Dugcast fae the dughoose – with Yes Cymru

In this week’s dugcast fae the dughoose I am joined by Siôn Jobbins the Chair of Yes Cymru. We chat about the origins of Yes Cymru, the independence movement in Wales and the similarities and differences between the Scottish and Welsh campaigns.

Dugcast fae the Dughoose with Sion Jobbins of Yes Cymru

If the embedded link does not work for you, you can access the podcast directly by clicking on this link https://soundcloud.com/user-291670852/dugcast-20-08-2020-with-sion-jobbins-of-yes-cymru


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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.

GINGER2cropped

Gaelic 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

Shifting the goalposts

There is now some certainty in the Scottish political landscape. It’s a certainty that Scotland is now a country where a clear majority of people support independence. It’s a certainty that among people under retirement age that majority becomes substantial. It’s a certainty that among young people that majority is overwhelming.  And it’s a certainty that given this knowledge the British nationalists will attempt to pauchle the franchise just as they did in 1979 in order to boost the chances of the result of the next referendum being to their pleasing.

Of course it was entirely predictable that now that support for independence enjoys consistent majority support in Scotland, British nationalists would be demanding that the goalposts be shifted. There’s an unholy alliance on social media with George Galloway and the BBC’s Andrew Neil amongst others tweeting that anyone born in Scotland resident elsewhere in the UK must be allowed a vote in an independence referendum. Michael Gove piped in to remark “interesting question”.

There’s your literal blood and soil ethnic nationalism right there. British nationalists want people defined as Scots on an ethnic basis to be allowed to vote, and then they accuse independence supporters of ethnic nationalism, of identity politics. Yet it’s the independence movement which is proud to recognise that those eligible to vote should be everyone, no matter what their background or ethnicity, who has done Scotland the honour of choosing to live here, build their lives here, and contribute to Scottish society.

It’s terribly unfair, according to British nationalists, that foreign citizens resident in Scotland can get a vote, but not someone who left Scotland at the age of 18 to go and live in London and has never returned to live in Scotland. Because apparently people who left the land of their birth for better opportunities elsewhere and who very well may have no intention of ever returning to live in Scotland are going to be dreadfully affected by Scottish independence. Although how they’re going to be affected exactly, they never seem to explain.  They will still be able to come back to live in Scotland if they so choose.  Unless the British state decides to change its citizenship laws following Scottish independence, they will remain UK citizens with all the same rights and obligations that they currently enjoy. They will not become “foreigners” in the UK unless the British Government makes the decision that they should be.  Perhaps they ought to ask that British Government for reassurances instead of demanding that they be allowed to influence the futures of those of us who chose to remain in Scotland or chose to come and live here while they themselves remain in England, Wales, or Northern Ireland.

Note that the British nationalists only want Scottish born people resident elsewhere in the UK to get a vote, and seem to have forgotten about Scottish born people resident anywhere in the EU. Since it’s the UK’s decision to leave the EU despite the objections of a majority in Scotland which is one of the main causes of the rise in support for independence, the omission is telling. Far less have British nationalists suggested that Scots born people resident elsewhere in the world should also get a vote.

It is equally telling that the likes of Michael Gove and his Brexity Tory pals think that it’s an “interesting question” whether Scottish born people resident elsewhere in the UK should get a vote in a future independence referendum irrespective of how long they’ve lived outwith Scotland. Michael Gove was a senior member of a Conservative government which in the EU referendum denied the vote to UK citizens who had been resident in EU countries for more than 15 years. The double standard couldn’t be more obvious, and we all know why British nationalists are currently bleating about how unfair it would be not to allow Scottish born people living in England, Wales or Northern Ireland to vote in a Scottish indepedence referendum. It’s because they believe that Scottish born people who live elsewhere in the UK would be more likely to vote against independence, while they believed that UK citizens resident in EU states would have been more likely to vote against Brexit. This isn’t about democracy at all.  It’s not about fairness.  It’s simply a blatant attempt to fix the vote in order to make a No vote more likely in a second referendum.

There are several reasons why this latest act of desperation is a non-starter. Firstly, it is not for the British state to prejudge the citizenship qualifications of a future independent Scotland. That’s for an independent Scotland to decide. While it is highly likely that an independent Scotland would offer the right to Scottish citizenship to anyone born in Scotland, no matter where they now live, those people may choose not take up the offer and be content with their current citizenship status. It is unfair on those of us who do live here that people who have no interest in becoming Scottish citizens and who don’t live in Scotland be given the opportunity to vote on the futures of those of us who do reside in Scotland. The constitution of an independent Scotland will decide who counts as Scottish, not a Conservative Government in Westminster that Scotland didn’t vote for.

Secondly, there is precedent. A Scottish independence referendum is not an unknown quantity in British politics. There was already a referendum and the British nationalists were perfectly happy with the franchise decided at the time. The only reason that the suggestion is being aired now that they change it is because they are afraid that they’re going to lose.  They were happy with the terms of the franchise in 2014.  The only thing that has changed is that opinion polls now show a majority for Yes.

Finally, and most importantly, a referendum on the future of Scotland must be made in Scotland if it is to have any legitimacy. A referendum whose terms are decided by the British state lacks that legitimacy, it would not be a Scottish referendum but a British one. It is for the Scottish Parliament to decide upon the form of the question, the franchise, and the length of the campaign, not a British Government which has proven that it cannot be trusted where Scotland is concerned. The terms and conditions of the referendum must be decided by the Scottish Parliament to which the voters of Scotland have given a mandate for another referendum. The Scottish Parliament, and only the Scottish Parliament, is the body which has the democratic authority and legitimacy to hold the referendum. It cannot be contradicted, gainsayed, or have conditions forced upon it by a British Government which seeks to gerrymander the franchise in its own favour.

After all, we are only now where we are, with majority support for independence, because the British Government has acted in a mendacious and deceitful manner, traducing the promises and commitments that it made to Scotland in 2014. The Westminster parties can assert all they like that they’ve fulfilled those promises, but the electorate clearly doesn’t believe them. If voters did believe them then they would not be turning to support independence in such numbers. The crucial defining feature of a democracy is that the voters get the last word, not the politicians.

The Tories can bugger off. This is Scotland’s referendum, not theirs.


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

A decisive poll

In 2014 when the result of the independence referendum was announced, the BBC called the 55% achieved by the No campaign ‘decisive’. Today a new poll has been published, carried out by Panelbase on behalf of Business for Scotland, and it shows that support for independence has now reached 55% when don’t knows are excluded. Douglas Ross has got off to a great start. If you still have one of those 45 badges from just after the last referendum, you can now give them to any remaining no voters you know.

Additionally, there’s also been a new poll from Comres out today, which puts support for independence on 54%. There can be absolutely no doubt now that Scotland is a country where a clear majority support independence. The last three polls from Panelbase have shown Yes on 54% or 55%. The last poll from YouGov put yes on 53%. This is, moreover, before the reality of Brexit has struck, without an official campaign, without the yes grassroots movement being able to campaign normally due to the epidemic, and with cries and wails amongst sections of the Yes movement that the SNP isn’t doing anything to bring independence about. Despite all that, support for independence is still growing. Just imagine what we can do once we are able to campaign normally again. No wonder the Tories are crapping themselves. 55% is the highest that support for independence has ever been in a credible opinion poll since the 2014 referendum. Indeed I believe that it’s the highest that support for independence has ever been in a credible poll.

There’s one exception to that however, which needs to be briefly discussed. In the immediate aftermath of the EU referendum the Sunday Post published a poll conducted by a company called ScotPulse which gave a result of 59% in favour of independence. There were serious issues with that poll unfortunately. ScotPulse was not a member of the British Polling Council, the industry body which demands that member polling companies adhere to certain standards to ensure accuracy in polling. More seriously, it appears that the 2016 was not correctly weighted, which means that it wasn’t conducted amongst a properly representative sample of the population. In any event, that poll proved to be a one-off. Its result was never replicated in any other poll. It was what’s called a rogue poll, an outlier whose result was not an accurate reflection of what was really going on on the ground.

What we’ve got now is very different. We have had a series of opinion polls from companies which are members of the British Polling Council, all of which have shown that a majority are in favour of independence. And what seems to be a gradually increasing majority at that. In this latest poll, even if don’t knows are included, there’s still a majority for Yes. This poll puts Yes at 51%, No at 42%, and Don’t Know at 7%.

We’ve already had credible reports in the Conservative press that senior cabinet members are panicking about the rise in support for Scottish independence. This poll is only going to make them run about like Corporal Jones from Dad’s Army. Well, British nationalists do love an excuse to go on about WW2. We’re really just doing them a favour. Social media is now full of rabid British nationalist Brextremist Tories warning of the dangers of nationalism and trying to persuade us of the benefits of pooled sovereignty. If you were waiting for the penny to drop with the Tories that they themselves are the reason the UK is finished, you’ll be in for a long wait. Self-awareness is not their strong suit.

How could the Tories possibly have foreseen that their dystopian English nationalism, their hardest possible Brexit, the lazy lassitude of posh boy Johnson and his interminable holidays, the sheer and utter incompetence of an administration which has given the UK the highest covid-19 death toll in Europe combined with the greatest economic damage would have driven ever increasing numbers of people in Scotland to the realisation that we can do things differently. Not just to the realisation that we can do things differently, the realisation that if we want to preserve any modicum of governmental accountability, our public services, and even a basic sense of common decency and humanity in public office, we have to do things differently. No amount of union flag waving can hide that stark truth.

What’s equally evident is that the Conservatives’ attempts to undermine the devolution settlement are proving counterproductive. Far from ensuring that Scots see the supposed benefits of the UK, all that they are doing is to increase the perception amongst the Scottish electorate that Scotland’s choices will not be respected by a British Government. For a party which is always going on about the need to respect a referendum, the Conservatives consistently fail to grasp that the devolution settlement is also the product of a referendum. They meddle with it at their peril.

The debate about independence is no longer about proving that the average Scottish family would be better off or worse off by the price of a Chinese takeaway once a week. It’s about democracy. It’s about accountability. It’s about ensuring that there’s humanity and decency. It’s a rejection of the cruelty of a UK where the state broadcaster thinks its appropriate to send a boat full of reporters and camera operators to chase leaky dinghies full of refugees limping their way across the English Channel and shouting questions at them instead of offering help. It’s a rejection of a UK where disabled people have to undergo humiliating and degrading assessments carried out by box tickers who have no real understanding of what disability means. It’s a rejection of a succession of British governments who pontificate about how precioussss the union is but who don’t understand the difference between a partnership of nations and the incorporation of Scotland into a unitary state where Scotland is routinely ignored, sidelined, and marginalised.

However the surge in support for independence in Scotland is not just a rejection of the negativities of a sclerotic British state that is incapable of understanding or responding to the wishes of the people of Scotland. Far more importantly, it’s about hope. It’s about the hope of a better life, a better way of doing things. It’s about the hope of engaging with the world as an equal of other nations. It’s about the hope of addressing the issues that affect the lives of ordinary Scottish people. The Conservatives and the British state can’t offer us that hope, only independence can. It’s the hope that is born out of the realisation amongst Scotland’s people that if we want change, if we want to make this a better country, we have to do it ourselves. And as we gaze upon the inept, chaotic, corrupt, and cruel Conservative government in Westminster, the people of Scotland have realised that we have it within our means to do so much better.


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


Some thoughts on ‘that documentary’

Last night the BBC decided to regale the nation with a documentary entitled The Trial of Alex Salmond, or more accurately The Media Trial of Alex Salmond and We’ve Found Him Guilty. There were numerous issues with the programme, not the least of which was that the documentary had started to be produced before the court trial had even begun, and the programme makers were very obviously expecting a guilty verdict. That assumption of guilt pervaded the entire documentary and fatally undermined any pretence that it might have had of being a fair report of the events rather than being a participant in them – and a participant who was hostile to Alex Salmond’s case at that.

Anyone in Scotland who follows politics knows that the presenter of the programme, Kirsty Wark, was a close friend of the former Labour First Minister Jack McConnell and had appeared visibly angry and unsettled when the Labour party lost control of Holyrood to the SNP led by Alex Salmond. The programme was produced by Kirty Wark’s husband’s production company.  It was a documentary which had the taste of a dish intended to be served up cold, only those inconvenient not guilty verdicts spoiled its revenge recipe.

The prosecution witnesses were interviewed sympathetically, voiced over by actors in order to preserve their anonymity. And before anyone complains, it is right and proper that the alleged victims of sexual assault are granted a legally enforceable anonymity and I strongly advise anyone commenting on this piece to refrain from saying anything which may identify them. If people who allege that they are the victims of sexual crime are not given anonymity it inhibits them from coming forward. That is deeply damaging to the rights of women, of children, of anyone who ever finds themselves the victim of a sexual assault.  Legal anonymity in such circumstances is vital and necessary even if the complaints are later thrown out by a court.

However the problem here is that the impression was given by the BBC that a man who has been found innocent in a court of law can continue to be slighted while his accusers remain hidden behind a cloak of anonymity. There were several references to the Me Too movement, which with the hindsight of a not guilty verdict appear as a not so subtle attempt by the BBC to draw an equivalence between Harvey Weinstein, who has been convicted of rape and other serious sexual crimes, and Alex Salmond who was found innocent in a court of law.

There were some serious structural flaws in the documentary of which the most significant was that there was little effort given to presenting the views of witnesses for the defence. Kirsty Wark found plenty of time during the 60 minutes of this documentary to film herself looking pensively at her mobile phone, but couldn’t find any time to speak to any of the defence witnesses. These witnesses were crucial because their testimony undermined and contradicted that of some of the prosecution witnesses in key respects. Moreover these were key respects which caused the jury to refuse to accept the prosecution case and are therefore vital to any attempt to understand this story properly. The viewer was given none of this. If the intent had been to produce an unbiased and objective view of the trial and the events around it, the voices of these defence witnesses were key. Yet they were absent from this programme.

Witnesses for the prosecution were interviewed sympathetically and allowed to restate their case. This might have been acceptable had, as the programme makers so clearly expected, a guily verdict been returned. But that’s not what happened. What had happened was that the jury had refused to accept key parts of the evidence presented by the prosecution witnesses, and had refused to accept that Alex Salmond’s behaviour was criminal as they had alleged. The result was a programme which appeared to be setting out to convict the former First Minister by other means and without the balance that would have been provided by the inclusion of the defence witnesses.

We were told, quite some way into the programme, that Alex Salmond had refused a request to be interviewed, to which an impartial observer could only retort “nae bloody wonder”. This was a programme which had been filmed, produced, and edited with a guilty verdict in mind and when the not guilty verdicts were returned was quickly and unconvincingly given a light makeover rather than putting the entire thing in the bin where it should probably have gone.

Of course it’s big news when the former leader of a country is charged with serious offences. It is precisely the kind of news story which merits examination in a documentary. Unfortunately this documentary was rushed, biased, and deeply flawed. Its flaws have been compounded by the fact that the story is not yet over. The Holyrood enquiry into the Scottish Government’s (mis)handling of the original complaints against Alex Salmond is still on-going. We have still to hear from the former SNP leader who has told us that, at some point, he will speak and will present the evidence which he claims proves that he has been the victim of an organised and coordinated attempt to remove him from politics for good. Without his voice and evidence, no one can produce a balanced and objective account of what really happened.

However that was never the intention of this BBC documentary to begin with. It set out to be a hatchet job on Alex Salmond, to write a damning political epitaph on a man whom it clearly expected to be a convicted criminal and then to stamp on his political grave.  Failing any conviction in a court of law it set out to convict him anyway.

This evening BBC Radio 4 will broadcast a programme written and presented by the journalist Dani Garavelli entitled “The SNP’s Civil War” which purports to examine the rift between Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond. This is the same journalist who has previously done sympathetic interviews with the complainants in the case against Alex Salmond. The programme is not yet available and so the public has not been able to listen to it, so we must give it the benefit of the doubt, but given that it’s written and presented by a journalist who has close and sympathetic relations with those who complained against Alex Salmond, it is reasonable to wonder just how fair a hearing that the former First Minister is going to get in this radio programme. Going out on a limb here, probably not much of one at all.

The way that the BBC has dealt with the trial of Alex Salmond shows us, if there was still any doubt, that the BBC is not an impartial reporter on politics in Scotland. It is an active participant in framing a narrative which is hostile to Scottish self-determination.

Finally – a reminder that the complainants in this case have a legal right to anonymity. Please refrain from saying anything that may identify them.


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


Getting the job done

Nicola Sturgeon has written an article which will appear in Holyrood magazine’s 2020 annual review. In the piece, the highlights of which are given here https://www.holyrood.com/news/view,next-years-election-to-be-the-most-important-in-scotlands-history-says-nicola-sturgeon she says that the next Holyrood elections will be the most important in Scottish history. And she’s not wrong.

This will be the first time that Scotland will have gone to the polls while there is majority support for independence. It is highly likely that by the time we vote in May 2021, support for independence will be even higher than it is just now. The UK will have exited the EU transitional period and we will be feeling the full force of Brexit. The Conservative power grab will be in full swing. And who knows what other catastrophes this inept and chaotic Conservative administration will have led us all into by then. There will be growing public anger and disquiet. It will be clear to one and all that the UK that we are living in is not the UK that Scotland was promised it could be a part of back in 2014.

It is vital that the SNP are returned with an absolute majority of seats in Holyrood. We need a majority SNP government just like we had in 2011. That will replicate the political conditions which obtained back then, conditions which resulted in a Section 30 order and an independence referendum. It will be politically unsustainable for the Tories to continue to resist demands for another referendum under those circumstances. Basic democracy demands that a referendum should take place. Even influential voices within the Conservative party have conceded that much.

It’s all very well for Boris Johnson and his minions to claim that they intend to hold Nicola Sturgeon to her supposed promise that the 2014 referendum was a once in a generation affair, but the return of a majority SNP government which has stood for reelection asking the electorate if they want another referendum means that it’s not the SNP leadership that Boris Johnson is holding to a promise that only exists in the mythology of British nationalism, it’s the whole of the Scottish electorate.

Democracy means that those in power accept the verdict of the people. If Johnson refuses to accept what the people have said, then it means that British nationalist arguments about the economics of a future Scotland, their claims about currency, their assertions that Scotland needs the UK, all become side issues. The debate will have become one about the fundamentals of democracy itself, and how democracy is denied to Scotland within the UK. When there is a direct equation between independence and democracy itself, that is not an argument that supporters of the British state can win.

The greatest threat to us winning back Scotland’s independence right now is our own division. The closer we get to our goal, the more that nerves get fraught, that fingernails get bitten, that tempers fray. The feelings of anxiety and worry are compounded by the experience of the pandemic. We are concerned about the health of our loved ones, we may already know people who have suffered and died. We fret about our jobs and livelihoods. We have been deprived of the normal social contact that makes life worthwhile and which allows us to balance ourselves and gain a proper perspective. Our doubts, fears, and anxieties only benefit the British establishment.

However make no mistake, if the SNP fail to win an outright majority because some independence supporters have deserted them in favour of a minor party – especially a minor party which fails to win seats – the narrative from the media and the British nationalist parties will not be that “Scots want a more decisive line on pursuing independence”. There will be no leader columns in the British nationalist press saying that the SNP failed to win its expected majority because Nicola Sturgeon doesn’t really want independence or because the SNP isn’t tough enough in asserting Scotland’s right to self-determination. No one outside a few social media bubbles is going to be saying that the SNP’s failure to win an outright majority shows that Scotland is angry with them for not prioritising independence sufficiently.

The only story in the papers and the broadcast media will be “Scots don’t want another referendum.” The Conservatives and Labour will be pushing that line as hard as they can, assisted by the overwhelmingly anti-independence media in Scotland. Even if the SNP makes gains in seats, even if they are returned as a minority administration propped up by the Greens, the anti-independence media and the British nationalist parties will still spin it as a defeat. Don’t say you weren’t warned. Only the reelection of a majority SNP government will provide the political capital which cannot be contradicted, gainsayed, or undermined by British nationalist spin.

Yes, the SNP are very far from perfect. But they are not our enemy in the campaign for independence. That would be the Conservatives and the British nationalists. In my area our SNP MSP is an opponent of marriage rights for gay people, believes that creationism should be taught in schools, and has some views on religion and other social issues which I viscerally disagree with. I cannot be certain that he would support my husband and I should we need his help in renewing my husband’s visa (my husband is not a British citizen). But next May I will hold my nose and vote for our SNP MSP anyway, because independence is too important to risk.

This blog will continue to make the case for independence. It will continue to support pro-independence initiatives. But what it won’t be doing is attacking the SNP – if that’s what you’re looking for you can go elsewhere. I don’t attack the SNP or its leadership for the same reason that I don’t use this platform to attack any other independence supporters with whom I disagree. Attacking and criticising the indy movement is the job of British nationalists, and I won’t do their job for them. So I won’t be using this blog to attack Nicola Sturgeon – for the exact same reason that I don’t use it to attack Alex Salmond, Stuart Campbell, Mike Small, Craig Murray, Peter Bell, the Green Party, or anyone else in this fractious and argumentative movement of ours. The purpose of this blog is to criticise the forces of British nationalism, to highlight the idiocies of the Conservative government in Westminster, and to make a positive case for Scottish independence. As we get ever closer to regaining our independence, it’s even more important that we concentrate on what is going to take us over the line. That’s what the job of this blog is. I believe it’s the job that needs to be done to help Scotland regain its independence.

You may have heard that there’s a crowdfunded initiative to test the lawfulness of an independence referendum without a Section 30 order. Taking on a legal case of this sort is eye wateringly expensive but it’s a worthwhile cause as it could establish once and for all whether the Scottish Parliament can go ahead with a referendum without the need for a Section 30 order. Or if the case fails and it’s ruled that a Section 30 order is required, it tells us that this so-called union is not a union at all, because Scotland would not be a free member of it which can decide to remain or to leave according to the will of the people of Scotland. That would deprive British nationalists of their claim that Scotland is a voluntary member of a union of nations. Either way, the independence movement ends up with either a legal argument in its favour, or a political argument in its favour, and we would have more clarity than we do just now.

The crowdfunder for the case is more than halfway to its goal of £155,000. You can help out with a contribution here:
https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/pas30/


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


Union jackery won’t prevent independence

colonialoffice
Those oh so clever people in the Conservative Government, the same people who brought you Gavin Stupid Boy Williamson and Priti Patel’s numberwhang, have come up with a cunning plan to save the Precioussss Union. Or as it’s officially called these days, the Awesome Fawesome. That’ll be because it makes you go aw, which is how you pronounce ugh in a posh Etonian accent.

The plan is to plaster union flegs on everything in order to demonstrate to us ungrateful jocks that without the graces of the British state we’d be living in shacks and trudging to the river in order to collect buckets of water. We’d be nothing without them and all it’s going to take is for them to remind us that we’re worthless for us to come running back into their arms, or more precisely, under their heel.

The idea was apparently arch Brextremist Michael Gove’s, who thinks that the reason that there’s so much love for the EU is because infrastructure projects which were assisted with EU funding have a wee EU flag on them. This worked so well at making sure that the people of the rest of the UK fell so much in love with the EU that they rejected the idea of leaving it. Oh. wait.

Anyway, the reason that there’s been a surge in support for independence isn’t because Westminster, and the Conservatives in particular, have been deceitful, arrogant, and have done their utmost to trash the promises that they made to Scotland to keep us in the UK back in 2014. It’s not because they’ve dragged Scotland out of the EU without allowing the Scottish Parliament any meaningful input into the form that Brexit takes. It’s not that the Johnson government’s mishandling of the coronavirus epidemic has left the UK with the highest death toll in Europe and the worst affected economy. Oh no. The real problem here is that British nationalism has been too shy and self-effacing.

The Conservatives are going to tackle this head on by putting union flags on anything in Scotland that isn’t fully devolved. That’s because they’re not nationalist flag wavers. They’re Great British non-nationalist flag wavers, which is an entirely different proposition. It’s only when a flag is waved by a foul separatist that it counts as nationalism. And as any British nationalist whose not a nationalist at all because they’re British will tell you, no one is persuaded to change their mind about independence by nationalist flag waving. They can only be persuaded by non-nationalist British flag waving.

They’ve already started with the new union flag themed Imperial Masters’ Colonial Office in Edinburgh, which sits in the heart of the historic Scottish capital looking like an oversized piece of Great British produce supermarket packaging. Which is only reasonable, since the Scotland Office is headed by a vegetable.

We can also look forward to union fleg themed bridges, road upgrades, railway lines, in addition to the obligatory union fleg which adorns your UK driving licence. The Conservatives will not rest until they turn the whole of Scotland into the preparatory decor for an Orange walk. This is guaranteed to have an effect on Scottish public opinion, just not the one that the Conservatives are hoping for.

The UK government investment that Scotland benefits from comes from money which Scottish taxpayers pay into the coffers of the British state. They want us to thank them for returning some of our own money to us. But while we are at it we should also be plastering union flags on the coffins of people who have died because of the UK government’s mishandling of the coronavirus epidemic and those who have been victims of the DWP’s institutionalised cruelty. We should put union flags on the racism on the Home Office. We should put union flags on the armaments that the UK sells to warlords and dictators. We should put union flags on all those procurement scandals that the Tories have presided over. And most importantly of all, we can stick them over the lying gobs of those Conservative politicians who have trashed all the promises that they made to Scotland in 2014 in order to ensure that this country voted against independence. That would shut them up so we’d at least derive some small practical benefit from their union-jackery.

The lesson here is that our colonial overlords do not believe that there is anything of substance which is wrong with their governance of Scotland. It’s all a matter of presentation. We’re not looking to independence because there is any reality in our dissatisfaction with British misrule, it’s all just because we don’t see enough union flags. They plan to patronise us into support for the UK. It’s a crass insult to the intelligence of the people of Scotland and an sign of just how desperate and lacking in confidence and ideas the Conservatives are. They can see the writing is on the wall for their Ughsome, and they have no clue at all what to do about it.

Actually, that is not entirely true. There are things that the Conservatives could do to lessen support for independence. It’s just that they are steps which are anathema to them. They could treat Scotland with the respect that they promised in 2014. They could ensure that the Scottish Government had a meaningful input into the Brexit process. They could reverse their cynical and deceitful power grab. They could embark upon the conversion of the UK into that federal state that Gordon Brown promised. They could recognise that the power and sovereignty of the Westminster Parliament is not absolute, but that power and sovereignty ultimately rest with the people. They could, you know, start treating Scotland as the equal partner in the family of nations that they’re always insisting that it is instead of the reality where Scotland is treated at best as an afterthought and at worst as a possession to be ordered and commanded. But expecting them to do any of these things is like expecting a vampire to be happy with a glass of beetroot juice.

You may have heard that there’s a crowdfunded initiative to test the lawfulness of an independence referendum without a Section 30 order. Taking on a legal case of this sort is eye wateringly expensive but it’s a worthwhile cause as it could establish once and for all whether the Scottish Parliament can go ahead with a referendum without the need for a Section 30 order. Or if the case fails and it’s ruled that a Section 30 order is required, it tells us that this so-called union is not a union at all, because Scotland would not be a free member of it which can decide to remain or to leave according to the will of the people of Scotland. That would deprive British nationalists of their claim that Scotland is a voluntary member of a union of nations. Either way, the independence movement ends up with either a legal argument in its favour, or a political argument in its favour, and we would have more clarity than we do just now.

The crowdfunder for the case is more than halfway to its goal of £155,000. You can help out with a contribution here:
https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/pas30/


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


Dugcast fae the Dughoose – with Women for Independence

This week I am delighted to be joined by Lesley Orr and Julie Bell who are committee members for Women for Independence. Julie is also an SNP councillor, representing the Kirriemuir and Dean ward on Angus council. We chat about the WFI’s womanifesto, about the need to get more women engaged with politics, the successful work that WFI has been doing to overcome the gender gap in support for independence, the recent opinion poll confirming that there is majority support in Scotland for independence, and a whole lot more besides.

If you would like to find out more about Women for Independence, visit their website here : http://www.womenforindependence.org/

Please note that there were some audio issues with this recording. I’ve tried to clean it up as much as possible, and can only apologise if it spoils your listening pleasure.

If you have problems with the embedded podcast, you can access it directly at this link : https://soundcloud.com/user-291670852/dugcast-13-08-2020-with-women-for-independence

You may have heard that there’s a crowdfunded initiative to test the lawfulness of an independence referendum without a Section 30 order. Taking on a legal case of this sort is eye wateringly expensive but it’s a worthwhile cause as it could establish once and for all whether the Scottish Parliament can go ahead with a referendum without the need for a Section 30 order. Or if the case fails and it’s ruled that a Section 30 order is required, it tells us that this so-called union is not a union at all, because Scotland would not be a free member of it which can decide to remain or to leave according to the will of the people of Scotland. That would deprive British nationalists of their claim that Scotland is a voluntary member of a union of nations. Either way, the independence movement ends up with either a legal argument in its favour, or a political argument in its favour, and we would have more clarity than we do just now.

The crowdfunder for the case is more than halfway to its goal of £155,000. You can help out with a contribution here:
https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/pas30/


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


Support for independence is only going to rise

With independence enjoying a 7% or 8% lead in the opinion polls, you might think that it would make our Conservative overlords in London realise that they have to change their ways. Although of course you’d only think that if you have spent the entirety of the past six years hiding in a cave and rocking gently back and forward against the cave wall while singing that song that your mammy used to sing to you to get you back to sleep when you were a wean and woken up with a nightmare, which coincidentally is also what Ruth Davidson does whenever she’s avoiding difficult questions from the press.

After her car crash performance at FMQs yesterday the Scottish Tories’ soi-disant big hitter must be wishing she was still in the cave. Even her cheerleaders in the Scottish press were forced to admit that her performance was a disaster. Ruth’s problem is that after organising the sacking of the man who replaced her after he won a democratic vote amongst her own party members, Ruth then took a seat in the House of Lords. She’s now left herself an easy target and destroyed her own credibility if, as she did yesterday, she attempted to criticise Nicola Sturgeon for standing by her colleague John Swinney and lecturing the First Minister about accountability. Naturally Nicola replied by remarking that Ruth Davidson of all people can’t lecture anyone about loyalty to colleagues and then followed up with a reminder that – call her old-fashioned – she preferred that politicians should be accountable to the voters. Even in the press offices of Ruth’s pals in the media, you could hear the mic drop.

Yesterday the news was rightly dominated by the tragic rail accident near Stonehaven, and by the continuing fall out from the SQA results. So it was easy to miss the news that the UK Government’s business minister Alok Sharma had at the last minute decided that he wasn’t after all going to show up and give evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Finance and Constitution Committee about the British Government’s white paper for a proposed new post-Brexit internal market. There have been repeated claims from the Scottish Government, claims which are well founded, that the Conservatives intend to use their new internal market as an underhand means of undermining the devolution settlement.

(You can read the Scottish Government’s response to the British Government’s white paper on the UK internal market here : https://www.gov.scot/binaries/content/documents/govscot/publications/factsheet/2020/08/uk-internal-market/documents/uk-internal-market-initial-response/uk-internal-market-initial-response/govscot%3Adocument/UK%2Binternal%2Bmarket%2Binitial%2Bresponse.pdf)

So you might think that any sensible British Government minister, aware that support for Scottish independence now enjoys a substantial lead in the polls, would be bending over backwards to ensure that no one in Holyrood could accuse the British Government of ignoring Scotland’s concerns and to make the case for their new internal market in order to assuage any Scottish disquiet. That’s what a sensible politician who understood and cared about the political consequences of their actions would do. The Tories however, don’t give a toss. Arrogance is their default position, even while support for the UK in Scotland melts away more quickly than what’s left of Ruth Davidson’s reputation. The Committee’s convenor, MSP Bruce Crawford, told fellow committee members that he had been given just 30 minutes notice that Alok Sharma was not going to appear.

Appearing before the Committee, the Scottish Government’s constitution secretary Mike Russell described the British Government white paper as an outrageous power grab. The proposal would give Downing Street a veto over all the competencies which are being returned from Brussels once the UK exits the EU transitional period in December. He added that the white paper reveals the real attitude of the Conservatives to devolution, hostile and opposed to Scotland and Wales exercising the rights they achieved under the devolution settlement.  We know that the Tories have never liked devolution, and so they are determined to hollow it out from within. This white paper is their latest step in that process.

Westminster had set up four days of consultation on their internal market plans. The last of those four days was the meeting at Holyrood. At the very last minute and without giving an adequate explanation the Conservative government minister responsible cancelled that meeting. So yet again there will be no Scottish input again into a policy which concerns all four nations of the UK and has a significant impact on the devolution settlement.

It’s Brexit and the coronavirus response all over again. It ought to be clear to everyone by now that this is not accidental. This is not oversight. This is not coincidence. This is a clear and consistent pattern of behaviour designed to marginalise Scotland within the UK and to ensure that the Scottish Parliament has no input or influence in the formation of UK policies which directly affect Scotland. What was that about lead us don’t leave us? What was that about stay with us Scotland and be a loved and valued partner in a family of nations?

Yet nowhere are there any signs that the Conservatives propose to address how their own behaviour is the major driving force behind the surge in support for independence. According to the Tories, it’s all the fault of Thatessempee. This week in the house magazine of the Conservative party, the Spectator, Scottish Tory journo and martyr Stephen Daisley is yet again banging on and trying to make Scotland in Union’s buzzword “Scexit” a thing. http://archive.is/XpgVe His proposal to solve the Scottish question doesn’t recognise that the British state in general or the Conservative party in particular has done anything wrong which it needs to address. It’s all the fault of those vile nats stirring up trouble. So he proposes to trash the devolution settlement, strip the Scottish Parliament of even more power, and deny the people of Scotland the right to decide their future for themselves. Scotland can’t be trusted with democracy.  His proposals have rightly been met with a combination of derision and contempt.

The real reason that support for independence is increasing is because the UK that Scotland was promised it could be a part of in 2014 is not the UK in which we live. The fault for that lies squarely with the party which has been in power in Westminster during the past six years. That would be the Conservatives. They themselves are the drivers of independence, and they will not be able to prevent it by doubling down on the behaviour which has already turned Scotland into a land where a majority support independence. Yet they give every indication that that is precisely what they propose to do.

All that Conservative intransigence and arrogance will achieve will be to consolidate Scottish support for independence even more, and makes the end of the UK more likely. In 2014 those of us who supported independence warned that we could either win Scottish independence the easy way, in that year’s referendum, or the hard way. We’re going to have to do this the hard way, but the outcome will be a Scotland which is far more decided and resolved on the question of independence than it would have been if independence had narrowly won in 2014. Support for independence is going to rise even higher. The Conservatives have only got themselves to blame.

You may have heard that there’s a crowdfunded initiative to test the lawfulness of an independence referendum without a Section 30 order. Taking on a legal case of this sort is eye wateringly expensive but it’s a worthwhile cause as it could establish once and for all whether the Scottish Parliament can go ahead with a referendum without the need for a Section 30 order. Or if the case fails and it’s ruled that a Section 30 order is required, it tells us that this so-called union is not a union at all, because Scotland would not be a free member of it which can decide to remain or to leave according to the will of the people of Scotland. That would deprive British nationalists of their claim that Scotland is a voluntary member of a union of nations. Either way, the independence movement ends up with either a legal argument in its favour, or a political argument in its favour, and we would have more clarity than we do just now.

The crowdfunder for the case is halfway to its goal of £155,000. You can help out with a contribution here:
https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/pas30/


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


Bruising Johnson’s ego and cruising to indy

There’s been an outbreak of childish petulance in Downing Street. You may not have noticed, since childish petulance is what passes for statesmanship in the UK these days. However this time it’s a particularly self-defeating act of toddlerish foot stomping over a symbolic gesture which would have cost the performance artiste known as Boris Johnson absolutely no political or financial cost at all, just the tiniest fraction of his ego. But protecting Johnson’s ego is our part time Prime Minister’s prime concern.

It has been reported that Michael Gove suggested that Nicola Sturgeon be invited to attend some UK government cabinet meetings, presumably in an observer status as she could not be bound by the doctrine of collective responsibility which full members of the cabinet must adhere to. As the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has her own mandate from the electorate, one independent of that of the British Government, and moreover she is most decidedly not a member of the Conservative party. She would never see herself as being obliged to support decisions made by a Conservative cabinet and party that she’s spent her political life opposing.

However Gove certainly suggested the move because he realised that it would make it far more difficult for the Scottish Government to claim that it only finds out about British Government policy changes when it reads about them in the papers along with everyone else. It would cost nothing, and it would make it a more difficult for the SNP to argue that Westminster treats Scotland with contempt. Naturally Gove had no intention of allowing Nicola Sturgeon any significant input, and he and his colleagues would have ensured that she wasn’t in the room whenever they wished to discuss anything important, Scotland would receive the same amount of consideration from this Conservative government as it has always done. Which is to say the square root of hee haw. However the invitation would have allowed the Tories to make a big song and dance about how they’d elevated the Scottish First Minister to cabinet status. In the British state, it’s always the appearance of things and not the substance that counts.

Despite this, the performance artiste known as Boris Johnson refused. There’s no way he was going to share his stage with anyone, least of all a woman who’s a considerably more effective political performer than he could ever be. Reports are that he refused because he didn’t want people to think that Nicola Sturgeon was his equal. But that’s something he never needed to worry about. No one was ever going to think that Boris Johnson is Nicola Sturgeon’s equal, in the exact same way that no one thinks that an overweight late middle aged man who dresses in sporting gear to go down to the pub is the equal of an Olympic athlete.

Johnson is incapable of even making a gesture to Scotland, because he values his own ego far more than the unity of his so called precioussss union, that awesome foursome that tellingly only rhymes in a posh English accent. For the same reason he has refused to visit the First Minister at Bute House when he’s on an official visit to Scotland. This is politics as practised by the fragile ego of a narcissist who knows that he’s outclassed. He’d rather allow Scotland to continue to see the contempt that his government has for this country than suffer the indignity of allowing us to see that he recognises that in Scotland there is an alternative source of political power and authority to his own.

The panicked need from the Tories for gesture politics is far too little far too late. It comes after a series of opinion polls published in the press, and doubtless the Conservatives’ own private internal polling, has shown a consistent lead for independence and a massive lead for the SNP in voting intention for next year’s Holyrood elections. Today (Wednesday), a new poll was published from YouGov showing support for independence at 53%. This is the highest showing for independence there has ever been in a YouGov poll, which has typically returned a lower level of support for independence in recent years than other polling companies. Cue a slew of British nationalists on social media pointing out how poor, helpless, and incompetent Scotland is, but they still desperately want to hold on to us.

The poll also shows that support for the SNP in next year’s Holyrood elections stands at a whopping 57%. Translated into seats this would give the SNP 74 seats in the next Scottish Parliament, an absolute majority. Meanwhile Nicola Sturgeon’s approval rating is at +50, up 45 compared to the last YouGov poll, while Boris Johnson’s is at -54, down 16. Ruth Davidson struggles in at +15.

Fieldwork for the poll was carried out last week, while the media was full of SNPbad reports about the SQA results and Scottish social media was full of complaints about the SNP and in particular its leadership, and the need for new list parties. This poll, like the Panelbase polls before it, would appear to suggest that neither the attacks of the British nationalists nor the complaints of sections of the independence movement are cutting through to the wider public.

You might have thought that if the precioussss union really was that precious then the Conservatives would have looked after it better.  The Tories can have their hard Brexit, their centralised Westminster power with its fetish of absolute sovereignty, they can have their unelected “rules and elections are for little people” unaccountable arrogant placepeople like Cummings and Davidson, and they can have the repellent infantile narcissist Johnson in Downing Street. Or they can have a United Kingdom. They can’t have both. They can never have both.

They’ve already picked which one they want. And so has Scotland picked what it wants too. For ages now the frothing right wing Brexity Daily Express and the Mail have been telling everyone that the breakup of the union is imminent. They thought the union they were talking about was the EU, but it was really the UK all along.

You may have heard that there’s a crowdfunded initiative to test the lawfulness of an independence referendum without a Section 30 order. Taking on a legal case of this sort is eye wateringly expensive but it’s a worthwhile cause as it could establish once and for all whether the Scottish Parliament can go ahead with a referendum without the need for a Section 30 order. Or if the case fails and it’s ruled that a Section 30 order is required, it tells us that this so-called union is not a union at all, because Scotland would not be a free member of it which can decide to remain or to leave according to the will of the people of Scotland. That would deprive British nationalists of their claim that Scotland is a voluntary member of a union of nations. Either way, the independence movement ends up with either a legal argument in its favour, or a political argument in its favour, and we would have more clarity than we do just now.

The crowdfunder for the case is halfway to its goal of £155,000. You can help out with a contribution here:
https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/pas30/


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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 only magic of the UK is to make Scotland disappear

If you are somewhere in the big broad world outwith the UK, can you see this? It’s probably best to check since the part time prime minister and full time ego artiste who goes by the stage name Boris Johnson has told us all that people in the rest of the world don’t see Scotland, or the other countries of the UK, they just see one glorious Britain. According to Johnson, that’s the magic of the UK, a magic that he fears losing if Scotland becomes independent. There’s a Conservative PM there, telling the Scottish public that he can make Scotland disappear, like it was a good thing. If you feel something kicking you in the kidney, it’s only the rabbit which is also in the hat he’s consigned us to. It’s one of those union benefits.

The bloviating one was appearing for a photo-op in Essex, because appearing for photo-ops is what passes for leadership in the UK these days. He used the occasion to tell those of us who are unfortunate enough not to be able to dismiss him as an eccentric and authoritarian foreign leader that people in the UK don’t realise how the UK is perceived abroad. You need the lofty heights of Boris Johnson’s immense erudition to realise that you see, something which we lesser mortals will never come close to even if our French accents are far better than Boris Johnson’s strangulation of la belle langue française.

Apparently, people in furren pairts don’t perceive Scotland, England, Wales, or Northern Ireland, they only see one united kingdom, one generous and giving Britain, one fount of goodness admired and loved throughout the globe. Which is the kind of thing that could only be said by someone who has either never lived abroad, or who if they have lived abroad have never learned the language, or if they did learn the language they never listened to anything that anyone told them that didn’t fit in with their preconceived notions about how great the UK is. You know, a person who thinks that they are an expat, and not a immigrant. A person who believes that they are in furren pairts to teach the natives about the benefits of blighty, and who doesn’t think that another country could have anything to teach them.

The remark came shortly after the foreign secretary and steroid rage survivor Dominic Raab opined that the UK would be saved and Scottish independence averted by Boris Johnson’s “optimistic fizz”. Unfortunately the closest to a fizz that Boris Johnson gives the Scottish public is the hangover medication we all require after drinking ourselves into oblivion to forget the fact that we have the toe curling Boris bloody Johnson representing Scotland to the rest of the world.

The truth is that people in furren pairts for the most part don’t distinguish between Britain and England. The two terms are largely interchangeable for them. That’s how Boris Johnson can tell us that people abroad only see Britain, because for him there’s no distinction between Britain and England. But if you’re not English, you are constantly reminded, and constantly having to remind your foreign friends and acquaintances that you are not in fact English.

While travelling in Finland many years ago, I met a German woman who asked where I was from. I told her I was Scottish. “Oh, England,” she replied. “No. Scotland.” I told her. “I think you’ll find that you are in fact English,” she told me. To which I replied, “And I think you’ll find that you are in fact talking shite. I know a lot more about my own national identity than you do.”

For any Scot abroad, this sort of experience is not uncommon. When living in Spain my Spanish friends used to introduce me to others as “Paul, mi amigo escocés-no-le-llames-inglés-porque-le-cabrea.” (Paul, my Scottish-don’t-call-him-English-because-it-pisses-him-off friend.”

Just after moving to Spain, my late husband Andy – who was English – and I had to register as residents at the local town hall. In the nationality box on the form he put inglés, and I put escocés. The official happily accepted Andy’s form, but told me that she couldn’t accept mine because “Scottish isn’t a nationality”. A long debate followed about how if she accepted “English” as a nationality, then she needed to accept “Scottish” too, seeing as how the United Kingdom is only a United Kingdom because the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland came together following the Treaty of Union and created it. Despite this she still wouldn’t accept “Scottish”, and I had to register as británico.  For any Scot who lives abroad, you spend your life educating your new friends and neighbours, workmates and casual acquaintances, that Scotland is in fact a country in its own right.

For most people abroad the terms English and British, or England and Britain, are synonymous.  The most common way of referring to the UK in Spanish is Inglaterra.  In the exact same way during the days of the Soviet Union, people in the rest of the world generally referred to the Soviet Union as Russia, despite the fact that Russia was only one of the fifteen constituent republics that made up the Soviet Union.

Before any British nationalist gets on their high horse, I’m not trying to say that Scotland is treated by the UK in the same way that say, Estonia, was treated by the Soviet Union – with mass deportations, political repression, and a deliberate and concerted attempt to alter the demographics of Estonia with a massive planned inward migration of Russians which aimed to reduce Estonians to a minority in their own country.

The point is that any multinational state like the old Soviet Union or the modern UK, which is dominated by one nation which is larger than all the others combined, will be identified abroad with that numerically and politically dominant nation. That’s exactly what happens abroad with the UK. As far as the rest of the world is concerned, unless they have Scottish (or Welsh) people nipping their ears about it, the UK is the same as England. Despite what Boris Johnson claims, it’s Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland which are made invisible by the UK, not England.  It’s very easy for an English nationalist like him to claim that people abroad only see Britain, when those people abroad use Britain as a synonym for England.

The claim by British nationalists that being a part of the UK allows Scotland to “punch above its weight”, and to attain a global prominence that would otherwise be denied to it, is a lie. Being a part of the UK makes Scotland invisible. It’s that vanishing act which is the real magic of the UK, a nefarious magic that works against Scotland’s interests.

In Europe at least, there has been an increasing realisation over the past few years that Scotland is a different country. That’s because of Brexit. People in the European Union are aware far more than they previously were that Scotland is a distinct nation within the UK, and moreover it’s a nation which is markedly more European in its outlook, its sympathies, and its sensibility than Brexit Britain.


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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