Time for Labour to wake up and smell the referendum coffee

Since the independence referendum of 2014, the Labour party in Scotland has gone through leaders at about the same rate that a Scottish Conservative politician commits a Murdo on social media. There was Johann Lamont who slated the Labour party in Scotland as little more than a branch office in a scathing resignation letter.She was followed by the much trumpeted Saviour of the Union Jim Murphy who couldn’t even save his own seat in the 2015 Westminster General Election, and who then tried to cling on to his post despite the fact that he was no longer an elected politician, displaying that respect for democracy for which the Labour party in Scotland has become a by-word in the exact same way that UK entries in the Eurovision Song Contest have become a by-word for musical excellence and European popularity.

Jim Murphy was followed by Kezia Dugdale, who was followed by Alex Rowley as acting leader before he was suspended from Labour’s Holyrood parliamentary party while a probe into his conduct took place after he was alleged to have sent abusive text messages to a former partner. The investigation eventually concluded there was no case to answer as the party had not received a formal complaint. Rowley was followed as acting leader by Jackie Baillie. Rowley was previously alleged to have been implicated in a plot to unseat Kezia Dugdale and replace her with the famously unmemorable Ricardo Lanyard, which Jackie Baillie described to a newspaper as, “a complete betrayal a complete betrayal of the membership and every value we hold dear”. This led to a spokesman for Limplard sending an email referring to “the latest Jackie Baillie pish.”

Reginald Lackvoter subsequently won the leadership election but failed to make the much heralded reversal of the declining fortunes of the Labour party in Scotland. His stewardship of the branch office was notable mainly for the fact that no one could remember who he was, not even the leader of the Labour party. So it was no surprise that the party’s support continued to decline.

Ringwort Losesupporter resigned after the party’s disastrous performance in the 2019 European Parliament elections when it lost the two seats Labour had held in Scotland. The ignominy was compounded in the Westminster General Election in December that year when Labour lost all the gains it had made in the snap General Election of 2017 and was reduced to a single MP, the uber-unionist Ian Murray, who held on in Edinburgh South thanks to tactical voting from Conservatives. Labour in Scotland, which once dominated the Scottish political landscape, has fallen so low that it now depends on the tactical votes of Conservatives in order to get elected. Equally, Jackie Baillie only clung on to her Holyrood constituency seat in this year’s Scottish Parliament election because she benefited from significant tactical voting from Conservative supporters.

This raises an important question which the party has yet to acknowledge, never mind tackle – just how can the labour party in Scotland mount an effective challenge to the Conservatives when some of its most important and influential figures , like Jackie Baillie and Ian Murray, depend upon Conservative votes in order to keep their seats.

Anas Sarwar is the current holder of the poisoned chalice of leader of the Labour party in Scotland. He shows every sign of being a leader who will manage Labour’s continuing decline instead of setting it on the path to victory. To be fair to Sarwar, the problems of the Labour party in Scotland cannot be solved simply by a change of leadership, a ship that is holed below the waterline is still going to sink no matter who the captain is. However Anas Sarwar shows no inclination to break with the uber-unionism of Bailey and Murray which has left Labour dependent on the limited pool of Conservative votes. He’s not making the Labour ship seaworthy, he’s embracing the iceberg.

In particular Sarwar maintains the anti-democratic Conservative denial of the outcome of May’s Holyrood election, when the electorate returned a Parliament with the strongest pro-independence majority ever, elected with a mandate to deliver another independence referendum within the term of this Parliament. Labour, which calls itself the party of the people, colludes with the Conservatives in denying the people’s will. This is not a recipe for a Labour renaissance. The Conservatives have securely established themselves as the party of British nationalist opposition to another independence referendum and the acceptance of Brexit as a done deal. There is no space there for the Labour party.

This political reality isn’t just recognised by independence supporters. Today Len Mcluskey, the former leader of the Unite union said that Labour in Scotland needs to acknowledge the verdict of the Scottish electorate and distance itself from the Conservatives by accepting that a second independence referendum must take place. That does not mean that the Labour party in Scotland should become a pro-independence party, it would still be able to use the referendum campaign put forward its proposals for a Scotland within a reformed UK and for strengthened and entrenched devolution which really is made safe from Westminster meddling.

However the point is that unless Labour stands up for the position that the UK is a voluntary union of nations and that it is for the people of Scotland and the people of Scotland alone to decide the future of Scotland and whether or not there should be another referendum then they are doomed to irrelevance as nothing more than apologists for the Conservatives on the constitution and as a party which is happy to collude in the transformation of the UK into a union based upon compulsion in which the occupant of Downing Street has a veto on the will of the people of Scotland even if he or she represents a party which has only minority support in Scotland.

As things stand, Anas Sarwar’s leadership of the Labour party in Scotland is doomed to go the same way as his predecessors, a management of decline which will end in failure and irrelevance.

My Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to weegingerbook@yahoo.com (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).

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

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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A grown up conversation about drug use in Scotland

Lorna Slater,the co-leader of the Scottish Greens last week sparked off a bout of puritan pearl clutching from the usual Scottish Conservative suspects when she tried to make a perfectly sensible and grown up point about recreational drug use. Speaking on the Unitribal podcast the Green co-leader and minister remarked that recreational drugs are not “inherently dangerous” in and of themselves. However she added that drugs become dangerous because then users cannot get them safely and drug dealers operating illegally are incentivised to sell dangerous and adulterated product in order to maximise their profits as quickly as possible. It ought to be obvious that quality control does not figure high on the list of priorities of the criminal gangs who control the drug trade.

Naturally this sensible and adult contribution to the conversation about drug use provoked predictable outrage from right wing politicians and commentators who have zero concern for working class communities where there is an epidemic of drug use and who equally predictably refrained from the same paroxysms of condemnation when it came to the admitted use of Class A drugs by the likes of David Cameron, Boris Johnson, or Michael Gove. Murdo Fraser said that the Green co-leader was an embarrassment, and to be fair Murdo knows a lot about being an embarrassment to the extent that his name has become synonymous with politicians making arses of themselves in public. “There’s been a Murdo” has become a shorthand phrase to telegraph that the Scottish Tory MSP has yet again embarrassed himself and his party on social media. Impressively Murdo has managed to achieve this entirely without the use of mind bending drugs. His mind goes to a bizarre alternative reality with no need of any chemical assistance to get there.

The Green co-leader is in favour of decriminalisation of drug possession for personal use. A few points of clarification are necessary here. Decriminalisation is not the same as legalisation. It does not mean that you’d be able to go into a shop and buy two ounces of cannabis and baggie of cocaine. The possession of drugs for personal use would remain unlawful, however the difference with decriminalisation is that the possession of a small quantity of drugs for personal use would become an offence without a criminal penalty.

Possession with intent to supply would remain an offence which is prosecuted, just as it is at the moment. The idea behind decriminalisation of drug possession for personal use is that drug use ought to be treated as a health issue not a criminal one, it doesn’t help a person struggling with a drug habit to enmesh them in the criminal justice system, it merely adds to the personal problems which drove them to inappropriate drug use in the first place, and compounds them by giving them a criminal record which makes it even harder for them to get a decent job and escape the criminal milieu of the illegal drug scene.

However when you are a politician in Scotland who attempts to initiate a serious and adult conversation about Scotland’s problematic record with drug use and the appalling number of deaths due to drugs in this country in the hope of finding a solution which works, because it ought to be self-evident that the current punitive policy of blanket criminalisation is failing badly, you immediately run into the hysterical opposition of those whose understanding of drug policy remains locked in the Just Say No or Go to Jail nostrums of the 1980s, a strategy which has not prevented an epidemic of drug use and a truly dreadful annual death toll. And for every soul added to the terrible toll of drug deaths there are dozens more eking out lives of despair and desperation on the margins, spending their days doing what they can, whether legal or illegal, to scrape together the cash to get them a hit which will get them through the night, until one day their lifeless body is found in the dingy close where they went to shoot up their last. It’s no way to live, and it’s no way to die.

Criminalisation makes drugs far more dangerous, it encourages criminal gangs to adulterate their product with dangerous substances in order to bulk up volume and weight. The gangs have no concern that these substances might be extremely dangerous when ingested or injected.

It’s not just Lorna Slater who believes that the current war on drugs is failing to prevent or reduce the use of recreational drugs, and failing to prevent far too many people in Scotland from dying before their time. In addition it is failing to prevent organised criminal gangs from becoming established in Scottish communities. The only winners here are the right wing politicians who like to pose as being tough on crime. Today the next Moderator of the Church of Scotland also spoke out, saying that, like Lorna Slater, he believes that the personal possession of drugs should be decriminalised and the issue of drugs treated as a public health problem not a criminal justice matter. The Rev. Iain Greenshields said that locking up people who are often “self-medicating” to cope with psychological challenges did not work and instead they should be treated in high-quality residential rehabilitation centres.

We can see whether Murdo Fraser also decries the Moderator of the Kirk as an embarrassment in an effort to depict him as a dangerous radical with dangerous views beyond the pale of decent society. Right wing British nationalists resorted to this tactic as part of their efforts to demonise and marginalise support for Scottish independence. They have no real interest in what really works to reduce the damage caused by drug use. Their attacks are hypocritical and self-serving. In doing so they merely contribute to th infantilisation of Scottish public discourse which is Anglo-British nationalism utilises as one of its methods of control.

With drug policy reserved to a Westminster which has no interest in increasing the powers of Holyrood,sadly there’s little prospect of the change in direction in drug policy which Scotland so badly needs until Scotland recovers the full powers of an independent state. Until then we will remain subject to Tory politicians trying to look tough on crime as they build their profiles on a mounting toll of deaths, broken lives, and shattered families.

My Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to weegingerbook@yahoo.com (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).

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

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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Gove: The Secretary of State for Gaslighting

Michael Gove has a very important job in the British Government. He’s the Minister of State for Gaslighting, Glib Lies, and Oleaginous Mendacity. His role entails lying to the people of the UK, and specifically to the people of Scotland, by repeating blatant untruths so often yet so scrupulously politely that they become embedded in the public narrative and replace the actual truth. His job is to cast doubt on the lived experience of all of us, in order to make us believe that our knowledge of events that we all lived through, and not too long ago at that, didn’t really happen in the way we remember them to have happened.

In this endeavour he is aided and abetted by an overwhelming anti-independence Scottish and British media which has a vested interest in not challenging his obvious lies but rather in propagating and reinforcing them. As far as his lies about the outcome of the Scottish Parliamentary election and the existence of a mandate for another independence referendum are concerned, he’s also aided and abetted by Keir Starmer of the Labour party, who likewise has an interest in denying the outcome of Scottish democratic events which are not to his liking.

Gove is trying to deny that the Scottish Parliament, with its unassailable majority of pro-independence MSPs elected to bring about another independence referendum in an election campaign in which the question of another independence referendum was by far and away the dominant issue, actually possesses a mandate for another independence referendum. The pro-independence parties won a handsome majority, despite a well funded and well organised British nationalist tactical voting campaign designed to deprive them of victory.

Gove is now retrospectively trying to change the rules of Scottish elections, which use a voting system which was deliberately designed to make it almost impossible for a single party to win a majority in its own right in order to deny that the Scottish Government has a mandate for another independence referendum. He is trying to assert that a mandate would only exist if the SNP had won an absolute majority by itself.

Together, the anti-independence parties did not come close to winning a majority or depriving the pro-independence parties of a majority. You can be quite certain however that had they collectively done so, Gove would be the first to crow that this constituted a cast-iron mandate to oppose another independence referendum.

As far as Gove is concerned, Scottish Green MSPs do not exist and the votes cast for Green candidates who were standing on a clear and unequivocal platform of seeking a mandate for another independence referendum are to be discounted. Had the Alba party or any other pro-independence party succeeded in getting MSPs elected to the current Scottish Parliament, Gove would still be making the exact same specious and mendacious claim. We expect Gove to lie, but what is most shocking of all is how the majority of the media in Scotland colludes in Gove’s lie.

Gove’s transparent lies didn’t end at his predictable and ludicrous attempt to deny the incontestable truth that the current Scottish Parliament was elected with a mandate to deliver another independence referendum during the five year term of this Parliament. He also lied about his Government’s constant attacks on the devolution settlement and the fact that the Conservatives at Westminster are betraying the promises and commitments to respect and strengthen devolution that they themselves made to the people of Scotland in 2014 as part of their desperate attempts to secure a No vote in that year’s independence referendum.

The fact that the demand for another independence referendum remains a live issue in Scottish politics is in no small measure because the promises and commitments made by the anti-independence parties in 2014 have been so thoroughly traduced by those same anti-independence parties.

Right now the British Government is undermining the devolution settlement by blatantly side-lining the Scottish Government and dealing directly with Scottish local authorities concerning projects and funding which according to the terms of the Scotland Act fall squarely within the remit of the Scottish Parliament. The Conservative government gave itself the legal authority to do this by sneaking in a clause in their UK Internal Market Act. They did not even bother to make the pretence of obtaining the agreement of Holyrood to do so, never mind seeking a mandate for it from the electorate of Scotland despite the fact that the Conservatives vowed in 2014 that no changes to the devolution settlement or the powers of the Scottish Parliament would ever be made without the express consent of Holyrood and the people of Scotland.

Gove had the unmitigated gall to claim that what the British Government is really doing is “augmenting devolution” which is like your flatmate in a shared flat stealing your dinner out of the fridge and then claiming that they are really augmenting your dinner choices because now you’ll have to go to Tesco and find something else to eat.

Politicians like Gove will always lie, deceive, and twist words in order to present a narrative that suits their own interests and the aims of their party, but democracy can only survive when the media is willing to hold them to account and not to allow them to establish their lies and semantic contortions as fact. Michael Gove lies with the glib fluency of a man who has lied repeatedly in the past and got away with it without any consequences, he knows that he can continue to lie without facing any consequences because the media will continue to allow him to get away with it. In doing so he is directly undermining democracy and in the process providing yet more evidence that the independence referendum he is so desperate to prevent is absolutely vital to ensuring the security of democracy and political accountability in Scotland.

My Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to weegingerbook@yahoo.com (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).

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

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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The Brexit chickens come home to roost

Brexit, It’s going soooo well isn’t it. The whole of the UK is basking in the sunlit uplands of empty supermarket shelves, fuel shortages, rising prices, a Northern Irish trade war which is teetering on the brink, plummeting exports, livestock being culled because of a shortage of meat processing workers, and a looming and entirely unnecessary trade war with the the EU which is being manufactured by the British Government for no reason other than its desperate need to assert British exceptionalism in the face of a world which sees only a poorly governed middle sized European state with an untrustworthy and mendacious leadership and a Great British nationalist Napoleon complex. However the UK and its institutions are so far up the colon of British exceptionalism that they don’t even see the irony that it’s a Napoleon Complex which is the defining feature of the modern UK.

Right now the Conservatives are still avoiding the consequences of their mendacity and their party politically motivated decision to inflict the greatest act of political and economic vandalism on the UK in recent history. They are doing precisely what their Scottish Tory Mini-Mes accuse the Scottish Government of doing – hiding behind the pandemic. Unlike the Scottish Government which is confronted by an overwhelmingly hostile media which magnifies any failing and trumpets the attacks of the opposition parties at Holyrood, Boris Johnson is blessed – and the rest of us are cursed – with a right wing media which goes out of its way to minimise the damage created by the Conservatives and is eager to deflect the blame.

The Conservatives are also aided and abetted by a Labour party whose leadership appears to be far more interested in opposing the Labour party than it is in opposing the Conservatives. Indeed, the politician who is working hardest to make the Labour party seem electable is Boris Johnson. He presents Keir Starmer with one open goal after another, each of which the Labour leader manages to miss, that is if he even seems aware that they exist.

Starmer shows very little interest in the radical constitutional reform of the UK which Gordon Brown promised Scotland in 2014 was a done deal. Radical is not in the makeup of a politician who doesn’t even dare to wear brightly coloured socks. Scotland scarcely rated a mention in either his speech to the recent Labour party conference or in the eleven plus thousand word essay he published a few days beforehand, an essay containing many more words than people who actually read the whole thing. He’s farmed out constitutional reform to a commission headed by Gordon Brown, as though that was meant to inspire confidence and not despair.

In Scotland the Labour party, with Starmer’s blessing and encouragement, has become as knee jerk British nationalist as the Conservatives and just as determined as the Scottish Tories to deny Scottish democracy and the mandate for another independence referendum. This is not the path out of the electoral oblivion in which Labour has been languishing in Scotland since 2014, it’s a road that leads only to further irrelevance. Labour likes to call itself the people’s party but in Scotland it is convinced that it’s the people who are wrong and who need to change, not the party. Election after election sees the same dismal result for the Labour party in Scotland but Anas Sarwar is determined to pursue the same self-destructive course. It’s the longest political sulk in history.

Meanwhile the Conservatives have been carefully watching the Trumpist Republicans in the USA and learning a few lessons from them. They have already started to copy the vote suppression and gerrymandering tactics the US Republicans are infamous for. The Elections Bill currently passing through the Commons will place obstacles in the way of voting which will disproportionately affect demographic groups which are predominantly anti-Brexit and Labour supporting. It will abolish the independence of the Electoral Commission and place it under the ultimate control of the Cabinet Office. The redrawing of Westminster constituency boundaries will create new seats which are most likely to return a Conservative MP, while Scotland and Wales will see their representation in Westminster decrease.

We already have an unfair electoral system for Westminster elections which gave Johnson a majority of 80 seats on just 43.6% of the votes. The Tories seek to entrench their position and usher in decades of minority Conservative rule. It will make the Thatcher era seem like a beacon of open minded tolerance an liberal values.

Eventually the Brexit chickens will come home to roost, although certainly not to a bare supermarket shelf. The working class Brexit supporters in the north and Midlands of England who have been so assiduously courted by Johnson’s Conservatives will one day realise that they have been conned and that Brexit has done nothing to remedy the decades long Westminster neglect of their communities. When that happens the Conservatives will double down on the populist Trumpian tactics of the American Republicans and will wrap themselves in the Union flag while they attack some new scapegoat and further undermine democracy, aided by the lack of a written constitution which puts few effective checks on the power of a Prime Minister who commands a majority in the Commons.

The Tories depend on finding some group that they can scapegoat and blame in order to depict themselves as the victims. The EU has proven to be a highly convenient bogeyman so far, but eventually the Tories will no longer be able to shift all the blame for their disaster of a Brexit onto Europe. When that happens they will seek some new scapegoats and will become increasingly authoritarian and anti-democratic. They will blame Remainers for not backing Brexit, they will blame Scottish independence supporters for not believing in Britain and for supposedly hating the English. They will attack minority groups, environmental protesters, migrants, and anyone who doesn’t fully subscribe to their reactionary right wing Anglo-British nationalism. For all of us who don’t support the Conservatives’ Union flag waving Great British exceptionalism our only future in the UK is as the enemy within.

My Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to weegingerbook@yahoo.com (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).

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

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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Do as one says not as one does

COP26 hasn’t even started yet and already I’m wondering just how much projectile vomiting adds to your carbon footprint, because I don’t think I’m going to be able to get through the fortnight without severe nausea caused by the British media’s sycophantic brown nosing about the supposed contribution made to the proceedings by the British royal family and their insistence on building up this supremely indulged and wasteful bunch of parasites who are about as good for the planet as one of those planet busting rays on the Death Star from Star Wars into environmental champions who are just like Greta Thunberg but with far more expensive clothes.

Whatever you might think of Greta Thunberg she walks the walk and practises what she preaches. She goes to immense lengths to reduce and minimise her own carbon footprint, even famously hitching a ride on a sailboat in order to get across the Atlantic without releasing the average 986kg of CO2 per passenger on a typical return flight from Europe to the USA. The Windsors on the other hand think nothing about releasing vast amounts of carbon in their highly wasteful transport habits. With the British royal family it’s very much a case of do as one says, not as one does. This is a family one of whose members has such immense concern for the environment that he flew first class to New York in order to stay with a convicted paedophile and tell him that they couldn’t be besties any more.

When they are not flying first class, the royals are taking even more polluting private jets, which can emit two tonnes of CO2 in just one hour. Or they are taking trips on helicopters paid for by the taxpayer. Trains are widely accepted as being one of the least polluting and most efficient forms of transport, a single train can typically carry as many as one hundred passengers per carriage and if it’s composed of electric motor units or is hauled by an electric locomotive it can potentially be powered entirely by electricity from renewable or carbon neutral sources meaning that thousands of people can be got to their destinations with a minimal release of carbon.

However on those occasions when the Windsors do let the train take the strain they do so in the most wasteful and polluting way possible. Not for the Windsors packing onto a crowded scheduled train service along with the rest of us, they have their very own royal train, essentially a luxury hotel on the rails which is for their use and theirs alone. This immediately destroys the economy of scale which is one of the great advantages of rail transport in terms of carbon emissions.

To make matters even worse the Royal Train is currently hauled by a Class 67 Diesel electric locomotive. These use diesel fuel to power electric generators which supply the traction power for the locomotive. On average a diesel locomotive gets just six miles per gallon for each carriage the locomotive hauls. The royal train currently consists of nine carriages, so William and Kate’s wee jaunt to Scotland on the royal train last year will have used around 630 gallons of diesel fuel to travel the 420 miles from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh Waverley and then the same amount on the return trip. Each gallon of diesel that is burned up releases just under 11kg of CO2 into the atmosphere, so the trip in total added 23,860 Kg of CO2 in emissions.

This would be the same Prince William who is currently being bigged up by the British media as a great champion in the fight against climate change, and to be fair he’s not quite as bad an offender as some of the other members of his family, although that’s like saying that someone who robs £500,000 from a bank isn’t as bad an offender as someone who managed to squeeze £1 million in used notes into a holdall. As far as the environment goes the only thing the Windsors really big up is their massive carbon footprint, which is estimated at a whopping 3,344 tonnes for travel alone in 2019.
https://edition.cnn.com/2019/06/25/europe/royal-family-carbon-emissions-scli-intl-gbr/index.html

Last week William criticised public figures for talking but not doing when it came to tackling climate change. Perhaps he should start with himself and his grandmother and father before attempting to claim the moral high ground. His grandmother’s household used the royal prerogative to lobby the Scottish Government for an exemption to a Scottish law designed to facilitate carbon reduction. The Queen’s lawyers secretly lobbied Scottish ministers to change a draft law to exempt her private land including her Balmoral estate from an initiative to cut carbon emissions. That will be the estate where the royal family indulge themselves in shooting the local wildlife to buggery when they’re taking a break from telling Nicolas Witchell about how hard they are working to save the planet.

The exemption means the Queen, one of the largest landowners in Scotland, is the only person in the country not required to facilitate the construction of pipelines to heat buildings using renewable energy. It seems that the Windsors are all for protecting the environment but not when it has an effect on their own wealth and estates.

Prince Charles is one of the most profligate and wasteful royals, as we might expect from a pampered man with a large retinue of private staff who reportedly even has a servant squeeze the toothpaste onto his toothbrush for him. In 2019 Charles and his wife and their entourage took 17 flights on private jets, three scheduled flights and two trips on RAF helicopters, releasing 432 tonnes of carbon in transport alone, forty times the total emissions of the average person for all purposes. Prince climate champion William and his wife took two private jets, two scheduled flights and one trip on the royal family’s dedicated train, releasing 11 tonnes in carbon just in transport. The average UK household produces less than that in an entire year from all sources.

Instead of lecturing us, Prince William should start by lecturing his da. But instead, for the duration of COP26 we will get gushing sycophantic guff from the BBC and the rest of the British media about how a wasteful family with a carbon footprint equivalent to a small town are champions of the environment. Pass the carbon neutral sick bucket.

My Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to weegingerbook@yahoo.com (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).

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

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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SpeakGaelic is launched

It’s nice to be able to report something positive from the BBC for a change. No, the Corporation hasn’t finally admitted to its long term and systemic bias against Scottish independence and taken concrete measures to ensure that in the future its reporting on the Scottish constitutional question will be scrupulously fair and even-handed. Don’t be daft. I only said it was something positive for a change, not a bloody miracle.

The BBC together with MGAlba (the company running the BBC’s Gaelic medium TV channel BBC Alba), Bord na Gàidhlig, the Scottish Government, and the Gaelic language college based on Skye, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig have funded and developed a £4 million major new initiative to promote learning Gaelic. This involves the release of a wealth of new materials for online learning. These will be more extensive and in-depth than the highly popular and excellent Gaelic Duolingo course and will provide structured learning of the language in four levels, from absolute beginners to advanced learners.

Each level will comprise 13 lessons with two classes in each lesson accompanied by a series of 13 half-hour media programmes. The learning outcomes for each of these modules will be underpin all elements of SpeakGaelic in a consistent way. The curriculum for SpeakGaelic was developed by Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. The materials that have been developed and are being released today include resources for both teachers and learners of the language.

The first level, for beginners in the language has been launched today. The resources include a series of short video lessons, all of which will be made available free of charge on the BBC iplayer, and also on Youtube for learners outwith the UK or for those who object to paying the TV licence fee. There are also podcasts which will be available on BBCSounds, and much more. This is an exciting and professional initiative which should go a long way to ensuring that Gaelic will forever enjoy its rightfully prominent place in the Scottish cultural landscape.

These are high quality learning materials and will provide an invaluable resource which will make learning Gaelic more accessible for a wide range of people. To give you a wee taste, here is the very first lesson in the very first level for complete beginners.

You can find out more, and begin your path to Gaelic here: https://speakgaelic.scot/ You can register for online classes – it’s free.

Incidentally, my Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to weegingerbook@yahoo.com (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).

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

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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Perfidious Albion rides again

The phrase Perfidious Albion or Perfidious Angleterre has a very long history and an equally long justification. Otto the bishop of Freising in Bavaria used a similar phrase in the year 1191 to describe the untrustworthiness and bad faith of the English monarchy following a dispute between the crowns of England and Austria during the Crusades. However the phrase really started to gain traction after the French Revolution to the extent that by the 19th century French writers could refer to “la Perfide Albion” as a well known old saying.

The French revolutionaries had been greatly inspired by England’s so-called Glorious Revolution a century previously which saw the Westminster Parliament curtail once and for all the absolute power of the monarchy and replaced the Stuart dynasty with the Hanoverians. The French revolutionaries originally sought to establish a liberal constitutional monarchy along British lines. However Westminster and the British crown soon turned on the French revolutionaries and allied itself with Europe’s reactionary and absolutist monarchies in a bid to bring the revolution down.

It says a lot about a state that a phrase referring to its supposed proclivity for treachery, deceit and bad faith becomes elevated to the status of a stock phrase that’s a well known old saying. It says a lot, and it says nothing good. Perfidious Albion is the flip side of British exceptionalism. What British nationalists see as the special nature of Britain which elevates it above the rules and norms that apply to lesser nations, others perceive as an untrustworthy deceit and a willingness to go back on the terms of deals previously agreed. It’s an important lesson that you cannot reach a meaningful or lasting agreement with a polity which is founded upon the belief that it is beyond the normal standards of honesty and decency which it expects of everyone else.

Examples of the untrustworthiness and bad faith of the Westminster Parliament are abundant. Just restricting ourselves to recent history and Westminster’s dealings with Scotland, Perfidious Albion rode again with the promises and commitments made to Scotland by the anti-independence parties in order to secure a No vote in the 2014 referendum. Brexit taught Scotland that Westminster did not really believe that Scotland is a partner in a family of nations. The Conservatives’ attacks on the devolution settlement and their willingness to subvert and undermine the powers of the Scottish Parliament tell us that their promise in 2014 that no Westminster government would ever alter the powers of Holyrood without the express consent of the Scottish Parliament was never more than a cynical and tactical lie designed to help them secure a vote against independence. It was never a promise that they ever had any intentions of keeping.

The latest example in a long series of British perfidy is the shameful way that the British Government is willing to trash the Northern Irish protocol which it agreed with the EU in order that Boris Johnson could go into a UK General Election and tell the gammons of British nationalism that he’d got Brexit done. Dominic Cummings now tells us that the Johnson government never had any intention of abiding by the terms of the deal. It was, exactly like the Vow that British party leaders solemnly swore to the people of Scotland on a faux-parchment newspaper front page, only ever a short term tactical lie, designed to allow the Conservatives to get through a short term political problem. In a Tweet Cummings gloated that “cheating foreigners is a core part of the [Prime Minister’s] job”.

Johnson has form for this. He supported Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement at a third Commons vote in March 2019 despite the fact that he had resigned from the cabinet in protest about it, a resignation which was itself cynical and tactical, aimed at burnishing Johnson’s credentials with the Brextremist frothers in the Conservative party who would later elect him party leader and give him the keys to Downing Street. He voted for May’s deal, tactically and cynically because it was expedient at the time. His goal was to agree a deal in bad faith and then once the UK was out of the EU to kill it off from the outside. After May lost the Commons vote, she resigned, Johnson became Tory leader and the lying and deceit which was previously merely a strong tendency of the Conservative party became official British government policy.

The UK has now shown the international community its true colours as a bad faith actor which cannot be trusted to keep an agreement.

This is an important lesson that Scotland is dealing with British nationalist opponents who will lie, cheat, and say anything to get their way. None of the promises that the anti-independence campaign will make to Scotland in the next independence referendum will be worth the air used to utter them for all that they will be trumpeted and amplified by Scotland’s overwhelmingly anti-independence media. Scots too count amongst those foreigners whom Boris Johnson and his allies see as being his core job is to cheat.

This is particularly important because opponents of independence will not go into the next independence referendum campaign with the same lazy and arrogant assumption of victory which characterised their attitude in the early months of the 2014 campaign. They will be under immense pressure to find some story, some plausible sounding promises of a positive offer to make to the people of Scotland in the hopes of securing a No vote. Just like the British Government’s Brexit negotiations with the EU and just like the Vow in 2014, they will be nothing more than expedient and tactical lies which aim to “cheat the foreigners” and will be trashed the second that the Conservatives get the political result that they want. Which is why we cannot cease highlighting their lies and deceit in order to boost our chances of ensuring that they do not get the outcome that they want and that Scotland will no longer be the victim of Perfidious Albion’s lies.

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

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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One year on

Today marks the one year anniversary since I suffered what the medical staff in the hospital described as a massive stroke. An ischaemic stroke like the one I had occurs when a blood clot travels through the circulatory system and eventually gets lodged in one of the small arteries in the brain, blocking it. The part of the brain supplied by that artery is then deprived of oxygen, so it dies. Surrounding brain tissue goes into shock. The stroke I had killed off a substantial part of the rear third of the right hemisphere of my brain. The right hemisphere controls the left hand side of the body whereas the left hemisphere controls the right hand side. However for almost everyone, no matter whether they are right or left handed, the language centres of the brain, Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas, are located just behind the temple on the left side of the head. Broca’s deals with expressive language, word finding and sentence construction, while Wernicke’s controls comprehension.

These areas were thankfully unaffected by my stoke, so although I still have significant issues with my left hand and arm, which are troublesome as someone who was very strongly left handed before the stroke, my speech and language are now back to normal, so I am still as much of a gobshite as I ever was.

I did have some speech problems immediately after the stroke. I had significant muscle weakness, paralysis, and loss of sensation affecting the entire left side of the body, including the lips, tongue and the larynx. This caused a noticeable ‘reediness’ to my voice quality as well as significant slurring. I also had some issues with eating and drinking although thankfully was still able to swallow. In addition I experienced memory problems, I kept repeating myself, I kept repeating myself. More worryingly in the first week after the stroke I lost entire days.

These issues have now resolved themselves. The ‘shocked’ brain tissue surrounding the area of brain tissue killed off in the stroke has recovered. Additionally the human brain is a highly plastic organ, it can and does learn to rewire itself and create new neural pathways to bypass the destroyed tissues.

One of the most troubling symptoms in the aftermath of the stroke was a visual disorder called hemianopia. My brain was no longer processing visual information from the left hand side of the visual field. This can occur when the stroke is as in my case, toward the rear of the brain and affects those parts of the brain dealing with vision. In my case what happened was not partial blindness but rather an inattention to the left side of the visual field. I could still see it – my eyes are fine – but it was no longer registering with my brain. I had an vision exam a couple of months ago and was delighted to find that this problem has completely resolved itself. Had it persisted I would not have been able to drive again.

I am still not driving. I only have the use of one hand and arm and am waiting for a specialist NHS assessment for driving. Due to covid there is a long waiting list so I’ll have to be patient.

My walking is doing well. I no longer need the wheelchair I relied on if I had to go more than a few yards when I was released from the hospital. I rely on a walking stick and got a very spiffy antique one as a present from my better half. It has a carved wooden handle in the shape of a hippo’s head. I am slowly trying to work on my strength and stamina and increase the distance I am able to walk. Our new home is very close to the train station and last week I was able to get into Ayr by myself. That felt like a major achievement and a big step on the road back to a normal life.

Another major milestone was being able to have a bath again. Wallowing in a bath with a book was always my favourite means of relaxation and I really missed being able to do that. The accessible bathroom in our new house has a bath that I can sit on the side of and then swing my legs into the bath. With the aid of some grab rails I can repeat the process in reverse and get into a kneeling position in the bath, then stand and get myself out the bath by sitting on the side. There were some false starts, the first few times I got stuck, but now I’m able to manage it.

Some small aids go a long way to helping get back to an independent life. I have a handy wee button pull device which is a big help with fastening buttons. As a decided poseur with a taste for vintage suits I am at long last able to get myself dressed in a three piece suit and tie for a special occasion, or indeed just because I feel like it. It takes me ages, but I can do it.

I still struggle with tying shoe laces, and usually have to admit defeat and get help with that, but the rest I can manage by myself, which is a big improvement as in the weeks following the stroke I was dependent on help to get dressed and washed and even to get to the toilet.

Sadly it’s not all good news. I have considerable pain and stiffness in my left leg and arm. Sensation and proprioception (the awareness of where your body is located, the force your muscles exert and the motion of your limbs) are slowly improving but remain poor. Coordination, strength and fine motor control are also very poor. I can’t hold a pen or a knife and fork and need someone to cut my food up for me. Simple tasks that require the use of two hands remain beyond me. You don’t realise just how much you need two hands until you only have one, and the difficulties are compounded by the fact that it’s my non-dominant hand which I am still able to use.

Typing is still slow and laboured, involving pecking away with my right hand, but I’m slowly getting better at it. I am coming to terms with the reality that it’s unlikely that I will ever again be able to engage in the artistic and creative pursuits I used to enjoy. Public speaking is also likely a thing of the past even when I am able to drive again.  I tire easily, can’t stand for any length of time and find it difficult to project my voice.

Fatigue remains an issue, but it’s not quite as bad as it was a few months ago. I have significant weakness in my chest muscles so have problems clearing my lungs of phlegm. I’ve had a couple of asthma attacks and have been prescribed an inhaler so I can at least sleep though the night and no longer wake up every couple of hours struggling for breath and with a hacking cough.

I still have regular physiotherapy. My goal is to build my strength and stamina to the point where I am able to get another dog and to be able to take it for walks in the beautiful South Ayrshire countryside. I’m not there yet, but I’ll get there.

Almost dying and being left with lasting disabilities which may prove to be permanent makes you very aware of the fragility of life. But one year on I am still alive and still here. Doing this blog has given me a reason to get up in the morning and the support of its readers has given me the strength and determination to plough on with recovery, even when it has been painful or challenging. I’m determined that I’ll still be here and still blogging and being a gobshite right up until Scotland regains her independence.

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

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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Scottish independence: the Tories’ worst nightmare

The Conservatives, as we all know, have a deep and abiding aversion to giving government money to those they deem poor or feckless – although of course if you are rich and feckless that’s quite a different matter. The Tories fall over themselves to give tax breaks, grants, and civil list payments to the obscenely wealthy even as they snatch a measly £20 a week away from the poorest families in the country and refuse to pay for school meals for kids living in poverty. These modern day Scrooges who believe in squeezing the low paid and the poor in order to subsidise the wealthy who support and fund their party are entirely transactional when it comes to the expenditure of public money, they only support it when it provides an immediate benefit for themselves.

These are people who have slashed the foreign aid budget and who refuse to pay the full rent in a social housing home where there is a spare bedroom. Yet they also insist loudly and vociferously that Scotland is a massive drain on the UK Treasury requiring the transfer of billions of pounds of English taxpayers’ money in order to keep those ungrateful Caledonian natives in deep fried heroin mars bars and the worst state pension in Europe. And we are supposed to believe that they do all this out of charity and altruism, seeking nothing in return even though Scotland remains stubbornly immune to the dubious charms of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and so resistant to voting Conservative that the patrician idiot Alister Jack was their best option for the post of Scotland Secretary and the remaining Scottish Conservative contingent make your mad alcoholic uncle’s Facebook page look like a bastion of logic, wit and reason.

Of course it is a lie that Scotland is an economic basket case utterly dependent on the largess of Westminster and uniquely incapable among the nations of northwestern Europe of providing a decent standard of living and adequate public services for its citizens. Scotland has an embarrassment of natural and human resources and there is every reason to believe that an independent Scotland freed from the warped tax and spend priorities of Westminster could marshal those resources far more efficiently to provide the people of Scotland with a higher standard of living and better public services than they currently have as a part of the United Kingdom.

However the real reason that the Conservatives are so desperate to hang on to Scotland has got nothing to do with what is best for Scotland. The Conservatives care as much about what is best for Scotland as Johnson does about taking personal responsibility for his own failures, or indeed for his own children. What is best for Scotland doesn’t even enter into their consideration, or their awareness for that matter. If they had any consideration for Scotland at all they would not have imposed a damaging hard Brexit on Scotland, a Brexit which we learned this week has had a catastrophic effect on Scottish exports, which have dropped 14% in the past year alone and there is still no sign of the much vaunted trade opportunities which the Conservatives promised us.

The reason the Conservatives want to keep Scotland has everything to do with their own Anglo-British nationalism. Scotland is of course a highly convenient site to park the UK’s nuclear Viagra, the trident missiles that allow Anglo-British nationalist politicians to pretend that the UK is still a global power and not just a tame adjunct to the Pentagon. The loss of Scotland would most likely bring about the loss of the UK’s military bases on the Clyde and that in turn would threaten the UK’s claim to a permanent seat on the UN Security council and the veto this gives the UK on UN resolutions.

Scottish independence has the potential to set off a chain of events all of which would do serious injury to the ego of British nationalism and make the delusional myth of British exceptionalism impossible to sustain. Scottish independence could make the reunification of Ireland more likely. It would undermine the claims to Britishness of those in the north who base their British identities on their family origin in Scotland as well as creating in an independent Scotland another country with a strong interest in finding a permanent solution to the problems created by the British state on the island of Ireland.

Scottish independence would also put rocket boosters under the campaign for Welsh self-determination, and create an empowered and enthused independence movement in Wales.

The independence of Scotland could have as its eventual outcome an England shorn of the countries and territories that Anglo-British nationalists regard as appendages properly ruled over and dictated to by Westminster. That would be an England which was unable to maintain the Anglo-British conceit of greatness. It would be a country of just 130,279 sq km (50,301 sq miles), smaller than Germany, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Spain, Italy, Greece, Romania, Belarus, or Bulgaria, and with 56 million people it would have a smaller population than France, Italy, Germany, or Turkey. Furthermore it would be an England which had alienated itself from its EU neighbours.  Even with the extra clout provided by Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland the UK has failed to find a post-Brexit role for itself. That’s a task which will be so much more difficult when England is stripped of what Anglo- British nationalists see as its last possessions.

When the Tories warn that Scotland is too small too poor and too powerless to go it alone, it’s really their fears for England that they are airing. An independent Scotland wouldn’t be going it alone, one of the most pressing reasons for Scottish independence is so that Scotland can restore and rebuild the close ties with Europe that Anglo-British nationalists severed with Brexit. Scottish independence would leave Brexit England small, isolated and alone, unable to avoid the truth that it’s neither great nor exceptional and facing the realisation that it is utterly incapable of imposing its will on other countries, even the smaller nations of this archipelago. Many supporters of Scottish independence want independence in order for Scotland to be a normal country. Being a normal country is what England’s Conservative Anglo-British nationalists fear above all else. That’s what England would be after Scottish independence, and that’s why it’s the Tories’ 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.

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The Tories are erasing Scotland as a nation

It’s good to see that Alister Jack is being called out for his outrageous comments in the banal collection of britipologetic essays edited by the equally banal free Andrew Bowie published before the recent Conservative Conference. The essays were supposed to demonstrate the case for the Union, but all they have done is to highlight the intellectual desert that is modern British nationalism in Scotland and to illustrate the weakness of the anti- independence argument in a post Brexit age.

Indeed far from strengthening the case against Scottish independence the essays have merely demonstrated serious flaws in anti-independence arguments by revealing that even the continuing existence of Scotland as a nation is no longer guaranteed by the so-called ‘muscular unionism’ of the modern Conservative party, a reflexive anti-independence knee-jerk which is fundamentally nothing more than an aggressive and reactionary English nationalism which seeks the effective destruction of Scotland and Wales as nations and distinctive political entities in their own right and their incorporation into a single supposedly British nation which is nothing more than Greater England.

In his essay, Scotland Secretary Alister Jack wrote that he did not like to refer to the UK as a union of four nations, claiming that the union gives us “one great nation”, and went on to describe being Scottish as a “regional variation” within the UK. He also effectively erased the Scotland England border by reducing it to nothing more than a sign post by the side of the road, as though it had no more functional significance than a sign post announcing that the traveller is entering a particular local authority.

In another essay in the same book, former Prime Minister Theresa May equated being Scottish with being from Yorkshire as though Scotland, a kingdom in its own right which united voluntarily with the kingdom of England in 1707 to create the United Kingdom, was functionally, constitutionally and politically equivalent to a large English county.

It is not necessarily a pro-independence stance to accept the existence of Scotland as a nation in its own right. This was always the understanding of traditional Scottish Unionism. Just before the 2014 referendum the Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron gave a speech in which he declared that the UK is ” is not one nation. We are four nations in a single country.”

This is not a controversial or contentious position. The Treaty of Union of 1707 made no reference to the abolition of Scotland as a nation or its replacement by a single British nation – “great” or otherwise. In fact the Treaty contains important provisions ensuring and guaranteeing the continuation of important Scottish national institutions.

However faced with the prospect of a second independence referendum and an anti- independence case which the Conservatives have themselves fatally flawed by their pursuit of a Brexit which takes no account of Scotland’s reservations or objections, the Conservatives are now trying to double down by delegitimising Scotland’s status as a nation with the right to self-determination.

In doing so the Conservatives are sowing the seeds of destruction for the union that they profess to love so much. The United Kingdom can either be a union of four nations or it can be a single nation, it cannot be both simultaneously. The two conceptions are mutually exclusive. This is constitutional politics in the real human world we are talking about here, not a theological debate about the nature of a single God and the Holy Trinity.

In this new Tory concept of the UK, the centuries long understanding of traditional Scottish Unionism that Scotland is a nation in a voluntary union which it joined freely and which it is free to leave if it chooses to do so has been unilaterally ripped up by a Conservative Government in Westminster which has not even bothered to make a pretence of obtaining any sort of democratic mandate from the people of Scotland to do so. The Tories know that no such mandate would have been granted, they are a party which struggles to win the electoral support of less than a quarter of the electorate of Scotland yet they are using the Commons seats and votes they won elsewhere in the UK to ram through fundamental changes to the nature of the UK without the consent of the people of Scotland, indeed without even going through the motions of consulting with them.

We are now in the ludicrous situation where the man who heads the Scotland Office, a UK government department which only exists because of the constitutional status of Scotland as a constituent nation of the UK, by his own admission does not like to acknowledge the fact that Scotland is a nation. That makes Alister Jack’s position untenable. His job only exists because Scotland is a nation. He is now in the exact same situation as a health minister who doesn’t think there should be an NHS or a Foreign Secretary who refuses to acknowledge the legitimacy of any foreign government.

Given Alister Jack’s comments, The National asked whether the Scotland Office still considers Scotland as a nation. A spokesBrit for the Scotland Office refused to answer, saying only that Jack’s comments speak for themselves. Indeed they do, and the refusal of the Scotland Office to give a simple answer to such a simple question speaks volumes. This is not a trick question, it’s not a difficult question. A Yes answer is in no way incompatible with a belief that Scotland would be best served by remaining a part of the UK. However for Jack’s Scotland Office the question is too difficult and politically loaded to answer. That can only mean that the Scotland Office does believe that the question of whether Scotland is a nation is at the very least hedged about with doubt and qualifications.

Alister Jack must resign. A man who does not believe that Scotland is a nation or who at the very least thinks that it is a difficult or contentious question is not a person who is fit to represent Scotland at the highest level of what we have always been told is the government of a union between four nations of which Scotland is one. Of course Jack will not resign. He has no shame, and with the honourable exception of The National, the Scottish press will fail in its duty to the people of Scotland and will not attempt to hold him to account.

But we have learned an important lesson which the independence movement will sing from the rooftops during the next referendum campaign. It’s not just devolution which has no future in a Conservative led UK but neither does the very existence of Scotland as a nation.

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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