The unionist fiscal fantasists who fetishise the GERS figures

It’s time to kill off the GERS figures. They are nothing more than a political tool designed to be used by opponents of independence to rubbish Scotland’s economic prospects and to scare the public off the idea of Scottish independence by painting a false picture of a supposedly financial basket case of a country which is hopelessly dependent on a transfer of funds from a benevolent Westminster. The heat and noise deliberately generated by GERS hampers any realistic discussion of the finances and economic potential of an independent Scotland. That’s not just my opinion. It is also the opinion of Professor David Simpson, formerly a professor of economics at Strathclyde University and a founding director of the Fraser of Allander Institute, that same economics think tank which is always cited by the BBC in order to give credence to the claims of some Tory that in an independent Scotland we’d all be left living in mud huts with nothing to heat us but a hatred of the English.

Professor Simpson explains why the GERS figures need to be scrapped in an article for The National on Sunday. Link here : https://www.thenational.scot/politics/19868114.gers-continuing-myth-fiscal-deficit-scotland/

The GERS figures have served opponents of independence well, providing them with annual headlines which scream the supposed poverty and inadequacy of Scotland and opportunities for friends of Neil Oliver to draw multi-coloured graphs which purport to prove that Scotland has by far the greatest fiscal deficit in Europe. The apologists for British nationalism are aware of just how useful the GERS figures are to them, and are fiercely protective of them. This is why the likes of those who tout prettily coloured graphs of Scotland’s supposed fiscal deficit attempt to discredit any attempt to question the GERS figures or to examine their methodology critically as nothing more than “GERS denial” as though the politically motivated GERS figures were some sort of objective scientific consensus like climate change or the efficacy of vaccines in order to portray those who disagree with their contention that Scotland is a financial basket case as cranks and conspiracy theorists who can be dismissed out of hand.

The value of Professor Simpson’s intervention is that it’s much harder for them to do that when the attack on GERS comes from a respected economist who was a founder of an economics think tank that they themselves are fond of citing.

The essential problem with the GERS figures which Professor Simpson identifies is that it allows opponents of independence to dominate discussions of the Scottish economy with their claims of Scotland’s supposed “fiscal deficit”. The problem, as Professor Simpson points out, is that the “fiscal deficit” as measured by GERS does not correspond to how “fiscal deficits” are measured in any other country, yet opponents of independence frequently cite Scotland’s GERS defined “fiscal deficit” and compare it unfavourably with the fiscal deficits of other countries as though they were measurements of the exact same thing, when in fact they are not.

As the professor points out, in every other country in the world a fiscal deficit is defined as the shortfall in the expenditure of a government when its expenditure exceeds its revenues. Professor Simpson writes : “If Scotland’s ­fiscal balance was compiled according to recognised standards of ­national ­accounting, then the ­expenditure side of the balance would show ­expenditure by the ­Scottish ­Government. Since the ­Scottish ­Government is obliged by the ­devolution settlement always to balance its budget, Scotland’s fiscal deficit in the proper sense of that term is zero every year.”

However the GERS figures do not just allocate spending by the Scottish Government to the expenditure side of Scotland’s balance sheet, they also include spending by the British Government which is deemed by that same British Government as being spending on Scotland’s behalf. Professor Simpson notes : “So far as I’m aware, no ­other ­country in the world publishes ­statistics that attempt to ­measure expenditures ­according to their ­supposed ­”benefit”, for the ­simple reason that such ­measures are ­necessarily arbitrary and ­subjective.”

This spending includes Scotland’s allocated share of spending outwith Scotland, for example Scotland’s notional share of UK defence expenditure which is disproportionately spent in the South of England where it generates jobs and economic activity which is then apportioned as revenues from the south of England, so Scotland is lumbered with the expenditure but doesn’t get the credit for or benefit from the economic activity and consequent tax revenues which that expenditure generates.

Scotland is also allocated a share of UK expenditure which an independent Scotland would neither want nor need, such as bearing a part of the cost for the UK’s eye-wateringly expensive nuclear weapons system. Yet if you were to believe the likes of Labour’s Jackie Baillie, the entire purpose of Trident is to generate sufficient economic activity on the Clyde in order to keep open a medium sized Tesco Express in the Greater Helensburgh area. Yet even if that was indeed its purpose, and not to act as viagra for the imperial fantasies of an impotent and much diminished former global power that is incapable of reconciling itself to its true standing in the modern world, it would be a shockingly inefficient and wasteful means of doing so.

Even the fiscal fantasists who fetishise the GERS figures are forced to admit that they tell us little that’s useful about the economy and finances of an independent Scotland. After all the entire point of independence is to give Scotland the ability to make different tax and spending decisions and different decisions about international trade deals and relationships from the decisions made by successive governments in Westminster, decisions which have consistently, and over many generations favoured London and the South East of England over Scotland, Wales, and the English regions. Yet apologists for Anglo-British nationalism continue to cite the GERS figures as supposed “proof” that independence is unaffordable.

They do this because generating fear and doubt about the fiscal position of Scotland are grounds on which they think they can gain traction in the independence debate, because they have no real answer to arguments for independence based upon democracy, governmental accountability and giving the people of Scotland the ability to determine the path this country takes, and no interest in more realistic assessments of Scotland’s economic potential.

The fiscal fantasists who fetishise the GERS figure continue to sow their scare stories and threats, without concerning themselves with the immense damage they are causing to Scottish national self-confidence. They are hell bent on perpetuating the psychic wounds of the infamous Cringe, because it’s all they have got left.

It’s long past time that the GERS figures are seen for what they really are, fairy stories told to Scotland in an attempt to scare us and make us doubt ourselves.

albarevisedMy 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.

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Johnson’s government of gangsters

A couple of weeks ago, as the allegations of numerous parties in Downing Street during lock down started to gain traction, I remarked that if Johnson survived this self-inflicted crisis it would be the final proof that the Westminster system is irredeemably broken and utterly incapable of holding the powerful to account, even when they break the rules in the most brazen and egregious manner.

After a rocky week, and with the senior civil servant Sue Gray yet to deliver her report, it looks as though the Conservative rebellion against Johnson is losing steam, it may flare up again once the Gray report is published, even though that report will doubtless provide Johnson with sufficient wriggle room to allow Johnson to get off the hook and once more escape the consequences of his actions, as he has done throughout his miserable entitled life. There are some Conservative MPs who claim that Johnson has been chastened by the experience and has learned his lesson. It’s hard to say whether they are stupid, lying, delusional, or simply trying to move the public narrative on, or possibly some combination of all of those, because surviving his recent difficulties with his job intact will only teach Johnson one thing, that he yet again has got away with it and that he will continue to get away with it in the future.

Johnson has certainly signalled to his critics that he’s not going to go easily, If they were hoping that the Gray report would make him hand in his resignation for the good of the party, they are in for a big disappointment. What’s for the good of the UK as a whole, what’s for the good of standards in public office or for British democracy does not register in the calculations of Conservative MPs. Johnson is a creature in their image, the only interests that any of them attach any importance to are their own. They want Johnson to go for their own self-interests, he’s equally determined to stay for his.

It was reported today that Gray has seen the email from a senior official to Johnson’s principal private secretary Martin Reynolds, warning him the 20 May party should not go ahead. This will make it harder for Johnson to maintain his obvious lie that he didn’t realise it was a party. But of course Johnson will say he never saw that email. Or that Reynolds never told him about it. And the report will merely repeat Johnon’s words since it’s not Gray’s job to draw conclusions.

Number 10 has mounted a ferocious campaign to keep Johnson in office. If the reports appearing in the press today are to be believed, and as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has observed, the allegations are shocking but not surprising, this Conservative government is using the tactics of gangsters in order to keep Johnson in power. Tory whips are reportedly threatening and intimidating back bench Conservative MPs that if they do not get in line and support Johnson, then embarrassing and damaging stories about them will find their way to the press, which can only mean that there are plenty of damaging stories about the Conservatives which have not yet seen the light of day, and that this venal and corrupt party is even more venal and corrupt than we realise so far.

One senior Tory, and critic of Johnson, has even gone so far as to call on his colleagues to report instances of what he described as attempted blackmail to the Speaker’s office and to the police. William Wragg, the Conservative MP for Hazel Grove in Greater Manchester and the chair of the influential Commons public administration and constitutional affairs committee, claimed that Government whips were in breach of the ministerial code by threatening potential rebels by telling them that unless they get behind Johnson their constituencies would face the loss of hundreds of thousands of pound of so-called levelling up funds.

If true this would be a criminal offence and rank and blatant corruption and signal the descent of the UK into the status of a kleptocratic gangster state. Levelling up funds are public money , they are supposed to be used for the public good, not to further the party political goals of powerful factions within the Conservative party. There have already been numerous reports that the Levelling up funds are being disproportionately spent in constituencies represented by influential Conservatives, this is the final proof that the Conservatives believe that the resources of the state and public monies are their private property, to be used to further their party political aims and to further entrench their rule.

These are the same funds which the Conservatives are using to sideline and undermine the powers of the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Senedd.

In his desire to save his own skin, Johnson is behaving like a mafia boss, threatening and intimidating his opponents, and misusing public funds in order to bribe back bench Tories to support him.

Yet in the broken and failed Westminster system, it is the same government against which the allegations are being made which is in charge of investigating the allegations and deciding whether the ministerial code has indeed been broken, and if so, what if any consequences there ought to be. Johnson has claimed that he has seen no evidence to support the allegations made by Wragg, allegations which were also made by Christian Wakeford, the former Tory MP for Bury South who yesterday defected to Labour, surprise surprise. And likewise it will be no surprise that if ever there is an investigation into these allegations of gangster criminality at the very heart of the British Government, it will find that no laws had been broken and that no one except possibly some lowly and inconsequential figure will be held to account, which in any case will amount to nothing more than a rap across the knuckles for what will be described as a minor infringement of the rules.

This government is not only corrupt, the UK is being governed by shameless gangsters and there is absolutely nothing in what passes for a British Constitution that allows anyone to hold them to account. The strongest argument for independence is that it is the only way that Scotland can ensure it gets governments which it can vote out of office and whose powers are constrained by a proper written constitution. Democracy itself depends upon it.

albarevisedMy 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.

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Johnson’s tears are only for himself

There is mounting speculation that Boris Johnson is to face a vote of confidence from Conservative MPs. This is not because they have suddenly discovered some moral outrage about a corrupt serial liar and man who didn’t know he was at a party even though he was warned not to go to the party. Those same Conservative MPs, we’re looking at you Douglas Ross, were quite happy to continue to support the corrupt liar even when his inaction and self-interest led to the UK suffering both the highest per capita death toll in Europe during the pandemic and the greatest economic damage.

They supported Johnson and the rest of his sociopathic cronies even after they reneged on their pre-referendum promises that a vote to leave the EU did not mean a vote to leave the Single Market and Customs Union yet after the vote was in they pursued the hardest Brexit possible purely in the party political interests of the Conservative party, no matter what havoc it wrought on Britain’s trade with the EU, and as we have seen, in some sectors, notably the shellfish industry which is so important in Scotland, trade with Europe has fallen off a cliff.

They continued to support Johnson and his cronies even after a mountain of evidence came to light to prove that they unlawfully provided a so-called “VIP lane” giving preferential access to lucrative government contracts to the friends, family, and associates of senior figures in the government. In any other country, this would be called out for what it is – rank and rotten corruption.

They supported Johnson even after he and his government risked the fragile peace settlement in Northern Ireland, in the process trashing the reputation of the UK abroad and relegating the British Government to the ranks of untrustworthy bad faith bad actors who cannot be trusted to adhere to the terms of international treaty obligations which it had signed up to.

The UK is now a laughing stock abroad, a diminished and reduced joke, pathetically trading on nostalgia and fading memories of former power and influence while at home the government adopts increasingly authoritarian measures, cracking down on the right to protest and neutering any independent body such as the Electoral Commission, which might hold it to account. It is shamelessly seeking to by pass and undermine those alternative sources of democratic authority which exist in the UK, the devolved parliaments, despite not even possessing the pretence of any democratic mandate from the people of Scotland or Wales which legitimises it to do so.

All this has been just fine with Conservative MPs. They haven’t suddenly discovered a moral backbone, expecting the Conservatives to act morally is like expecting Sweeney Todd to offer a vegan pie. The only reason that the Tory back benches are now rumbling their disapproval and making anonymous briefings to the press that they might start to move against Johnson is because they are afraid for their own jobs, positions, and power. As always the only interest that motivates the Conservatives is self-interest.

Today one of the Brexit supporting new Conservative MPs from the so-called “red wall” seats in the north of England has left the Conservatives, citing the disgust of his constituents about the misdeeds of Johnson. Christian Wakeford the MP for Bury South has announced that he is joining the Labour party. This is a man who supports Brexit, who voted to cut Universal Credit, for the Nationality and Borders Bill which demonises migrants and asylum seekers and the Police and Crime Bill which places huge restrictions on the rights to peaceful protest in England and Wales. He is a man who signals with his Union flag face mask that he has fully signed up to the uber Anglo-British nationalism that remains the dominant force in British politics. Keir Starmer’s Labour party has welcomed him with open arms.

Those on the left have protested that such an individual is clearly no friend of the working class, the poor, and the marginalised. Others in Labour say that people like Wakeford are precisely what Labour needs if it is to have any chance of winning a majority at Westminster. And that right there is the nub of the problem with the Westminster system and why Scotland must seek independence. Scotland can never look to the Labour party to protect it from the Conservatives because the only way in which Labour can win a majority at Westminster is by transforming itself into a slightly more apologetic version of the Tories.

One Tory MP reportedly told the press that Johnson broke down in tears yesterday and certainly in some of his public appearances during the past day or so Johnson has looked red eyed and close to tears. But when you watch Johnson seemingly close to tears just remember that this is the man who thought it was OK to “let the bodies pile high” in order to save his career. A narcissistic sociopath like Johnson can only cry for himself. He’s not crying because of any genuine contrition or remorse, that would entail caring about the impact that his selfishness has had on other people. He is crying because he has been found out, because he realises that he cannot any longer escape the consequences of his actions.

Johnson is likely to go sooner or later. He may hang on until after the May local elections as there is currently no obvious successor to him within the Tories and he or she will not want to carry the can for the drubbing that the Conservatives are likely to receive because of the widespread public anger about Johnson.

But whoever does succeed him is going to be just as bad. Deposing Johnson will certainly not mean that the Conservative party has changed. It will merely mean that it seeks a more efficient means of imposing its hardline Brexit agenda, its destruction of any checks and balances on its power. Even with a new leader the Conservatives will still be in thrall to the Brexit hardliners and covid deniers on the back benches. There will still be platitudes but no meaningful action on climate change. There will still be the same aggressive Anglo-British nationalism, fetishising the royals and the armed forces and picking fights with Europe. There will still be the same attacks on any body or organisation that might hold the Conservatives to account.

Getting rid of Johnson won’t mean that the Conservatives have learned the error of their ways. As the economist Richard Murphy pointed out on Twitter, “He is being disposed of simply because he no longer meets the need of a party desperate for power in pursuit of the wanton destruction of all that is good.”

 

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.

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Trapped between a rock and a party place

We are now at the point where it would be easier for Boris Johnson, the leader of the Let’s have a party party, to list the days when there wasn’t a booze up in Downing Street, rather than grudgingly admitting when there was. It’s now clear that Johnson presides over a booze fueled Downing Street which takes its cue from his personal sense of entitlement and his deep seated belief that the rules do not apply to him. This is a government which is corrupt to its very core, which repeatedly trashes the rules, conventions, and customs which pass for a British constitution, and which seeks to neuter and by pass any of the weak and inadequate means which the Westminster system provides for holding the powerful to account.

It’s safe to say that it’s been a dismal week for the British establishment, the Andrew formerly known as Prince is to face a civil trial in the USA following allegations, which he continues to deny, that he sexually abused Virginia Giuffre, who as a teenager was forced to provide sex to the rich and powerful by his friends, the convicted sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell, and her boyfriend the paedophile and serial sex abuser Jeffrey Epstein.

In an effort to protect the reputation of the Windsor clan, Andrew Windsor has been stripped of his royal and military patronages and the HRH title that no one with even a five year old’s grasp of morality and ethics would ever use for this sleazy and disreputable individual anyway. Andrew, who continues to enjoy a lavish lifestyle despite having no obvious means of supporting it, can count on the protection offered by his mother’s wealth, money which ultimately comes from you and me, the taxpayers of the UK. That wealth will undoubtedly be used to allow him to buy his way out of the consequences that arise from his sleazebaggery while the British media force feeds us a nausea-fest of sycophancy as we are commanded to celebrate 70 years on the throne of the monarch that many in Scotland choose to refer to as Elizabeth the Last.

Protected as it is by the instinctive deference and obsequious toadying of the British media and establishment, the monarchy will no doubt survive this latest scandal, just as it is likely to survive the other scandals about the entitlement, bad behaviour and hypocrisy of other senior members of the family which are bubbling away beneath the surface but which the royals, aided and abetted by a supine press, are desperately trying to suppress.

However it’s the Conservatives, and particularly the Scottish Conservatives, who face a far greater threat to their survival. Faced with overwhelming evidence of Johnson’s repeated and habitual contempt for lock down rules, Scottish Conservative branch office manager Douglas Ross called on Johnson to resign, only to be slapped down by Johnson’s fellow old Etonian Jacob Rees Mogg, who dismissed Ross as a disloyal lightweight. In doing so, Rees Mogg gave Douglas Ross and the Scottish Tory MSPs who backed him a big helping of the same arrogant patrician contempt that the Westminster Conservatives regularly pour on Scotland, the other Scottish parties, the Scottish Government and Parliament, and the devolution settlement itself, to applause and cheering from those same Scottish Tories who now find themselves on the receiving end of it.

They deserve no sympathy, helpless obedience to Westminster is what they signed up for. They were happy to “back Boris” when he was winning them elections in England, they never cared that he and his British nationalist Brexit remain anathema to a substantial majority in Scotland. His entitlement and obvious unsuitability for high office was something they were happy to go along with, no matter what damage it did to Scotland and the rest of the UK. They only developed a “conscience” when Johnson’s repeated misbehaviour started to damage the electoral prospects of the Conservative party and even the useless Labour party of Keir Starmer started to develop a lead over the Tories in UK wide political polling. Their sudden discovery of morality is entirely self-interested.

The Scottish Tories are now in uncharted political waters. They have disavowed the Prime Minister whom they insist should rule over Scotland, and have very publicly declared that they believe the leader of their own party to be unfit for office. The Scottish Tories have made it known that the Prime Minister of the UK is not welcome at the conference in March of the most vehemently British nationalist political party in Scotland, which leaves them in the deeply uncomfortable position of having to argue that Scotland is best served by remaining under the control of a Westminster which allows such an evidently corrupt individual into the highest office, and which then has no effective means of holding him to account.

Ross and the Scottish Tories will be praying that the Sue Gray report will bring about Johnson’s resignation. Never before in British political history has a Prime Minister been forced to resign because of a report from a civil servant who is answerable to the Prime Minister who is judge and jury in any civil service investigation into the behaviour of the Prime Minister. It’s unlikely to happen this time either. Johnson has spent his entire life refusing to acknowledge the consequences of his behaviour, he’s not about to start now. His allies have already been briefing the press that the Gray report will not find that any laws have been broken, and he will do his utmost to cling on to power, He will try to brazen it out, aided by a Conservative party in England desperate to put this episode behind them.

This will put the Scottish Conservatives in an impossible position, not that Johnson and his cronies care. They will be the party of British nationalism in Scotland which wants the British Prime Minister to be sacked. They will have to try and defend the indefensible position that they want Scotland to remain under the governance of a man that they believe to be unfit for office and to have to explain why they want Scotland to remain powerless in a position which they themselves believe to be intolerable. Johnson might wriggle out of his current political problems but the Scottish Tories can’t wriggle out of theirs, they are trapped between a rock and a party place.

Update:  Many thanks for all the kind messages of support. My mother in law – who is fully vaccinated – has only experienced mild symptoms of covid, so it looks as though she will be OK.  It just shows how important it is to get vaccinated.

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 below. If you don’t have a PayPal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.

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No need for a Tory whitewash ‘investigation’: Johnson has to go

I had intended to take a few days off from blogging because we got some terrible news on Sunday evening, just as we were sitting down to dinner one of my husband’s relatives phoned from the USA to tell him that his sister had died suddenly of covid the night before.

Edie was my husband’s only sibling, she was only 50 years of age. She had been admitted to hospital in Connecticut on the preceding Friday but hospitals there are overwhelmed just now and she had been left lying on a trolley in a corridor for several hours. There are far more people in the USA who have refused the vaccine than here, even in states like Connecticut. In America the Republicans have shamelessly and cynically politicised measures to mitigate the pandemic and as a direct result the omicron variant is running rampant amongst the unvaccinated. In some states, especially in Trump supporting districts, less than half the population is vaccinated. Hospitals in some areas are close to breaking point, with exhausted and emotionally and physically drained staff struggling to cope with a flood of covid patients.

Feeling ill, tired, and frustrated, but unable to sleep or rest because of all the noise and clamour of an overly busy hospital rushing past her bed, Edie discharged herself so she could go home and get to her own bed where she hoped to get the sleep she was craving. She still felt very poorly on the Saturday when my husband and I spoke to her on the phone, but she assured us that she was feeling a bit better and we thought that she was on the mend.

Tragically she went to bed on Saturday evening and never woke up again. My mother in law found her dead in bed on Sunday morning. She must have passed away in her sleep sometime during the night. It’s not much of a comfort, but at least she passed away peacefully and didn’t suffer. News of her death came as a terrible and unexpected shock.

We found out later that Edie had only had one vaccination. We don’t know why. She wasn’t anti- vaccine or one of those folk who believed in covid conspiracy theories. She was just too busy living her life to get around to it. She had some other health issues and was a heavy smoker, but had it not been for this cruel virus I have no doubt that this funny, vibrant and caring woman would still be with us.

For all the talk that the omicron variant is less serious, my sister in law’s tragic death is a lesson that it is imperative that you should get both your vaccines and your booster. Wear a face covering, practice social distancing, wash your hands. Make getting your vaccines your priority. It makes no difference what else you might think is important, you won’t be able to do anything about it if you’re dead.

Please, this virus isn’t messing about, it doesn’t care about your “freedom ” to wander about Morrisons without a mask on, it doesn’t care about your beliefs in “positive energies” or “natural healing”. You have every right to your beliefs, but you don’t have the right to risk the lives of immuno-compromised people or people with underlying health conditions because you feel your “right” to wander about the supermarket unencumbered by a piece of cloth across your face is more important than other people’s right to life. That doesn’t make you an edgy champion of freedom, it just makes you a selfish git.

Don’t be so arrogant as to imagine that you know more than doctors, virologists and public health experts because you have “done your own research” which consists of reading posts on a Facebook page. Just get your vaccines,and wear a mask in indoor public spaces. The thing about “doing your own research” is that you need to have a fundamental grounding in the basics of a topic in order to be able to distinguish between the plausible and the batshit crazy. Experts are experts for a reason, because they have studied, because they have the knowledge. Listen to the real experts, the doctors, the immunologists, the virologists, the professors of public health, they are the ones who know what they are talking about, not the Neil Olivers and the conspiracy theorists of social media.

There isn’t going to be a funeral just now, because of covid running rampant and the risks of infection my husband’s family have decided to wait a few months, there will be a private cremation and sometime in late summer they will have a memorial service which I hope to be well enough to attend. We learned today that my mother in law has now tested positive for covid.  She is double vaccinated and is currently only experiencing mild symptoms, but to say that we are worried is an understatement.

Then today we see on the news yet more allegations that Boris Johnson has casually ignored the covid restrictions which his government has imposed on the rest of us by attending a garden party for 100 Downing Street staff at a time when the rest of us were barred from meeting with more than one other person.

Despite repeatedly telling Parliament that he broke no restrictions it seems clear that that is exactly what he did. There is to be an investigation, which just seems like another attempt by this pathetic mattress fire of the vanities to evade accountability, no doubt hoping he can buy time and will in due course be “cleared” by whichever sycophantic pal of his it is that is doing the “investigating” this time. Yet there is really nothing to investigate. Was he at this party or not? You don’t need a lengthy investigation to establish that simple fact. If he was there he was in breach of his own lockdown rules and he lied to Parliament. He doesn’t just need to go, If there is any justice he needs to face a court of law. Johnson has made a mockery of the sacrifices the rest of us have had to endure, and pissed all over the grief of those of us who have lost loved ones to this terrible disease.

Johnson is not responsible for the terrible loss of my sister in law, a loss we are still struggling to comprehend, but the callous indifference and chaotic incompetence of him and his government is responsible for the fact that 150,000 families across the UK are grieving like we are grieving just now. My contempt for this entitled bag of selfish hypocrisy knows no bounds.

But there is no justice in this Tory Britain where there is one law for the rich and powerful and another for the rest of us.

Sleep peacefully Edie, you will never be forgotten.

I have a physiotherapy appointment tomorrow so won’t be blogging. I will be taking the next few days to give my husband the love and support he needs at this dreadful time. I will be back on Monday.

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 below. If you don’t have a PayPal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.

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Saving Scotland from the Tory bad chaps

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson attracts scandal and sleaze like dog mess on the pavement on a hot summer day attracts flies. It is simply part and parcel of the nature of the beast. You could no more expect Johnson to act with probity and to maintain the standards traditionally expected of the head of a democratic government than you could expect the ugly and nasty dog mess to emit the fragrant scent of lavender and to arrange itself into an attractive picture of a landscape. The difference is that the dog mess will be washed away by the next heavy rain, whereas we are stuck with the stench of Johnson’s corruption.

However what is even more alarming than the eagerness of Johnson and his incompetent cronies to use high public office as a means to create lucrative business opportunities for themselves and their associates, is the way in which they are determined to neuter and render impotent the already inadequate means offered by the institutions of the British state for holding the powerful to account.

The unwritten constitution of the UK was always a recipe for the powerful and the British establishment to be able to do as it pleased, unfettered by the explicit constraints of a written constitution, that’s why they like it so much. Under such a system the only thing preventing a descent into overt anti-democratic authoritarianism is the self-restraint and sense of decency and propriety of those in charge. Traditionally, apologists for the British state liked to pat themselves on the back about how the UK was a shining example of the highest standards of democratic government, a lesson to the world about how a democratic government and society should conduct itself. During the 2014 Scottish independence referendum campaign, some opponents of independence went so far as to claim that it was only the good offices of the Westminster Parliament which stood between Scotland and a dystopian totalitarian barbarism.

However in the absence of a written constitution spelling out the limits of their powers, with no explicit delineation of the respective powers and responsibilities of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government, and with ample opportunities for the exercise of undemocratic and unaccountable patronage in the form of appointments to the Lords and the corrupt honours system, the only thing distinguishing a British Prime Minister from a dictator is his or her own sense of decency and and their appreciation of limits and moderation in the exercise of the immense power granted to them by the unwritten British constitution. Scholars of the British constitution referred to this as the “good chap” theory of government.

What the Johnson regime has revealed is just how fragile democracy in the UK really is. When the highest office in the land is occupied by an individual who is patently not a “good chap”, and who has no respect for the customary practices and restraints which have constrained the exercise of the theoretically limitless powers of a British Prime Minister, there is absolutely nothing in the British constitution to prevent a descent into anti-democratic authoritarianism.

By no stretch of the imagination could Johnson and the rest of his government of chancers and charlatans be described as “good chaps”. We have seen how they routinely behave as though the rules and regulations which they enforce upon the rest of us do not apply to them. When evidence of their rule breaking and hypocrisy comes to light they shamelessly insist that no rules were broken, even when, as is the case with Johnson’s lockdown busting Downing Street parties, there is video evidence and we can all see them breaking the rules with our own eyes. Instead they gaslight us, lie to us, and insult our intelligence by not even bothering to come up with a remotely plausible excuse.

Their sleaze and corruption has become brazen, as the Conservatives are emboldened by the knowledge that they will not be held to account by an English media more interested in trivial gossip about members of the royal family and the affairs of so-called celebrities whose talentless fame rests upon an appearance in the mental chewing gum of a reality TV show. Meanwhile they get a free pass from an overwhelmingly anti-independence Scottish media which is so terrified of reporting anything that might boost support for independence that it prefers to concentrate on ferry timetables rather than defending democracy in the UK and standing up for Scotland and the devolution settlement within this so-called Union that they insist is in our best interests.

These are the same Conservatives who are restricting the voting franchise, openly targeting groups such as the poor, ethnic minorities, and younger voters who are less likely to vote Conservative. They are introducing draconian restrictions on the right of protest in England and Wales, and increasing the stop and search powers of the police in England, a measure which is disproportionately used to target members of ethnic minorities. After the Colston statue case, where a jury refused to convict a group of people accused of toppling the Bristol statue of the slave trader Edward Colston, Conservative MPs howled in outrage, leading the government to take the unprecendented step of referring the case to the appeal courts, in the process undermining the right to trial by jury and the rule of law. The Tories have shown that they care far more about the “rights” of statues of slavers, colonialist thieves, imperialist looters and those who murdered and abused in the name of Empire than they do about those who lost their lives in the appalling and entirely avoidable Grenfell tragedy, and the rights of the many thousands who continue to live in unsafe housing.

Meanwhile, despite the promises that Brexit was to unleash a bonanza of opportunities and cheaper prices, exports to the EU have fallen off a cliff and we are faced with soaring food and energy bills, just as the effects of the loss of the £20 per week uplift in Universal credit and the rise in National Insurance start to be felt and businesses are reeling under the onslaught of the rise in covid infections caused by the omicron variant.

But the response of the Tories is to seek refuge in jingoism, to demand that we must have more union flags, more God Save the Queen, and more royal events, while they continue to fetishise and politicise WW2 while picking unnecessary fights with EU states. It’s a pathetic and inadequate substitute for the UK’s loss of influence and relevance, but it’s all they’ve got.

Scottish independence has now become a necessity, an imperative. It’s the only way to save us from the flag waving jingoistic authoritarian and deeply corrupt failed democracy that the UK has become at the hands of the “bad chaps” of the Conservative party.

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 below. If you don’t have a PayPal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.

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Keeping it simple

A proposal has been made by Chris Hanlon, formerly the chief of SNP policy, to have a three way referendum with the option of “Devo Max” being included on the ballot paper in the next referendum alongside the options of independence or the status quo. Chris was making the proposal in a personal capacity, it is most definitely not the preference of the Scottish Government or the SNP.

What he has proposed is very similar to the suggestion made a few weeks ago by the Alba party MP Kenny Macaskill that the next referendum should include the choice of what Macaskill called “Home Rule” alongside the binary choice of yes or no to independence.

It’s fair to say that Macaskill’s idea was not well received. Even many Alba party supporters on social media were aghast at the suggestion, and it was rejected outright by senior figures in the SNP just as Chris Hanlon’s proposal has been given short shrift by senior people in the SNP such as the SNP President and former constitutional affairs secretary Michael Russell and SNP MSP Kevin Stewart,the Scottish Government minister for mental well-being and social care, who derided the idea as “idiotic, foolish, nonsensical.” Why don’t you tell us what you really think, eh Kevin?

The suggestion was likewise soundly rejected by a large majority of readers of the independence supporting newspaper The National, in an online poll, 91% of respondents disagreed with the idea that there should be a third devo-max option on the independence referendum ballot paper with just 9% supporting it. When Kenny Macaskill aired the idea he suggested it might be a a way around what he claimed was the “constitutional impasse ” of a “deeply divided” nation. Well he was certainly right about it being a way to unite people on Scotland’s constitutional question, because just about everyone thinks that his idea was rubbish.

There are many reasons why Hanlon and Macaskill’s suggestion is a non starter. It is indeed idiotic, foolish, and nonsensical. First of all there is the problem that no one knows what devo max /home rule actually means. Supporters of the idea of a third option on the ballot can’t even agree on what to call it. Far less can anyone agree on what it would mean in practice. For some it would mean a status similar to that of the Faroe Islands or Greenland within Denmark, which are independent in all important aspects except defence and foreign affairs. Greenland is even outwith the European Union even though it retains its constitutional ties to EU member state Denmark.

Others see devo max as some sort of federal or quasi-federal arrangement where Scotland would still send MPs to a Westminster which only dealt with issues defined as federal. Under this arrangement Scotland would have greater taxation and revenue raising powers but would remain a part of the UK and remain outside the European Single Market and Customs Union. We’d also still be stuck with Trident missiles on the Clyde.

The original understanding of Home Rule when the phrase first entered the vocabulary of the Scottish constitutional debate back in the late 19th century was for Scotland to become a dominion of the crown like other self-governing parts of the British Empire such as Australia or Canada. Essentially it meant full independence but with Scotland retaining the British monarch as its head of state and remaining militarily allied to the British Empire. A modern version of this conception of home rule would allow Scotland to rejoin the EU if it chose, but it would not in any practical sense be different from full independence and therefore there would be no need to have it as a separate option on the ballot in a future independence referendum.

There are yet other ideas about what devo max or Home rule might mean. During the final days of the 2014 independence referendum campaign, Better Together supporters insisted that Gordon Brown’s infamous vow amounted to “devo max”, an assessment that was enthusiastically taken up by BBC Scotland. As we all know, it was later proven to be no such thing.

In order for it to appear on the ballot paper as an option in a future referendum devo max / home rule would have to be precisely defined and agreed upon by both the pro and anti-independence sides in a future referendum campaign. We cannot have devo max or home rule or whatever you want to call it on the ballot paper unless we know exactly what it means and we have no doubts about what we are voting for.

That’s going to be no easy matter when dealing with Anglo-British nationalist parties like the Conservatives or the avowedly “British patriotic” Labour party of Keir Starmer who define devo max as the absolute minimum that they can get away with in order to placate those in Scotland who want greater powers for the Scottish Parliament but who are not entirely sold on the idea of full independence.

This means there can be no place for Westminster’s weasel words and get out clauses in the definition of devo max. We saw what happened with the promise that no Westminster government would ever tamper with the powers of Holyrood without the consent of the Scottish Parliament. This became a clause in the new Scotland Act saying Westminster would not “normally” change the powers of Holyrood, and the Conservative Government went on to define “not normally” as “whenever we feel like it”. It also obtained a ruling from the UK Supreme court that the clause was effectively meaningless.

However even if a cast iron wriggle room free definition of devo max could be agreed upon by all parties, that leaves us with the fundamental problem that should this devo max prove to be the winning option in a future referendum we would still have to trust a Conservative dominated Westminster to implement it. There is absolutely no chance of the aggressively Anglo-British nationalist Conservatives agreeing to the restrictions and reductions of the powers of the Westminster Parliament that meaningful devo max would entail.

They had no problem reneging on their agreements with the EU, they would not hesitate for a second to renege on their agreements with the Scottish Government about the definition of devo max. They have proven time and time again that they are a bad faith actor, the inclusion of a devo max option would merely give them yet another opportunity to demonstrate their perfidy all over again. It’s not even like they are ashamed of it, as Dominic Cummings recently admitted “cheating the foreigners” is a part and parcel of the job description of a British prime minister.

The Tories would announce that the referendum result was merely “advisory” and kick it into the long grass with a royal commission which would then eventually deliver a report recommending something which it would insist on calling “devo max” but which had been eviscerated and watered down out of all recognition. This report would then in turn be watered down even further in committees in the Commons and in the Lords. Eventually a bill would be passed giving the Scottish Parliament the power to slightly alter the timing in the red-amber-green sequence of traffic lights and Westminster would triumphantly announce that devo max had been delivered.

The next referendum must be a simple binary choice – independence yes or no? It’s only by keeping it simple that we can avoid being cheated yet again by a deceitful, lying, and untrustworthy Conservative party.

Please note there won’t be a blog tomorrow as I have my physiotherapy appointment and as usual will be wiped out afterwards. I will try and do something on Friday if I have recovered sufficient energy.

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 below. If you don’t have a PayPal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.

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Judge Judy fortnight 2022

Oh God, just kill me now please, because I really can’t take any more of this royalist sycophantic brown nosing that the British media insists is serious current affairs. It was bad enough last year when Prince Philip finally caught up in real life with all the times that his demise had been trending on Twitter and gave his demise a real reason to trend. The news of his passing was followed by what is known in this household as Judge Judy fortnight as my other half and I fled to the furthest reaches of the EPG in order to escape the 24 hour all channel brown nose fest which had taken over all other programming in a doomed attempt to persuade us that Prince Philip was more than just an over-privileged and obscenely entitled serial philanderer with a line in deeply offensive racist quips who posed as a champion of the environment while blasting as much wildlife as he could to buggery with a shotgun.

This year the BBC is already softening us up for another royalist pukefest in the shape of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, during which we are all to be expected to tug our forelocks and celebrate 70 years of Windsor family entitlement, privilege, and vast wealth obtained at public expense. We are supposed to be grateful that we are lectured to on saving the planet and tackling climate change by the likes of Princes Charles and William, who take private jets and helicopter trips in the same way that the rest of us hop on a bus to get the messages at Asda.

We are supposed to celebrate that this disgustingly wealthy family milks the public purse to the tune of millions annually and self-servingly poses as a public institution when it wants to maximise its revenues from the state, as a commercial brand when it wants to boost its revenues from lands and property which it has annexed to itself as private property even though they rightfully belong to the public institution and therefore to the state, and as a private family when it uses that public money to pay for expensive lawyers in order to run to the courts to seek injunctions to prevent those of us who really fund their pampered lifestyles from finding out that their real behaviour falls far far short of the glossy fairy tale image of self-denying saints which is propagated by the gushing sycophants of the British media who do their utmost to prevent us from having a proper grown up conversation about who the Windsors really are, and the influence that they wield behind the scenes, an influence which extends to both the Queen and Prince Charles having the power to alter any legislation which they believe impinges upon their wealth and privilege.

There is an arguable case for the Queen as head of state to have the ability to have a say on any legislation which has an impact upon her in her role as head of state. However there is no case for allowing her to exempt herself from laws which affect her private interests. And there is no case at all for allowing Prince Charles any input whatsoever into any legislation. There is only one head of state, and it’s not him. The way in which Princes of Wales have been allowed since the early 20th century to muscle in on the legislative process by politicians too blinded by deference to stop them is perhaps the perfect example of the fundamental flaw of an unwritten constitution.

In 2022 we will be inflicted with the Platinum Jubilee – marking the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth on the throne – an anniversary reached on February 6, this will then be celebrated in early June with a long-weekend holiday consisting of the usual pageantry, fancy uniforms and Prince Edward weighted down with a suspiciously large number of medals for a man who was only in the Royal Marines for a fortnight.

There will be flypasts, special TV programmes with Nicolas Witchell in full lick-spittle mode on prime time telly, and the BBC will be desperately trying to tout street parties like a multi-level marketer who will be publicly humiliated if they don’t meet their quota of snake oil sales. Which is appropriate seeing as how the Windsors are the snake oil of the British state. And of course it will all be served up with an insistence that we must all share this starry eyed and uncritical view of a family who sit at the pinnacle of the deeply undemocratic patronage at the heart of the British state. We will be fed the hagiographic myth that the monarchy is apolitical, yet the head of the British state is a political role by definition, something we see clearly in a Scotland where many seek to free this country from the rule of the British state.

The Windsors know that they are beyond accountability and behave accordingly, the weasel wriggling of Prince Andrew to use legal technicalities in order to dispose of the court case brought against him by the woman who alleges that he took advantage of her when she was a sex trafficked teenager is merely the latest sordid example of the Windsors acting as though normal standards of morality do not apply to them. For a family which sits at the head of the British class system it is perhaps ironic that the Windsors have no class. Andrew is by no means isolated as a Windsor male who views women as disposable. His brother’s appalling behaviour during his marriage to Diana displayed a similar mind set. Recently social media exploded with allegations, which are strongly denied by Windsor apologists, that Prince William has inherited much the same sense of male entitlement.

The Queen is very elderly and recently has started to show evidence that her advanced age is starting to take its toll as the passage of time does on us all. This upcoming Platinum Jubilee would be the perfect occasion to take stock and start to have a proper adult conversation about the role of the monarchy in a 21st century democracy. Sadly it looks as though the BBC and the British media will use it as yet more fuel for a mindless British nationalist exceptionalism. We will yet again be infantilised and treated with contempt, our intelligence insulted and our concerns brushed under a carpet of pageantry and glossy lies.

In this household, as in many others throughout Scotland, it will be Judge Judy fortnight all over again.

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 below. If you don’t have a PayPal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.

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The cost of Brexit just got higher

It’s been a full year since the UK formally exited the Brexit transition period, which ended on 1 January 2021and so fully left the European Single Market and Customs Union. We have had a full year to experience those much touted sunlit uplands that Brexit supporters insisted that leaving the EU was going to deliver. Many businesses, particularly smaller businesses have effectively given up on trying to deal with the additional paperwork and delays that exporting to EU countries entails, the shellfish industry in Scotland has been particularly badly hit. Jamie McMillan, managing director of Loch Fyne Seafarms, has told The National newspaper that his company has lost 60% of his market after soaring costs forced him to stop selling premium shellfish to Europe.

It’s on a much smaller scale of course, but I have likewise had to stop sending copies of my Gaelic map to buyers in the EU. Not only have postal costs to EU destinations skyrocketed, but I was finding that the maps were taking weeks or months to arrive, and when they did buyers were faced with paying a customs surcharge plus additional fees which were greater than the original cost of the map. When I mentioned this to the woman in our local post office she said that several local small businesses have also stopped sending their products to EU destinations.

I’m certainly not claiming that my inability to sell Gaelic maps to EU customers because of Brexit is comparable to the loss of revenues and jobs suffered by companies like Loch Fyne Seafarms, but my experience must shared by countless small businesses and home based producers across the UK, just as it is shared by other small producers in this part of South Ayrshire. For every story of a business in trouble because of Brexit that we hear about because it results in job losses and losses in income large enough to attract the attention of the press, there must be hundreds and thousands of small producers who have quietly given up on trying to sell to Europe because transactions which were once as straightforward as selling to a person in the next town are now made expenisive and time consuming nightmares of additional costs and extra paperwork.

And now this month, producers in the EU will start to experience similar difficulties in sending their goods to the UK. From 1 January 2022, EU businesses sending goods to Britain will need to supply full customs declarations while traders will also have to prove that goods are allowed to enter tariff-free under rules of origin requirements as of now, importers must make a full customs declaration on goods entering the UK from the EU or other countries and are no longer able to delay completing full import customs declarations for up to 175 days as they had been able to do before the new regulations came into force as the bells heralded the arrival of the New Year.

It is highly likely that many small and specialist producers, for example producers of artisanal foodstuffs, will simply decide that exporting to the UK is no longer worth the effort. Research carried out by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) found that a third of small business importers in the UK were unaware of the changes, while among those who did know this was coming, only one in four was prepared for them.

Martin McTague, vice-chair of the FSB told Reuters news agency that the switch to import checks was likely to cause significant disruption at a time when trade is already being hit by covid supply chain problems and labour shortages.

A survey by the British Chambers of Commerce in October 2021 showed that 45% of companies were finding it very or relatively difficult to trade goods with the EU, up from 30% in January 2021 when the Brexit deal came into effect. Far from getting used to the changes, many businesses in the UK are simply giving up on trying to do business with customers in the EU. And it’s not finished yet, additional veterinary checks will come in for food imports in July next year.

When something is attained at great cost, like the immense burden Brexit has imposed upon businesses and individuals, there have to be great commensurate gains in order for the cost to have been worth it. Yet the best that this misbegotten Conservative Government of chancers, cheats and charlatans can manage to cite as benefits of Brexit are blue passports, crown symbols on pint glasses, and imperial measurements. Those trade deals on favourable terms that the rest of the world was supposedly queuing up to offer the UK are notable mostly for their absence. Instead we have exports falling of a cliff and since British citizens no longer enjoy freedom of movement, as part of it measures to slow the spread of covid, France has banned British citizens from entering France, even those who have residence in another EU country and who merely wish to travel through France in order to get home. But hey! Blue passports.

Brexit is what defines this Conservative government, “Getting Brexit done” is what the Conservatives proudly insisted that they were elected to do when Boris Johnson won a majority of 80 seats in the Commons on the back of 43.6% of the popular vote, thanks to the unfair first past the post voting system so beloved of Westminster politicians. Yet Brexit has delivered so many obvious downsides and so few – many would say no – advantages – that the Johnson regime recently banned civil servants from mentioning Brexit, Brexit has become a taboo word, an unmentionable unpleasantness, like Michael Gove, or the state of Will ‘n’ Kate’s marriage. If Brexit had been a resounding and unqualified success, Johnson, Gove, and the rest of them would be instructing civil servants to shout about it from the rooftops and shoehorn the B word into every government press release.

Scotland never wanted any of this. This country voted to remain in the EU, as the Better Together parties promised in 2014. At every election since the EU referendum, Scotlanfd has voted for parties opposed to Brexit and has rejected the Tories and their Brextrenism, but zero allowances have been made for Scotland by Johnson and his party. Instead the Tories have used the Brexit Scotland rejected as an excuse to attack the devolution settlement that Scotland did vote for. The UK can no longer meet the basic democratic will of the people of Scotland, we are paying the price in the hollowing out of our democracy, in our freedoms and in our jobs. This will figure large in the case for independence to be made this coming year.

Johnson is yet to learn the true cost of Brexit. It’s going to spell the end of the UK and an independent Scotland that determines its own relationship with the nations of Europe and the rest of the world.

I hope you all had a great and relaxing Christmas and New Year. As we move into 2022 we can expect to see the independence campaign ramp up a gear as the Scottish Government moves to lay the groundwork for a second referendum. Making that vital case for independence and attacking the Conservatives and apologists for British nationalism is going to remain the focus of this blog, not attacking other independence supporters for “doing it wrong” or getting sidetracked into divisive issues which are not directly related to independence.

On a personal note, I’d like to thank the blog moderators for keeping things going while I took some much needed time off. I have now started on new medication which is helping to relieve the muscle pains and spasms I’ve been experiencing and which is helping me to get a more restful sleep at night. I am coming to terms with the fact that the stroke has left me with permanent disabilities and limitations, but within those limitations I’m determined to do all I can to help bring about an independent Scotland where we can safely file the antics of Johnson, Rees-Mogg, and Gove under “somebody else’s problem”.

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 below. If you don’t have a PayPal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.

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