As the fighting in Ukraine continues into its fourth day and there are reports of street to street fighting in Ukraine’s second city of Kharkiv, it looks as though Putin’s war of aggression against a neighbouring state may not produce the rapid victory for Russia that the Russian dictator was hoping for. Although all claims in war must be taken with caution until they can be independently verified, the Ukrainians are claiming that they have retaken control of Kharkiv.
Of course for the Anglo-British nationalists on social media and the frothier end of the right wing British press, this tragic and unnecessary war merely serves to provide “proof” that Scotland could never become independent. Since I am one of the many people who has been blessed by being blocked by George Galloway on Twitter, I don’t actually know whether he and fellow Über-Yoon Neil ‘Bravehair’ Oliver have taken time out from waging a culture war on the weather to pontificate about the supposed destruction of the case for Scottish independence caused by Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, but it wouldn’t at all surprise me if they had.
But then what difference would it make if they did? A week or so ago reports in the media claimed that American intelligence was warning a Russian invasion of Ukraine was forecast to take place just after 20 February.The invasion actually took place a few days later and the not so gorgeous George popped up onsocial media on 22 February to purr that he had been proven correct in his assertions that Putin had no intentions of invading Ukraine, and that the warnings of an invasion were all just so much Western scaremongering and propaganda. He went on to Twitter and tweeted something that many people helpfully took a screen-shot of so that those of us who have been blocked could join in with the pointing and laughing. George smugly tweeted : “Y’all said Russia was about to invade Ukraine. I told you it wasn’t. You were wrong. I was right. Again. Show some bloody humility. Especially if they’re not even paying you to act like an idiot.”
Well that’s aged well hasn’t it? Incidentally – what is with the y’all? Is George American now? It’s pretty rich for George Galloway of all people to complain about other people having a lack of humility. That’s like Boris Johnson complaining that a teenager told a fib and preaching about the importance of honesty. A few days on and Russian tanks are moving on Kyiv. If George Galloway was the last man left in the world, he’d still be wrong about everything.
It doesn’t matter what happens, for certain opponents of Scottish independence absolutely every development confirms their belief that Scotland could never make it as an independent country. The fall in the price of a barrel of oil “proved” that Scotland couldn’t afford independence, the rise in the price of a barrel of oil “proved that Scotland could never afford independence because the oil in the North Sea is running out and Scotland could never afford to supply its energy needs. British membership of the EU “proved” that Scotland could never become independent because the UK would veto a Scottish application for EU membership. However when the UK left the EU that too “proved” that Scotland could never become independent because it would mean a hard border along the Anglo-Scottish frontier.
The global covid pandemic also “proved” that Scotland could never become independent because apparently it demonstrated that Scotland would be incapable of rising to the challenges of a global crisis. However as we have since discovered an independent Scottish government could have done a far better job than a corrupt Conservative government in Westminster which was far more interested in using the pandemic as an excuse to award lucrative contracts to their pals and in having boozy parties while the rest of us were in lockdown.
Scottish Tory MSP Murdo Fraser could stub his toe in his bathroom because he was too busy trying and failing to be a smart arse on Twitter to notice where his feet were going, and he’d still try and tell us that his limping was proof that it would be too dangerous for Scotland to become independent. Will no one think of Murdo’s little piggy that goes all the way home, or at least as far as the union flag branded building of Alister Jack’s Scotland Office.
The fact is that the tragedy currently unfolding in Ukraine provides evidence neither for nor against Scottish independence. Not everything that happens in the world is relevant to Scotland’s constitutional debate. The priority must be to demonstrate our solidarity with the people of Ukraine and to pressurise the British Government to do a lot more to help the hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees currently fleeing the conflict. They could start by doing as the Irish Government has done and lift all visa requirements for Ukrainian citizens who want to come to the UK.
We must show that we are better than the shameful Conservative MP Kevin Foster who suggested in a now deleted tweet that Ukrainian refugees who do not have family links to the UK could apply for seasonal worker visas in order to come to the UK and pick fruit. Foster displayed there the instinctive reaction of the Conservatives, no matter what hideous situation is taking place, no matter what the human suffering, the first thought of a Tory is, “What’s in it for me?” and “How can we best exploit desperate people in order to make money?”
We must also demand that all the opposition parties in Westminster concentrate on the sleazy and corrupt links that the Conservative party, the city of London, and overseas British tax havens have to dirty Russian money. The UK must immediately stop facilitating the looting of Russia by Putin and his cronies, and must clean up British politics and put an end to the perversion of our democracy by the dark money and secretive donations which the Conservatives are so fond of. Tyranny thrives in the darkness. It’s time to shine a light on the Conservatives.
But the immediate priority must be to put all the pressure we can on the British government to significantly increase humanitarian aid to Ukraine, to support the refugees, and to show Putin that the world stands with Ukraine.
With all this going on my personal issues are quite trivial. However I thought regular readers might wish to know what happened at my recent NHS appointment. I have not been able to drive since I had the stroke because of the lasting physical problems I’ve been left with in my left, hand, arm and leg. Last week I had the first of a two part assessment from the NHS Scotland Driving Assessment Centre in Edinburgh. The first part of the assessment was to check whether the stroke has left me with visual or cognitive problems which would prevent me from ever driving again and I am pleased to say that I passed. I am now waiting for an appointment for the second part of the assessment which will test the extent of my physical disabilities and recommend any adaptions I might need to an automatic car in order to be able to drive again. It is unlikely that I will ever be able to drive a manual car again as I can’t manage the gear stick and lack sufficient strength, sensation, and coordination in my left leg in order to manage the clutch pedal.
The occupational therapist who assessed me said that I will most likely need some sort of adaption to the steering wheel to allow me to manage it with just my right hand (which was not my dominant hand before the stroke) and a device on the centre of the steering wheel to allow me to control the indicators and lights safely. I am not able to do this with my left hand.
She also recommended that I apply for PIP as this will help with the cost of any necessary adaptions and she thinks that I may be eligible for a mobility car as I cannot walk any significant distance, and that with a walking stick. I haven’t applied for any disability benefits as I am physically unable to fill the forms in and the local organisations here in South Ayrshire which could help me do so are neither doing home visits nor holding office appointments due to covid.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).
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