The second wave

Has anyone seen the performance artiste whose stage name is Boris Johnson? He’s been missing in action again, except to complain to his friends – and amazingly he has some – that it’s impossible to make ends meet on a piffling £150,000 annual salary.

There have been reports that as the UK faces a second wave of the virus, Johnson buggered off for a weekend in Perugia where one of his rich Russian pals has a holiday castle. The Italian newspaper La Repubblica, sources at Perugia airport, and other local reports have all confirmed that the Conservative party’s abandoned sofa fire was in the city from Friday September 11 to Monday 14 in order to baptise his son at a castle owned by Yevgeny Lebevev, who entirely coincidentally was given a peerage by Johnson at the same time Don’t Call Me Baroness Davidson got hers. This was while the UK was facing a resurgence in cases of coronavirus and the Brexit talks were on the verge of breaking down completely as the UK Government openly talked about breaking international law.

This episode explains a lot about how Johnson thinks that it’s impossible to make ends meet when you’re only pulling in £150,000 a year. If you have friends who have castles in Italy as holiday houses then a cottage in Applecross just isn’t going to cut it. There’s the Tories there, the voice of the little guy standing up to the elites.

Transport Secretary Grant Three Names Shapps made a curious non-denial denial of the reports that his boss was seen in Perugia airport looking worse for wear as people in the UK were told that they can’t visit their mothers and their grandparents’ diamond wedding celebration has has to be cancelled. “Not that I’m aware of,” said Grant when asked. Which is politician speak for “Yeah the shiftless git probably was, but that’s a whole mess that’s way above my pay grade.”

Downing Street issued a stronger statement saying that the story was “completely untrue” and added that anyone who published the claims was repeating a falsehood. But when the press says that Downing Street issues a statement, what that means is that Dominic Cummings or one of his lackeys has been on the phone, and this is the guy who’d have us believe that the best way to test your eyesight is to drive to Barnard Castle on your wife’s birthday with the kid on the back seat.

So did the habitual liar Boris Johnson bugger off and abandon his responsibilities like he does with every pregnant girlfriend he’s ever had and then lie through his teeth about it when he got found out? Reader, you decide.

Going off for a holiday weekend is not in itself the crime of the century. However there is a very clear pattern of behaviour at the top levels of the British Government and the Conservative party. The rules that they seek to impose on the rest of us are rules that they themselves don’t obey. They preach accountability while placing themselves beyond the little people. So we have the Baroness demanding that the SNP government is held to account while she accepts a seat in the House of Lords and removes herself from the hassle of having to get people to vote for her so that she can ignore her constituency surgeries. We get Tories preaching about how Brexit returns power to the British Parliament while their government ignores parliament, gives ministers powers to act by fiat, and ignores the law.

Last week First Minister Nicola Sturgeon noted that she couldn’t recall the last time she’d spoken directly to Johnson. The Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford complained that the last time he’d had any direct communications with Johnson was in May. Both spoke of their growing frustrations that the UK Government implements decisions in England which have a direct effect on Scotland and Wales without keeping the devolved governments informed. Both complained that they had had no contacts from Johnson about the very real possiblity of a return to lockdown in England due to the recent surge in cases of covid-19. The Scottish First Minister demanded a COBRA meeting in order to tackle the rapidly growing outbreaks of infections. There hasn’t been one for four months.

We now hear that there will finally be a COBRA meeting tomorrow and that Johnson is due to speak to the first ministers of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland today. It is expected that additional restrictions are about to be put in place very soon. Today the First Minister gave another confident and assured performance as she explained to the nation the dangers we face. And this is when the BBC in Scotland wanted to stop broadcasting the First Minister’s daily public health briefings.

The British Government continues its slide into chaotic incoherence. There is growing public distrust in a Conservative Government whose messaging is mixed and confused and which is failing to deliver the basic essentials required to tackle the pandemic effectively. People in England where the Conservatives are in charge are struggling to get access to testing.

A map published by the Time newspaper over the weekend showed a stark contrast in testing between Scotland and Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. People in Scotland who need tests can get them quickly and promptly. People in England are struggling to get tests booked and when they do often find that they must travel a considerable distance. Meanwhile the test and trace app was launched in Scotland a couple of weeks ago and by 20 September it had been downloaded over 1 million times. The English and Welsh test and trace app is not due to be released until 24 September.

When this pandemic crisis first began, it was widely expected by British nationalist commentators and politicians that it represented the end of Scottish hopes for independence. People, they said, would see that Scotland needs the UK in order to face one of the greatest global crises since WW2. Instead the opposite has happened. People in Scotland have seen their own government and institutions rise to the challenge, and have come to regard the British state as a drag on Scottish performance. The UK doesn’t allow us to stand on its shoulders so that we can reach even higher, it holds onto our coat tails and holds us back.

We are now entering a new and dangerous phase of the pandemic. The virus is once again spreading, but now people are tired and don’t have the same willingness to trust in the British government that they did in Spring. People are concerned about their jobs and livelihoods as we face the likelihood that companies which struggled through the first wave will succumb in the second. And all the while we have the cliff edge of Brexit edging ever closer and a Conservative government that is hell bent on ripping up convention and the rule of law itself. There will be panic, there will be demands that we get out of this mess now. But realistically all we can do is to ride out the storm in the knowledge that when calm returns we will be stronger and better placed than ever to take back our independence.  This second wave will end with a Scotland whose settled will is independence.

Support for Scottish independence is only going to grow, but as a nation we are paying a terrible price. As this virus works its dreadful course we can only hold on, continue to campaign digitally, and keep one another safe. The only consolation is that there is light at the end of this tunnel, the light of a better Scotland, an independent Scotland. Then we can take a permanent holiday from Boris Johnson and the British Conservatives.

Update 5.30pm : A couple of hours after this blog post was published, the authorities at Westminster Cathedral confirmed that Johnson was present at the Cathedral for the baptism of his son on 12 September.  So he can’t have been in Perugia. Which only goes to show that if you have made a career out of telling lies and shirking your responsibilities you shouldn’t be surprised when no one believes your denial of a story which was very much in character for you.


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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

British nationalism’s demographic time bomb

hourglass

It’s always instructive to pay close attention to what your opponents are saying. There’s a very interesting article in the Herald today, written by Andy Maciver. He is currently the director of a consulting and lobbying company, but was formerly the Head of Communications for the Scottish Conservatives and remains close to the party. Today he’s written a piece for the Herald in which he pretty much concedes that the game is up for opposition to independence in its traditional form.

The demographics of British nationalism in Scotland are woeful. Amongst the younger age groups, support for independence increases the younger the age group. Amongst 16 to 24 year olds support for independence becomes overwhelming. There is now only one age cohort in Scotland where there is not majority support for independence, the over 55s. And even there polling is picking up a gradual shift from no to yes as people age and move from the younger more pro-independence cohorts and into the older one. Opposition to independence in Scotland is quite literally dying off.

What this means for the current Just Say No strategy of the British Government and the Conservatives is that it is doomed to failure. The longer that the Conservatives manage to fend off a Scottish independence referendum, the more likely it becomes that there will be a yes vote when a democratic event in Scotland finally occurs. The Conservative government in Westminster might be able to say no to a Section 30 order, but they cannot control and suppress all democratic votes in Scotland. Eventually one of those votes will be held and independence parties will use it to seek a direct mandate for independence itself, and then opponents to independence are likely to lose heavily.

The polling expert John Curtiss suggested this week that should the British Government continue to refuse a Section 30 order following the election of a clear majority of pro-indy parties in next year’s Scottish elections, then the next UK General Election in 2024 could become a de facto referendum. Instead of standing on a mandate for a referendum, pro-independence parties could stand seeking a mandate for independence itself, as was the policy of the SNP before the establishment of the Scottish Parliament.

That’s a vote that the Tories can’t prevent from taking place. They can’t boycott it like they could boycott a referendum without a Section 30 order. Neither could they argue that success in a Westminster election didn’t provide a recognisable mandate as they themselves have insisted that constitutional matters are reserved to Westminster. Should a majority of Scotland’s voters back the independence parties, the international community would be prepared to accept this as a genuine democratic expression of Scotland’s desire to become independent if the British Government had previously been seen to block the clear and unarguable democratic demand for a referendum produced by the Scottish election. The British Government would have lost all control over the process.

In a normal year approximately 13500 people die each quarter in Scotland. Those are overwhelmingly in the oldest age cohort. That means that, if conditions were normal, we would expect some 540000 people in Scotland who were able to vote in the first referendum to have passed away by the time of the next UK General Election. These will be people who are predominantly amongst the oldest age cohort and a significant majority of whom would have opposed independence.

However we are not in normal times. We’re currently facing a pandemic which disproportionately affects older people. Any death is a tragedy to be mourned and wept over. Those numbers represent someone’s mother, father, brother, sister. But the sands run through the hourglass of life nevertheless, and cumulatively it has a political effect.

Those who pass away will be replaced on the electoral rolls by a similar (slightly smaller) number of younger people who will be overwhelmingly in support of independence. By 2024 kids who were only eight years old at the time of the first independence referendum will be eligible to vote in UK general elections, and kids who were only six years old at the time of the first referendum will be eligible to vote in Scottish and local elections. At a very rough guesstimate, that would mean that by 2024 approximately 400,000 of 2014’s No voters will have passed away and been replaced by 400,000 Yes voters.

Support for independence is now in the lead not just amongst all age groups except the oldest, it’s also in the lead with women voters, and also amongst those who belong to the better off sections of Scottish society. Both these groups showed a majority against independence in 2014. There has traditionally been a political assumption that the older people get the more conservative with a small c that they become, however that does not necessarily translate into younger Scottish people becoming more likely to oppose independence as they age. Support for independence cuts across all demographics, and crucially there is now also majority support for independence amongst the most affluent social class in Scotland. So there can be no guarantee that younger people who currently support independence will shift to opposition as they get older. Indeed, there’s some reason to believe that they only become more determined to achieve independence and more willing to use the skills and resources they’ve accumulated over a lifetime in order to do so.

Andy Maciver recognises that opposition to independence is facing a demographic collapse. The longer that the Tories succeed in stalling a vote on independence, the more likely it becomes that Scotland will vote for independence when a vote finally happens. And as we know, the Conservatives cannot prevent all democratic events from taking place in Scotland.

That just leaves changing the frame of the argument. Since opponents of independence are now facing a demographic mountain that they cannot surmount, Andy Maciver suggests that instead of simply opposing independence, British nationalists instead present a different argument. He suggests that they should instead seek to offer a comprehensive federalism to Scotland. The problem here is that the Conservatives in London have intensely centralising instincts and have no interest at all in losing part of their power in order to appease the Scots or to benefit the electoral prospects of a Scottish Conservative party which contributes only marginally to Conservative electoral success.

What all this means is that there is a growing awareness among at least parts of the Conservative party that they have only a narrow and rapidly closing window available to them if they want to prevent Scottish independence. They could very well come to the conclusion that their only hope of preventing independence is to agree to a Section 30 order shortly after next year’s Scottish elections so that they could fight their campaign while they still have a chance of winning it. Because the longer they stall, the more likely that independence becomes.


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

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


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

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

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

Six years on

liberalopinion

Today it’s the sixth anniversary of the independence referendum of 2014. We all know what happened on that day, how hopes were dashed and dreams evaporated, but six years later the independence movement is still here, still strong, and still setting the Scottish political agenda. Our hopes and dreams are very much alive. It was far from inevitable that things would turn out that way.

Scotland voted No in 2014 conditionally. A majority of people in this country elected to give the British state the benefit of the doubt. They gave Westminster one last chance to redeem itself, to prove itself, and to follow through on the promises and commitments that Westminster politicians made to Scotland. The pledges of love. The heartfelt pleas not to leave but to lead. The cries that we were needed and wanted. They all proved as hollow as what passes for a soul in the Conservative party. Scotland wasn’t just disappointed by what happened after that No vote, it was traduced, betrayed, and insulted.

We are where we are now because of the historic failure of the British state and British politicians to follow through on the promises and commitments that they made to the people of Scotland in order to win that No vote in 2014. If they had indeed ensured that Scotland’s ties to the European Union were safe, that the Scottish Parliament was inviolable, that devolution was entrenched and strengthened, that we were living in the closest thing possible to a fully federal state, there would still be those of us agitating for independence, but we’d be a small minority lost on the fringes of Scottish politics, has beens who’d never been in the first place. We are where we are now because the British state and the Conservative party in particular has lied, deceived, and trampled on the faith that the people of Scotland entrusted to it.

The Tories are unable and unwilling to grasp their own responsibility for bringing to an end the precioussss union that they profess to love. They could have their hard Brexit, or they could have their precioussss union. They’ve chosen Brexit. The Conservatives have killed the union with their arrogance and their enslavement to the demons of English nationalism. They killed it because they wanted both a union and a unitary state at the same time and in the same place. They killed it because they practised an extreme form of regressive nationalism while at the same time rejecting any notion that they could possibly be nationalists at all. The precioussss was crushed between the contradictions.

Now they are telling Scotland that up is down, that black is white, that undermining devolution is strengthening it, that removing our rights as European citizens is setting us free. Scotland doesn’t believe them. We watch the antics of the Clown Prince of Downing Street with a mixture of disgust, anger, and revulsion. This creature and his minions do not represent us.

We are in a far stronger position now than we were six years ago. Six years ago the challenge was to normalise the idea of independence, to get people in a country where the majority had never considered that Scotland could possibly stand on its own feet that the idea of independence was realistic. The independence movement not only succeeded in normalising the idea of independence, it made independence the single most important question in Scottish politics. The issue of independence is the fulcrum around which all other political considerations revolve. Even the Conservatives are now defined by their stance on the independence issue.

The experience of the pandemic, the greatest crisis that the world has faced since WW2, did not put Scottish independence back into its shortbread tin as British nationalists confidently expected when the gravity of the crisis was first grasped. Instead people in Scotland saw that their own institutions were perfectly capable of rising to the challenge, and have noted that Scotland began to do better once it diverged from the British Government’s guidelines. It has made people realise that Scotland doesn’t need Westminster to protect it from the big bad world, Westminster is holding us back.

As a nation, we have changed from the Scotland we lived in just six years ago. Every single age cohort in Scotland except the oldest now has a majority for yes. Amongst the younger generations belief in independence is overwhelming. The clock is ticking on the UK. We now have the longest period of consistent majorities for independence in opinion polling that we have ever seen. An even larger majority, according to a poll for Businesss for Scotland, expect that Scotland will vote yes the next time that we have a referendum. That means that even a substantial number of no voters accept that Scottish independence is a likelihood.

Public opinion in the rest of the UK is also shifting. As an avid reader of anything related to Scottish independence in the Guardian, the comments below the articles are often far more instructive than the articles themselves. In 2014 despite the best efforts of a doughty band of pro-indy posters, a large majority of the comments from those outwith Scotland expressed outright hostility, anger, and incomprehension at the idea that Scotland should seek independence. Now the tone has changed. The dominant sentiment is “I don’t blame them.” In the space of six years the majority of English liberal opinion has gone from “We love you Scotland. Stay with us. You need us” to “Get out while you can. Save yourselves.”

The scare story tactics of the British nationalists, designed for internal Scottish consumption, have also begun to backfire. For years they’ve told Scotland that it’s an economic basketcase utterly dependent on the goodwill of English taxpayers. But English taxpayers have also been listening and they’re going increasingly resentful of an unhappy Scotland which rejects the Brexit project. A majority of Conservative voters would now cheerfully see the back of Scotland. Together with the shift in English liberal opinion this means that there is no longer the bedrock of support within England for keeping Scotland in the UK that there was in 2014.

Nothing is inevitable in life or in politics, but unless something unforeseen happens Scotland is clearly on a trajectory that only ends in independence. That wasn’t the case in 2014. It’s not going to be an easy path. It won’t be a smooth road. It’s going to require discipline, determination, and a lot of work. But the fact remains that the chances of independence are higher now than they ever were before.

A Scotland which is resolved to seek independence is a very recent developement. Had we pressed ahead with a referendum before now, we could very well have lost and then there would be nothing but grief on this sixth anniversary of a dream that didn’t die. Instead we have our hopes, we have our dreams, and we can see that they are becoming ever more solid and substantial. For all our movement’s internal disputes and arguments about strategy and tactics, the incontrovertible fact is that the independence movement is alive, kicking, and still setting the Scottish political agenda. And more than that, we can see victory ahead.

There’s no podcast today as I was unable to fix a date and time with the person I was hoping to have on this week. There will be a podcast next week, and hopefully the person who I was hoping could be on today can appear in some future episode.


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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

Happy anniversary Mum & Dad

mumanddad

This is a different kind of blog post.  It’s my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary today.  Martha and Tommy Mosson got married on this day in St Maria Goretti’s church in Cranhill in the East End of Glasgow in 1960.  All these years later they’re still very happy together.  Well, as happy as a grumpy auld git like my dad is capable of being.

Originally the family had planned a big celebration for their diamond wedding anniversary.  Unfortunately the pandemic has put paid to that.  We can’t even have a small gathering of close family in the back garden of my parents’ place because there are far more than six of us.

So instead I’d like readers of this blog to wish them all the best and congratulations on their 60th wedding anniversary.

My mum is a huge supporter of independence and has been for years.  My dad is not to so sure.  Being a typical West of Scotland man of his generation, he won’t listen to anything I have to say on the subject – because I’m just his daft boy.  But he will listen to other people.  So as well as wishing them well on their anniversary, I’d also like readers to say how they’d persuade an older relative to support Scottish independence.

The oldest age cohort is now the only one in Scotland where a majority of people still oppose independence.  It’s crucial that we formulate arguments and points which can get through to older people and to help them change their minds.  So what would you say to an older relative that might help to persuade them that Scotland’s future is as an independent nation?  If we manage to get a good selection of comments, this blog post could become a valuable resource for anyone seeking to persuade an older relative of their own to make the journey from no to yes.

In case you’re wondering why my parents’ surname is Mosson and mine is Kavanagh, almost 30 years ago my (now deceased) husband Andy and I had a humanist wedding ceremony which at the time was not legally recognised.  However I did take his surname legally, which together with doing powers of attorney for one another was all that we were legally able to do at the time.  Although Andy passed away in 2014, I’ve kept his surname as it keeps a wee bit of him alive with me.


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

A breakdown of trust

The UK government’s Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Alok Sharma really doesn’t like the idea of explaining his government’s plans to those pesky uppity Scots. He has refused to appear before the Scottish Parliament’s Finance and Constitution committee to explain the impact of the UK Internal Market Bill on the devolution settlement and on Scotland as a whole. The British Government has now told the important Holyrood committee that Alok Sharma won’t be appearing before it this week, next week, or at any time. He’s too busy being an apologist in Westminster for this law breaking disgrace of a bill that trashes the devolution settlement to be able to schlepp to Edinburgh and be an apologist for it there too.

This is the second time in a month that Alok Sharma has run away and hidden from the Holyrood committee. In August the Conservative Business Secretary told the committee convenor Bruce Crawford just thirty minutes before the committee was due to sit to hear from him that he wouldn’t be attending. It’s one thing for the British Government to present its offence of a bill to a supine media, it’s quite another for it to be dissected by MSPs who actually appreciate the impact that it’s going to have.

Now he’s informed the committee that he’s not going to turn up at all, ever. Scotland, you can read about the impact of Tory legislation on your lives in the pages of the right wing press along with everyone else. Don’t dare imagine that your pretendy little parliament can hold the high and mighty British cabinet to account. There’s that respect agenda that we were promised in 2014. How’s it working out for you?

Not even the Conservative Government’s own chief legal officer in Scotland, Lord Keen, can stomach this travesty of an internal market bill. On Wednesday he tendered his resignation saying that he was finding it increasingly difficult to reconcile the bill with the law. Which is a bit like saying that you find it difficult to reconcile a smash and grab raid with a visit to the ATM to withdraw that tenner that your granny sent you for your birthday. But still, better late than never. This is the guy who was happy to plead Johnson’s case during the case about Johnson’s unlawful prorogation of Parliament last year, the internal market bill is too much even for him to stomach. He’s a lot less keen now.

According to a report in the Guardian last week, a leaked UK Government memo showed that the Advocate General believed that UK government ministers would be breaching the ministerial code if they upheld the Internal Market Bill and defied international law. The ministerial code rules that ministers may not break the law in pursuit of their duties. It does not specify UK law or international law, just “the law”. It used to refer specifically to international law, but the code was changed by the Cameron government. The Attorney General Suella Braverman has argued that this means that the ministerial code only applies to breaches of UK law, but in a ruling in 2018 the Court of Appeal found that the removal of an explicit reference to international law did not relieve ministers of an obligation to abide by it. (See here http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2018/1855.html)

No doubt the Conservatives will now have to trawl the Faculty of Advocates for someone without scruples or principles. There’s bound to be a Scottish version of Suella Braverman waiting in the wings, some low grade law hack who will happily do as they’re told for the reward of power and position as they flail about hopelessly out of their depth. That’s how the British state has always worked.

However at the time of writing the Advocate General’s resignation has yet to be accepted. The Tories know that should the chief legal officer of the British Government in Scotland resign because he believes that this Internal Markets Bill breaks the law, then all the twittering excuses and asinine apologias of the Scottish Conservatives become shown up for the lies and deceit that they really are. That’s why they’re desperate to hang on to him. The Forres Gimp’s leadership of the branch office has got off to a grand start hasn’t it. Yet even if Lord Keen does somehow stay in office, reassured by a meaningless blandishment from a government of liars and charlatans, he’s going to look pretty foolish now, his reputation and authority diminished.

Trust between the British and Scottish Governments has now effectively broken down entirely. According to the Scottish Government Constitution Secretary Mike Russell, the relationship – which was already strained – has got significantly worse under the Johnson regime. There have been numerous instances of British Government ministers taking decisions which have an impact on Scotland, but the Scottish Government has only found out about it when it was leaked to a friendly journalist in the right wing British press. This has happened repeatedly, to the extent that we can now be certain that it’s deliberate on the part of the British Government and the Conservative party. In their view, Holyrood exists to do as it is told. They do not regard it as embodying a democratic mandate from the people of Scotland in its own right. It’s subordinate, not an alternative source of authority.

We have a Conservative party in power in Westminster, a party which has never won an election in Scotland since 1955, and even though it has a mere six MPs in Scotland it is embarking upon the greatest change to the devolution settlement since 1997. It is unilaterally diminishing the powers of the Scottish Parliament, and giving Conservative ministers the right to intervene on devolved matters. It is doing so entirely without the consent of the Scottish Parliament.

And what is the response of the majority of the Scottish media to this democratic outrage? We get reporters on Reporting Scotchlandshire wittering on about food standards as though this was mere minor tinkering with abstruse regulations which the majority of us need not worry our little heads about. We get British nationalists insisting that it’s all manufactured grievance even as their own Advocate General tenders his resignation because he cannot justify the unlawful acts that this Tory Government is hell bent on committing. We get a BBC that caves in to the manufactured grievances of British nationalist politicians who demand that the Scottish people be deprived of vital public health information because they’re afraid that it’s making people more confident in the abilities of the Scottish Government.

Meanwhile the possibility of a no deal Brexit at the end of the transitional period grows daily. The UK is going to get rinsed. All trust between Holyrood and Westminster has disappeared due to the bad faith and deceit of the Conservatives. What the Conservatives don’t appreciate, or what they choose to ignore, is that where there is no trust there is no belief, and they want Scotland to believe in their precioussss union. And all this as British nationalism in Scotland is facing a demographic time bomb as younger generations in Scotland overwhelmingly support independence and we are experiencing the longest period of consistent support for independence that Scotland has ever seen. It’s only going to grow. We are living in the end days of British rule in Scotland.


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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

Poxy Brexit passport

brexitpassport

Today my replacement passport arrived in the post. It no longer says that the bearer is a European citizen. It no longer grants the right to live and work freely in 28 countries. It’s the passport of a rogue state that breaks international law and rips up treaties that it signed just a few months before. It’s the passport of a state that tells its citizens that they can’t meet up in groups of more than six, except if they’re rich enough to indulge in the ritual murder of wildfowl on the grouse moors. It’s a badge of shame and bad faith. It’s a sign that the bearer comes from a pariah state that can’t be trusted to keep its word. But hey, it’s blue!

This point has been made before on the pages of this blog, but it’s well worth repeating. Getting a poxy Brexit passport is not a matter of choice for anyone who lives in Scotland. All of us who apply for a UK passport are getting one foisted upon us whether we want it or not. All of us will suffer the loss of rights and freedoms that it represents whether we want it or not. All of us are having our European citizenship stripped from us whether we want it or not. Simon Pegg’s ‘Scottish’ accent in the Star Trek movies has greater freedom of movement than we do.

This is not remotely comparable to the situation that will prevail in a post-independence Scotland. People who live in Scotland who are currently British citizens will still retain the right to a British passport unless the British government decides otherwise. It won’t be a decision made for everyone in Scotland by those of us who campaign for independence, if it happens it will be as a result of a Westminster Parliament and a UK government lashing out in spite. If the UK – or whatever it decides to call itself once Scotland has removed itself from the malign influence of Johnson and his cronies – does not change its citizenship laws following Scottish independence, everyone in Scotland who is currently a British citizen will still retain the right to British citizenship when Scotland is independent. Scotland will most assuredly grant them the exact same rights within Scotland as those of us who take up citizenship of the newly re-established Scottish state. But removing EU citizenship and EU passports from all of us is a decision made for us all by those who campaigned to take the UK out of the EU.

Meanwhile the Scottish Tories’ very own Forres Gimp, DRoss the MP for Moray, is quite content that he and his equally spineless colleagues concede to the UK government’s internal market bill, which rips up international law and which treats the devolution settlement like wild fowl on a grouse moor. The bill is being opposed not only by the SNP, Labour, and the Lib Dems, it’s also opposed by a range of interest groups. The bill represents a direct assault on the devolution settlement, and goes far beyond its proclaimed aim of ensuring that goods produced in one part of the UK will be allowed to be sold everywhere else. It also grants UK Government ministers the right to intervene and to spend money in devolved areas and as such represents an inversion of the original understanding of devolution – that all areas of government which are not explicitly reserved to Westminster are to be considered devolved.

Clause 32 of this bill gives the British Goverment the power to refer any legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament to a UK Government department. Clause 46 of this bill gives the British Government powers over health, education, and justice within Scotland, despite the fact that these are devolved. Once enacted into law this bill gives the British Government, Conservative ministers, the power to overrule the Scottish Parliament on devolved issues. And yet Conservative MPs like Andrew Bowie go on the BBC and other news outlets and barefacedly assert that this bill doesn’t represent a power grab.

“Scotland’s getting extra powers,” the Tories assert. What’s really happening here is that devolved powers which were previously exercised by Brussels are being repatriated. According to the original devolution settlement all these powers were Scotland’s but were loaned to the EU. Now the British Government has decided unilaterally that it will keep some of these powers for itself, but will permit Scotland to receive some of them back. It’s as though Scotland had money in a trustee bank account. The UK allowing Scotland to get some of it but is keeping the rest for itself. And then they say – why are you complaining you’re getting extra, while they spend Scotland’s money on themselves. If you have £100 in a trustee account, and someone steals £40 of it but allows you to access the remaining £60, you’re not getting extra. You’re still being robbed.

But this internal markets bill goes even further than that, because now the UK Government has given itself the right to decide how some devolved powers will be exercised. This bill gives UK Government ministers the right to spend directly in Scotland on health, education, transport, or other areas, overruling the Scottish Government ministers with responsibility for those areas. Then Westminster will stick that money onto the expenditure column of the GERS figures and tell Scotland that it’s too poor to become independence. It’s a mechanism designed explicitly to by-pass devolution and the Scottish Government.

No one in Scotland asked for this bill. There is no democratic mandate in Scotland for such a fundamental rewriting of a Scottish devolution settlement which was directly legitimised in the 1997 referendum and indirectly in the 2014 referendum during which the Conservatives and the other anti-independence parties promised to strengthen and entrench devolution. Moreover they assured Scotland that no changes would ever be made to the powers of Holyrood without the express consent of the Scottish Parliament. The Tories constantly harp on about respecting the results of referendums, but that only applies to those referendums that they won, and it certainly doesn’t apply to respecting the promises and commitments that they made in order to win them.

All this is symbolised by a poxy Brexit passport. It’s a badge of shame, a passport to disgrace. It’s a passport with no page for Scotland.  Scotland’s patience has run out.   It’s time to get out of here.


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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

A useless bit of rubbish passed off as an heirloom

So there you are, watching BBC1 and clutching a Battle of Britain commemorative mug in a living room bedecked with union flags and red white and blue bunting and all ready to break into a rousing chorus of There’ll Be Red White and Blue Birds Over the White Cliffs of Dover in order to show everyone how much you despise nationalism. Because as those young pilots fought and died in the skies above the south of England eighty years ago, they were doing it so that in future years a team of estate agents from Leighton Buzzard would be able to buy broken down auld tat in the hope it could be sold for a profit on a telly show. That’ll show those vile separatists. That was the scene in Jackie Baillie’s house today as she prepared to settle down in front of the BBC and its repeat of Bargain Hunt’s Battle of Britain special.

It would also have been the scene in George Foulke’s home, but he slept all the way through it. Still, buying a broken clock for a hundred quid and losing seventy on it just shows how we’re all Better Together with Labour and the Tories, doesn’t it. Isn’t it lucky that you’re only susceptible to the coronavirus if you live in England and you don’t watch Bargain Hunt. George isn’t susceptible to any perceptible sense of shame.

But wait. Did you hear that wailing noise? That was Murdo Fraser howling as he penned an angry letter to the Director General of the BBC’s Scottish colonial office. Because they showed the First Minister anyway. George Foulkes will do the same once he wakes up, which may be about Thursday. Jackie won’t do it, not after she deleted the evidence of her representations to the BBC from her Twitter feed and denied any involvement.

However the fact that the Scottish government briefing was shown on Monday as before isn’t because the BBC has changed their minds and bowed to public pressure. The BBC doesn’t bow to public pressure. It only bows to pressure from British nationalist politicians who are panicking about how to save their precioussss union. Normal Bargain Hunting service will be resumed as of Tuesday. It’s going to save the Union. The red team and the blue team competing with one another to sell broken rubbish that’s unfit for purpose to an unsuspecting public for personal profit is as close to a metaphor for the UK as you’re likely to get.

The British nationalists are seriously worried. Support for independence has only grown during a pandemic which when it started was confidently predicted to spell the end for any hopes for Scottish independence. There is considerably greater public trust in the Scottish Government than there is in the British Government. Crucially there appears to be greater compliance with lockdown measures in Scotland than in England, and this seems to be because of the clarity of messaging from Nicola Sturgeon during her daily briefings. Labour and the Conservatives are prepared to risk that, to create greater confusion about the public health guidelines, because they are more worried about the political effects than they are about people dying. That is beyond shameless.

What makes it even worse is that a craven BBC has caved in to them. In the process the BBC is showing Scotland that it sees itself as being the voice of the British state in Scotland, and now a public service broadcaster which exists to serve that public which is required to pay a licence fee. No wonder people in Scotland are switching off in their thousands and refusing to pay a licence fee which is spent on the production of British propaganda which is contrary to their own interests.

Over this weekend we’ve seen yet another opinion poll showing record support for independence. The poll from Survation putting support for independence on 53% is the highest from that company, and is the seventh publicly published poll in a row which puts support for independence in the majority. There are reports of unpublished polls for the British Government which have put support for independence in the mid to high 50s. No wonder they are panicking.

However the British nationalists and their pals in BBC management have decided that the best way to tackle this rise in support for independence is not to get their own act together and improve the messaging of the British government about the epidemic. No, their solution is to create confusion in Scotland too. It’s to deprive people in Scotland, especially elderly people who may not be confident about getting their information from the internet, from seeing regular briefings from the Scottish Government which explain clearly and plainly exactly what public health measures are required and what is expected of the public. It’s difficult to think of a clearer illustration of how the British state and British nationalism is prepared to damage the health and well being of Scotland in order to protect their supremacy. And these are the people who tell Scotland that we need them in order to be kept safe and secure. It’s a cruel and callous lie.

The BBC is once again showing that it is the propaganda arm of the British state. It’s an organisation which is institutionally incapable of dealing with a Scotland where a majority of the population support independence. The BBC is an organisation which has defending Britishness written into its very charter. That comes before its duty to act as a public service, because the BBC has defined its public as a British one. We’re seeing here yet another example of how the BBC acts in the interests of British nationalism, a nationalism which it is incapable of recognising as a form of nationalism at all. We saw plenty of this sort of thing during the referendum of 2014, and we’re going to see a lot more of it to come as public opinion in Scotland slips even further out of the grasp of Westminster.

However this time the BBC has gone too far. It has blatantly prioritised the political concerns of British nationalists over Scottish public health. It is utterly inconceivable that a Scottish public broadcaster in an independent Scotland would have prioritised political representations over what is good for public health. In so doing the biggest health damage that the BBC has created is the damage to what’s left of public trust in the state broadcaster. They have only succeeding in alienating a further swathe of Scottish public opinion. The BBC itself has joined that broken clock and that warped wooden shelving unit as yet another piece of useless rubbish on Bargain Hunt that we’re being sold as valuable heirlooms.


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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

Dugcast fae the dughoose : with Andrew Tickell again

 

This week I’m joined again by the legal commentator and academic Andrew Tickell. We chat about the UK govt’s decision to break international law and what this means. We also discuss the definition of sovereignty and who is really sovereign in law in Scotland – the people of Scotland or the Westminster parliament. And we also chat about the crowdfunded legal case which hopes to bring clarity to the question of whether the Scottish parliament can hold an independence referendum without a Section 30 order and Andrew’s fears that this case may well end up not giving any clear answer at all.

If the embedding doesn’t work for you, you can access the podcast at the following link : https://soundcloud.com/user-291670852/dugcast-11-09-2020-with-andrew-tickell-2

I won’t be posting anything to the blog this weekend as it’s my birthday and I want a couple of days off!  Normal ranty service will be resumed on Monday.


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

Creating expectations

The lack of performance artiste who goes by the stage name Boris Johnson has faced three big challenges since he became Prime Minister. To deliver that oven ready Brexit deal that he promised during last year’s General Election, to deal with the coronavirus epidemic, and to placate an angry and restless Scotland. He has utterly failed on all of them.

The pandemic has left the UK with the highest death toll in Europe and the worst affected economy. Johnson is now trying to get the public to accept that they can only hang out with six friends at once when he’s spent the last month telling them they absolutely have to get onto crowded commuter trains and buses and back into open plan offices so that they can buy Pret a Manger sandwiches or the country will die. So remember, if you’re in England don’t meet up in groups of six, unless you’re in Pret a Manger. The police in England will now have the power to break up gatherings of more than six parties, and especially dangerous parties. It would be great if that included the Conservative party.

The oven ready Brexit deal has turned out to be a lie, colour us surprised. The UK is now going where even Margaret Thatcher didn’t dare tread – ripping up an international treaty and showing itself to be an untrustworthy partner at the very point where the UK is desperately in need of allies and goodwill abroad. In 1975 Thatcher said, “In the same way that government and individuals should be bound by law so countries should be bound by treaties. Britain does not renounce treaties. Indeed, to do so would damage our own integrity as well as international relations.” Well, yeah. The UK is now on the brink of a no deal Brexit will will be a disaster for jobs and which will be a body blow to an economy which is already reeling under the effects of the pandemic. Additionally, the EU may seek to impose sanctions on the UK for its breach of international law. When you act like a pariah state, you’ll be treated like a pariah state.

Far from reconciling Scotland to Brexit, Johnson’s government have at every turn thrown fuel on the fire, enraging Scottish public opinion even further. The Conservatives have set out not merely to undermine the devolution settlement, but to destroy its very foundations. This is a party which constantly harps on about the importance of respecting the outcome of referendums, but which has not got the slightest hesitation in overturning the result of the 1997 devolution referendum, which was reinforced by the promises of the Better Together parties in the 2014 referendum.

Devolution became the settled will of the people of Scotland following the long bleak years of the Thatcher and Major era. It was seen as a means by which Scotland could provide itself with a modicum of protection from the worst excesses of Conservative rule. We can now see that devolution cannot protect Scotland from a Conservative government which is prepared to ignore the rules, even to ignore the law. The Tories will destroy everything in their hell bent pursuit of a fantasy Brexit based upon a nostalgia for a British Empire which is – deservedly – long gone.

The devolution referendum of 1997 was a fait accompli. When it took place there was little doubt that Scotland was going to vote yes. We are not yet at that point with an independence referendum. If an independence referendum was held this week it would be closely fought and there would be considerably uncertainty about the result until the votes were actually counted. In 1997 there was massive public anger in Scotland about the way that this country had been treated by Conservative governments, and a determination that a political solution needed to be found.   Scotland was in no mood to take no for an answer.  This public determination and anger in Scotland was enough to overcome the deep seated reluctance of Tony Blair and the Labour party.

We’re going to need an even greater public determination and anger in order to secure Scotland’s independence. Despite those who demand immediate action, that widespread public anger and determination is not quite there yet. I really wish it was, but we have to deal with the realities of this country and not the Scotland of our hopes and dreams. We’re building a new house for Scotland here, and we need to build it from the foundations up. We can’t rush into putting on the roof before we’ve built the supporting structure.

For the past few months, on every single article on this blog, no matter what the topic, someone pops up to state – as though it were an established fact – that Boris Johnson will never consent to a Section 30 order. Firstly, it’s not a fact. Moreover those who make the assertion appear to have a far greater confidence in the ability of the Conservatives to resist Scotland than the Conservatives do themselves. We’ve only had consistent majorities for yes in polls for a few months yet already we can see the cracks appearing in the Conservatives’ resolve.

However tactically, campaigning on the basis that a Section 30 order will be refused weakens us in the longer term.  Getting a Section 30 order is a matter of process. The key to independence however is strategy. The strategy is to gradually ratchet up the pressure on the Johnson administration. What really matters is not so much the response of Johnson to a demand for a Section 30 order, the important thing is the response of public opinion in Scotland to his refusal. The response of Scottish public opinion is also far more important than the response of Nicola Sturgeon, because it’s the first which will dictate the second. The Scottish Government can only respond strongly and decisively if it knows that it has the support of majority public opinion to embark upon alternative steps.

As supporters of independence we believe in the sovereignty of the people of Scotland. It’s for us, the people of Scotland, to decide if and when we want an independence referendum. All of us who believe in independence can agree on that point. Therefore we cannot, we must not, concede that Johnson has any right at all to tell the people of Scotland that we cannot have the referendum of our choosing. Yet when we bewail that he will never agree to a Section 30 order, that’s precisely what we’re doing. And that in turn sets up an expectation among the people of Scotland that Westminster has the right to refuse us. In so doing we undermine the public anger and determination that we require in order to take the next step – to challenge Johnson in some other way – because we have already set up an expectation of failure.

There are several routes to independence besides a referendum following a Section 30 order. However key to the success of all of them is that they must have the clear and explicit support of a majority of the people of Scotland. We may now have consistent majorities for yes in polls, but we cannot yet be certain that there is consistent majority support for routes to independence other than a referendum agreed in advance with Westminster. In order to ensure that we take majority public opinion with us, we cannot leapfrog steps, no matter how desperate we are to escape this Tory Brexit nightmare.

We are not there yet. If we lived in a Scotland where we had a representative media which truly reflected the political opinions of Scotland, we’d be independent already. If the Scottish Government was to press ahead right now, it would be slaughtered in the press. Any increase in deaths from the virus would be blamed on the “reckless and irresponsible” independence movement and the SNP. You can’t sell the vision of a better Scotland to the public when you’re being blamed for killing people.

A successful independence strategy must be based in the realities of the Scotland we actually live in, not the Scotland we hope to live in. There are many of us who now support independence, but this is a cautious nation. We have to construct a strategy that will enjoy broad national support, not one which appeals only to those of us who have been convinced of the need for independence for years.

For my own part, I do not believe that Johnson will easily agree to a Section 30 order. The British state is not going to make this easy for us. However if we cannot take majority public opinion with us at every step of the way, we will lose. We will only win our independence with a mass national campaign. You can’t have a mass campaign without the masses.  We have the additional issue of building that mass campaign in a country where the mass media is overwhelmingly against us.

We cannot, we must not, concede that Johnson has any right at all to refuse a demand for a Section 30 order following the election of a majority of pro-independence MSPs standing on a platform for another referendum. Above all, this is a battle for public opinion. We need to ensure that people in Scotland are angered, infuriated, and made more determined if and when Johnson refuses a demand for a Section 30 order following a victory for pro-independence parties in a Scottish election where the issue of another referendum was key. We’re only making that harder for ourselves when we set up an expectation of failure. We’re going to need all the anger and determination that we can muster if an alternative is to succeed.   The first step to winning is to refuse to concede that you can lose.


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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

In a specific and limited way

On Tuesday, something remarkable happened. Brandon Lewis, a British Government minister, stood up in the House of Commons and announced that the Johnson administration which blights us all is preparing to break the law “in a specific and limited way”.

You try that the next time a polis stops you for speeding. “Sorry officer, but I was only breaking the law in a very specific and limited way.” After all it’s not like you speed every single time you get behind the wheel of a car, you only did it on this occasion because you were desperate to get home before the chlorinated chickens came home to roost.

Or we could have murderers arguing that because they only offed that one annoying prick in an Audi who had nicked their parking space in the Aldi carpark then ate their liver with a bottle of cheap chianti that they were only breaking the law in a very specific and limited way. I mean you kill and consume just one annoying Audi driver and all of a sudden you get called a murdering cannibal, like you’re Jeffrey Dahmer or something. This however, is the British Government’s defence.

The Attorney General, who’s the top legal voice in the Government should resign. Or at least she should resign if she had the slightest trace of integrity left. But since we’re talking about Suella Braverman here, we already know that she is to integrity as Orville the Duck is to cage fighting. However Suella Braverman and her counterpart in the Lords Robert Buckland have sworn to uphold the law, and now they are the chief legal representatives of a government which has just asserted that the law doesn’t apply to it. They’re either hypocrites, or they are superfluous to purposes, or both. But they’ll keep quiet and keep their jobs.

The professional code for barristers in England makes it clear that if a barrister advises a client that a certain act is unlawful, but their client insists that they’re going to do it anyway in demands that the barrister defend the behaviour, the barrister should not continue to represent that client. The barrister should resign from representing a client who breaks the law in clear defiance of the barrister’s advice. As a senior barrister of many years’ standing the Lord Chancellor Robert Buckman must know this. Likewise Lord Keen, the Advocate General and the UK goverment’s most senior legal advisor in Scotland, hasn’t resigned. Similar conditions apply in the ministerial code which binds all government ministers. You don’t break the law. Breaking the law is a resignation matter. Alternatively, if you’re one of the most senior lawyers or a minister in this Conservative government, you know that breaking the law is just fine and dandy. What’s important is the ability to get away with it.

Surely if the UK was perfectly fine with breaking international law, then it didn’t have any need to leave the EU in the first place. All those laws about the permitted curvature of bananas from all those unelected bureaucrats who get up the noses of Tory Brexiteers along with the cocaine could just have been ignored. Instead we’ve had four years of Brexmess, and now at the very point in time when the UK needs friends and allies the most, the British government has decided to trash what is left of any residual goodwill that the UK might still have left.

This is a government which doesn’t hesitate to break the law. Laws are for little people. It is after all a government led by an Etonian who was a member of the Bullingdon Club for over privileged tossers at Oxford University, one of whose rituals is to trash the restaurants where they book their regular dinners. It’s illegal to commit criminal damage. At least it is for the rest of us. The habits of youth are the habits that Johnson continues in public life. He unlawfully prorogued Parliament and lied to the Head of State. His senior advisor broke lockdown regulations with the risible excuse that he had childcare needs and then that he had to drive to test his eyesight. And now he’s destroying the devolution settlement and the Good Friday Agreement.

When a government breaks the law it breaks the very thing that it uses to govern. It tells the public that laws can be broken. It means that the signal is given from the very top that justice and law do not apply. All that matters is the power of the state. That’s the road to autarky. It’s how democracy dies. That’s what this Government’s internal market bill represents.

As well as trashing international law with regard to Northern Ireland, this is a bill which also unilaterally undermines the devolution settlements of Scotland and Wales. It contains a provision for an unelected committee of Conservative placepersons who will decide whether legislation in Scotland and Wales is aligned with the UK internal market. That unelected committee will have the power to strike down laws passed by the democratically elected parliaments of Scotland and Wales.

Here in Scotland, Baroness Davidson’s sock puppet DRoss has embarked on an attack on the SNP who in his estimation are to blame for the no-deal Brexit that is rapidly approaching. It would be nice to say that we’ve reached the nadir of SNPBad here, but since this is the Tories we’re talking about, problably not. According to DRoss it’s all the fault of the SNP that the EU isn’t rolling over and agreeing to the UK’s impossible and mutually contradictory demands. Which if true can only mean that the SNP weilds huge influence in EU circles who are willing to obey their every demand. So rejoining the EU ought to be really simple for an independent Scotland then, shouldn’t it DRoss. He needs to be reminded of his own logic next time he claims, as he most assuredly will, that Scotland won’t be able to get back into the EU. His idiotic claims might have some traction with his dwindling band of followers, but they will not have any purchase in the rest of Scotland which knows full well that the SNP have consistently opposed Brexit and the fault for the current disaster lies fully with DRoss’s party.

Meanwhile there are persistent rumours that Boris Johnson is planning to stand down as Prime Minister. He’s made a huge mess, he’s taken the UK to the brink of disaster and there’s no apparent way out of it. Reports have been circulating that Johnson will resign citing ill health as the reason. It wouldn’t be the first time that he’s walked out on his responsibilities after nine months. His legacy will be that he’s created the conditions for a Scotland which is ready to walk out of the UK and ready to embark upon the building of a better Scotland – in very specific and unlimited ways.


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