Ofcom’s nats and yoons

Language changes over time and words and expressions which were once considered grossly offensive lose their power to offend. The words bloody and bugger are nowadays scarcely considered swear words by most people, but in decades past they were considered deeply offensive and banned from most forms of public speech. Likewise even the words piss, shit and fuck are no longer as powerful as they used to be and the wider public takes a far more relaxed view about their usage than it once did. Back in the 1960s dropping the f-bomb on national television caused outraged newspaper editorials about the impending doom of civilisation. These days it scarcely raises an eyebrow.

On the other hand some words which were once widespread in everyday language and in print are now tabooed. This is particularly the case with epithets which refer negatively to a person’s racial origins or sexual orientation. The N-word, the P-word, the p**f word, and the f****t word were freely banded about in the 1970s sitcoms and movies which culture secretary Nadine Dorries thinks were ruined by snowflake lefties, but nowadays most people would agree that there is no justification for the use of these hate words, and most certainly under no circumstances by people who do not belong to the communities which these words are used to abuse.

It is because of the shifting nature of language that the telecom and broadcasting regulator Ofcom periodically revises the list of words and terms which it advises broadcasters to be careful in using. In its latest advice Ofcom has also looked at some of the words current in the Scottish independence debate. Ofcom looked at the word nat, used by opponents of independence to refer insultingly to independence supporters (although they also use the word “sep” which wasn’t examined by Ofcom and which is arguably more offensive) and ruled that it is mildly offensive, advising broadcasters to be careful in permitting its use.

Ofcom also looked at the word yoon, which unlike nat,the use of which is widespread in print and speech amongst British nationalist politicians, seems to be almost entirely confined to social media as a derogatory term for the zoomier end of British nationalist opposition to independence. Interestingly, Ofcom ruled that while both the words nat and yoon should be considered mildly offensive, the word yoon is to be considered as more offensive than the word nat.

Both the words nat and yoon are contractions, the first syllables respectively of words which are not generally considered problematic in themselves, the words nationalist and unionist. It should be pointed out right away that just because a word is a contraction of a perfectly acceptable word, this does not mean it cannot be offensive. The P-word which is an unacceptable term of abuse used against people of a South Asian family background is a contraction of an adjective which is not problematic when it is used appropriately to refer to the people, culture or government of Pakistan. Equally the first syllable of the word Japanese when used by itself is widely regarded as a racial slur against people of Japanese origin or descent. Just because a term of abuse is a contraction of a non-abusive word doesn’t mean it can’t be offensive.

The interesting question here is why Ofcom ruled that the word yoon was more offensive than the word nat. It could be argued that objectively it’s the word nat which should be considered more offensive. The word nat implies that the mainstream independence movement is driven by feeling of ethnic and cultural superiority and hatred of those who are not Scottish. In reality, many people who support Scottish independence, particularly those on the left, are not politically nationalist, with its overtones of xenophobia and assertions of superiority, while mainstream Scottish nationalism is of the decidedly civic variety, inclusive and welcoming of migrants.

If anything it’s the British nationalism of many opponents of independence which is of the xenophobic and exclusive sort, based upon assertions of British exceptionalism. Yet the use of the word nat by opponents of independence to categorise independence supporters implies that this exclusionary, xenophobic and triumphalist British nationalism is not really nationalist at all, and that nationalism is a sin confined solely to those who would prefer to see an independent Scotland.

As a contraction of unionist, the word yoon on the other hand does not miscategorise those to whom it is applied. However because it rhymes with loon, buffoon, baboon, and balloon it could be argued that it’s got an offensive sound to it which “nat” lacks, and it has to be said that the word yoon is meant to annoy. Yoon is a retaliatory term which postdates the invention of the word nat. The word yoon was invented and deployed by independence supporting people who are often not nationalists of any variety but who are heartily fed up with being called nats by hypocrites who espouse a far more toxic and cancerous species of triumphalist and exceptionalist nationalism whose defining conceit is that it is not nationalist at all because it’s British.

But the real reason why Ofcom has ruled that its respondents felt yoon to be more offensive than nat is surely down to the fact that opponents of independence are extremely quick to claim victim status and many of them have little better to do than trawl social media in search of things to feel outraged by. After all there is a significant body of British nationalist opinion which devotes itself to the entirely spurious claim that supporters of Scottish independence are primarily motivated by anti-English racism. Finding things to feel offended about in the behaviour and language of independence supporters is one of the most important distraction tactics employed by opponents of independence in order to divert public opinion from the truly offensive and damaging words and deeds of a right wing English nationalist British Conservative government. There is no one who is quicker to claim they’re a victim than a privileged person who feels their privilege is threatened. Scottish independence threatens the privilege of British nationalism in Scotland, that’s why British nats are so quick to claim that they are offended.

I am now writing the daily newsletter for The National, published every day from Monday to Friday in the late afternoon.  So if you’d like a daily dose of dug you can subscribe to The National, Scotland’s only pro-independence newspaper, here: Subscriptions from The National

I have a physiotherapy appointment tomorrow, so there will be no new blog post because, as usual, I’ll be wiped out afterwards.

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.

Donate Button

Downing Street goes full Fawlty

When it comes to countering the growing clamour for another independence referendum the Tory Government of the performance artiste whose stage name is Boris Johnson has gone full Basil Fawlty. Arguably the Johnson administration went full Fawlty quite some time ago what with its arrogance, nastiness, snobbish incompetence,pathetic over-estimation of its own abilities and its racism against European citizens. To these existing Basilisms we can now add: Don’t mention independence!

Like Basil’s efforts not to mention the war in front of German guests, Conservative efforts not to mention another independence referendum are doomed to failure, because it’s all that the Scottish Conservatives have got to talk about. If you stripped the Scottish Conservative manifesto for May’s Holyrood elections of all mentions of the Scottish Tory opposition to another independence referendum you’d be left with four blank glossy pages in red white and blue and a photo of Douglas Ross looking irate. To be honest, irate is how Douglas always looks, not helped by the fact he always wears a shirt whose collar is slightly too small for him, which merely enhances the impression that his head is about to explode.

Opposition to another independence referendum is quite literally the only policy that the Scottish Tories have got. If they can’t talk about that they’d be left with nothing but trawling through old Twitter posts looking for something to feel victimised by in order to pose as the defenders of the moral integrity of pantomimes in Aberdeen.

According to a report in The Times, which is well connected to the Conservative hierarchy, Downing Street is worried that by mentioning independence the Tories are simply playing into the hands of Thatessempee by reminding the electorate of Scotland that the Conservatives are anti-democratic hypocritical authoritarians. Which, you know, they are. The Times said that its sources in Downing Street claim that ministers have been warned not to talk about the constitutional question amid fears it makes the UK Government appear “needy” and only helps the Yes side.

The paper also reports that Downing Street is worried that a second referendum would be very hard for Better Together MK II to win because independence would be presented, correctly, as the quickest way for Scotland to get back into the European Union.

By talking about their opposition to another independence referendum, the Conservatives just reinforce the entirely accurate perception that they are hell bent on ignoring the outcome of democratic elections in Scotland and are fatally undermining the Union that they profess to love so much by destroying the traditional foundations of Scottish Unionism, the belief that the UK is a voluntary union of nations, and replacing it with the conception of a UK founded on compulsion, a new conception which Scotland has never been consulted on, much less given its consent to.

It is reported that Conservative ministers have been told not to talk about independence at all and instead to talk only about those policies of the Conservative government which are beneficial to Scotland. So that would be … eh … and … eh and possibly … um.

Perhaps they could talk about how Brexit has been so beneficial for the Scottish fishing industry or about all those trade deals with the USA and other major economies that the Conservative government has struck on Scotland’s behalf. Oh no, wait.

Or maybe they could tell us how it is some sort of Union benefit to strip £20 a week from the poorest families in the UK just as food and energy prices are soaring due in no small part to the needlessly hard line Brexit that the Conservatives foisted on us all for purely narrow party political reasons.

Or how about they tell us how under the Conservatives the future of devolution has been secured and how the Johnson government has kept the vow that the Conservatives signed up to in 2014 promising that the no British government would ever tamper with the powers of the Scottish Parliament without the express consent of Holyrood.

Oh … no, wait . And oh no, wait, again.

Nope, sorry, I’m drawing a blank here.

This diktat to Conservative ministers not to talk about their party’s opposition to another independence referendum is not a sign of strength, it’s a sign of great weakness.Tory ministers are being told not to talk about another referendum because the Conservatives have no convincing and plausible democratic reason for defying the very clear and explicit instruction given to Holyrood by the electorate of Scotland at the elections in May that there must be another independence referendum within the term of this Scottish Parliament. They know that they are being anti-democratic and they know that by being so they are undermining any case they’d like to make to keep Scotland in the UK. After all, how can Scotland meaningfully be called a democracy within a UK in which a British government enjoying only minority support in Scotland believes it has the absolute right to overrule the democratic will of the people of Scotland as expressed through the ballot box. Every time a Conservative minister mentions their opposition to another referendum that affront to democracy is underscored.

So rather than deal with this the Tories would prefer to do a Ruth Davidson and vanish whenever they have difficult questions to answer in the hope that an obliging Scottish press will come along shortly with an SNPbad story that will give Douglas Ross an excuse to present his irate face to the cameras.

Likewise a British government doesn’t instruct its ministers not to talk about a Scottish independence referendum if it is confident that it has a convincing case to put before the people that is going to win it that referendum. It’s not merely that Brexit has turned on their heads many of Better Together’s arguments from 2014 – it’s opposition to independence which represents narrow, divisive and reactionary nationalism. It is also that the Conservatives have told so many lies have been responsible for so much deceit, over both Brexit and the promises that they made to Scotland in 2014 in order to secure a No vote, that any Better Together MK II campaign will have zero credibility and few will believe anything that it says. Who is going to believe a promise from Gove or Johnson that Scotland will be respected?

This omertà diktat not to mention independence is a sign of Downing Street’s desperation. It’s the political equivalent of sticking your head under your union flag duvet in the hope that the subject of independence will go away. Johnson’s problem is that it’s not going to. We’re his worst nightmare.

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.

Donate Button

Keir Starmer’s Labour party: Neither useful nor admirable

I’m not a huge fan of Keir Starmer’s Labour party, whose opposition to the Conservatives is fatally compromised by his pandering to Brexit voters and his anti-democratic refusal to accept that it’s for the people of Scotland, not him, to decide whether Scotland ought to have another independence referendum. The Scottish electorate made that decision at the Scottish Parliament elections in May when they elected the largest pro-independence majority that Holyrood has ever had, with pro-independence candidates standing on a platform asking for an explicit and unequivocal mandate for another referendum.

The electorate of Scotland resoundingly gave them that mandate. Democracy demands that the will of the people for another referendum be implemented. The people, including many Labour voters, listened to Keir Starmer advising against one and decided, “Naa, we want one anyway.” If Starmer really was serious about winning Scotland back for the Labour party he could usefully start with the simple proposition of respecting the decisions that the people of Scotland make at the ballot box. If Scotland doesn’t need another party that ignores its decisions and insists on foisting policies on us that voters in Scotland haven’t given their democratic assent to, we already have the Conservatives for that sort of thing.

Starmer has just published an 11,500 word essay on the future of the Labour party which managed just a couple of brief mentions of Scotland, all of which were attacks on the SNP. Amongst other gems he falsely claimed that the SNP was “symbiotic” with the Conservatives while Labour councillors act in concert with the Conservatives in Aberdeen and Labour in Scotland continues to enable the Conservatives in their destruction of the devolution settlement and their authoritarian denial that the outcome of democratic elections in Scotland should count for something. He claims that “nationalism” seeks to divide, unlike his own supposedly cuddly patriotism, but his is a party which is now every bit as committed to Brexit as the Tories are.

There was absolutely nothing in the thirty five page document about how Starmer intends to rescue the Labour party in Scotland from the near oblivion in which it continues to languish. That’s because he has no clue how to do that. He has nothing positive to say and nothing constructive to offer. This is what happens when the most important influence on your policies for Scotland is the advice of Ian Murray, an MP who only clings on as the last Labour MP in Scotland thanks to the tactical votes of Morningside Conservatives.

On Sunday the news was dominated by the pearl clutching of Tories who had, surprise surprise, managed to find something to feel victimised by. At an event during the Labour party conference Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner called Boris Johnson misogynistic, homophobic, racist, Etonian scum. She’s not wrong there. Her comments were, entirely predictably followed by Tory talking heads on the media bewailing this dreadful language which “has no place in public life”, unlike actually being a misogynistic racist homophobic Etonian scumbag in public life, which is apparently just fine with the Conservative party. We see yet again that peculiarly Conservative morality inversion which means that it’s a far worse sin to call someone racist scum than it is to actually be racist scum. You see the real victims here are the butt-hurt Conservative snowflakes, whose offence taken about their party leader being called out for his racism, misogyny and homophobia is far far more important than the offence taken by people of colour, women or LGBT people by Johnson’s racist, misogynist or homophobic comments.

Angela Rayner was quite right to stand by her comments and to insist that she’d only apologise once Johnson has apologised for his scummy bigotry. We all know that is never going to happen.

The real problem for the Labour party however is its inability to mount an effective challenge to a mendacious, chaotic, and incompetent Conservative party. Thanks to Conservative incompetence, corruption and partisan self-interest the UK has suffered both the highest covid related death toll in Europe and the greatest economic damage. We are now seeing empty supermarket shelves thanks to Brexit and the Tories compounding a crisis by needlessly driving away the EU citizens who were disproportionately represented in the transport and delivery sector. We are seeing soaring energy bills thanks to the Conservatives’ ideologically driven privatisation and deregulation of energy companies. And all this is happening just as the Conservatives are financially penalising the poorest families in the UK by removing the £20 uplift to Universal Credit and ending the furlough scheme.

We have a British Government which cannot even guarantee the most basic provision of food and fuel and presides over millions of children living in poverty. A halfway competent opposition ought to be trouncing this government in opinion polling, but the most recent polling still gives does not give Labour a comfortable lead over the Conservatives but predicts a hung parliament – and that’s before taking into account the voter suppression the Tories have planned in their Elections bill. We all know that the British media is hopelessly biased in favour of the Conservatives and constantly seeks to undermine the Labour party, but that’s not a sufficient excuse. The media in Scotland is even more biased against the SNP than the UK media is against the Labour party, but that doesn’t stop the SNP soaring high in opinion polls and trouncing the anti-independence parties at the ballot box. The same poll which predicts a hung parliament also predicts the SNP would take 56 of the 59 Scottish Westminster seats.

From a Scottish perspective this means that there is precisely zero chance of Labour’s much promised federal UK ever getting to a stage where there are concrete proposals which can later be watered down and stripped of anything that threatens the absolute dominance of Westminster, never mind the radical restructuring of the British state which would be required in order to pull the rug from underneath calls for Scottish independence. It’s not going to happen, not after the next Westminster General Election or at any time in the foreseeable future.

Recently Labour former First Minister Henry McLeish said that he’d support independence if the UK fails to reform itself. For now and for years to come, there is as much chance of the Labour party protecting Scotland from the Johnson government’s assault on devolution as there is of Michael Gove and the alcohol fueled spasms that pass for his dad dancing winning the new series of Strictly Come Dancing and likewise there is no chance of the UK reforming itself. Perhaps Henry will realise that too, at least in time for the next independence referendum.

in his play the Importance of Being Earnest Oscar Wilde said “We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely.” Keir Starmer’s Labour party is neither useful nor admirable.

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.

Donate Button

Ambulance chasing with Douglas Ross

I wasn’t planning to blog today as I’m wiped out from physiotherapy, but I am so angered by Douglas Ross that I have to say something.

Douglas Ross is a thoroughly odious individual who leads a thoroughly odious political party, a party which has no hesitation in pursuing cheap political points no matter how spurious, how devoid of context, or how misleading they may be.

At First Minister’s Questions on Thursday Ross attacked the First Minister on waiting times for ambulances, and shamelessly accused her of “hiding behind the pandemic” as though the pandemic isn’t really happening and isn’t really putting immense pressures on the ambulance service along with every other part of the health service. Likewise it is not “deflection” as Ross suggested, to point out that the Health Services in every other part of the UK are also struggling to cope with the extra strain imposed on them by the covid pandemic. It’s just reality. What is really deflection is to pretend that these issues are unique to Scotland in an attempt to score some SNPbad points with the Scottish media.

I have a very personal interest in ambulance waiting times. In October last year, before vaccines were available and with the NHS reeling under the impact of the pandemic, I suffered a massive stroke. In an ischaemic stroke such as the one I had, a blood clot blocks the flow of blood to the brain, causing the part of the brain supplied by the affected artery to experience oxygen starvation. If the blood flow is blocked for more than a few minutes the affected part of the brain dies. Brain tissue that dies does not regenerate. The bodily functions controlled by the damaged part of the brain are impaired.

A stroke is a medical emergency second only to life and death situations when a patient is not breathing or is bleeding out. According to widely accepted response times, an ambulance should be on scene within an average of 18 minutes in response to a category-2 999 call reporting a suspected stroke. (See https://www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk/resource/ambulance-response-times#background) A prompt response is critical, for every minute that a stroke patient is left untreated, 1.9 million neurons die, the chances of making a good recovery diminish, and the chances of being left with a lasting or permanent disability increase. The quicker the patient who has suffered an ischaemic stroke can be got to the hospital the greater the chance that they can be injected with a powerful clot busting drug which can prevent further damage to the brain. That’s why speed is vital.

I collapsed shortly after the onset of the stroke and started vomiting violently. Then I had a severe epileptic seizure as the stroke was making the electrical activity in my brain go haywire. After that I lost consciousness. My husband called 999 within seconds of the stroke starting, but due to staff shortages caused by the pandemic, it was almost an hour before the ambulance got to me, far longer than the recommended 18 minutes for response time to a suspected stroke.

By the time the ambulance got me to the hospital it was too late to treat me with the clot busting drugs that could have minimised the brain damage caused by the stroke. There’s nothing to be gained by dwelling on what ifs, but had the ambulance arrived within the recommended 18 minutes I might not have been left with some of the physical problems that are still an issue for me and which may be permanent. I have very poor motor control, lack of sensation, and significant muscle weakness all down the left of my body, in particular in my left hand and arm. I was left handed, but now I can’t even hold a pen or a knife and fork, far less participate in the artistic and creative pursuits I used to enjoy so much. It is unlikely that I’ll be drawing any more Gaelic maps. These issues are long term, and due to the extent of the brain damage caused by the stroke, I was warned that there’s a significant chance that they could be permanent.

Of course the biggest what if of all is what if there wasn’t a pandemic. Then the ambulance service might not have been short staffed and might have got to me sooner. But there is a pandemic. It can’t just be ignored or wished away. It could not be ignored or wished away all those long weeks when I lay semi paralysed in a hospital bed and couldn’t get any visitors. It certainly can’t be ignored or wished away by an unprincipled shyster of a Conservative politician in search of an SNP bad point.

Douglas Ross wants to pretend there is no pandemic because it gets in the way of him scoring a cheap political point. He wants to ignore the fact that the National Health Service in every part of the UK is struggling to cope with the additional stresses put on it by the pandemic, it is not deflection, as Ross and the Tories claim, to point out that simple reality. What is deflection is pretending that it’s only Scotland which is struggling, and that it’s struggling due to Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP.

As I try to come to terms with my new reality, and learn to live with my disabilities, it’s some comfort to imagine that the ambulance was late getting to me because it was saving the life of someone with covid, someone who is now alive and well and making plans for the future just as I am.

Douglas Ross wants to deprive me of that comfort and make me and people like me believe that the health issues we face were unnecessary and avoidable and entirely the fault of the SNP – as though there is no pandemic. At the same time he is desperate to avoid any scrutiny of the manifest failures and shortcomings of the Conservatives in Westminster in their mishandling of this crisis.

Nicola Sturgeon accused Douglas Ross of insulting the intelligence of the public by trying to pretend the pandemic is not a factor in ambulance response times. I’d go further, he is personally insulting me and everyone else who has suffered the consequences of this pandemic. I am deeply offended that a man whose party has wrought such havoc on the health service in England and on public services in general is now trying to capitalise on the long term health issues and disabilities of me and those like me. I would say he should be ashamed of himself, but Douglas Ross is a Conservative and has no shame. His is the worst kind of unprincipled, unscrupulous ambulance chasing.

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.

Donate Button

Brexit means: being told what to do by Mexico

On a trip to the local mini supermarket the other day, the fruit and veg section was almost empty, there was nothing on the shelves that usually hold the ready made sandwiches and the ready meals section was devoid of the normal selection of food. This is not an isolated occurrence, all over the UK people report shortages in supermarkets and empty shelves which were once stuffed full of produce. The shortages are being caused due to a combination of the pandemic and the British Government’s ideologically driven decision to pursue the hardest Brexit it could get away with, driving away untold thousands of the EU citizens that the UK relied on to fill low paid jobs like delivery drivers. No other European country is currently facing empty supermarket shelves but in the UK we have a right wing media which colludes with the Conservatives in blaming it all on Covid as though the entirely avoidable chaos of the Tories’ hard Brexit had nothing to do with it.

Meanwhile energy prices are soaring just as the British government has cut Universal Credit,throwing thousands of the poorest households in the UK into penury,they have announced a hike in National Insurance which will be disproportionately be felt by those on the lowest wages. For thousands of people in the UK this winter, it will be a choice between heating their homes or putting food on the table. For many people already in poverty in a few days they have seen the end of furlough, the loss of £20 a week Universal Credit, food shortages and rising prices and now a huge jump in energy costs. UK electricity prices are now the highest in Europe. (https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/latest-news/electric-power/091321-factbox-uk-electricity-prices-now-most-expensive-in-europe ) Red wall constituents in the North of England , now you know why your parents never voted Tory. To be fair the problems with the UK energy supply market are not entirely due to Brexit, Brexit has compounded problems that have built up over decades due to Conservative privatisation and deregulation and a lack of investment. The exact same thing has led to the UK having the most expensive railways in Europe.

Today we discovered that the much heralded trade deal with the USA which was supposed to be one of the biggest benefits of Brexit won’t be happening any time soon. Back in 2017 Johnson boasted that the UK would be “first in line” for a post-Brexit trade deal with the USA. However now President Biden has said that a trade deal with the UK is not a priority for his administration. The Americans have no plans even to start talks with the UK about any possible future US-UK trade deal. It’s not even on their radar. About 30% of the USA’s international trade is with Canada and Mexico, a further 13% is with China. Just 2.5% of America’s international trade is with the UK, about the same as India, Taiwan, Vietnam. Agreeing a trade deal with the UK is simply not that important for the Americans. So not only is the UK not “first in line” for a trade deal with the USA, there isn’t even a line. Under international spotlight the so-called Global Britain has shown itself to be exposed and weak and lumbered with a leader who can only express himself in stuttering soundbites as he desperately tries to avoid answering simple questions.

Johnson has shown us the real benefits of an Eton education. It imbues members of the British upper middle class with a confident arrogance that makes them think they can keep on bumbling through even when they are hopelessly outclassed. When Scotland was told in 2014 that it needed the UK in order to keep punching above our weight Better Together never clarified that that would only be in the international laughing stock stakes.

Additionally Biden has made it clear that both he and the Republicans in Congress will not consider any trade deal with the UK if the British Government does not respect the commitments it made in the Good Friday Agreement to ensure that there would be no border checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of Ireland.

According to reports in the same right wing press that told us that the UK would have few problems quickly striking a post-Brexit trade deal with the USA, faced with the prospect of there being no trade deal with the USA for the foreseeable future, the British government is now looking at joining the USA’s existing Mexico-Canada trade deal as a junior partner. That would be the same Conservative government which insisted on leaving the EU customs union and single market after Brexit because it claimed that it couldn’t countenance the UK being a “rule taker” and not a “rule maker”. It now seems that it can after all accept the UK being a rule taker just as long as the rules are made by Canada, Mexico and the USA. The irony is that had the UK remained in the EU it would still have been a rule maker.

However British nationalism left the EU because it can’t contemplate the UK being an equal of other states and having to negotiate and compromise like a grown up. So in pursuit of the fantasy of British exceptionalism it threw away the UK’s place in the EU and its existing trading arrangements and now the British Government is left scrabbling around trying to rescue what it can from the wreckage of its own vanity. I don’t recall any Brexit supporters telling us that once the UK left the EU it would be free to do what it’s told by Mexico. But that’s what Brexit has turned out to mean in practice.

But still, we can always rely on the Scottish Conservatives to get straight to the heart of the really important issues that affect Scotland as a part of the UK. Douglas Ross spent most of his allotted time in the most recent Westminster Scottish Affairs Committee asking why there aren’t more Scottish families on Gogglebox.

Brexit is a disaster. The UK is facing the worst crisis since the end of WW2, an avoidable and unnecessary crisis which was created by the vanity and hubris of the right wing British nationalists of the Conservative party. Only independence can rescue Scotland from this British exceptionalist mess and put us on the path to becoming a normal north west European nation.

There won’t be a blog update tomorrow as I have a physiotherapy appointment in the morning and as usual I’ll be wiped out afterwards.

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.

Donate Button

The British Gaslighting Corporation

Ever since the issue of Scottish independence first began to dominate the Scottish political scene following the SNP’s narrow victory when it formed a minority government after the 2007 Holyrood elections, complaints about the anti-independence bias of the Scottish media have been a mainstay of discussions within the independence movement. Much as our British nationalist opponents would prefer to dismiss this as conspiracy theorising, it is nevertheless an objective fact that out of the 38 or so daily and Sunday newspapers published in Scotland or which have distinctively Scottish editions, only The National has an editorial line in favour of independence, this is despite the fact that ever since that election fourteen years ago, Scotland has consistently voted for pro-independence political parties and opinion polling has shown that a good half of the Scottish population if not more, consistently supports independence. This support for independence becomes overwhelming in the younger cohorts of voters.

The Scottish media disproportionately, and by quite some considerable margin, represents the views of older people, Conservative supporters, opponents of independence, and opponents of the SNP. Of course newspapers are commercial businesses and it’s entirely up to the companies which own them to take editorial decisions which appeal to the paper’s readership. It’s a fact that newspapers are disproportionately purchased by older people, so it’s not really surprising that newspapers tend to reflect the interests and concerns of that demographic.

No one is forced to buy a newspaper, no one is compelled to support a newspaper whose editorial line they disapprove of by clicking on that newspaper’s links and increasing its attractiveness to online advertisers.

However that does not apply to the BBC. According to the TV licencing authority, you need a TV licence if anyone on your premises watches or records live TV programmes on any channel, or downloads or watches BBC programmes on BBC iPlayer. Even if you don’t watch the BBC, you can still be legally compelled to pay for the BBC and risk a fine if you do not.

The reason that the BBC arouses the ire of so many in Scotland is the fact that we are legally compelled to pay for it but the BBC displays the same anti-independence bias as the rest of the Scottish media. It’s one thing to live in a country where the privately owned media is overwhelmingly biased against your interests and which actively seeks to thwart political goals which you strive for, however it’s another level of dystopia to be forced, on the pain of a fine, to pay for pro-British propaganda which actively seeks to prevent Scottish independence and which consistently attacks and undermines the parties which support it while at the same time giving a free ride to the Conservatives, no matter how corrupt or incompetent they are or how much havoc they wreak.

The anger that this generates is only compounded by the refusal of the BBC to acknowledge that it is doing what we can all see that it is doing. Complaints about the Corporation’s bias disappear into the Byzantine maw of the BBC’s complaints process, and if ever answered the complainant will inevitably be informed that the BBC has done nothing wrong. It seems that in the eyes of the BBC, British bias isn’t bias at all, just as British nationalism isn’t nationalist at all. That’s what makes it not the British Broadcasting Corporation but the British Gaslighting Corporation.

Today The National has published fresh evidence of the BBC’s evident British nationalist bias. During the period from September 13 to September 17 not a single political story on BBC1’s flagship news programme the News at Six was framed in a way that was negative about or critical of the Conservative Government. 17 out of the 24 political stories during this period were framed in a studiedly neutral way. There was also one positively framed story about the UK Government, one neutral story about the Scottish Government and one negatively framed segment on Holyrood. Negative framing was defined as someone being “accused” of something or forced to defend an action. It is typical of the lines adopted by the opposition parties, primarily Labour and the SNP in the case of the British Government, mainly Labour and the Conservatives in the case of the Scottish Government.

Meanwhile the BBC’s flagship Scottish news programme Reporting Scotland had a very different set of priorities. The programme carried just six neutrally framed stories about the SNP government, compared to ten negative ones. Every UK Government story was framed in a neutral light, and there was just one positive Scottish Government piece. Typically BBC Scotland approaches political stories about the Scottish Government from the perspective of Labour and the Conservatives but will not present political stories about the Conservatives in Westminster from the perspective of Labour or the SNP.

This is the third time this year that The National has carried out this research, and this is the third time that the paper has found a marked disparity in the BBC’s coverage of political stories. For the third time in a row the BBC has shown itself loathe to criticise the Conservatives in Westminster but eager to attack the SNP in Holyrood. This is clearly no accident or fluke. It is obviously an editorial decision on the part of BBC news management, a deliberate policy to undermine any drive towards Scottish independence while pandering to the Conservative government which controls the BBC’s purse strings. Yet the stock response from the BBC to this latest evidence will be the same denial and deflection, the same Great British gaslighting as has characterised its response to all previous complaints about its bias.

When we have a Conservative Government as corrupt, chaotic and incompetent as the regime of Boris Johnson, moreover a government with decidedly authoritarian tendencies which is hell bent on undermining the devolution settlement, and whose reckless policies are risking lives and leading to empty supermarket shelves, this lack of oversight on the part of the BBC and the Scottish print media is dangerous. The campaign for Scottish independence has now become a campaign to secure democracy itself.

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.

Donate Button

The future with independence or stuck in the past with the UK

Saturday marked the seventh anniversary of the first Scottish independence referendum, or if you’re a British nationalist, the day that put the final unbreakable seal on Scottish democracy. Apparently that was the day when Scotland was allowed a say on its own future and would never be allowed a say on its future ever again, no matter how duplicitous or mendacious the promises and commitments that British nationalists made to Scotland turned out to be. Better Together never told us that when they were gushing on about how much Scotland was loved and wanted and how it was an equal and respected partner in a family of nations.

Times have changed radically since 2014. It’s not just that the UK has left the EU, taking remain voting Scotland with it. It’s also that the UK which Scotland was promised it could be a part of in 2014 has turned out to be a fantasy, a deliberate confection that its fervent advocates never had any intention of making a reality. The anti-independence prospectus that was sold to Scotland by the Better Together campaign has turned out to be a lie.

Far from devolution being strengthened and entrenched, the Conservatives are using Brexit as an excuse to put it into reverse. Instead of the pooling and sharing which Gordon Brown lauded as the only way to protect the poor and the vulnerable in Scotland we have a British Government which has just embarked upon the biggest single cut to social security payments in modern history with its withdrawal of the £20 per week uplift in universal credit, throwing thousands of families into penury. Meanwhile the Conservatives are hiking National Insurance, forcing low paid workers, including workers in Scotland, to pay for England’s soaring social care bill in order to protect the wealth of home owners in the affluent south east of England.

In no small measure it’s the fear of being held to account for their lies which explains the vehemence with which British nationalists in Scotland assert that the question Scotland asked itself in 2014 must never be revisited. They know, and are terrified of the truth that British nationalism has blown its credibility and none of the promises or commitments that they make in a future referendum campaign are going to be believed, and that’s without even taking into account that the British government is headed by the serial liar Boris Johnson and its leading Scot is the glibly mendacious Michael Gove.

It’s scarcely surprising that many prominent people who opposed independence in 2014 now say that they would vote for it, from Sharleen Spiteri of the rock group Texas, to the comedians Billy Connelly, and Rory Bremner, the writer Armando Ianucci, the actor Ewan McGregor and many more. Now the broadcaster Jeremy Paxman has become the latest to declare that he’d vote yes in a future independence referendum. The positive appeal and potential benefits of independence have increased as the attractions and supposed advantages of remaining a part of the UK have diminished.

Saturday also marked the launch of a new and invigorated grassroots campaign for independence aimed at reaching out to soft noes, undecided voters and the persuadable in order to present them with a new prospectus for independence in the post-Brexit and covid age in which the true urgency of the climate crisis is starting to be appreciated. The prospectus of 2014, which was based upon both Scotland and the rest of the UK remaining full participants in the EU and the European Single Market and customs union and which put considerable emphasis on Scotland’s huge potential as a producer of carbon emitting fossil fuels has already been consigned to the history books.

The fresh case for independence will only be fleshed out and firmed up in the months ahead, as the Scottish Government gets to work to produce the new financial prospectus for independence which has been promised.

The arguments put forward by the independence campaign will be very different the next time around. Now it’s independence which represents better integration with Europe, the chance to develop Scotland’s export markets and the only realistic and plausible route back to membership of the EU. Meanwhile many of the arguments which were presented by Better Together in 2014 have been blown up by the anti-independence parties themselves and particularly by the Conservatives. Now it’s opposition to Scottish independence and British nationalism which represent the narrow backward looking parochial nationalism which was so derided by Better Together in 2014. We have a British government which fetishises flags and the royal family, military parades, and which even seeks to reintroduce imperial weights and measures. The British state is increasingly obsessed with Britain’s imperial past because it has no plan for the future.

There is now no one who can plausibly and convincingly front an anti independence campaign. Gordon Brown has no credibility left, and Ruth Davidson with her peerage has come to epitomise all that is wrong with the anti-democratic and unaccountable British establishment.

Whoever does finally get roped into heading the anti-independence campaign is going to be leading a campaign with nothing positive to offer, only a doubling down on the scare stories and fear mongering that characterised Better Together’s Project Fear. Absolutely nothing has been done to develop a revived case for this so-called Union in the post Brexit age. Having won the independence referendum in 2014, the Better Together parties complacently thought that they could return to business as usual, that Scotland had been successfully shut back in its shortbread tin and could safely be ignored and taken for granted. The historic failure of the UK will be seen to be that Scotland changed irrevocably following the referendum campaign of 2014 but the parties of the British establishment did not. Scotland gave them a chance to prove themselves in 2014, but they blew it badly with their arrogance, their ignorance, and their immutable British nationalist exceptionalism.

Fundamentally the campaign for Scottish independence is about the future, British nationalism has proven itself to be trapped in the past. The question facing Scotland is whether to look to the future with independence or remain stuck in the past with the failing British state

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.

Donate Button

Tories appeal to the past because they have nothing to offer the future

Over the past few days the news has been dominated by Boris Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle in which one Conservative careerist fractionwit has been replaced by another careerist fractionwit, all of which has provided a very convenient distraction from the decision of this government of none of the talents to press ahead with clawing back the £20 per week uplift in Universal Credit from the poorest families in the UK. This is a move which has been universally condemned by anti-poverty groups and which has been described as the biggest benefits cut in modern history. The loss of a significant chunk of their income risks pushing hundreds of thousands of struggling families over the edge. Contrary to the stereotypes so beloved of the right wing media and the poverty porn of Channel 5, these are not all feckless wastrels who refuse to work and squander all their benefits on fags, hash, and cheap booze. Almost 40% of households which claim universal credit are headed by working people struggling in low paid jobs.

Naturally that hasn’t prevented Scotland’s six Conservative MPs from refusing to speak out against the move. Not one of them saw fit to speak up in defence of the poorest and most vulnerable families in their constituencies. Scotland’s sole Labour MP spoke out against the cut. The cut was also opposed by Scotland’s Lib Dem MPs as well as all the SNP contingent and the two Alba MPs. Only the Conservatives have no problem with punishing the poor in order to avoid raising taxes on the rich. It would be nice to say this was surprising, but we all know it isn’t.

The Tories were far more occupied with their boss’s reshuffle. On Friday it was announced that Scottish Tory MP David Duguid had been sacked from his position as a junior minister in the Scotland office. This won’t make any meaningful difference as it’s not like anyone had ever noticed that David Duguid had been a junior minister in the first place.

Yesterday there was much scoffing at the news that the post of Culture Secretary had been given to Nadine Dorries, an MP whose claim to be in touch with the cultural Zeitgeist rests mainly upon the fact that she once ate an ostrich anus on I’m a Celebrity Get me Out of Here, in an episode which was most notable for proving that the definition of “celebrity” could be stretched considerably further than an ostrich’s anus. Naturally she didn’t bother to inform the House of Commons authorities or the Tory whip that she was buggering off from the job she was elected to do in order to appear on a reality show for a lucrative fee.

Nadine Dorries bears approximately the same relation to culture as a yeast infection. She once claimed that “lefties” had ruined comedy, because apparently the racist, sexist and homophobic jokes of Jim Davidson and Bernard Manning represent one of the high points of British culture. She once wrote a novel which the Telegraph reviewer described as the worst he’d read in ten years. She has approvingly retweeted the right wing extremist Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, AKA “Tommy Robinson”. An opponent of gay marriage, in 2012 she claimed that she’d never met a gay couple who wanted to get married. It is thought by many that the only reason Nadine Dorries was promoted was because Priti Patel thought that it was only fair that someone else got a shot at being the most loathsome cabinet minister.

Less than twenty four hours in office and the Tory press was crowing that Dorries was planning a war on “crackpot” BBC programming. So we can expect a revival of the Black and White Minstrel Show and wall to wall Great British reality competitions in which contestants vie to prove who is the most patriotic based on how many ostrich anuses they can eat from a Royal wedding commemorative plate.

As if this government hasn’t already done enough to demonstrate that satire isn’t only dead but has been split into its constituent particles and shot into a black hole where it has effectively disappeared from this universe forever, on Thursday evening the Johnson administration published a list of those hitherto elusive Brexit benefits. Starring on the list is a return to imperial measurements. British state schools have exclusively taught the metric system since 1974 and in some cases even earlier so very few people under the age of 60 prefer imperial over metric. You have to be well over fifty to remember the time that the UK used imperial measures. And that is exactly the point. Still, don’t worry too much about the conversion between metric and imperial. An empty supermarket fruit and veg shelf is exactly the same whether you weigh it in metric or imperial.

The system of imperial measurements is hopelessly illogical. You might as well bring back Roman numerals. Still, now you can measure your car’s fuel consumption in firkins per furlong.

Many wouldn’t put it past Nadine Dorries to want to bring back the Roman Games too. Maybe throwing gay people to ravenous lions is one of the ideas she’s got for Great British programming on the BBC. It’s certainly what she’d want to do with any news or current affairs reporter who dares to criticise the Conservative government. The BBC will be well aware of that and the fact that the licence fee the BBC depends on now relies on the goodwill of Nadine Dorries, expect even more self-censorship and Great British propaganda from the BBC than we have seen already.

The only reason this is being done is to pander to the racist elderly English nationalist gammons who voted for Brexit and who are now the core demographic being courted by the Tory party. It’s not even necessary. There are no EU regulations preventing goods being labelled in imperial measurements, just as long as the equivalent in metric is also listed on the packaging. It’s the substitution of meaningless symbolism for the very real advantages of EU membership that Brexit has stripped from us all. Now that the Tories have taken us back to the 1970s perhaps Lord Lucan will be offered a government position in the next reshuffle.

Those who make policy in the present by appealing to the past only do so because they have nothing to offer the future. Blue passports, imperial measurements, empty supermarket shelves, Carry On movies on your Great British telly, and no freedom of movement, the Tories have taken us back to the 60s. So-called Global Britain is a sad, pathetic and insecure place harking nostalgically for a lost golden age that never was. There is no future in the UK, the Tories have demonstrated that themselves.

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.

Donate Button

Johnson’s bridge to nowhere

It’s hardly surprising that there are reports that the UK Treasury has cancelled Boris Johnson’s grandiose scheme to construct a fixed link, either a bridge or a tunnel, between Scotland and Northern Ireland. Just about any engineering project is possible if money and resources are unlimited. A fixed link between Scotland and Northern Ireland could potentially overcome the massive challenges of the great depths of the Beaufort Dyke, the rapid and dangerous currents and the frequent stormy weather which strikes the Sheuch in the winter. It could even potentially deal with the massive amounts of dangerous and unstable munitions which were dumped in the North Channel by the British Government in the decades following the First World War. However these issues could only be solved by throwing immense amounts of public money at the problem.

The Channel Tunnel between England and France cost £4.65 billion to build, approximately £12 billion in today’s money. The project took 13,000 workers six years to complete. Although the distance across the English Channel is greater than the distance between Scotland and Northern Ireland across the North Channel, the English Channel is far shallower than the North Channel. At its lowest point, the Channel Tunnel is 75 m (250 ft) deep below the sea bed and 115 m (380 ft) below sea level. The Beaufort Dyke in the North Channel, which any fixed link between Scotland and Northern Ireland would have to cross, is 50 km (30 miles) long, 3.5 km (2 miles) wide and 200 – 300 m (700 – 1,000 ft) deep. It is also a dumping site for munitions which could easily be disturbed by construction work.

A fixed link between Scotland and Northern Ireland would be far more expensive, most initial estimates range between £15 and £20 billion, with figures of up to £33 billion also being cited. It should also be noted that the final bill of £4.65 billion for the Channel Tunnel was 80% greater than the initial cost estimates.

Massive budget overruns are commonplace for huge civil engineering projects in the UK. London’s Crossrail project was originally budgeted at £14.8 billion but is now expected to cost over £18.6 billion and is still not open for regular rail services. The High Speed Rail project HS2 connecting London with Birmingham was originally forecast to cost £32.7 billion when the project was given the go ahead in 2012. Recent estimates put the likely cost at an eye watering £107.7 billion. Given the geological and logistical challenges of building a fixed link across a deep and stormy stretch of water between Scotland and Northern Ireland, any initial cost estimate is likely to balloon.

None of this factors in the costs of improving transport links to the site of the proposed fixed link , the A77 between Glasgow and Stranraer and the A75 from Dumfries can barely cope with the amount of traffic using them just now, never mind any increased traffic generated by the new crossing. Both these roads would require extensive upgrades to make them fit for purpose as connecting routes to a new fixed link between Scotland and Northern Ireland.

If the new crossing was to be a railway tunnel, there would have to be major upgrades on the Glasgow to Stranraer line which is single track and not electrified south of Ayr. The line would have to be dualled and electrified. The old Stranraer to Dumfries line, closed in the 1960s, would have to be rebuilt. The Scottish Government has recently pledged to reopen the Stranraer to Dumfries rail line although the project is ranked lower in priority than reopening the railway line to Leven in Fife and extending the Borders Railway from its current terminus at Tweedbank all the way through to Carlisle.

Additionally there is the not insignificant problem that railway lines in Ireland are built to a different gauge from those in Great Britain and most of Europe. The rails on Irish railway tracks are 1600mm (5ft 3 inches) apart. The gauge on British and most European railway lines is 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in). This gauge difference would make it impossible for trains to run directly through from Ireland to Scotland and beyond unless extensive work was carried out to alter the gauge of Irish railways or to make the sections of Irish track connecting to the link dual gauge. Alternatively trains running straight through could be equipped with special variable gauge bogies. The gauge is altered by slowly driving the train through a gauge changer or gauge changing facility which would have to be built at either end of the fixed link.

Given all these issues, the costs of a fixed link between Scotland and Ireland would be exorbitant and unjustifiable given the volume of traffic which crosses between the two countries. The Channel Tunnel links the South East and Midlands of England,with a population approaching 30 million with the densely populated areas of Belgium, Northern France and the Dutch Randstad region, which also has a total population approaching 30 million. Additionally it provides direct high speed rail links between London, Paris, and Brussels, three major capital cities with a total population in excess of 20 million people. Approximately 26% of trade in goods between the UK and continental Europe goes through the Channel Tunnel each year, which represents a total value of £120 billion annually.

The total population of Scotland and Ireland combined is only around 11 million. Traffic between the two countries via a fixed link would never come close to that of the Channel Tunnel, yet it would be significantly more expensive and challenging to build. It is unlikely that it would ever come close to justifying its cost.

So it was only to be expected that the Treasury has cancelled the project. It is equally unsurprising that the Scottish Government reports that at no point in the process did the Conservative Government speak to the Scottish Government about the project or about what priorities the Scottish Government has identified for improving transport links in South West Scotland or between Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Tories were far too busy pontificating about the moral standards of the cast members of pantos in Aberdeen.

The plan for a fixed link between Scotland and Northern Ireland was never realistic. Johnson’s bridge to nowhere was never about the needs of Scotland and Northern Ireland, it was always a vanity project about the desperate need of Boris Johnson for publicity and the chance for him to attach his name to something that will outlast his time in office and provide him with a legacy. He needn’t worry about that. Johnson’s legacy will be the end of the UK and an independent Scotland.

I have a physiotherapy appointment tomorrow so won’t be doing a piece for the blog as I am always wiped out afterwards.

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.

Donate Button

Time to cancel Gove’s panto gig

Recordings have come to light of Michael Gove making offensive comments during speeches he made to the Cambridge Union while he was a student there in his 20s. The comments are not just racist, sexist, and homophobic, they also cover several other offensiveness bases for good measure, including slurs directed at the royal family, which to be honest is fair enough. He also made jokes about child abuse, making light of the alleged paedophilia of a now deceased Conservative cabinet minister, whose widow was later paid substantial compensation by the Metropolitan police for police searches of her and her husband’s home because of allegations which the police have since accepted were baseless.

Gove also made fun of the economic devastation and job losses being visited upon the north of England and Scotland, referring to “the happy south” stamping over “the cruel, dirty, toothless face of the northerner.” The recordings of the offensive comments were published by the Independent newspaper. They’re probably the only time you’ll ever hear Michael Gove speaking truthfully and with conviction. Gove added that it’s pragmatic not to care what half of the population say because the richer half will keep you in power. That was when he was an honest sociopath instead of a lying sociopath.

These comments are separate from the offensive remarks about Scottish people which Gove made for the short lived car crash of a topical current affairs alleged comedy show for Channel 4 in the 1990s. Gove hasn’t apologised for those comments and he’s refusing to respond to requests for a statement about the offensive so called jokes he made to the Cambridge Union.

Just last week Scottish Conservative MPs and MSPs were up in arms about some offensive tweets made many years ago by the comedian Janey Godley. Those same Scottish Conservatives are now strangely quiet about racist and misogynistic comments from their hero Michael Gove. You’d think that at the very least they’d be trying to get his pantomime gig with BawJaws the Clown cancelled.

There’s no defence for the offensive tweets made many years ago by Janey Godley, however after those tweets surfaced she made a fulsome and sincere apology for any offence that she’d caused.

There’s a clear pattern in what’s called “cancel culture”, which is basically people being called out for sexist, racist, or homophobic remarks they’d made in the past. The toxic fandom of RuPaul’s Drag Race is particularly adept at trawling through the social media accounts of contestants searching for offensive comments made many years previously. In the upcoming series of Drag Race UK one of the contestants has been called out for comments which they made when they were 16. These revelations are invariably followed by a teary apology video on social media in which the person apologises and assures us that they have learned and have grown and are no longer the same person that they were when they made the offensive or problematic remarks. Indeed if you haven’t learned and grown up from the person you were when you were 16 or a callow youth there’s something seriously wrong with you.

That’s essentially what Janey Godley did, and like those contestants on Drag Race, she’s an entertainer,whose public life begins and ends with providing amusing and entertaining content. Not only has Michael Gove never apologised, he is still very much the same person as he was when he made those vile comments. In fact if anything he’s got worse. Gove has merely learned to lie more fluently and glibly.  Far more seriously, Gove isn’t just an entertainer looking to perform in a pantomime in Aberdeen, as a cabinet minister in the British Government he has the power to influence legislation and government policies which affect all our lives. He is a senior figure in a corrupt government which weaponises xenophobia and demonises migrants and asylum seekers.

If, as seems likely given the large Conservative majority, the Conservatives’ Elections Bill is passed by the Commons, Gove will be given oversight of the Electoral Commission and will have the power to rule that campaigning activities he disapproves of are illegal. That’s a damn sight more serious than the pantomime “Oh no he isn’t!” “Oh yes he is!” and He’s behind you!” of a comedian that was getting the collective knickers of the Scottish Conservatives in a twist when it came to Janey Godley.

Likewise the Scottish Conservatives don’t seem overly bothered by the racist and homophobic comments of the serial liar in Downing Street, but when it comes to an independence supporting female comedian all of a sudden they transform into the net curtain twitching defenders of public morality and propriety. Johnson’s offensive comments would fill a script long enough to keep an entire theatre repertory company in business for years, never mind a single panto.

The really shocking thing here is that none of this is surprising. We’ve been shocked and appalled before by the crass contempt of the Conservatives, by their casual racism, naked class prejudice,their overweening entitlement, their corruption, and their hypocritical double standards. The student speeches of Michael Gove, the Spectator journalism of Boris Johnson, the deleted Tweets of Toby Young. It’s almost as if there’s a pattern emerging. It’s a pattern that if the Tories got it made into wallpaper it would cost £850 a roll and they’d expect the taxpayer to pay for it.

On this occasion the Scottish Conservatives will do exactly what they have done on all those previous occasions when the bigotry and prejudices of senior Conservatives has come to light. They’ll keep their heads down until they can find or manufacture an opportunity to castigate their opponents for some sin, real or imagined, and they will be aided and abetted in that by Scotland’s overwhelmingly anti-independence media, which is far more concerned about fending off independence than it is in holding the Conservatives to account.

This is what you get when a political party cannot be held to account by the electorate. Scotland hasn’t voted for a Conservative Government since the 1950s, but the Tories still enjoy power and privilege. Now they’re pauchling the electoral system to make it even harder to remove them from Westminster. The only way to cancel this panto is with Scottish independence.

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.

Donate Button