Truss is a gift to the cause of independence

separatismFresh from the hustings at Perth, where Liz Truss, the front runner in the Great Tory Thatcher in their Eyes contest, assured a gaggle of elderly Scottish Tories that she will not “allow” Scotland to have another independence referendum and lied about the SNP agreeing to the referendum being a once in a generation event as a condition of being granted permission to hold it. The play doh Thatcher’s campaign team revealed her big plan to halt the independence movement in its tracks and send it hamewards tae think again.

The basics of Truss’s plan were detailed in a report in the digital i-news by Katy Balls, who is the deputy political editor of the Conservative Spectator magazine which was once edited by Boris Johnson, although you might have greater confidence in her reporting if this deputy political editor knew that Nicola Sturgeon was the leader of the Scottish National Party and not the “Scottish Nationalist Party”. But then Balls is a Tory journalist and won’t want to acknowledge that the Conservatives are the English Nationalist Party. But I digress.

Balls tells us that if elected as Prime Minister by the membership of the Conservative party, Truss intends to revive the combative and confrontational so-called muscular unionism championed by Johnson in the early days of his premiership before being persuaded to abandon it by Michael Gove, who feared that it was counter productive and a gift to the independence cause. Because if there is one thing guaranteed to make your average Scottish person go, “Aye, that WILL be right, pal.” it is being hectored and disrespected by an unpopular Conservative leader that they didn’t vote for.

Truss believes that because she went to primary school in Paisley for a few years she has an instinctive understanding of what Scotland wants and how to best get her message accepted by Scottish public opinion. There is however one way in which Liz Truss does indeed have her finger on the pulse of the Scottish zeitgeist. She thinks Michael Gove is an oily wee skelf too, so she is not at all inclined to take his advice on how to handle the demand for Scottish independence, or indeed anything else for that matter. According to Balls : “Truss has no plans to even give Gove – with whom she has clashed on a range of issues during her ministerial career – a job in the Cabinet, let alone a role on the union. Her instincts differ from his.” So it’s going to be back to the blatant hectoring and disrespect. It will be an active aggressive approach instead of Gove’s passive aggressive one.

Central to the new aggressive approach will be an instruction to ministers and Conservative MPs to cease mentioning the i-word. They will be told to no longer mention Scottish independence but rather only to refer to “Scottish separatism.” Truss thinks that this will frame independence as a negative act, possibly in the deluded belief that Scottish people will think that separating Scotland from her government is a bad thing.

Perhaps Truss wants to move away from talking about Scottish nationalism because it does not sound so bad when contrasted with the blatant English nationalism of Truss’s Conservative party, but it is unlikely that she possesses that much self-awareness.

In any event, calling Scottish independence “separatism” is rather like insisting that someone you know who intends to emigrate to a new and better life in a country with a sensible and democratic government is planning a trip to the airport where there will be queues and passport control and their luggage might get lost. It’s childish and petulant and redolent of a self-centred attitude, so it’s very much on brand for Liz Truss then. It’s an infantile attempt to frame Scottish independence as being all about England.

Truss also wants to make further unilateral changes to the Scotland act in order to give parliamentary privilege to members of the Scottish parliament, her hope is that this would allow for “more robust questions” of the SNP government from opposition politicians, by allowing them to lie with impunity. Truss is one of those Tories who believes that the Scottish media gives the SNP an easy ride. Now that’s practically the text book definition of delusion.

There are plenty among the Scottish Conservatives who fear that Truss’s aggressively confrontational approach will blow up in their face, Balls reports : “As one Scottish Tory put it to me during the parliamentary stages of the contest: ‘I’ll back anyone who is not Liz.’ They worry that Truss’s rhetoric could backfire – and push people in favour of independence if the Tories sound as though they are talking Scotland down.”

Truss’s basic problem is that this sort of nonsense might appeal to the moon howling British nationalist contingent on social media, and to the union flag wavers of the Conservative party membership, but it is likely merely to provoke at best eye-rolling and at worst outright anger from that wider Scottish public to whom Truss must appeal if her new strategy is to have any success. Why not go the whole hog Liz? You could call it Scottish rupturism or Scottish Grand Canyoning instead.

Boris Johnson was unable to sell his so called muscular unionism to a doubtful Scottish public. Johnson is a liar and a cheat but like all successful con artists he is basically a show man, even so, the people of Scotland proved immune to his charms. Liz Truss’s problem is that she has no charm at all. She comes across as a low rent Artificial Intelligence version of Margaret Thatcher, only without the intelligence part, strangely robotic and awkward, bereft of empathy or emotional intelligence. If the Conservatives are remotely serious about stopping independence, they have to demonstrate that they can come up with a message that has an appeal beyond the monarchy loving Winston Churchill worshipers who make up the core of their support in Scotland. So far they have dismally failed to achieve that, and Truss looks as though she will merely make things worse.

Truss is not even in Downing Street yet but she is already proving that she is a gift to the independence movement.

I won’t be about tomorrow as I need to prepare some paperwork for my appeal against the DWP’s ridiculous PIP decision.

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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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The hustings in Perth are the last gasp for the Tories in Scotland

The Conservatives are holding a leadership coven, sorry, hustings in Scotland today. This is the seventh hustings of the leadership Lie-Off and the only event to be held in Scotland. Ballots have already gone out to party members who tend to vote early, so most of the tiny number of people eligible to vote will already have done so and this evening’s event will be more a species of extremely tedious right wing British nationalist theatre than anything which will have a significance on the outcome. You can put money on the stage having a union flag or two prominently on display while Truss and Sunak wax, well I was going to say lyrical, but this is Truss and Sunak we are talking about here, about “this great British nation” which is “one great country” while they rail about vile and divisive nationalism without an iota of self-awareness.

In previous hustings the issue of Scotland’s future has scarcely registered, reflecting the deep lack of interest in Scotland or care about its concerns amongst the Conservative party in the rest of the UK. The future of what Truss recently insisted is not a union of four nations but rather “one great single country” will certainly be a prominent issue at this evening’s event where it is a safe bet that Truss and Sunak will compete to be the most hard line on ruling out another referendum forever and a day and in promising to find further ways to undermine a Scottish Government and a devolution settlement which they and their Scottish Tory audience loathe so intensely. Naturally neither of them will propose seeking a mandate from the wider Scottish electorate to do so, they have anointed themselves, not the people of Scotland, as the sole judge and jury for deciding what Scotland wants and what its interests are, and they will rely upon the strength of the Conservative majority in the Commons, a majority based upon the seats they won in England not Scotland, in order to impose the will of the Conservative party on a Scotland which has the temerity to repeatedly and consistently refuse to vote Conservative.

On Sky News on Tuesday morning they hopefully suggested that this might be the event at which the leadership candidates announce how they are going to “save the union”, or maybe not. There is no conceivable way in which the “union” is going to be “saved” because of a couple of right wing Tories trying to out-intolerance one another as far as Scottish self-determination is concerned in order to make themselves more appealing to the membership of the Conservative party in Scotland.

All that will happen will be some sound bites about refusing to allow “the SNP” another referendum, which will be gleefully seized on by the anti-independence media in Scotland in order to remind the Scots not to get above their station and to reinforce the message that in this supposedly voluntary union, decisions about the future constitutional status of Scotland are not to be made by them or any Scottish Parliament that they choose to elect.

The Conservatives are a minority party in Scotland for a reason, and that reason is that their policies and whatever self-serving offence against democracy and common decency they happen to be pushing at any given moment are wildly out of kilter with what most people in Scotland agree with. This is particularly the case where devolution and the prospect of another independence referendum are concerned. Opinion polls have consistently shown that most people in Scotland are in favour of even greater powers for the Scottish Parliament. However a clear majority of Conservatives in Scotland, at least according to a YouGov poll a couple of years ago, would like to see the abolition of the Scottish Parliament and a return to the situation which held until the referendum of 1997.

It is obvious then that in making their leadership pitches to the members of the Conservative party in Scotland, neither Truss nor Sunak is going to gain any traction by promising to listen to what people in Scotland want as expressed through the ballot box in elections in Scotland and delivering the closest thing possible to federalism that was vowed in 2014. Far less are they going make any compromises on Brexit in order to assuage the deep and widespread unease that the Conservatives’ hard and uncompromising Brexit has created in Scotland.

What we can expect are nostrums about the UK being “one great nation,” an outright denial that Holyrood has a mandate for another referendum and promises that a section 30 order to facilitate another referendum will not be forthcoming. Naturally there will be nothing at all about what the democratic route to another referendum might be since it does not appear to consist of the people of Scotland voting for a Scottish Parliament which is committed to bringing one about.

However we can expect to hear Truss and Sunak insist that they will expect their policies to apply across the entire United Kingdom, and they will also tell us that they intend to hold the Scottish Government to account, because apparently this is a job for a Prime Minister in Downing Street without any democratic mandate whatsoever in Scotland, and not for the people of Scotland themselves through the ballot box at a democratic election. The voters of Scotland held the Scottish Government to account at the last Holyrood election in 2021, and even though there was a concerted and suspiciously well funded British nationalist tactical voting campaign, the Tories and their allies failed dismally to prevent the election of a Scottish Parliament with an unassailable majority for another independence referendum. Yet having failed at the ballot box the Conservatives are now resorting to nakedly undemocratic measures in order to thwart the will of the people of Scotland.

Although it’s the last thing that either Truss or Sunak would ever admit, it’s obvious that they want to subvert the normal operation of democracy in Scotland because in the wider country outside the Tory bubble zone in the hall in Perth’s Concert Hall, the real electorate in Scotland persists in voting in ways which the Conservative party does not like. Tonight’s event will not “save the union”, it will merely highlight that this so called union is intellectually and politically bankrupt and that it can only be shored up by the denial of democracy in Scotland.

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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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Fury, denial and intellectual poverty : the state of British nationalism in Scotland

delusion

Possibly it was an outbreak of masochism, or a curiosity verging on the foolish, but the other day, using a burner account, I had a peek at anti-independence social media to get a feel of where the opposition is at. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting a huge amount, but I was shocked by the complete lack of anything approaching an analysis of why the political landscape in Scotland lies as it currently does. Such an analysis is vital if opponents of independence seek to remove what they see as the ‘threat’ of independence permanently from mainstream Scottish political discourse.

Instead what I found is that right wing Anglo-British nationalism in Scotland is characterised by fury, denial, and an abiding sense of victimhood. Blame for all these ills is heaped squarely at the door of the SNP, the other pro-independence parties scarcely seem to register with them and the existence of non-party political support for independence is not acknowledged. Any attempt to point out the manifest short comings, never mind the outright lies and corruption of this Conservative Government is airily dismissed as “grievance mongering.”

It is striking that there is absolutely no attempt amongst opponents of independence to discern why support for independence should be at the level it is, given what die-hard British nationalists believe to be the self-evident advantages of Westminster rule. You might imagine that understanding this would be vital to devising a strategy to halt the independence movement in its tracks and to put it into reverse. However all there appears to be is a furious anger at the SNP for “stoking up division” and a supposed anti-English racism, the ‘proof’ for which is deeply contrived and seems to consist of evidence free assertions that references to “Westminster” are in fact code for “the English” with no recognition of the political reality that as part of the UK, Westminster is a parliament with authority over Scotland too.

There is no recognition whatsoever that the actions of the main British political parties following the 2014 independence referendum might have played any part in creating the level of support for independence which currently exists in Scotland. All there is is a burning resentment that the SNP “refuses to accept the outcome of the 2014 referendum,” again there is no apparent awareness of other pro-independence parties or of civic Scotland in pushing for a second independence referendum, insofar as this is acknowledged, it is explained away as being because they are in the pocket of the SNP. No one in Scotland who supports Scottish independence or who believes that it is a democratic imperative that there must be another independence referendum is thought to have any sort of agency of their own. It’s all because of some all powerful SNP pulling the strings of Scottish society like some evil puppet master.

There is outright denial that the failure of the Westminster parties to honour the promises and commitments which they made as part of Better Together have any role to play in creating the current level of support for independence. Indeed there is rarely any acknowledgement of any failure at all on their part. Brexit is waved away because apparently “we all knew” it was a realistic prospect in 2014, and in any case Scotland didn’t vote against Brexit because it was a UK wide vote, so it’s irrelevant to them how people in Scotland voted. Equally there is no recognition that the Conservatives have been assiduous in their unilateral attempt to undermine and subvert the devolution settlement despite the promise that Westminster would not “normally” make any changes to devolution without the express consent of Holyrood.

We are dealing with a peculiar species of alternative reality which is angry and confused about the realities of modern Scotland and which lacks the conceptual framework to engage with it in any meaningful way. It’s a British nationalism which is putting all its eggs in the basket of refusing to accept that there can or will be another vote on independence in Scotland, because even though they would angrily deny it, they have no intellectual ammunition to win that debate.

The denial extends to outright denial of the existence of British nationalism, never mind a recognition of its dominance in the modern Conservative party. The only nationalism in Scotland is Scottish nationalism. Yet just this weekend Liz Truss, the front runner in the Conservative leadership contest denied the existence of the union and even the existence of Scotland as a nation in its own right, casually overturning generations of Scottish Unionist political thinking. Truss announced that she intends to personally take the post of Minister for the Union and said “We are not four separate nations in an agreement of convenience, as some would have us believe. We are one great country which shares a history and institutions, but also family and friends, memories and values.”

That is an explicit declaration of British nationalism and an outright denial that Scotland is a member nation in a union of nations. Truss went on to claim she would ensure that her policies were implemented in “all corners of our country,” adding “For too long, people in parts of our United Kingdom have been let down by their devolved administrations playing political games instead of focusing on their priorities. If elected prime minister, I will deliver for our whole country.”

This is an effective declaration of war on the devolution settlement , note that Truss cannot bring herself to accept that Scotland or Wales are countries in their own right, and certainly cannot acknowledge that they have governments, no, they have “devolved administrations”. This is what the Anglo-British nationalism of the modern Conservative party looks like, as it alienates the entire UK from Europe and identifies the parliaments in Edinburgh and Cardiff as enemies. If the Conservatives cannot win political power in Scotland or Wales through the ballot box, then the Welsh Senedd and the Scottish Parliament must be bludgeoned into submission using the Conservatives’ Commons majority which is of course based upon their English seats. But apparently pointing that out makes you a racist.

Yet British nationalism does not apparently exist when you are a British nationalist, even as British nationalist politicians wrap themselves in the British flag and make explicit denials that Scotland is a nation. One British nationalist social media account I came across expressed itself perplexed by the term British nationalist and asserted no such thing existed. Yet the account used a photo of Winston Churchill in its header and was friends with other accounts which draped themselves in Union flags, although of course, given what Truss has just said, these are not Union flags at all, but rather the flag of “one great country.” That’s not nationalist at all, oh no.

The intellectual poverty and denialism of much of the opposition to independence makes it singularly ill-equipped to fight another referendum campaign. That means that when there is a vote, as there inevitably will be, Better Together 2.0 will have nothing to draw on except anger and fear and the vacuous British bullshit of the Conservatives – with Starmer’s Labour running along in the Tory wake playing catch up. As soon as the vote is called, they will have already lost.

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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.

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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This is a cost of corporate greed crisis

corporate greedAn American Buddhist nun called Perma Chödrön wrote a famous self-help book called When Things Fall Apart, she later expounded on the message of the first book with a follow up, subtitled A Guide to Fearlessness. The books give advice to dealing with personal crises such as the loss of a loved one, or dealing with a life-changing illness, but the lessons that help people through those personal and intimate challenges are also apposite for the challenges that are currently facing us all as a society.

Right now the UK is falling apart, I don’t just mean that the so-called Union is falling apart, although it certainly is, but many of the wider structures and services that have allowed most people to live reasonably comfortable and decent lives are falling apart. From widespread difficulties in getting a driving test to the near impossibility of registering with an NHS dentist, so many things that were once simple now pose huge challenges. And that is by no means the worst of it, already there are unprecedented levels of food bank use, an entire generation struggles to find suitable housing, job insecurity is widespread, hundreds of thousands are trapped into low paid jobs in the so called gig economy which don’t offer any prospect of advancement or the things like holiday pay or sick leave which previous generations in the workforce took for granted. Inflation is soaring, expected to reach 13%, adding even further to the burden of paying for essentials.

All of these problems are compounded by the obstacles created by Brexit, for all that the Conservatives refuse even to acknowledge that their ideologically driven hard Brexit could possibly be a contributory factor to the economic problems which have made the British economy the worst performing out of those of the G7 by a significant margin. Household incomes in the UK are now falling in real terms, and we have a British government which willfully lies and denies that Brexit could have anything to do with it, blaming the global factors which every other economy has to deal with, yet is dealing with markedly better than the UK. We have a British government of right wing fantasists which insults everyone’s intelligence and refuses to engage with reality.

And it continues to get even worse. Just yesterday there was dreadful news about soaring gas and electricity bills which threaten to throw over half the households in the UK into fuel poverty at a time when millions are already struggling to pay their bills. It was also reported that the British Government is making plans for organised blackouts for industry and households over winter when cold weather may coincide with gas shortages. This is happening in no small measure because successive Conservative governments deliberately ran down the UK’s gas storage capacity. Millions are facing a freezing winter and possible destitution.

Yet the big oil and gas companies report soaring profits, the largest oil and gas producers made close to $100bn in first quarter of 2022 on the back of record prices for oil and gas caused by increased demand following the pandemic and supply issues created by the war in Ukraine and sanctions on Russia. Shell posted record earnings of $11.4bn (nearly £10bn) for the three-month period from April to June and promised to give shareholders payouts worth £6.5bn. Meanwhile Centrica, the owner of British Gas, reinstated its dividend, handing investors £59m, after reporting operating profits of £1.3bn during the first half of 2022.

The cost to the government of the help to the poorest households is claimed to be £37 billion over the year, which is less than a half of the profits recorded by the biggest oil and gas producers in just three months.  And the big idea from the Tory leadership candidates is to reward them with tax cuts.

It’s not just the big energy companies however, Amazon has also posted record profits, surging to $14.32bn for the last quarter of 2021. Alphabet, the owner of Google, reported profits of $19.45 billion in the second quarter of 2022. We need to be clear here, what we are facing is not a cost of living crisis, it is a cost of corporate greed crisis. Ordinary households are suffering while a small minority become rich on the backs of their misery.

It is beyond scandalous in a country like Scotland, which has an embarrassing wealth of energy resources, both fossil fuels and renewables, that people are facing a winter without heat and power in their homes. Yet as part of this dysfunctional UK, there is nothing that Scotland can do beyond hope that the right wing ideologues of the Conservative party who have always prioritised private profit over public good will do something about it. The signs are not good. Liz Truss thinks that the way to deal with the industrial and social unrest which this crisis will inevitably provoke is to crack down on public protest and striking workers, not to do anything about the underlying issues which created the protest and the strikes in the first place.

The British Government is paralysed while the Conservative party consumes itself with its internal party politicking and Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak compete to out-Thatcher one another in an effort to appeal to the overwhelmingly white, male, southern English, elderly and middle class membership of the Conservative party which will decide who is to become the next worst Prime Minister in modern times. The British Government is absent, refusing to engage with the issues, claiming that everything must be put on pause while the Conservatives focus on their leadership contest. Johnson is basically on gardening leave and the others are too busy campaigning and nothing will be done until a new Prime Minister is elected.

Meanwhile influential Tories continue to indulge themselves in fantasies divorced from the real world, the Truss supporting architect of Brexit Lord Frost has called on his favourite to forget about “mediaeval” wind farms and even as Europe burns and faces an unprededented drought insists that there is no climate emergency, calling on Truss to expand fracking and nuclear energy. His absurd claims come even as scientists say that the recent record breaking heatwave which saw temperatures in parts of England exceed 40C would not have been possible without climate change.

vagueFor her part Liz Truss is more interested in how she can appear in Vogue magazine than in doing anything to tackle the crisis. A study from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation foundation found that £6 of every £7 of her tax cuts will go to the better off.

Scotland has an escape from this madness, but as Perma Chödrön explains, we must be fearless, that does not mean denying that fear exists, change is always frightening, but we must recognise that there is no status quo any more, change will happen whether we like it or not, and the choice for Scotland is to be a victim of the change that is imposed on us by Truss and her allies, or an agent of change. Put like that it is not a difficult choice.

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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.

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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Hasta la vista, he wants to come back

hastalavista2The new Prime Minister is due to take over from Boris Johnson on 5 September, that however is unlikely to be the last that we hear from the serial liar and law breaker who spent years plotting and conniving to get the top job only to be wheeched out of it just halfway through a five year term despite winning the Tories their largest majority since Thatcher, after even the craven enablers in his own government started to realise that his dishonesty and entitlement posed a severe risk to their own political careers and the Conservative party’s chances of re-election. They are creatures in Johnson’s own image, concerned only for themselves.

The most likely winner according to a number of opinion polls will be the Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, a woman who has passionately held political convictions, and if those passionately held political convictions aren’t going to help her career advancement she’s got some different political convictions that she will hold just as passionately. Truss is the ultimate political chameleon.

However Truss has successfully positioned herself with the party membership who will choose the next Prime Minister as the Johnson continuity candidate. She has the support of all the prominent Johnson loyalists such as Nadhim Zahawi and Jacob Rees-Mogg as well as the Johnson fan girl Nadine Dorries whose declarations of unconditional loyalty to her spurned prince would make her come across as a deranged stalker if she was not actually a cabinet minister. There are rumours that Dorries will be elevated to the peerage in Johnson’s resignation dishonours list, this will leave a vacancy in her ultra safe Conservative constituency and some have speculated that Johnson intends to take her place rather than face the humiliation of losing his more marginal Uxbridge seat at the next election or if he is found to have mislead Parliament and has to face a recall. Dorries has described the investigation by the Commons Privileges Committee into whether Johnson misled Parliament – spoiler alert – he did, as a witch hunt and “the most egregious abuse of power witnessed in Westminster,” adding that “it will cast serious doubt not only on the reputation of individual MPs sitting on the committee, but on the processes of Parliament and democracy itself.” Would you call a senior politician of a NATO country dropping his security detail and flying over 1,000 miles to have undeclared meetings with an ex KGB agent and Kremlin associate whose son he later ennobled an ‘egregious abuse of power’ or is it just plain and simple treason? Just wondering, Nadine.

Sorry Nadine, the entire world knows that the object of your hero worship isn’t going to leave his wife for you. He will leave her, just not for you.

Truss’s political career has largely consisted of achieving nothing on her own merit but ruthlessly taking credit for the achievements of others. She gave herself the lion’s share of the credit for securing the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori from prison in Iran, which was the result of long and complex negotiations carried out by civil servants at the Foreign Office, for the most part under her predecessors.

Pauline Buchanan Black wrote about her experience of Liz Truss for The New European . At the time Truss was the Environment Secretary. Ms Buchanan Black who was the director general of a tree planting charity, wrote a damning assessment of Truss, saying : “It quickly became apparent to me that Liz Truss is someone who likes to take credit for work that is not hers, and shun those whose work it actually is. I see that as the worst quality a leader can have.”

Truss recently dismissed Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of being an “attention seeker,” there was a heavy dose of psychological projection there. Truss is notoriously obsessed with publicity and her social media profile so much so that employees at the Department for International Trade supposedly joked that they worked at the Department for Instagramming Truss.

According to Dominic Cummings, who knows a thing or two about transactional politicians, the real reason that Johnson has told his supporters to get behind Truss is because he knows that she will be a disaster. Cummings described Truss “as close to properly crackers as anybody I have met in parliament,” and said that she was called the hand grenade because she destroyed everything she came into contact with. Cummings believes that Johnson thinks that Truss will be just as much of a hand grenade in Number 10 and will prove utterly incapable of rising to the challenges of the cost of living crisis which will bite in a serious way next year. Truss will be a prisoner of the extreme right of the Conservative party and will concentrate on policies aimed at pleasing her core support. We have already seen signs of this in just the few short weeks of the leadership contest. Truss has managed to anger swathes of Scottish and Welsh public opinion, not just independence supporters.

The rising public anger and industrial unrest which will be provoked by the cost of living crisis and the inability of Liz Truss to deal with the widespread problems that will crop up for the government next year with ever increasing frequency will lead to a catastrophic showing in the polls for the Conservatives. The reality is that this is not a cost of living crisis, it’s a cost of corporate greed crisis. Truss will do nothing to deal with that. She will reward the rich with tax cuts. Truss will attempt to crack down on protests rather than tackle the underlying issues which led to the protests in the first place. Johnson is banking on panicking Conservative MPs ditching Truss in order to save themselves just as he was ditched, and then he hopes to ride their wave of discontent back into number 10. The havoc that will be wrought on public services and ordinary working people in the meantime is of no concern to Johnson or the Conservative party.

However should by some miracle the equally insanely ambitious Rishi Sunak beat the odds and take the top job, Johnson and his supporters will devote themselves to plotting against him from the back benches. It will be a repeat of the way in which the right wing extremists of the European Research Group plotted against and undermined Theresa May. Johnson really is the English nationalist Trump. He’s not going to concede defeat even after he’s been forced out of office and a successor has been appointed. Johnson’s baleful legacy will be casting its shadow over British politics for quite some time to come. Johnson is determined to return, which is why he finished his churlish and graceless final statement to the Commons as Prime Minister with the words Hasta la vista, a Spanish phrase which means See you later or until the next time. Hasta la vista baby is most associated with the Terminator from the movies, an amoral machine for wreaking havoc and destruction, completely lacking in empathy or compassion, so very much like Johnson then.

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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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Scottish democracy will be the big loser of the Tory leadership contest

scottish democracyIt ought to be unnecessary in a country with a long and well established democratic tradition that the basic principles of democracy and parliamentary mandates should have to be explained and reiterated. Sadly however that is where we are in Scotland in 2022 where in their panicked desperation the opponents of Scottish independence, who are very much Anglo-British nationalists despite their strident protestations that they are against ‘nationalism’ are resorting to all sorts of implausible contortions in order to reconcile their mutually contradictory assertions.

In order to escape the charge that they are denying the democratic will of the people of Scotland, and caught between their claim that its up to the Scottish people to decide whether Scotland remains in the UK or not while insisting that they will not ‘allow’ another referendum, the anti-democratic British nationalists must find some formula for denying that the Scottish Parliament was indeed given a mandate by the people of Scotland for a second independence referendum.

As anyone who was paying even passing attention is aware, the issue of a second independence referendum dominated the Scottish Parliament election of 2021. The SNP and the other pro-independence parties made it clear that a vote for them would result in a Scottish Parliament which would bring about another vote on independence. For their part the anti-independence parties made it clear that if elected to Holyrood they would vote against any bill or proposal for another vote on independence.

As we all know,of the pro-independence parties, the SNP won 64 seats and the Scottish Greens won 8, thus ending up with 72 pro-independence and pro-referendum seats between them in Holyrood and giving them a comfortable majority over the anti-independence parties who between them won just 57 seats . (Conservatives 31, Labour 22, and Lib Dems 4) 72 is a much bigger number than 57, it is in fact by some margin the largest pro-independence majority that there has ever been in the Scottish Parliament, so you might think it was unarguable that the electorate had given Holyrood an unequivocal mandate for another independence referendum.

You would of course be wrong. Before the new MSPs had even got their bums on their seats the anti-independence parties, their supporters in the media, and the moon howling red white and blue contingent on social media were falling over themselves to brit-splain the outcome of the election to us and tell us why this resounding mandate for another independence referendum was in fact no such thing.

Right away we had assorted Tories telling us that because the SNP had not won an absolute majority in its own right there was no mandate for another independence referendum. The 64 SNP MSPs were outnumbered by the 65 MSPs from all the other parties, apparently the 8 Green MSPs are so much chopped meat and the fact that they too support another referendum seemingly doesn’t count, so if you voted Green and got a Green MSP elected it seemingly doesn’t matter. There was a concerted effort amongst opponents of independence to vote tactically in order to deprive the new Parliament of a pro-independence majority because the opponents of independence were well aware of what a majority pro-independence Scottish Parliament would mean. They failed, but having failed tried to shift the goal posts so that Green MSPs didn’t count, only SNP MSPs mattered where a mandate for another referendum was concerned. They would have done exactly the same had any of the other pro-independence party succeeded in winning seats.

However the new Presiding Officer Alison Johnson, was chosen from amongst the ranks of Green MSPs. The Presiding Officer renounces affiliation with their party and does not generally cast a vote except to break a tie. Even then, the convention is that when the presiding officer does use their tie-breaking vote, they do so in favour of advancing debate, but on final ballots, they vote to retain the status quo. This means effectively the SNP does have a majority in its own right as all the other MSPs combined cannot outvote it.

More to the point, the SNP cannot be outvoted on any vote concerned with advancing another independence referendum, since this is also Green policy. The majority status of the SNP led Scottish Government was later cemented when the SNP agreed a deal with the Greens.

Even though they are faced with a pro-independence Scottish Government whose majority is unassailable, this has not stopped the British nationalists and their enablers from trying to come up with arguments which they hope might persuade the public that the mandate held by Holyrood isn’t “really” a mandate, and therefore they are not authoritarian democracy deniers by appealing to forces beyond Holyrood such as the UK Supreme Court or Downing Street in order to block the second independence referendum and undermine Scottish democracy.

Thus we hear a lot of selective appeals to opinion polling from the parties which seek to traduce the outcome of the 2021 Holyrood election because they cannot, in Trumpian fashion, accept that they lost. We do not have government by opinion poll in this or any other country. But if we did then the anti-independence parties would have to respect all polling, not just the polls that suited them. If that were the case the Tories and Labour would have to concede that most people think Brexit was a disaster that needs to be undone, yet both of them are committed to a hard Brexit and keeping the UK out of the Single Market and Customs Union. We don’t hear much from them about opinion polls on that topic, funny that.

The other desperately pathetic attempt to deny democracy is commonplace on social media, especially amongst the staunch brigade. These types love to point out that the pro-independence parties combined received 48.98% of the share of the votes in the constituency vote, which of course is not an absolute majority. Usually they just fixate on the SNP vote share alone, which was 47.70% in the constituency vote and 40.34% in the regional list vote.

They are less keen to highlight that between them the SNP, Greens, Alba, and other minor pro-independence parties obtained 50.18% of votes in the regional list vote.

While percentage vote share might be of interest to political anoraks, this was a parliamentary election, not a referendum. The fact that the SNP got ‘only’ 47.70% vote share in the constituency vote in no way undermines or invalidates its mandate for another independence referendum. No British Government has achieved over 50% of the popular vote since 1935 when the National Government headed by Stanley Baldwin won 51.8% of the votes cast. Even Thatcher’s landslide in 1979 was won with a mere 43.9% of the popular vote. Tony Blair won his landslide in 1997 with 43.2% of votes cast. The current Conservative government won its 80 seat Commons majority on just 43.6% of the vote. If you want to argue that the Scottish Government doesn’t have a mandate for a second independence referendum because it failed to win a majority of votes cast, then you are conceding that no British government for almost 90 years has had a mandate to implement its manifesto.

Yet this is where we are now, forced to defend the fundamentals of democracy. All by itself this should make you realise the very real danger that democracy in Scotland faces from British nationalists who deny that they are a threat to Scottish democracy as vehemently as they deny that they are nationalists. It’s only going to get worse.  Both Sunak and Truss are fully invested in these attempts to deny Scottish democracy and won’t only refuse to acknowledge the democratic choice Scotland made at the last Scottish Parliament election, they will take a wrecking ball to the devolution settlement.

No matter which of the two candidates for Prime Minister who are currently trying to appeal to the basest instincts of the Conservative party ends up as the winner, democracy in Scotland will end up the loser.

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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.

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 real nationalist extremists we need to worry about

flag shaggers

One of the supposed advantages of being British which those who oppose independence are so proud of used to be the freedom to criticise the government, the monarchy, the army, the establishment, or the myths and sacred cows of Britishness without any repercussion. This was the much vaunted tolerance which we were always told was one of the defining characteristics of Britishness. During the 2014 independence referendum campaign Better Together supporters made much of this, some even going so far as to say that deprived of the moderating influence of Westminster, Scotland would rapidly descend into an intolerant authoritarianism where those deemed to be insufficient or unenthusiastic in their Scottishness or who refused to participate in state-sponsored anglophobia would be hauled off to re-education camps where they would be strapped into chairs and subjected to high decibel renditions of Harry Lauder and Fran and Anna music until they confessed the error of their ways.

Better Together supporters took it for granted that freedom of speech was a core British value, one which was guaranteed by a Britain which they viewed as one of the most robust and secure democracies in the world. There would never in the UK be any threat of laws such as the Spanish legal ban on insulting the royal family. In April last year a pro-independence and anti-fascist Catalan rapper Pablo Hasél was sentenced to a prison term of nine months for insulting the Spanish royal family, insulting the Spanish armed forces and police and for praising banned organisations including the pro-independence Basque and Catalan paramilitary organisations ETA and Terra lliure (Catalan for Free Land). According to Spanish law any person who defames or insults the king, the queen, their ancestors or their descendants can be imprisoned for up to two years.

One of the tweets which the Spanish courts used to justify the claim that Hasél was a supporter of terrorism, a claim which he strongly denies, was pointing out that Joseba Arregi Izagirre, accused of being a member of ETA, was tortured to death in a Madrid prison in 1981 by serving members of the Spanish National Police.

Another pro-independence Catalan rapper, Josep Miquel Arenas Beltran, known as Valtònyc, was arrested at the age of 18 for a song whose lyrics were ruled by the Spanish High Court to insult the monarchy, glorify terrorism and slander on the person of the king. He was sentenced to three and a half years in prison but fled to Belgium in 2018, the day before he was due to report to prison to begin his sentence. The Spanish authorities attempted to have him extradited but in October 2021 the Belgian Supreme Court ruled that the offences he was found guilty of by the Spanish courts infringed his right to freedom of speech and refused to allow the extradition.

Such laws are widespread, particularly in authoritarian states, under Turkish law it is illegal to insult the Turkish nation, the Turkish Republic, Turkish government institutions, and Turkish national heroes. It is also illegal to insult the President of Turkey, many countries, including France, Germany, and Poland make it an offence to burn or desecrate the national flag.

Of course we were always assured by the apologists for Westminster that nothing like this could ever happen in the UK. You can burn any flag in the UK as long as you own the flag and you don’t cause damage to anyone else’s property. We are told it’s a part of the freedoms guaranteed to us by the British state. But such confidence is misplaced. In 2006 the prominent Conservative MPs Michael Fabricant and Daniel Kawczinsky signed a House of Commons motion calling for legislation to make it a criminal offence to burn or desecrate the union flag.

As part of his self-declared war on woke culture, a pathetic attempt at attention seeking if ever there was one, Rishi Sunak is now proposing that if he becomes Prime Minister he will expand the definition of extremism which prompts state intervention to include those who “vilify Britain” and so that those identified as “vilifying Britain” are referred to the deradicalisation Prevent programme. It’s unclear what this means exactly but it sounds deeply sinister. The Tory Party itself has become a vehicle for extremist, dumbed-down English nationalism.

Sunak seems to have in mind those who seek an open and honest acknowledgement of Britain’s many historical sins, the legacy of the slave trade and colonialism, apologies for great wrongs committed by the British state such as the Bengal and Irish famines, the genocide of the aboriginal population of Australia. It is a long and inglorious list. But campaigners also seek a righting of modern day wrongs such as structural and institutional racism. These demands have the Tories clutching their metaphorical pearls, pearls which were no doubt stolen during an imperialist foray into some nation which was unfortunate enough to end up as a British colony. So they have decided that the real problem here is not structural racism or the airbrushing of the crimes of Empire, no, the real problem are those Britain vilifiers who want something done about it. Sunak has pledged that his focus would be on “rooting out those who are vocal in their hatred of our country”. Former counter-terrorism chief Sir Peter Fahy, who was also chief constable of Greater Manchester police, said that Sunak’s plan was “straying into thought crimes and political opinions.”

Truss’s campaign criticised Sunak’s plan, but mainly on the grounds that it doesn’t go far enough.

In recent weeks we have seen culture secretary Nadine Dorries intervene to protect a plaque in Oxford celebrating the British Imperialist robber baron Cecil Rhodes after attempts to have it removed from Oriel College in Oxford. Rhodes was an overt racist who wrote that the “Anglo-Saxon race” was the “first race in the world, and that the more of the world we inhabit the better it is for the human race.” Rhodes nakedly imperialist and colonialist ambitions caused him to be a controversial figure even during the heyday of the British Empire. When Rhodes died in 1902, his obituary was damning, with one newspaper editorial saying: “The judgment of history will, we fear, be that he did more than any Englishman of his time to lower the reputation and to impair the strength and compromise the future of the Empire.”

However in modern Britain it is less acceptable to the government to be critical of Cecil Rhodes  today than his contemporaries were during the height of British imperialism and colonialism. It is a very short step from categorising those who “vilify Britain” as dangerous extremists to ruling that those of us who seek independence from Westminster rule for Scotland and Wales are dangerous anti-English extremists.

And let’s remember that we were told that Boris Johnson was a unique aberration and that once he was out of office calm, sensible and grown up government would be restored. But no, batshit insanity is the new normal. This level of authoritarian madness is here to stay. The nationalist extremists that we really need to worry about are those in the Conservative party.

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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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Attention seeking Truss

attention seeker

Anyone who has been paying even passing attention to the Scottish independence debate has known for some time that the only strategy that the Conservatives have in order to fend off independence is to ignore all demands for another referendum in the hope that this entire independence thing will just give up and go away. That’s it. That’s the strategy, that’s the ‘positive case for the union’. They have nothing else. However this creates an essential contradiction as it is balanced by the political imperative to maintain the traditional foundation stone of Scottish unionism that the United Kingdom is a voluntary partnership of nations and that the people of Scotland have the sovereign right to choose the form of government best suited to their needs and to end the union if they see that as being in Scotland’s best interests. This is what permits opponents of independence to scoff at any suggestion that Scotland is treated like a colony and to insist that Scottish democracy is fully respected within the UK.

Negotiating this contradiction requires that Conservative politicians must pay lip service to Scottish democracy in order to maintain the political viability of two mutually exclusive political positions. At the Conservative hustings in Devon last night, Truss with her attention seeking comments, aimed at playing to the gallery of an audience of Conservative party members who hold the key to the next stage of her advancement, the would-be Prime Minister blew this carefully maintained contrivance out of the water by insisting that the best thing to do about Nicola Sturgeon is to ignore her, and then doubled down when it was put to her that Nicola Sturgeon is the Scottish First Minister who commands a democratic mandate in the Scottish Parliament by dismissing the First Minister as an “attention seeker”.

Even former Scottish Conservative MSP Mary Scanlon was appalled by Truss’s comments, saying that as far as she was concerned Truss is completely finished because she had “crossed the line” explaining that even if you don’t respect an individual you have to respect the office they hold due to the operation of the democratic process. That is what Truss failed to do.

Before Truss began answering the question about a Scottish independence referendum, another audience member called out, “build a wall,” to laughter from the audience. The Tories accuse the SNP of “ripping” the UK apart, of “destroying” the Union of “separatism”. but it’s English Conservatives who call for a wall to be built. The hypocrisy is off the charts.

Being called an attention seeker is pretty rich coming from Liz Truss, who wasted over £500,000 of taxpayers’ money by chartering a private jet to take her to Australia in January on an official visit and spent more public money on a photographer to take a series of carefully staged photos to burnish her public image. With that one unguarded phrase she reduced the entire Scottish constitutional debate to the vanity project of a single individual and to make matters worse made it clear that the outcome of Holyrood elections mean nothing to the Westminster Conservatives. The cheering reception given by Devon Tories to Truss’s destruction of traditional Scottish Unionism means that she will double down on her comments in future hustings. All that matters is that what she says plays well with the middle class golf club bores and the Daily Mail reading angry old men of the Conservative party membership, it is irrelevant to Truss that it further undermines an already fragile so-called union. It is gob smackingly stupid for Truss to dismiss the leader of the party which has crushed the other parties – including Truss’s – in every Scottish election since 2014 as an “attention seeker”.

Whatever you think of Nicola Sturgeon she has more democratic legitimacy in her little finger than Truss possesses in her entirety. If as seems likely she does win this leadership contest it will be on the back of a few thousand Conservative party members in Scotland. For The potential future Prime Minister stating that she will ‘just ignore’ the First Minister of Scotland, a devolved nation within what they keep telling us is democratic partnership of nations, is absolutely terrifying and disgusting. We no longer need to worry that with Johnson no longer the Prime Minister the independence movement has lost one of its biggest assets.

This highlights the reason why this undemocratic farce is guaranteed to produce a winner who is unsuited to be Prime Minister. In order to win the Tory leadership contest the candidates have to say things and adopt positions that make it impossible for the eventual victor to be a successful Prime Minister.

Truss’s comment operated under the assumption that there’s this big horrible hateful divide between non-nationalist unionists and vile spittle flecked nationalists in Scotland . But the reality is that a lot of people in Scotland are on the fence, or simply don’t engage much with the constitutional issue. Things like this don’t help the anti-independence cause. I’d imagine that the number of those on the fence is somewhat smaller today. Even BBC Scotland, which normally assiduously avoids any issue which might boost support for independence, was forced to cover Truss’s insult to Scottish democracy. You know it’s bad when that happens, even though the Conservative state broadcaster desperately tried to limit the damage by suggesting on its Tuesday lunchtime news that only “independence supporters” were angered by Truss’s comments. By the evening the BBC had shifted to wondering if it was ever going to be possible for the Scottish and British Governments just to get along, in effect positing a moral equivalence between the ignored and the ignorant.

On Tuesday morning the Tories added fuel to the fire by sending out Jacob Rees-Mogg, who’s what you’d get if you mashed up Pinhead from the Hellraiser movies with a Bertie Wooster novel, to insist that his Conservative colleagues in Westminster would “hold Nicola Sturgeon to account”. Holding the Scottish Government to account is the job of the Scottish electorate, not a political party which has not won an election in Scotland since the 1950s, more than twenty years before Liz Truss was even born. It is now commonplace in Scottish political discourse that the principles of basic democracy need to be explained. That’s how low the Tories have gone.  Rees-Mogg repeated a series of clichéd tropes about Scottish people which are widespread in England, the First Minister is angry, always moaning, and in perpetual search of a grievance. If an SNP minister had made equivalent observations, the Conservatives would be screaming “racist!” to the rooftops.

An appreciation of tone and presentation are vital skills for a successful politician as is an understanding of how your comments will play with the wider public outwith your core support base. Truss has no understanding of this, she is blind to the bigger picture and is politically tone-deaf, a failing that she combines with a robotic delivery and a willingness to alter her position in order to appeal to whichever group she believes can advance her ambitions in the short term. She’s not even Prime Minister yet but has already been forced into a screeching U-turn after making up an insane policy to cut public sector pay outside London which went down like explosive diarrhoea the second it was exposed to an audience other than paid up members of the Tory party. Then of course she lied about it, claiming it had been misrepresented. Johnson may be gone but the Conservatives are very much in his image, giving us ill-considered right wing populist policies followed by lies and U-turns.

This is why Truss will become the next worst Prime Minister in living memory, and thankfully the last Conservative British Prime Minister that Scotland has to endure.

 

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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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Human rights and Tory wrongs

human rights

In an interview over the weekend, Rish! Sunak and his exclamation mark of ambition, tried to make up the ground in the “I’m a total Tory bastard stakes” that he was losing to Liz Truss, whose campaign is assisted by the fact that the only ideology she’s ever had is whatever is going to aid her advancement at any given moment. Bereft as she is of any notable talent or skills other than annexing the credit for other people’s work, Truss has ascended to her current position due to her willingness to do the bidding of whoever holds power, and not speaking out even when that power is wielded by someone as manifestly unfit for the office of Prime Minister as Boris Johnson, a corrupt serial liar who has open contempt for democracy. Truss is what happens when you put into high office one of those British nationalist social media trolls whose response to every outrage against democracy, common decency, the rule of law, or basic honesty of this Conservative Government is a snarky comment about the Arran ferry or Patrick Grady as though that negates the destruction of the few and fragile democratic safeguards afforded by what passes for the British constitution. It’s the politics of nyah nyah nyah.

At the Tory party hustings on Monday, Truss, with her personal mandate of less than 0.2% of the Scottish electorate said that she will not “allow” another independence referendum and branded the Scottish First Minister as an “attention seeker, ” adding, “The best thing to do with Nicola Sturgeon is ignore her.” That’s what the Tories have been doing to Scotland for years, hiding their heads in the sand and hoping their nightmare of Scottish independence will just go away. Just for Truss’s information, the number of days since the SNP last won an election in Scotland is 88, the number of days since the Conservatives last won an election in Scotland is 24,588. But yeah just ignore them Liz, how’s that working out for you?

Truss’s remark sums up why Scotland needs independence. Nicola Sturgeon is Scotland’s First Minister, she has a clear mandate for another independence referendum from the people of Scotland, but Truss thinks the best thing is to ignore all that. That same day Truss’s supporters amongst the Scottish Tories at Holyrood boasted that with Truss as PM, Scotland would be “at the centre of the UK”. Timing is everything in comedy.

This would be the same attention seeking Liz Truss who hired a photographer at taxpayers’ expense in order to build her own brand on a world tour. Truss charged the taxpayer £1,483 to hire a professional photographer for her tour of Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. The public purse also coughed up a further £1,190 for Truss’s “PR-related activities” on the trip. This produced a pic of Truss sitting with a union flag umbrella on a British made bicycle in the pouring rain in front of the Sydney Opera House. Truss also loves to pose for photos when she’s on the phone as though she’s on a terribly important call with a global leader. On Monday she posed in an England football strip with a football and an England flag. Truss’s entire career is an exercise in attention seeking.

Right now the most important ideology aiding the principle free void who is the Foreign Secretary is the one that says she’s not Rishi Sunak. Despite the fact that he was always a supporter of a hard Brexit, it’s Truss who has now become the darling of the batshit crazy Brextremist Anglo-British nationalist wing of the Conservative party, which these days is to say most of it. Truss is reportedly far ahead amongst Conservative party members, who blame Sunak for defenestrating Johnson, a view which Johnson himself is keen to foster. There is no greater victim on this planet than an entitled upper middle class English Conservative who has suffered the loss of his immense privilege. The way in which Johnson protects his grudges is inversely proportional to his lack of care for the truth. Johnson and his supporters are determined that Sunak will be punished for his lack of loyalty, which they have now decided is the most heinous crime possible, although they seemed to have a different view when it was them who were plotting to unseat Theresa May.

Truss is the favoured candidate of Johnson and the European Research Group and the rest of the extreme right of the Conservative party, in no small measure because they believe that Truss will be their puppet. The clear advantage enjoyed by Truss amongst Conservative party members has led one senior Tory after another to publicly back her campaign. Over the weekend she got the support of early favourites Ben Wallace and Tom Tugendhat, and on Monday evening Penny Mordaunt, one of the final three candidates, announced that she too was giving her backing to Liz Truss. A straw poll of Conservative party members in Devon on Monday on Channel 4 news failed to find a single person who preferred Rishi Sunak. Ballot papers started being delivered to party members this week, and habitually they are returned promptly so barring some unforeseen circumstance, it looks as though Truss will become Britain’s next worst Prime Minister ever.

Truss has never displayed any independence of thought or backbone throughout her political career, it would be surprising if she started now. Truss is also hampered by her lack of charisma and showmanship, qualities which a Prime Minister needs in order to be able to sell unpopular policies. Dominic Cummings believes that the real reason Johnson supports the woman Cummings calls the hand grenade for her propensity to leave a trail of destruction in her wake is because he thinks that Truss will be hopelessly out of her depth as Prime Minister, and will be unable to deal with a cost of living crisis which is only expected to worsen next year. Johnson is calculating that Truss will be so inept that the slide in Conservative party fortunes in the polls will become a rout, leading to panicking MPs deciding to get rid of Truss and giving Johnson the opportunity to make a triumphant return. This may or may not be true, but Johnson is certainly cynical enough to think along these lines.

Meanwhile for his part Sunak is trying to prove to Conservative party members that he too can be intolerantly right wing, although given that he was a leading figure in Johnson’s government for two and a half years, we already knew that. In an interview over the weekend Sunak said : “We clearly have a problem with human rights laws in this country which makes it difficult for us to achieve our objectives.” Sunak was talking about how the breaches of human rights caused by the government’s inhumane policy of sending refugees and asylum seekers on a one way trip to Rwanda had been blocked by the courts. The Conservative response to this is not to recognise that a cruel and despicable policy which breaches human rights is a policy that has to be abolished, or at the very least substantially changed, it is to seek to abolish the human rights laws that stand in their way.

If you have to abolish human rights in order to achieve your objectives, the problem does not lie with the human rights, it lies with your objectives, objectives which are by definition cruel and inhumane. This simple logic is however clearly beyond the modern Conservative party.

 

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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.

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 Tory chancers trashing the rule of law

The British Government has now pretty much abandoned any pretence that the rule of law counts for anything. At least that is, when the rule of law is supposed to apply to the British Government. They are still extremely keen on enforcing laws on everyone else in order to prevent them challenging Conservative diktats, such as their insistence that it doesn’t matter what the people of Scotland have voted for in a democratic election, youse cannae have yer referendum jocks, because IT’S THE LAW!

The front runner in the Conservative Grimoire of incantations for raising the demons of corrupt authoritarianism, Liz Truss, has said that if she becomes Prime Minister, as seems likely, she made it clear that she would not ‘allow’ another independence referendum, note the imperialist attitude there. Truss said : “The Scottish Independence Referendum Bill isn’t legal and it will be invalidated if passed by the Scottish Parliament, adding “Any Scotland independence referendum would need to be authorised by the Westminster Parliament. If I become prime minister, I would not grant that authority.”

The view of the Conservatives, aided and abetted by the Labour party and the Lib Dems is that Scotland had its democracy in 2014, and by voting No the people of Scotland surrendered in all perpetuity any right to hold the British state to account for the promises that were made to secure that No vote. IT’S THE LAW!

However this eagerness to insist on the legal niceties is not so much apparent when it comes to laws which might constrain the Tories indulging themselves in full-frontal bastardy of the sort that we have seen of late with the despicable Rwanda policy which breaks all international norms which ensure the decent and humane treatment of asylum seekers and refugees, or the British Government’s decision that international treaties which it itself negotiated and agreed to can be unilaterally torn up the second that they are no longer politically convenient.

Thankfully the legal genius Suella Braverman, who became a QC automatically after Johnson appointed her as the Attorney General, but didn’t actually earn the legal qualification by practicing as a barrister (in England) or advocate (in Scotland) for decades -unlike for example, the SNP’s Joanna Cherry – has come up with the perfect solution to the problem of government lawyers telling government ministers that their Daily Mail appeasing policies are illegal. Braverman has just ordered government lawyers to stop telling members of the government that their plans break the law. Instead lawyers are to give the government their best guess as to how likely it is that a court would overturn a government policy. Suella Braverman feels that if a policy is likely to be unlawful, but she believes there is just a 30% chance a judge could find it lawful, the government should go for it anyway. The new legal policy of this government of shysters is literally to break the law and just hope that a sympathetic judge will still find in the government’s favour.

Suella Braverman sums up the Johnson regime. The worst Prime Minister in history appointed the worst Attorney General in history. Neither has any respect for the law and both of them view the law as a tool to beat their opponents into submission but something which can be ignored, side lined, or circumvented if it threatens them or their interests.

We now, quite literally, not metaphorically or figuratively, literally, have a government of chancers. Let that sink in. Although it probably won’t sink in with much of the Scottish public as the overwhelmingly anti-independence media is far to busy banging on about ferries or the misbehaviour of a councillor to concern itself with the existential threat posed to democracy, decency, and the rule of law throughout the entire UK by the Conservative party. And that, dear readers, is the very definition of parochial.

Not that the UK media is much better, over the past couple of days we’ve had wall to wall coverage of sporting events, more sporting events, the spat over inane trivialities between two attention seeking women whose sole claim to celebrity is that they are married to men whose sole claim to notability is that they are very good at kicking a ball about on an expensively manicured lawn. But the BBC is virtually ignoring Braverman’s attempts to override the rule of law, the private and off the record meetings between an allegedly drunk Boris Johnson and a Russian oligarch with links to the Kremlin, the continuing shitshow that is Brexit, and Johnson’s plans to stuff the House of Lords with pals and cronies who can be counted on to do his bidding. This is what holding power to account looks like in Britain in 2022.

When the history books of the future are written it will be noted that one of the reasons that the UK slid into corrupt authoritarianism was because those who should have been sounding the alarm about the unacceptable behaviour of our political overlords were far too busy with games, sports, and gossip about inconsequential so called celebrities. The UK is a society which has given up on the bread, we just get a wall to wall circus of the absurd.

If ever you wondered how ordinary people with functioning consciences and an understanding of the difference between right and wrong could stand by and watch while 1930s Germany descended into fascism, well now you know. They had a media that was force feeding them sporting matches, nationalist monarchist pageantry, and whatever the equivalent of the Wagatha Christie trial was. That said, there is an important difference between the Conservative party and actual fascists. Actual fascists could make the trains run on time.

In an interview published on Sunday in The National, the actor Brian Cox, who was a prominent advocate for a Yes vote in 2014, said that independence is now more important than it was in 2014 because this Tory government is ‘futility ridden’ The overwhelmingly male pale and stale membership of the Conservative party will choose the winner of an I’m more right wing than you are contest as the next worst Prime Minister that Britain has ever had, a winner who will insist that Scotland has no choice but to suck up whatever indignities or insults to democracy and decency that the Conservatives decide to inflict on us.

Well they’re wrong. One way or another Scotland is going to have its say, whether that’s an actual referendum or a de facto referendum at the next UK General Election. The Tories can either belatedly demonstrate that they respect democracy or they’ll be swept away by the tide of history.

I have been gathering information to contest the ridiculous PIP decision of the DWP. I have got a supporting letter from my physiotherapist, I’ve asked my occupational therapist for a letter too (she is on holiday this week) and I am seeing my GP on Wednesday to ask for his support too. I’ve also got a copy of the official report ruling me medically unfit to drive.

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