A two-way street

A guest post by Samuel Miller

Respect (Noun)

1. a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements. 2. due regard for the feelings, wishes, or rights of others. 3. a particular aspect, point, or detail.

Lot of talk of respect doing the rounds in 2018. Seems the powers that be may have caught on to the idea that the United Kingdom is anything but united these days. Who knew?

Talk of respectful debate, respecting democratic will, respecting results, respecting agreements and so forth. Especially from politicians and mainly those who don’t seemingly respect anyone or anything very much themselves. We’ve all seen the state of the Commons debates by this point, yes? The braying, howling, arrogant and condescending pie fight at the heart of our system of central government. So, yeah. Respectful. It appears, to any casual observer, yer actual politicians have suddenly developed a social conscience. (Now don’t laugh. They’re trying to be all sincere)

Apparently even the Queen managed a reference in her annual Crimbo day commentary t’boot – “Even with the most deeply held differences, treating the other person with respect and as a fellow human being is always a good first step towards greater understanding,”

Which is nice and all very laudable of course. If however, you voted YES in the first indyref, or remain in the EU referendum? You’re probably not feeling a great deal of reciprocity on the whole respect agenda thingy. In fact you’re probably feeling ignored, intimidated, insulted and downright infuriated. You feel helpless and powerless. You feel very much cheated and almost certainly… disrespected.

And now? Now it seems those who created your misery are looking for your respect, your tolerance and your understanding. It’s a pure mystery so it is. Oh, whilst of course still intimidating and insulting you on a daily basis because… reasons.

It also kinda helps, on a personal and communal level, if it truly is a reciprocal arrangement. Certainly if you want people to live and work together with any degree of harmony or unity. Just a wee pointer for the odd policy gonk who happens by.

But is it really respect and tolerance they desire, or silent compliance and blind acceptance? Remainers (remoaners), supporters of Scottish independence (vile cybernats/tainted/separatists etc.), the Scottish government (generally Essenpee bad), the EU (furren bullies), immigrants (also furren and don’t go there) and all other agencies that aren’t behind the binary choice omnishambles of Westminster politics and its cheerleaders, aren’t exactly unfamiliar with the respect agenda meted out by the political class and their chooms in the media.

The bods suddenly asking for all this lurve and cuddliness would be the same political class who have made a mockery of the electoral process. Who sit in a house that is renowned for its venal practices and rampant party and inter-party backstabbery by the by. What they do for a living is commonly referred to as a dirty game. Some of the more cynical readers might say there’s a reason for that. So far as many people are concerned, currently it’s the place where the ‘art of the possible’ and the art of persuasion by debate has gone terribly wrong in the worst way imaginable. Its inhabitants and adherents support a system of patronage and politics that has arguably legislated against the welfare of its own population fer Gawd’s sake. They’ve more than also arguably made the UK ‘a global joke’ and now they apparently need your help to provide that joke with a punchline. They require a societal unity they’ve spent decades undermining in search of the voter demographic du jour. You can see where some folk would regard that as feeling very much like adding insult to injury.

Y’see, most people don’t have a problem with respecting and tolerating another point of view. They don’t have a problem seeing another human being for who they are and what they represent. They just want to get along with others and toddle through their lives with the least amount of grief possible. How and ever, should they be expected to sit on their hands in perpetuity while others with less respect or tolerance dump all over them from a great height?

Mibbies they practitioners of the dirty game should have thought about that whole respect thing BEFORE they set about using their narratives to fracture society and alienate demographics. Before using the media and their interpretation of the art of the persuasion to determine who was a fit and proper human being (voter).

Might be they should have thought about a lot of things and a LOT sooner than the fag end of 2018 and a looming conclusion to the Brexit process.

No. It seems to me that the greatest source for problems over respecting the views of another, showing tolerance and understanding, come from the top down. From those who should have been an example and set a tone, but who use intolerance and disrespect as a tool to gather political and corporate advantage.

Thing about the ‘R’  and ‘T’ words though? Many aspects of respect and tolerance are earned. They’re not an automatic due. More importantly? They have to mean something to those involved. There has to be trust. It can take a long time to earn either and a heartbeat to lose both.

It’s a sad irony that those who are perceived to foment intolerance and disrespect, require the exact opposite of those very qualities in others in order to thrive themselves. It also might be said that this time they’ve pushed their demands for the good will of those others too far. That their own insensitive and callous actions over many years have worn down the respect, tolerance and trust of too many who were supposedly in their care.

Anyone out there feel that either the Conservative government or their honourable opposition have put the work in? Are they even remotely capable of walking the walk down that two-way street?

I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if we found out the answers to those questions in 2019.

 

Our host is currently taking a well deserved leave of absence to be with his husband at this time of year. Normal banter should be resumed after all the festivities have concluded. I would like to take this opportunity to wish all readers, both regular and new, ALL the very best for a grand new year when it comes. Hopefully, 2019 will see more than a few Christmas wishes granted. 😉 (winky thing)

Twas the night before

A guest post by Samuel Miller

Righto. I’ve got the same artisanal baps on order that we had last year and Mrs M. will be making what is probably the world’s most potent (lethal) brandy butter to hide the taste of the shops own Crimbo pud. The turkey (small budgie) is being artfully prepared to resemble something larger and more impressive with the use of multiple packets of supasave stuffing and an airpump, so this WILL be quick. Also? There’s an exceptional bottle of Astifallindoonjuice with my name on it and nothing, but NOTHING, will get between me and my fav butt crease on the couch for the next week and a half.

Let’s keep this short and to the point for the sake of the Crimbo season and peace on earth.

Stupidgate aside, the sum total of the end of year business in Westminster was the alienation and disenfranchisement of a massive demographic within the UK. Oh, and we discovered that Ohhhhhh Jeremy Corbyn isn’t really capable of walking on water after all. In fact, his feet are well and truly rooted in clay. As for Mr McDonnell’s declaration that he could see Labour ‘working together’ with the DUP? Well? Not entirely unexpected really tbf. Seemingly Labour would deal with anyone in Westminster but the SNP, so long as it suited their political agenda of course. Or is there some other conclusion we’re all missing here?

This currently, is what Westminster parliament is reduced to. (No, I can’t quite believe it either.) The populations of these islands are hanging off a cliff edge and the two (supposedly) most senior placed politicians in the land are having a playground spat and the media (our watchdogs) are absent without leave (with only an odd very rare exception).

The explanation for the past two weeks of self harm? Labour apparently were, and until we’re all otherwise notified, waiting for the exact right moment to pounce. Their version of ‘Now is not the time’ kinda thing.

We’re literally a hop and skip away from what looks increasingly like a ‘no deal’ Brexit, thanks to their actions (some might say inaction), and Labour’s explanation is that it’s all been a cunning plan. Uh huh!

It couldn’t possibly be that as the official party of opposition in what is essentially a binary system of politics and for all the period since June 2016, they’ve remained as riven and confused as the Tories. The same ideological divisions, yet with less of a sense of purpose, direction, or identity than their chooms across the chamber. Their leader? Some would say he has some explaining to do to his membership around now. Regardless, Labour won’t be rescuing anyone from any kind of Brexit and the events of the past fortnight should make that abundantly clear by this point.

The only real opposition to the UK government and the Brexit narrative has come from the third party of parliament on down over this period and that should shame that chamber and the population it supposedly represents. A party by the by, that none of the above even want to see there (OH, the irony!), mainly because it upsets their hegemony and damages their calm. Can’t have northern oiks who don’t know their place lecturing folk on democracy, representation, or on how to govern the plebs. (tsk)

Basically around half the populations of these islands have no voice, no representation and no rights as things stand between UK gov and their honourable (?) opposition. How do either of those parties fondly think that’s going to play out in the future? Hmmm? When you alienate and disenfranchise half your population, do you think they’ll just shrug, forgive and forget what’s been denied them or is being done to them?

UK politics isn’t merely broken at this point. It’s seismically fractured. The populations of these islands are facing constitutional crisis, economic crisis, societal breakdown and political chaos. All of which has been brought about mainly by Conservative and Labour’s practice of politics. The outcomes of those biblically ignorant and arrogant practices almost inevitable some might say.

And those two (HM’s government and its official opposition), are STILL mucking about with party politics as if sitting in a big chair matters a damn.

At this time of year especially, you’d think that putting childish games aside for the good of ALL of those in your care might have been an idea? Apparently not. The duty of any government, any leader, isn’t a serving suggestion. Your job is the care of ALL of your population without fear or favour. When you ignore near half of that population? You shame your government, your parliament, your democracy and yourself.

Probably something to keep in mind when folks question Scotland’s First Minister and her stance around a people’s vote and supporting a representative voice for all peoples in the UK. Something that’s become popular in threads these days (shrugs). Might be that political maneuvering is in there somewhere.

It might also be that it’s about someone simply doing the right thing by their office and a very human service to ALL those in their care. Worth a thought.

 

Our host is currently taking a well deserved leave of absence to be with his husband at this time of year. I would like to take this opportunity to wish all readers, both regular and new, ALL the very best of the festive season and a grand new year when it comes. Hopefully, 2019 will see more than a few Christmas wishes granted. 😉 (winky thing)

Also? It’s a big ask at the moment for all the obvious reasons, but anything you can spare for local food banks, clothing charities where you are? Pretty certain that’ll be more than appreciated.

Stronger than fear (part 2)

A guest post by Samuel Miller

Yes. The UK is a pretty dark and forbidding looking place just now. And yes, there has been a marked rise in intolerance, societal division, austerity, isolationism and wealth disparity. Seems whichever way you look there’s anger, fear and uncertainty on the rise. As for the government where the buck stops? Probably the most reactionary, inept and dogma driven Conservative government of anyone’s memory. A party and government that has driven a horse and cart through standing international agreements, devolution settlements, partnerships and alliances by the by. A party and government whose name has become a byword for backstabbery and division. What else can you say that hasn’t been said of them already?

Their honourable opposition? Neither honourable nor very big on the whole opposing thing apparently. Their own recent history in both government and opposition, hasn’t exactly entitled them to any moral high ground. Besides, they’re far too busy these days abstaining needlessly, or having a bit of a disagreement among themselves, to act as any kind of break to yer breaks off Tories. In a certain light, you’d be forgiven for thinking that you couldn’t slip a fag paper between them and their chooms across the floor anyway. And don’t get me started on the state of the mainstream media. Our heroes. Our watchdogs. Absent without leave for quite some time is probably the kindest description possible.

So yes. Things do look pretty dark.

Hope IS stronger than fear though you know. And it’s why Scotland will, hopefully someday soon, become fully self governing again. Not too much is needed mind. Just a spark. It’s all it ever takes. A spark of hope that drives a determination and ambition to change and become something better.

Today? Next year? Ten years? I have no idea when to be honest, though I do know when I’d like it to be. I’m not a seer. I’m not some lettered or well read professor type. I don’t have access to think tanks with cadres of number crunchers and pollsters at my beck and call. I’m not even a writer. I’m just a bod with an opinion and a bit of life experience. Same as every one of you out there really. Oh, that personal opinion thing? That’s quite important as it turns out and we’ll get to that in a minute.

What I do know? Is that it will happen. The process has already begun and it began with the first person willing to believe there was a better way. It’s also going to happen because, if the concept of an independent Scotland didn’t already exist? Someone would have to invent it. Someone would have to invent the concept of a country and a system of government that answers to its population. One that’s directed by their needs, their hurts and their aspirations.

A government and practice of politics that doesn’t punish its population for the legislative mistakes they’ve made themselves. One that doesn’t scapegoat, divide or demonise its population to suit political agenda or self interest. A government that offers service, care, belief in the potential of its entire population. One that doesn’t care about where you come from, only where you choose to be, what you do whilst you’re there and the legacy you leave behind for future generations. Happily we don’t need to invent that concept. We have it here already.

Pie in the sky? An impossible utopia? Some folk would say that if you’re not trying for that, then you shouldn’t be in the job. Also? I like pies (which explains the shape) and whilst I’ve never been to utopia, it sounds awfy nice.

Which takes us neatly back to the subject of you.

Most people think that great events and movements in history are brought about by and are certainly remembered for, the big names. Individuals. Great statesmen and women, leaders, orators, philosophers and such. They tend to take all the credit for pivotal times of change. Which is, y’know, fair comment I suppose. Also tends to lend itself to the whole idea that people should wait around for someone ‘great’ to come along and rescue them from their misery right enough.

Seems to me though, that it’s the ordinary person who makes history happen. Or rather, the ordinary people. That’s folk like you and me mainly. It’s our needs and aspirations, our collective actions and will, which bring about change. Kinda why those and such as those decided a long time ago, that it’s better to direct the mood and the opinion of the ‘ordinary’ person in the street. For if there’s one thing which terrifies establishment politicians and the establishment they serve? It’s that you might have an opinion and a will of your own. That you have needs other than their needs. Standards of care for your fellow citizens better than theirs and a very definite idea of how service to ALL the population should be conducted.

They’re more than fully aware that if enough of those ordinary people (that’s us again) get together and determine their politicians are talking pish, getting out of hand and robbing them blind? There isn’t a thing they could do to prevent that population showing them the door and that would simply never do. Leading us by the nose and/or dividing and subdividing the collective will of a population is something they’ve become awfully good at over the years as a result. Understandable really, why the parties in favour of the Westminster system have become a tad on the nervous side of late.

You know the difference between caring and uncaring. You know the difference between service and self interest. You’ve learned that your opinion on their stewardship matters. You’ve learned you can hold your representatives to account for their actions. You’ve learned that you have the ambition and determination to change things for the better if you want to.

Ordinary people, doing extraordinary things.

All it took to kick the whole thing off? Was that spark of hope.

 

P.S. This will be my last post before our host returns. Once again, I’d like to thank readers for bearing with my ramblings over the past few weeks and for your contributions below the line. You’re the bestest. 🙂

Buttons up the back

A guest post by Samuel Miller

It’s a safe bet that the next few days are going to be eaten up with dissection of the latest austerity ending budget. Now stop snorting at the back. And we’ll have no swerry wurds either. It’s not seemly you know.

Anyroads. You can get behind the whole budget parade every few months, kick back and let the number crunchers do their thing. Makes for quite the spectacle as, (dependent on the political affiliation), the meeja goes into overdrive to either spin the bestest possible outcome ever, or fall over themselves to savage the chancellor du jour. Except…

Except that this year and this budget is a wee bit different. I mean, we know that he’s a Tory chancellor and that when his lips move, it’s a clear indication that he’s either fibbing or not telling you when the other shoe will drop. Hell, that’s a given. No. This year we have a budget with a caveat. A budget that may or may not be carried through, (steady now), dependent on circumstance.

That’s got to be right up there with the appointment of a food supplies minister and cordoning off chunks of Kent to make a zooper lorry park, now isn’t it? The general idea is that a no deal Brexit could see today’s budget proposals binned in favour of …what?

”We would need to look at a different strategy and, frankly, we’d need to have a new budget that set out a different strategy for the future.” Philip Hammond

One pound down, change off address kinda strategy springs to mind personally. So a new budget and a new strategy? Uh huh! And only a no deal budget could make this happen? Sounds an awfy lot like a sticking plaster proposal t’me, but then I would think that. Now, there’s all sorts of reasons for this caveat thingy I’m sure. It’s just that none of them paint a very pretty picture. Readers can and will draw their own conclusions as to Mr Hammond’s thinking here.

Mibbies just me, but I’d say there’s quite a lot that a Brexit of any kind will have massive and detrimental economic effects upon. Mr Hammond’s pre budget statements aren’t exactly the most inspiring or confidence affirming if truth be told. Be interesting to see, over the next few days, what the breakdown of Mr Hammond’s budget amounts to. What we do know is that given the well documented current contraction of the economy, near historic wage stagnation and growing wealth disparity in the UK, ENDING AUSTERITY for major demographics is probably NOT going to happen any time soon.

Clearly most politicians believe, and/or hope, that your average punter’s head buttons up the back. It is, after all, how they make a living. They count on marketing, mass media saturation and manipulation to sell their product via a headline or a soundbite. Mainly because they, themselves, are pretty rubbish at selling their own flammery face to face (see under Theresa May in any interview ever). This time however, I don’t think it’s going to be quite so easy. Not entirely sure that many folk will be of a mind to simply believe because… reasons.

This time even those pro Conservative outlets in the meeja may have their work cut out for them.

Exactly what it says on the tin

A guest post by Samuel Miller

This isn’t going to end well you know. Brexit that is. I mean. We are aware that there never was an exit strategy. A plan for removing the UK from the EU. Right? That everything done (or not done) in the past two years has been on the hoof?

So far as anyone can see, politics in the UK is currently in a state of complete chaos. Not threatening to become. Not descending into. But actually there. The two major parties which effectively form the traditional binary choice of the UK’s population for the big chair of government? Both are hopelessly divided on policies, agendas, futures and ideologies. Each party sunk in a swamp of leadership backstabbery and each leadership hopelessly trying to convince their parliamentary memberships, their wider party memberships and their voter base that:

a. They represent something to everyone within those groups

b. That they have a successful vision for the UK going forward through this galactofeck

c. That their respective visions are anywhere near credible or achievable

d. That they’re capable of uniting all of society around their respective leadership and getting said populations out of the shitstorm that they themselves brought about

In order? They don’t. They don’t. They aren’t and they can’t.

To say that both parties don’t have their troubles to seek on infighting, ideological division and delivery is another one of them understatement thingies. Each leadership hasn’t a hope in hell of delivering what their respective parties, memberships and support desire most.

Brexit has exposed the real divisions and issues which lie at the very core of UK politics and wider society. The traditional practice of socially divisive politics and manipulation of popular narrative has ensured that the sixty six million people inhabiting these islands don’t exactly sing from the same hymn sheet. (still shrugging) So, yes. A confusing and unpredictable mess at best. Given that this is probably one of the most critical and pivotal points in recent history to the populations on these islands? The political behemoths of the UK state are effectively holding a chimps’ tea party.

Who knew(?) that decades exercising short-termist dog whistle politics would have long term seismic ramifications.  What happens when the leaderships don’t/won’t/can’t deliver what their memberships, or the wider populations, want, need or even expect through this crisis period? I’m guessing the response will be loud, messy and all over the place. In my experience, most folk don’t appreciate being misled for decades. Makes them grumpy. Just so you know.

Back to the issue on hand though. Widely held opinion (and I’d include mine here) is that UK gov’s initiation of the EU ref and their subsequent handling of both phases of the negotiating period with the EU, have been and continue to be, inept, ignorant, disingenuous and ultimately disastrous. (That’s me being polite by the by)

Let me be crystal clear on what I think Brexit means here. There is no good Brexit. Deal or no deal. This IS going to hurt. A LOT! Budgets are going to contract radically and people are going to do without. If you thought the past ten years of austerity legislation were pretty dire? Then you’re about to discover whole new definitions of the word.

The cost of brexit to date, (that’s just the last two years negotiating period), has been in the region of £23bn per annum.  A 2.1% contraction of the economy, or about £900 per household to you and me. Worth repeating. This is just the negotiating period.

Currently we’re staring at either a blind Brexit deal or a no deal scenario. Just what do you think either of those will do to national budgets and home finances over the coming years readers? Y’know, given the veritable fiesta that’s been the past decade of austerity legislation.

Well? Let’s have a look at what some other folk think of a range of Brexit scenarios. And no, you really don’t have to be an expert in macro economics to understand that the outlook doesn’t look particularly shiny.

HERE and HERE and HERE aaaand HERE.

To be fair, you could fill digital pages with links and opinion like that and a LOT worse. Long story short? Less to go round, really does mean exactly what it says on the tin. This is going to hit everything and everyone for years to come. When the money is gone. It’s gone. And it WILL, under any of the linked scenarios, be some time before it returns.

So. Some simple questions. Do you think Scotland’s devolved government have the powers and the budget control necessary to mitigate (ooooh, my favourite f***ing word) any of that? I mean, they’re going to try. Mainly because that’s who they are and what they do. But do you think any devolved Scottish government could mitigate this kind of economic damage?

Could you, for instance, see Ruth Davidson, whose heid office party brought this shit show to our door, even trying? Do you think the people who drove this epic bout of idiocy even care about collateral damage to the populations of these islands? The agreements they’ve endangered? The settlements they’ve ridden roughshod over? The people they’ve put in harms way for their own self interest?

In Scotland, we may soon have the opportunity to limit the damage of this biblical bout of political self harm through the simple application of pen to ballot paper. An action which would fully empower a Scottish government and provide them with the necessary tools to deflect most of the oncoming hardship threatening our population, our economy and our politics. We can have that option if we really want it. We can then begin the process of repairing the damage already done. We can begin to build something that puts care of and service to, the people back into a government we get to choose and a practice of politics we get to define. Something worth passing on to future generations. Something better than mountainous debt, a democratic deficit, social inequality, party tribalism and a lack of hope or personal investment.

Or we could pass on that opportunity and continue to allow others to make our decisions for us. They’ve clearly done such a bang up job to date.

It’s up to you.

When words fail

A guest post by Samuel Miller

Y’know, you read appalling stuff about yer political class every day. Brexit shambles, leadership backstabbery, cash for access scandals, election campaign under investigation because reasons sorta thing. The levels of hypocrisy, cynical abuse of power and public manipulation can leave you speechless. For instance, I read a typically clinical dissection by Wings Over Scotland on the current equal pay dispute going on in Glasgow. Well worth the effort to go read. I can predict a very high probability of a ‘words fail’ moment.

If you’re a supporter of self determination for Scotland, then you’re probably no stranger to the notion that the political class of the establishment are a bit on the hypocritical side. You’d also be understandably forgiven for being of the opinion that, at best, those establishment political types should be considered disingenuous opportunists. At worst?

I mean, it’s not as if we haven’t been round this track before. Ruth Davidson especially has a penchant for …. changing definitions. Or is it really necessary to remind everyone that Scotland’s Conservative branch supervisor’s definition of democratic mandate seems to have somewhat altered since 2011?

To be fair, you don’t have to look very far in Scottish or UK politics for examples of hypocrisy. The history of UK politics is rife with the stank. It seems to rear its head every other week. Kezia Dugdale on some form of second EU referendum for instance? That’s reportedly a yes. A positive thing, showing a respect for democracy apparently. On a second pure divisive Indyref? Well, that’d be a not so much. Not entirely sure what the difference is, but I’m sure an explanation will be along any day now. Same can be said for the Libdem’s Willie Wossiname. At this point your more cynical reader might think that circumstances only ever change in other countries and democracy is only ever allowed to be an evolving thing so long as you’re not Scotland. That reader may have a point. (Also? If I keep shrugging, I’ll do myself an injury). Willie also has a thing for moral rectitude and resignations. Except of course when it’s a Liberal Democrat. Which you’d think is neither a very liberal or democratic stance to take really, but there you go. (Shrugs. OWWW!)

Then we get back to what might be an ‘at worst’ scenario.

It’s a sad condition of politics as it is practised really. UK style being no better and no worse than many around the globe. The accepted practice, (accepted mainly by politicians), of ‘all’s fair in love and politics’. Aye, seemingly it’s acceptable for the public to be misled, manipulated, cajoled, insulted or even downright intimidated. You would think, as a VERY long suffering public, we’d get used to that and the above examples of hypocrisy by now. That if we held a given individual, an institution, or a party in low esteem, then that opinion couldn’t get any lower. It’s entirely possible you’d be wrong.

Readers can draw their own conclusions on what ‘at worst’ means when it comes to their thoughts on the political class and political practice.

Personally? I don’t think I have the words these days.

 

A better way

A guest post by Samuel Miller

Been quite the autumn so far. Seems everything is going off all at once and it’s coming at you from every direction. That can be frightening. And to be fair, it is. The politics of intolerance, exclusion and isolation seems to be rearing its ugly kisser whichever part of the globe you look at and the UK is no exception. Brexit is proving to be every bit as shambolic and catastrophic as many feared it would be. UK politics has rarely been so chaotic, inept or disorganised, as it is now. It’s shortcomings and the skittery things which hide in its dark corners have never been so exposed to the light either and that’s going to leave a mark on everyone.

Elements of society driven to hate at the drop of a hat. People being led to believe that such politics, such attitudes, would solve all their problems. As ever, egged on by those who don’t really give a shit about the demographics they encourage to these acts. Their priorities are probably a bit different. Their greed. Their ideology. Their indifference to others. It’s going to leave raw wounds on anyone who’s been on the receiving end. So yes. Scary.

A little over four years ago, the YES movement suffered what felt like the world crumbling and falling away from beneath your feet. If you didn’t live it, then there is no describing how that felt. Such a seismic occurrence should have and would have put most individuals and movements beyond recovery. Having your world view, your values and beliefs suffer that kind of assault can do that. Certainly many who supported the Better Together campaign hoped so and I’d be stunned if those who orchestrated that campaign didn’t share those hopes.

That’s not what happened though. You determined to rebuild that world one stone at a time. Simply a blind refusal to accept? Some would say so I’m sure and I’m sure there’s even an element of truth to their claims. Sometimes a blind and stubborn refusal to bow down before what you believe to be wrong can be a good thing. (For policy gonks’ future reference? It really does matter how you win a thing and it really does matter how you conduct yourself in the aftermath. Just sayin’.) 

What you did in the aftermath of that 2014 result took courage. I choose to believe you began that process because you knew it needed to be done. That there IS a better way and that we need to be working toward it for all our sakes. I choose to believe you knew there was a very bad day coming and that giving up, or fading away, was NOT an option.

After four years of appalling treatment and misrepresentation at the hands of elements within the mainstream media. After four years of indifference, ignorance and arrogance doled out by Westminster government and political practice. You didn’t stop. You didn’t get back in your box. You’re still here and… you’ve grown.

It makes what you continue to do and what you’ve done, all the more impressive really, and all the more important. You’ve organised and marched. You’ve argued, debated, mocked and persuaded in equal measure.

Something I wrote at the end of last year. Something I believe to be fairly important.

“I’d say it’s not simply winning it which matters, but how you win it. The foundations for the society you want must be solid. The establishment parties and their practice of politics really should be a heads up as to the shit storm you build up over time when winning by any means necessary. When you divide and rule. When you win without care or consideration for others.

Seems to me that Brexit, austerity, fractured society, political elitism, bigotry, intolerance, exceptionalism and isolationism might be seen as reason enough NOT to repeat their mistakes? You govern for ALL in your care, or maybe you shouldn’t be governing? Just a thought.

What we see in the UK today is a direct result of the politics of societal division. Me? I’m more of a hugger. I’ll hold my hand out and welcome folk from any point of origin or walk of life who want to work for a more socially just Scotland.

In the season of good will and given all that 2018 may bring our electorate, it’s maybe worth remembering that a little good will and understanding can go a long way.”

Well? 2018 hasn’t disappointed so far. It’s delivering exactly the kind of political, economic and societal upheaval no one should wish for, but many feared would happen. The politics of poverty or slash and burn economics, hatred, misplaced anger, alienation don’t solve problems. They create them.

Most people learn fairly quickly when someone’s actions intend harm. When someone has misrepresented their intentions or lied to you, that would kinda stand out too. It’s about acquiring experience I suppose. It’s really not rocket science and it’s happened to ALL of us.

I’m guessing more folk by the day are becoming very clear on what it means to have placed their trust in Westminster’s system and practice of politics. Personally, I don’t think folk can take much more of the kind of care and management style they dole out.

Probably also worth mentioning something else you’ve achieved at this point. The journey from NO to YES isn’t nearly so scary these days. You helped do that. You made sure that when things are looking a bit on the dark and scary side? There was someone out there who would hold out that hand. You made sure there was still something to hope for. It doesn’t take much if truth be told. Just a little care and understanding can work wonders you know.

Now more than ever, the hand and welcome offered needs to be genuine and it needs to be heard.