the highest number of foodbanks which are guarded by nuclear missiles? Is it perhaps by the largest number of billionaires who don’t pay their fair share of tax but expect bailouts from the government? If it’s counted by the number of Scottish Conservative politicians who make sectarian dog whistles about fitba teams on social media, the UK is surely a world beater. Or maybe it’s measured by the number of citizens in a developed state who die before their time due to government neglect, carelessness, or its malign intent in slashing social security. Or perhaps it’s measured by the number of shiny badges given to care workers instead of personal protection equipment. It may be enumerated by the notices in the online stores of companies manufacturing that PPE announcing that they’re only selling their vital equipment to England during this crisis. So many options. So many choices.

The latest to indulge in British nationalist puffery is Aberdeenshire Tory MP Andrew Bowie, who sadly didn’t get his jotters in December last year. Andrew describes himself as a “devolution sceptic”, by which he means that he thinks that it’s better to abolish any political identity for Scotland and restrict Scottishness to safe things. That would be things like North British shortbread. Or tartan borders on Visit Britain tourism posters which unaccountably fail to depict a single work of literature from Scotland while co-opting Scottish writers for London. Scottishness in Andrew’s world should exist only insofar as it serves to disguise the English nationalism of the British state and to allow British nationalists like Andrew to fondly imagine that they’re better than Scottish nationalists because their nationalism isn’t nationalist at all.

Andrew wrote a Facebook post in which he used the coronavirus epidemic to praise the strength of the union. Together we have supported one another, he wrote. Except if you’re a Scottish care home wanting to buy PPE online from a company that’s only going to sell to England. Except if you’re an essential worker who wants a test for the virus but you have to wait because Charles Windsor and the family members of cabinet ministers go to the top of the queue. Except if you’re on a zero hours contract and you don’t know how you’re going to pay your rent or keep food on table while billionaires like Richard Branson demand millions of pounds in handouts from the government. Except if you’re stuck in a top floor flat with three kids while you’re lectured by middle class people with gardens about keeping out of parks. But apart from that … suuuuure. The union is as strong as the rocks on which these islands are built, Andrew gushed. Which would be nice, if it were not for the fact that those rocks are being fracked by companies which give money to the Conservative party.

It would be even nicer if this union that he speaks of actually, you know, existed. Three nations and the north eastern bit of Ireland do not a union make when the politics and government of that “union” are decided by the votes of those in the largest part of it, which is able to outvote all the other bits together several times over. The UK is not a union in the same way that a large stale cake with a tiny tired cherry on top of it is not a fruit salad.

Meanwhile other apologists for the UK make their own pathetic bids for relevance. Inspired by the tin eared entitlement of the celebrity imagine video, Ben Fogle made his own bid for the prize for failure to read the room. Ben, who loves Scotland and wants us to remain a part of the UK because he thinks he’s a mountain in Easter Ross, has tweeted that we should all open our windows at 9am on Tuesday morning to sing happy birthday to Elizabeth Windsor. Incidentally, if Ben Fogle was in fact a mountain in Scotland, its Gaelic name would be Beinn Foghail, which means the mountain of blustering. This is as good a metaphor for the UK as you’re going to get.

Anyway, back to Liz. I’m not sure if Tuesday is her actual birthday, or her official birthday. She has two birthdays, that’s how entitled she is. Ben’s suggestion was as well received on social media as Matt Hancock’s shiny badge at the funeral of a care home worker. For one thing, not having to get out of your bed of a morning is the only upside to this disaster for most of us, and we’re not about to give it up to indulge in an act of sycophancy for an extremely wealthy woman whose family break the rules and put other people at risk, and who won’t put her hand into her extremely deep pockets to help out those less fortunate than herself. So you can bugger off with that, Ben. I’d rather howl at the moon while my eyes were on fire. Which I am told is one of the tracks off a Blue Oyster Cult album from the late 1970s – which is coincidentally the decade when unthinking sychophancy for all things royal went out of fashion. Only no one told Ben. He’s still pitching to be lead singer in the Red White and Blue Cult.

Ben’s suggestion for increasing the joy of the nations was matched in its cluelessness only by the announcement from Beatrice Windsor, the daughter of the one who was pally with paedophiles, that she’s going to postpone her wedding until next year when she’ll be able to have a bigger celebration which will, and I quote, “lift the nation’s spirits”. The only way that her family could lift the nation’s spirits would be if her father went to the USA to be interviewed under caution by the FBI.

If this really was a union it would have some constitutional mechanisms in place to protect Scotland and the other smaller nations of the UK from the malign effects of English nationalism. But it doesn’t. And the likes of Andrew Bowie MP want to remove those few safeguards and protections that the devolution that Scotland campaigned long and hard for gives us. This isn’t a successful union, far less is it the most successful in the world. It’s not the most successful union because it’s a union in name only. You can call a pile of dog crap on your lawn a garden feature if you want, but it’s still a pile of dog crap.

And finally, because we could all do with some cheering up during these difficult times…


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


We don’t need no stinking badges

badge
Faced with persistent calls for health and care workers to receive the personal protection equipment and the coronavirus tests which they so urgently need, let no one say that the British government hasn’t been listening. The problem is that it’s been listening to something else entirely, and that something else appears to be the sound that Matt Hancock’s fingers make as he sticks them in his ears and goes la-la-la. Instead of offering health and care workers the things that they’ve been screaming for to help keep them safe as they save our lives and the lives of the likes of Boris Johnson, Matt is instead going to give them all a nice shiny badge. A badge. A… Badge… Can I just ask the Health Secretary a follow up question please – “A fucking badge?”

It’s like the worst episode of Blue Peter ever. And at the next government press conference we can expect a Conservative minister to present us with the tinsel wrapped corpse of a dead care worker propped up on an empty squeedgie bottle and proudly announce, “Here’s one I killed earlier.” This is an object lesson in what happens if you don’t make sure that you get a responsible adult to govern you, kids. Matt wants us to know that if a care worker contracts coronavirus and dies, then their relatives can get one of his shiny badges to put on the coffin. Isn’t that grand? Why, that will make them feel so much better. You can just feel the appreciation oozing out of them as they try to make some personal protection equipment out of a binbag and a pair of marigolds. There are a million things that hard pressed care workers would far rather have received than a pat on the head from Matt Hancock.

The announcement was met with incredulity, the sort you get when you’re expecting to be rescued from a desert island and a drunk guy paddles past you waving from his pedalo before disappearing off over the horizon to tell everyone in the hotel bar how very brave you are. Badges are for boy scouts, girl guides, people who attend sci-fi conventions, members of the Socialist Workers’ Party, and the Sheriff of Tombstone. Care workers would much rather have a living wage and the equipment that they need to do their jobs without dying. Every health and care worker in the land is now reenacting that scene from Blazing Saddles. We don’ need no steenking badges. All they want is to be able to do their jobs safely and with dignity, and what the UK gives them is clapping and a badge. Next time MPs say that they want a pay rise, tell them that they can have a badge instead.

The French have given out €1500 as a bonus to their healthcare workers as a small token in recognition of the sacrifices and risks that they take for the common good. In the UK they get a badge. Or to give it the correct term by which is now widely spread on social media and in hospitals, health centres, and care homes across the UK: WTF A Badge? Unless this badge says “Boris Johnson is an absolute roaster,” it’s highly unlikely that many health and care workers are going to wear it with pride. However it seems that the actual wording on this so-called care badge will be CARE in large letters with The Tories Don’t written above it in italics. A badge. Someone should make a range of badges for care workers, and indeed anyone else who wants one, saying “I’ve been patronised by Matt Hancock” in a range of attractive pastel colours.

It’s not even a new badge. It’s not as though this is the care worker equivalent of the medals won by members of the armed services. This is just the rebranding of an initiative that was launched last year to total and complete indifference. And this was the high point of the entire press conference, the grand finale to which Matt had been leading up. It’s probably not even available for care workers in Scotland and Wales.

Care workers are low paid, hard pressed. They work long hours for little recognition, performing highly skilled and extremely stressful jobs dealing with vulnerable people who have complex and demanding needs. A high percentage are working class women who go home from their demanding jobs which pay a pittance and have demanding home lives looking after children or older relatives. A high percentage are ethnic minorities who are subject to racist abuse from some of the Brexit loving British exceptionalists who put this pathetic bunch of inadequates in power. A high percentage are migrants, who are demonised and traduced by that same Tory government that now wants to fob them off with a badge. These are the very same people who just a few months ago Priti Patel dismissed as low skilled workers who are not valued by the British state and whose immigration status is to be subject to the racist whims of the Daily Mail. But now they’ve got a badge. Isn’t that great.

At the beginning of April Matt had announced a five pillar plan to increase testing. The core of this was that testing would ramp up during the month. Sadly for Matt, and even more sadly for the rest of us, none of the commitments which Matt or his government have made in previous announcements have been kept. He told us just a short while ago that by the middle of April there would be 25,000 tests being carried out daily. The actual number is still only 16,000, a long way short of what was promised. The same Matt Hancock had promised by that by the end of this month there would be 100,000 tests being carried out. On current form that target is going to be missed by a substantial margin. But never mind. There’s a badge. It’s shiny. Just like Matt. And if you stick your finger on the back of it you’ll get a little prick. It’s called Matt.

During the press conference, Matt seemed unable to give any answers to what criteria the government was going to use to end the lockdown. He’d have been as well saying “I haven’t got a clue, but here’s a badge.” Although to be honest that’s pretty much a fair summary of what actually transpired. We’re being governed by patronising idiots. Maybe instead of a badge care workers could get a living wage, decent working conditions, and the equipment that they need to do their jobs without putting their own health and the health of their families at risk. But no. Matt’s giving them a badge and a round of applause. That’s the British state all over. It expects ordinary people to sacrifice and to die, and in return it pretends to care, it patronises, and it offers a shiny worthless bauble. And then it gets back to the serious business of making the rich richer.

And finally, because we could all do with some cheering up during these difficult times… There are real heroes. And none of them are in the British government.


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


Change starts with a YES

changesstartswithyes

A certain Duncan Hothershall, who I’m told is a failed Labour candidate from Lothian who even before the lockdown spent much of his time on social media because he has no other political platform anyone notices, tweeted some snark about my article in The National earlier this week when I argued that it will be the independence movement which is best placed to take advantage of the political fallout from this current crisis once we get to the other side of it. Duncan’s pursed lips sneered through the net curtains of Twitter that “The National’s star columnist” (thanks for the promotion Dunc) had written yet another article arguing that independence is the answer to every problem.

This is of course untrue. Independence is not the solution to every problem. To pick one example at random, independence is not the solution to the problem of Duncan being a political irrelevance who sits on Twitter snarking bitterly like a dried up lemon because he’s got nothing productive or useful to say. This may be part of the reason why he’s so keen on opposing it. I am of course always open to taking advice from all sources about the content of my scribblings, but I do draw the line at a guy who makes James Kelly MSP seem like he’s enjoying a glitteringly stellar career in politics. Duncan’s not even a star columnist in his own twitter account.

A substantial part of Duncan’s bitterness comes from the fact that it won’t be the Labour party in Scotland which will reap the political capital generated by the British government’s woeful handling of the coronavirus epidemic. The Labour party in Scotland will struggle to hold on to the seats it already possesses at the next Scottish elections. This is because following a major crisis, voters want change, and will tend to support those political organisations and parties which are best placed to deliver the kind of substantive change that the crisis showed was required. In Scotland, that’s the independence movement.

If the problem that’s identified is that Scotland suffered unnecessarily because of the poor handling of the crisis by Westminster and because Holyrood’s hands were tied by a Conservative government, arguing for stronger ties to Westminster is not going to be seen to be the solution. All the more so when the Labour party is currently trying to revive the federalism fairy, although there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that voters in England are remotely interested. Federalism needs the enthusiastic support of the electorate in England if it has any chance at all of being implemented. It’s not going to happen, and it’s only ever trotted out by the Labour party in Scotland as a solution to the problems of the Labour party in Scotland. No one else is interested.

The party’s problems are compounded by the fact that post-Corbyn it’s the kamikaze faction of British nationalism that’s in the ascendancy in the Labour party in Scotland. They will of course strenuously deny that they’re British nationalists, but adhering to a political position which seeks to deny the electorate of Scotland another independence referendum even when a majority vote for one because Britain is best under all and any circumstances is a deeply nationalist position. And a reactionary one at that. It’s not going to be an easy sell to the estimated 40% of Labour voters in Scotland who are supportive of independence.

However if the problems facing the Labour party in Scotland are dire, they are as nothing compared to the whirlwind which awaits the Conservative party. James Kelly (no not that one) pointed out on his blog that Jackson Carlaw fondly imagines that in the next Scottish elections he’s going to be the Clement Attlee to Nicola Sturgeon’s Churchill and is poised to make substantial electoral gains. No laughing at the back there, Jackson really did make that comparison. It is of course a risible comparison. For starters, Labour went into the first general election after the Second World War with on a platform of radical and extensive change. All that the Scottish Tories offer is greater submission to Westminster. “Westminster might be crappy, but Scotland is even crappier”, is not a winning electoral platform, but it’s all that the Scottish Tories have.

The disquiet about the British government’s handling of this crisis is already substantial, even though most are prepared to haud their wheesht for the duration of the epidemic. Yet even so it’s hard to ignore the evidence in front of our noses as we gaze helplessly at the tragic mounting of the death toll. Just this week we’ve had the substantial blow to claims of better togetherness after it came to light that companies in England which produce much needed personal protection equipment were claiming that Public Health England had insisted that they fulfil orders only to care homes in England and NHS England. Scotland’s national clinical director Professor Jason Leitch helpfully dismissed the reports as “rubbish”, and Tories have clung onto Professor Leitch’s remarks like a liferaft. However even after he made the comment there were still companies with notices on their online stores saying that they couldn’t sell to Scotland or Wales.

The Tories and their British nationalist allies are trying to counter the story by pointing to the straw man argument that there is no deliberate conspiracy at the highest levels of the Conservative party to kill Scottish and Welsh care workers. Of course there isn’t. The BBC yesterday referred to the situation as a “guddle”, it’s an innocent error caused by confused advice and not a malign and deliberate attempt to prioritise England at the expense of Scotland and Wales. And that is probably true. However even if we accept that then this incident illustrates that the British government and its agencies do not take the needs of Scotland or Wales into account when formulating advice, because if they had then the confusion would never have arisen in the first place. That’s the situation that the Tories in Scotland will have to defend. Even on the most benign interpretation it’s indefensible.

Then there are all the other myriad failures of the British state during this crisis. As people sit at home during this lockdown, they are taking note. No amount of hero worship of Boris Johnson for having the good fortune to survive an encounter with the virus is going to detract from them. The UK is set to become one of the worst affected states in Europe, and the responsibility for that rests squarely with the British government in Westminster which squandered the early advantage of the virus becoming established here late, and which pursued the flawed and dangerous policy of herd immunity.

The biggest criticism that’s going to be levelled at the Scottish government after this crisis is over is that it remained too close to the decisions made by Westminster. Jackson Carlaw seems to think that voters in Scotland will blame the Scottish government for decisions made in London by Conservative politicians. He seems to think that the electorate in Scotland will think that the solution to Westminster incompetence is to give Westminster even greater control. He’s in for a big disappointment.

Times of crisis are followed by times of change. This coronavirus epidemic has shone a light on the inequalities, the injustices, and the structural inadequacies of the British state. It has revealed a creaking and leaking ship of privilege, of entitlement, and of private greed at public expense. It has to change, yet we’re going to have a Conservative government in Westminster until at least the end of 2024. The voting public in Scotland will use the next Scottish elections to express their desire for change – and there’s only one political force in Scotland that’s able to offer it. It’s not the tired and broken parties of British nationalism. Change starts with a yes.

And finally, because we could all do with some cheering up during these difficult times…


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

If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information.

Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

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


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

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

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