GB News victimhood seeking and the EU

Whenever you see that Neil Oliver is trending on social media it’s like getting a phone call at two o’clock in the morning. You might not know what it is exactly, but you already know that it’s going to be nothing good. On Friday the bold Neil was all over Twitter, trying to stir up something to allow him to feel victimised before the start of his new show on the British version of Fox News. GB News, headed by that other full of himself Neil, the Andrew one, has been launched because, not satisfied with their possession of the majority of the print media, right wing Brexit supporting and anti-lockdown controversialists needed yet another platform from which to megaphone at us all about how terrible it is that they’re being silenced.

This time Unionism’s favourite walking advert for hair care products and dodgy takes on history was opining about how lockdown was the biggest mistake in the history of the world. Yes, worse than the Bengal and Irish famines, worse than the Holocaust, worse than the imperial dick waving that led to the First World War and the deaths of millions, worse than the Armenian Genocide, worse than the massacres of Native Americans and indigenous Australians, worse than the Holodomor and the gulags, worse than the Atlantic slave trade, worse than centuries of religious war and hatred, worse than colonialism and the Opium Wars, worse than China’s Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. They are all but trifles compared to the suffering endured by poor Neil and Lawrence Fox because lockdown meant that they couldn’t go to the pub and couldn’t push a shopping trolley around Sainsbury’s without having to wear a facemask. They’re the real victims here, well, them and Tim Wetherspoons.

These are the kinds of truths we’d be missing out on without GB news and its tousle haired presenter. Who needs public health experts when you have “archeologist, television presenter and man guaranteed to make a million supporters of Scottish independence scoff simultaneously in derision” Neil Oliver? Personally I have a feeling that giving Neil Oliver a platform may be the biggest single mistake in world history, and while I am no historian, I suspect I may not be alone in that assessment. Neil’s expertise begins and ends with him asking the director to tell the camera operator to do the shot of him standing on a rock and looking windswept and interesting as his hair tousles in the breeze.

Meanwhile Gordon Brown, that other well known opponent of Scottish independence, and avid attention seeker has also been making his own desperate bid for relevance this week. Gordie told people in England that he won’t give up the campaign to get back into the EU, although he’s pretty determined to stop the campaign to rejoin the EU which has the best chance of success. Gordie’s declaration was met with enthusiastic approval from pro-EU campaigner in England who don’t have the same experience as people in Scotland do of hearing Gordie make promises about things that he thinks people want to hear and then buggering off when it comes to doing anything about it.

The uncomfortable truth for Gordie is that there is only one realistic and credible campaign to rejoin the EU anywhere in the UK and that’s a campaign that Gordie is implacably opposed to, to the extent of roping in members of the royal family to provide a touch of glamour that the shambling Gordie could never supply. This is of course the campaign for Scottish independence. It’s realistic in that Scotland is the only country in the UK where there is a large and substantial majority who are opposed to Brexit (greater even than the anti-Brexit majority in Northern Ireland). It’s also realistic because despite the fantasies of British nationalists who want to convince themselves that Spain would veto a Scottish application to join the EU, a claim that has been debunked more often than a Vow from Gordon Brown, the EU would welcome an application for membership from a Scotland which has consistently shown itself to be in tune with EU values and goals. On the other hand the EU would regard an application from the UK to rejoin with considerable distrust and suspicion. The UK spent its entire period of time as an EU member as a fully paid up member of the awkward squad, constantly demanding special treatment and privileges. Very like the complaints of a GB News presenter about lockdown, come to think of it.

Before considering an application to rejoin from the UK, the EU would want to know that the UK was going to be a constructive and cooperative partner, all the more so because the UK’s obstructionism and disregard for agreements reached during the Brexit negotiations mean that Westminster has burned through what little sympathy and patience that EU members had left.

At a very minimum the EU is going to want to know that the UK isn’t going to drag it through Brexit MK II shortly after rejoining, all the more so because it is highly unlikely that the EU would agree to the special treatment and opt-outs the UK enjoyed the first time round.

As a very minimum the EU will want assurances that there is a substantial and significant majority of UK voters in favour of membership – much as currently exists in Scotland. 52% vs 48% just isn’t going to cut it. Considering the lamentable state of the media in the UK, that’s going to be an uphill struggle, one which is just about to get even more difficult with the imminent launch of the right wing pro-Brexit and avowedly British nationalist GB News, which will no doubt pump out a diet of victimhood seeking exceptionalism, telling its listeners that the UK is the victim of those vile Europeans.

If you do want to get back into the EU and have your rights as a European citizen restored, the quickest and most reliable way of doing so by far is to campaign for Scottish independence. Gordon Brown’s claims of campaigning to get the entire UK back into the EU have as much credibility as his Vow.

NEW MODERATION POLICY

In the wake of recent events I am determined that this site will not become a home for bigots and conspiracy theorists. They will not be welcome here. Moderation is the most stressful part of running a blog, but this site is going to continue to make the positive case for independence. With this in mind as of today a new moderation policy is in force.

Anyone who attempts to use this site to post hatred, bigotry, or conspiracy theories will be banned. If you attempt to insult and abuse anyone you will be banned. This site has a zero-toleration policy for homophobia, transphobia, racism, and misogyny. Failure to respect this will result in a ban.

If you intend to spend the next four years undermining the SNP, the Scottish Government and the pro-independence parties that the great majority of independence supporters voted for, you can do so somewhere else, because you’re not going to do it here. The reminder that has regularly appeared on this site is not a serving suggestion. It will be rigorously enforced. If you don’t like this rule – there is a small x at the top right of your screen. Click it, close this page and go elsewhere.

This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.

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The royal warrant on a jar of invisible jam

Broontervening is Gordon Brown’s favourite activity these days, apart from hiding in storm drains and handing out balloons to pensioners. It allows him to tell himself that he’s still politically relevant, a delusion in which he’s ably assisted by the Scottish media and especially the BBC. We’ve been hearing a lot about him since the Scottish Parliament election produced a large majority of pro-independence MSPs because the holder of the title of most incompetent and inept Prime Minister before the last three has now managed to secure a royal warrant of appointment for the jar of invisible jam that he’s determined to flog to the Scottish public. He’s now the official royal family’s approved and appointed purveyor of federalist fantasies and anti-independence promises that he has no power to keep.

But hey, at least we can now spread his invisible jam on some Duchy Original scones, hand crafted in Balmoral by Will-n-Kate as their contribution to the Great British Please Don’t Leave Us Scotland Bake Off. A contribution which in no way contravenes the long standing British constitutional conventions that the royal family doesn’t get involved in attempts to influence the outcome of democratic decisions to be made by the electorate, that Prince Philip wasn’t a racist, and that Prince Andrew never sends inappropriate text messages to teenagers.

Shortly before Gordie had his nothing-to see-here meeting with Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge in Edinburgh, he had announced that his think tank Our Scottish Future was to be converted into an anti-independence campaigning organisation, although to be honest it was always more of a wishful thinking tank than an organisation aiming to develop realistic policies with any chance of implementation in the real world.

As he made the announcement Gordie held a press conference during which he unveiled the results of an opinion poll he had commissioned which claimed to identify 40% of the Scottish population as “Middle Scotland”, people who he said are neither staunch unionists nor committed to Scottish independence. These are the people Gordon Brown claims will decide the future of Scotland and are the group which his rebranded Vow generation organisation hopes to appeal to. The poll didn’t try to identify what percentage of the population doesn’t immediately sigh and go: “Oh bugger off with that reheated auld guff, We’ve heard it all before and you did hee haw about it when you promised it to us in 2014, you discredited charlatan in clown shoes,” every time Gordie creeps out of his crypt and starts to make promises about federalism, but it’s certainly a great deal smaller than 40%.

It later transpired that Gordie’s poll had in fact found that there’s already majority support in Scotland for independence, although this finding was buried away on page 91 of the report. Respondents to the poll had been asked to rate their support for Scottish independence on a scale from 0 to ten where 0 represented strong opposition and ten represented strong support. It was only some time later that it came out that 55% of respondents had placed themselves between six and ten on the scale, indicating support for independence. Only 38% had placed themselves between zero and four, indicating opposition to independence. A further 8% had rated themselves as a five, suggesting that they are undecided on the question.

It also later transpired that the 40% figure quoted by Brown as representing his so-called “Middle Scotland” was in fact made up of everyone who had placed themselves anywhere on the scale between two and eight. Brown sought to present this group as being essentially undecided on the subject of independence, although as we’ve seen his own findings show that only 8% of respondents placed themselves at a five on the scale. We have also seen that people who placed themselves at between six and ten considerably out-number those who put themselves between zero and four. That means that once the 8% of genuine don’t knows is removed just shy of 60% of Brown’s supposed Middle Scotland will be composed of people who rank their support for independence at between six and eight on his scale of zero to ten. In other words these are people who are already leaning – in many cases heavily leaning – towards voting yes in a future referendum.

A person who places themself as an eight on a zero to ten scale of support for independence has already pretty much made up their mind on the subject. What they’re not going to be is a person who is going to change their opinion just because the second in line to the throne and his wife are going to spend more time at Balmoral and provide the press with a few more photo ops in a tea room in St Andrews where they’ll be photographed spreading their scones with Gordie’s patented and royal appointed magic federalism jam.

It speaks volumes about the utter cluelessness and tin ear of the British establishment that they think that a suitable response to the demand from Scotland that the promises and commitments of 2014 that won the referendum for No should be respected is :” Here, have some more Prince William in a kilt and a duchess in a designer frock.”

What Gordie Broon’s Middle Scotland” wants is that this country should have been listened to during Brexit negotiations and that its vote against Brexit should have been taken into account when the British government was deciding what kind of Brexit it wanted. But that didn’t happen. What Gordie Broon’s Middle Scotland” wants is for the British government and the Conservative party to keep its promise that no changes would be made to the devolution settlement without the express consent of the Scottish Parliament and the people of Scotland, but that’s not happening either.

Goordie Broon and his pie in the sky promises of federalism can’t change any of that. He had his chance in 2014 when he made his Vow, he swore to us that he personally would ensure that the leaders of the anti-independence parties kept their word. And then he buggered off and did nothing. Yet now, spooked by an increase in support for independence that only happened because of Brown’s own lies, arrogance and complacency, he’s popping up with a clueless pampered pair of royal idiots whose sense of entitlement is exceeded only by his own to provide a bit of glamour to his transparent deceit. “Middle Scotland” is not going to be convinced.

NEW MODERATION POLICY

In the wake of recent events I am determined that this site will not become a home for bigots and conspiracy theorists. They will not be welcome here. Moderation is the most stressful part of running a blog, but this site is going to continue to make the positive case for independence. With this in mind as of today a new moderation policy is in force.

Anyone who attempts to use this site to post hatred, bigotry, or conspiracy theories will be banned. If you attempt to insult and abuse anyone you will be banned. This site has a zero-toleration policy for homophobia, transphobia, racism, and misogyny. Failure to respect this will result in a ban.

If you intend to spend the next four years undermining the SNP, the Scottish Government and the pro-independence parties that the great majority of independence supporters voted for, you can do so somewhere else, because you’re not going to do it here. The reminder that has regularly appeared on this site is not a serving suggestion. It will be rigorously enforced. If you don’t like this rule – there is a small x at the top right of your screen. Click it, close this page and go elsewhere.

This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.

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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Ramping it up to Desp-con 5

The Conservatives, and indeed the British establishment in general, are clearly at a loss for ideas when it comes to frustrating the growing demand in Scotland and Wales for independence and calls in Northern Ireland for a referendum on Irish reunification. That’s the only possible explanation for why they’ve ramped the hysterical unionism up to Desp-Con- 5. That’s how desperate the Conservatives have become. Over the weekend it came to light that the British Government’s big idea to frustrate Scottish independence is to instruct British government staff and UK diplomats to stop referring to the four nations of the UK and instead to refer to the UK as a single country. According to a report in the Sunday Times the idea came out of a meeting chaired by Boris Johnson which was looking at ways of strengthening links between Scotland, England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

This is the kind of out-of-the-box thinking that gets you to the pinnacle of the British state. If no one ever mentions that Scotland exists then it can never become independent. This is the genius that an expensive Eton education gets you. It’s the political equivalent of sticking your head under the duvet when you hear a strange noise downstairs in the middle of the night and hoping that it might just go away. It’s like telling the EU and the rest of the world Scotland? Eh? What’s that? Sorry, you’ve got the wrong post-imperial construct mate. Nothing to see here except a single nation state.

It’s all a very far cry from the grandiose claims of the Better Together campaign back in 2014 when it told Scotland that being a part of the UK allowed Scotland to “punch above its weight” and achieve a global prominence that would otherwise be beyond us. Of course it was always a nonsense, being a part of the UK doesn’t make Scotland more prominent on the world stage, it makes Scotland invisible.

Anyone with a basic familiarity with another country knows that people abroad habitually refer to the UK as England and its inhabitants as English. In Spain, a person from the UK is usually referred to as inglés. In a recent news report on Sky news about the effect of the covid pandemic on tourism in the north of France, the reporter interviewed local business people who told her in French that they had relied upon tourists that the English language subtitles told us were British, but the word coming out of their mouths was clearly anglais. Now we discover that this isn’t simply a lack of awareness on the part of people in other countries, it’s also official British government policy. Perhaps they are hoping that people in Scotland will simply forget that Scotland is an ancient nation whose parliamentary union with England created the UK. It seems to be the closest thing that they have to a plan to bolster the UK and prevent independence.

There’s certainly nothing coming out of Downing Street that comes close to a plan for reforming the structures and institutions of the UK, despite the fact that it’s widespread alienation from those structures and policies in Scotland, and the other nations of the UK, which is driving support for independence. There isn’t going to be any such plan either, because that would mean surrendering the one thing that the Conservatives prize more than business opportunities for their friends and donors, and that’s the absolute and unchallenged power of the Conservative occupant of Downing Street.

Instead of meaningful reform what we get is denialism – the so-called muscular unionism which seeks to plaster union flags on everything and to assert that there’s a single British nation and implicitly deny the special status of Scotland within the Union which was the bedrock of traditional unionism. Or what we get are cosmetic exercises such as the plan for Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge to spend more time in Scotland telling us how much they love us. Because having an extremely wealthy and over-pampered pair of aristocrats patronising them is exactly what the average Scottish punter feels is missing from their life.

We learned this weekend that following their meeting with Gordie Broon, who must have told them that the “precious union” ™ was well and truly gubbed even with his latest attempt at Broontervening, the closest thing that the Royal family have got to normal humans Will-n-Kate are being “deployed” to save the union, as though they were combatants being sent on a military campaign to subdue the restless natives in a remote corner of the Empire. Which is exactly how Downing Street and the Royal Household see it.

What we can expect to see being deployed in this campaign include a wardrobe of extremely expensive designer frocks, a considerable quantity of kiltage, and several thousand megatons of radioactive BBC weapons grade sycophancy. They’re trashing the convention (which admittedly was only ever a pretence) that the royal family don’t meddle in democratic politics in the hope that they can prevent Scotland from voting to extricate itself from Brexit. I don’t seem to recall them going around the UK in 2016 on a pro-European charm offensive. Their silence then was deafening.

According to the Sunday Times the royals are taking action because they believe that the politicians are losing Scotland and the Windsors think that the union is theirs. It’s another tone deaf London and Anglo-centric view on how Scotland can be “managed”. Apparently what is needed in order to save the union and prevent Scottish independence is giving some posho unionists with titles and Highland estates more opportunities to dress up like Harry Lauder. Not so much “Stop Your Tickling Jock” as “Stop Your demands for an adult conversation about British constitutional politics Jock. ”

Most independence supporters see independence as the best route for long term improvements to Scotland’s democracy, economy, climate, and socialequality. This ploy is the antithesis to all of those things. It’s the very definition of elitist and out of touch. It would be harder to find a better way for the British state to show that it’ not listening and it doesn’t care.

NEW MODERATION POLICY

In the wake of recent events I am determined that this site will not become a home for bigots and conspiracy theorists. They will not be welcome here. Moderation is the most stressful part of running a blog, but this site is going to continue to make the positive case for independence. With this in mind as of today a new moderation policy is in force.

Anyone who attempts to use this site to post hatred, bigotry, or conspiracy theories will be banned. If you attempt to insult and abuse anyone you will be banned. This site has a zero-toleration policy for homophobia, transphobia, racism, and misogyny. Failure to respect this will result in a ban.

If you intend to spend the next four years undermining the SNP, the Scottish Government and the pro-independence parties that the great majority of independence supporters voted for, you can do so somewhere else, because you’re not going to do it here. The reminder that has regularly appeared on this site is not a serving suggestion. It will be rigorously enforced. If you don’t like this rule – there is a small x at the top right of your screen. Click it, close this page and go elsewhere.

This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.

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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Visibly producing the appearance of listening

Yesterday the First Ministers of Scotland and Wales participated in a four nations summit meeting chaired by Boris Johnson. Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill were also in attendance. The meeting had been called by Downing Street following the results of the elections to the Scottish and Welsh parliaments last month. Feeling the need to look like he was doing something after elections which produced a record majority for pro-independence parties in Scotland, Johnson called the summit ostensibly so that the leaders of the devolved nations could discuss covid recovery with the British government following repeated criticisms from both Nicola Sturgeon and Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford that Downing Street has sidelined, marginalised and ignored.

However that wasn’t the real purpose of this supposed summit. Like those TV adverts where cosmetics companies make the carefully worded legalese claim that their expensive product can visibly reduce the appearance of wrinkles, this summit was called by Downing Street as a cosmetic exercise to visibly produce the appearance of listening.

It was always clear that nothing of any substance was going to come out of the meeting. Yesterday’s summit was postponed from last week after Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford both wrote to the Prime Minister’s office to complain that the proposed agenda for the meeting was vague and ill-defined. But then you don’t really need a detailed agenda when the purpose of the meeting is simply so that you can go ,”Yeah right whatevah” and then brief to the right wing British press that you were being constructive and cooperative but there’s no reasoning with those beastly separatists, it’s all the fault of Thatessempee for being divisive.

As predictable as Michael Gove evasively sliming his way through an interview on the telly, following the meeting Nicola Sturgeon reported that “nothing substantial” had come out of it. However both Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford, who is most certainly not an advocate for Welsh independence took advantage of having access to Boris Johnson’s ear, if not his attention, interest, or sympathies, to warn him that his Government’s power grabs at the expense of the devolved governments risked the break up of the UK.

The Conservative Government has shamelessly used Brexit, which Scotland didn’t vote for, as an excuse to hollow out the devolution settlement, which Scotland did vote for. The British Government’s UK Internal Market Act unilaterally gives Westminster governments the power to make spending decisions on devolved areas and to override and ignore any objections from Holyrood or Cardiff despite the fact that all the major anti-independence parties, including the Conservatives promised during the independence referendum campaign that if Scotland voted no they would ensure that no changes could ever be made to the powers of Holyrood or the devolution settlement without the express consent of the Scottish Parliament. Funnily enough we don’t hear much from the Scottish Conservatives about that when they’re pontificating about the need to respect the result of the referendum.

Following the meeting the First Minister said: that she and the Welsh First Minister had made it clear that ” If we are to have good faith discussions about working together where we can then that’s not helped by the power grab and the UK Government trying to muscle in on devolved spending. ” She added: “We then had a discussion that shared some experiences around Covid, but the proof in the pudding of all of this is going to be whether it has an impact, whether it changes any of the decisions of the UK Government that impact on the devolved nations. ”

Meanwhile writing in the Guardian newspaper, Alex Niven, a university lecturer and author of a book advocating greater powers for the English regions and decentralisation of the British state, argues that there has been an astonishing lack of thinking in England about what will replace the current model of the British state.

Those of us who support Scottish independence are acutely aware of the need to formulate plausible and convincing arguments for independence. Considerable work has already gone into these by organisations like Common Weal, Business for Scotland and Believe in Scotland. However Alex Niven has pointed out that there is scarcely any awareness in England, never mind serious work, about how England would need to change if some form of union with the other nations in these islands is to survive. This is absolutely crucial because even though anti-independence politicians like Gordon Brown are constantly trying to promote federalism as the antidote to Scottish independence, without widespread support for this idea in England, it’s a non-starter.

For their part the Conservatives appear content to complete their transformation into an avowedly English nationalist party and have no interest whatsoever in embarking upon radical constitutional changes which would limit their power in England just to keep Scotland happy. They know that they only need to entrench themselves as the party of English interests in order to secure their power at Westminster. For the immediate future they are content to stall and delay the inevitable confrontation between Downing Street and a pro-independence Scottish Parliament which has a commitment to deliver another independence referendum within its five year term, hence the summits with ill defined agendas which were never designed to produce concrete outcomes.

The Tories have no intention of going into the next independence referendum campaign with a revised offer of union to put before the people of Scotland. They are relying on the hope that they can stall long enough that some magic event will intervene and defeat independence for them. Apart from that they are relying on scare stories and fear mongering and cosmetic exercises like meaningless and toothless summits, royal visits and plastering union flags on everything. As Alex Niven has noted, deep down the Conservative party has accepted that the Union is a busted flush. They’re just hoping that the soft noes, nd the undecideds, the waverers and the home rule advocates in Scotland – Brown’s so-called Middle Scotland – haven’t noticed that the the “muscular unionism” the Tories hope will replace traditional unionism is really just a version of the right wing xenophobic English nationalism which led to Brexit writ large. The Tories’ big problem is that in the absence of a plausible version of a reformed union, “Middle Scotland” won’t be able to ignore it.

NEW MODERATION POLICY

In the wake of recent events I am determined that this site will not become a home for bigots and conspiracy theorists. They will not be welcome here. Moderation is the most stressful part of running a blog, but this site is going to continue to make the positive case for independence. With this in mind as of today a new moderation policy is in force.

Anyone who attempts to use this site to post hatred, bigotry, or conspiracy theories will be banned. If you attempt to insult and abuse anyone you will be banned. This site has a zero-toleration policy for homophobia, transphobia, racism, and misogyny. Failure to respect this will result in a ban.

If you intend to spend the next four years undermining the SNP, the Scottish Government and the pro-independence parties that the great majority of independence supporters voted for, you can do so somewhere else, because you’re not going to do it here. The reminder that has regularly appeared on this site is not a serving suggestion. It will be rigorously enforced. If you don’t like this rule – there is a small x at the top right of your screen. Click it, close this page and go elsewhere.

This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.

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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