There’s no podcast today because I got mixed up about dates and thought that last night I was supposed to be doing a Zoom conference with a local SNP group in the Lothians. However that’s not until the end of this month. Oops. Still, at least I haven’t missed it! Anyway, next week, all going well, there should be a very special guest on the podcast who I am sure that you will enjoy hearing from.
I don’t really want to harp on about Margaret Ferrier. What she did was unconscionable and cannot be defended at all. She really should resign. Even if we accept her excuse that it was a mistake, there are no excuses for such grossly stupid behaviour. It is however noticeable that there are plenty of voices from the yes side who are saying today that the Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP should resign. When Dominic Cummings did the same thing the Conservatives were noticeable only by their absence and silence. When Charles Windsor did the same thing the entire British establishment was noticeable only by its absence and silence.
Meanwhile it’s also in the news today that Donald Trump has tested positive for coronavirus. He refuses to wear a mask, he has no concern for anyone around him. When events like this occur it’s traditional to say that you don’t wish ill on any human being. But Trump pushes the limits of that tolerance past breaking point. Still, it does prove that he is actually a human being after all – and that news comes as a surprise to most of us who thought that he was the incarnation of one of the lesser demons of Mammon.
A couple of days ago there was a very interesting editorial in the Guardian newspaper, which seems to have been the only English based daily which has noticed that the UK Government’s Internal Market Bill represents a direct assault on the devolution settlement for Scotland and Wales. The proposal from the Tories that the UK can merrily trash international law has sucked up all the outrage oxygen south of the border. The link to the piece is here https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/30/the-guardian-view-on-johnson-and-devolution-another-reckless-gamble
Despite being in a newspaper which prides itself on being the voice of liberal opinion in the UK, some of the language used in the editorial could have come straight out of the Daily Mail. Those of us who support Scottish independence are “enemies of the Union”. People who support a Scottish state are “nationalists”, those who support a British state are “unionists”. This bill, intones the Guardian, “is too easily portrayed as a Westminster power grab”. Which is a bit like saying that deliberately running down a pedestrian on a zebra crossing is too easily portrayed as a driving offence. It “abets nationalists” it says, as though campaigning for Scottish independence was a morally reprehensible offence and as though the British Government was not itself the embodiment of a far less tolerant and far more xenophobic nationalism.
The piece goes on to say that “nationalists were always going to cry foul”, diminishing and trivialising the concerns of a Scotland that doesn’t get a tiny fraction of the respect that it was so solemnly promised in 2014 by that British establishment which the Guardian is so keen to defend. The pro-indy parties in Scotland were opposed to Brexit. They have every right to cry foul when the British Government uses Brexit as an excuse to unilaterally undermine the devolution settlement without any pretence of seeking the consent of the devolved parliaments.
What was missing was any attempt to make a case for the UK. The Guardian would appear to have no opinion on why Scotland, or Wales or Northern Ireland for that matter, should continue to be dominated and have major decisions made for them by a polity which so obviously has no interest in taking their needs into account and which equally obviously refuses to pay the slightest heed to their concerns. It’s all very well as some apologists for the British state do to say that Scotland should throw away “300 years of shared history” because of Boris Johnson – who is just one man. But the point here is that the UK is a political construct which allows a man like Boris Johnson to gain almost absolute power in a deeply flawed electoral system where he doesn’t even need to gain a majority votes, and then puts very few checks and balances on his exercise of that power.
So far so typical of what we’ve come to expect from a metropolitan commentariat which is determined to tell the people of Scotland what they think that we ought to think rather than trying to understand why we feel the way that we do. Because if they were actually to listen it would mean hearing some uncomfortable truths about the nature of Britishness. It would mean having to confront their own nationalism when they are deep in denial about its existence.
However what is really interesting about the editorial is not the patronising way in which the British liberal establishment deals with the desire for Scottish independence and the sclerotic demise of the British state. That’s all predictable enough. What’s really interesting are the comments left by readers.
Back in 2014 there was a small band of doughty indy supporters who faced up to a barrage of criticism and attacks in the comments section of the Guardian. However now the tone below the line has changed utterly. Most comments are either supportive of Scottish independence, or if they are not outright in favour of it they at least express an understanding and sympathy which is notably absent from the newspaper’s official line. The dominant mood is an acceptance that the UK as a political construct has had its day, and the end is fast approaching.
There are of course a few Better Together hangouts from 2014, tediously trotting out the same too wee too poor, you’ll be nothing without us arguments that prevailed back then in what now seems such a politically distant age. But where these voices were once dominant and set the tone, now they are isolated and friendless lost in the wilderness demanding that everyone listens to how special the UK is while the majority scoff at their lack of self-awareness Which is entirely appropriate because now they have become the perfect metaphor for post Brexit Britain.
There has been a sea change in opinion since 2014. When there becomes a dominant expectation in the UK that we are reaching the end, there will not be as much enthusiasm or support in the rest of the UK for a campaign to oppose Scottish independence. That’s not to say that there will be no Better Together MkII, of course there will, but it does mean that it’s hollowed out from within and lacking popular support in England. The only people who can’t see that it’s doomed are its own dwindling band of supporters.
The purpose of this blog is to make a positive case for independence, to attack the pretensions of British nationalism, and to formulate arguments which will help to persuade no voters, undecideds, and soft yes voters to support independence. It’s also to boost the morale of those of us who are already involved in this campaign. I do not provide this platform to allow people to attack others in the movement with whom they disagree. Other people might choose to use their platforms to do so, I don’t.
So if you want to share your favourite conspiracy theories about Nicola Sturgeon or anyone else in this movement – you can go elsewhere. I am past caring whether you think that this means you are being censored. You have no absolute right to use this blog and you most certainly don’t have the right to abuse my hospitality by insulting me personally.
You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Please log into Paypal.com and send a payment to the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. Or alternatively click the donate button. If you don’t have a Paypal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the 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 email@example.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.
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.
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 –
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 email@example.com