Carrot and stick, but mainly stick!

A guest post by Samuel Miller

It was inevitable really (sigh).

Last week, as we are all well aware, UK government had a near biblical meltdown. Politics UK style and government were, by any standard, reduced to a near *shambolic mess. (*Way too big a list to go through folks, so just see the previous post)

As I was saying, what came next was entirely predictable and inevitable. That being, Scotland’s regular reminder of how vital and cherished blah, blah. Internal market, waffle. SNP baddery, boo hiss. Released, of course, side by side with examples of how uniquely unsuited we are for, and how completely maahhhhd we’d have to be to consider, self government. Obviously! Mind you, I’m not entirely sure your average policy wonk or supporter of political orthodoxy has yet grasped the true meaning of union or unity in that lot. Which is…

UNITY: NOUN: oneness, being one or single or individual; due interconnection of parts; harmony between persons etc; thing forming a complex whole;

Personally, I’m still not feeling that whole harmony between persons, parliaments or governments at the moment and seeing less and less evidence of oneness across the board by the day. Also, I’m fairly disinclined to feel said unity or oneness with any Tory’s definition of Britishness and/or government. Just sayin’.

No. What Scotland’s electorate got instead was a debate in parliament about ‘strengthening the union’. (see under – reminding the natives of better togetherness. Also? 2014 was the end of democracy and the changing of your mind… FOREVER!). Worth considering, but you’d have thought the Government of the United Kingdom, and those parties who are pro Westminster system, would have and should have, put more thought into that whole strengthening unions and partnership thing a while back? Y’know, BEFORE throwing the populations of these islands into the constitutional and economic mincer of austerity ideology and Brexit. Seems a bit thought-LESS actually. Maybe that’s just me though. (If you want a blow by blow of the debate? Go HERE)

The cherry on top came from Secretary of State for (something or other), David Mundell, speaking in Edinburgh:

Fair do’s. Mr Mundell did get this partially, (and I do mean partially), correct. A ‘no deal’ scenario being bad for Scotland really can safely be filed under who knew(?) though. In fact Brexit, in all of its scenarios, is a bad thing for Scotland. We know this because the impact assessments of both UK gov and Scotgov apparently agree on this point. However, the whole ‘preferable to breaking up the United Kingdom’ bit is most DEFINITELY arguable. Especially since it was the practice of politics, the parliament and government of the United Kingdom which, also arguably, placed the populations of the UK in this predicament in the first place. Or were they not really in charge of making these decisions? Big boy did it and ran away perhaps?

We also had a ‘think tank’, (see under – NOT exactly pro Scottish self government organisation), release a paper which conclusively proves that pro UK government supporters don’t think being a self governing, independent nation state is a good idea for Scotland. Unless it’s their idea of a United Kingdom independent nation state, in which case that’s a good idea. Different strokes I suppose. Worth mentioning though, that a lot of people paid attention to pro Westminster think tanks last indyref as I recall. How did that work out for Scotland’s population so far d’you think? At the end of the day, I’d say you pays your money and pick your think tank. I’ll pass on yet another doom laden black hole prophesy/economic cataclysm for Scotland thanks. Anyways, I’d say the horse has already actually kinda bolted on that one under the current UK government.

Finally we come to the bribe. Oh, and it’s a beaut. A UK spaceport to be based in Scotland no less. Unless of course we become independent and then it won’t happen at all. DAMN THAT INDEPENDENCE! Frankly, I’m struggling to see what the building of a spaceport has to do with the principle of Scotland’s population governing themselves? Again, maybe just me, but prioritising the kind of government we want. Prioritising the correct administration, the needs we wish to see attended to and the care we wish to see applied by that government might be considered fairly important.  Goes a long way to determining the teeny matter of the kind of country we want to live in. Also, I’d say those points are all a bit more pertinent to the debate than a sometime, (mibbies never), bribe.

The reality of Westminster government and the bestest union in the history of unions, appears to be somewhat different from mainstream political narrative though. Today the self same parliament, which yesterday discussed means of strengthening the union, is taking the Scottish parliament to the Supreme Court to determine who has the right to claim and exercise otherwise non reserved powers returning from the EU upon Brexit taking effect. Those would be your powers by the by. But still, it’s for our own good, partners and family of nations, leading with… etc. Not such a friendly family after all then?

You’d be forgiven by this point for holding the opinion that those defending their preciousss, preciousss, seemingly do so by intimidation, misrepresentation, belittling and abuse of power. Let’s face it, they do have the soapbox and they do have the access. Who is there to stop them from enacting such abuses?

Other than you perhaps?

In my own opinion, the parties of Westminster’s political class and their practice of politics are a byword for exclusion and alienation of demographics. Clearly they seem to believe only in a status quo which favours party or personal interest over duty of care. The UK’s evolving (cough) constitution? A serving suggestion open to interpretation and semantic amendment by turn and/or expedience. Long standing agreements and pledges apparently are for lesser mortals and a moveable feast for the UK’s government, (ask the devolved administrations or the EU about that).

On the basis of what most of us have seen and experienced over the past four years. Just why should those alienated by Tories, Labour or any other pro Westminster party, vote for their vision of government? Their idea of what they laughably call unity or identity? Why for instance, would any EU resident in the UK vote for continued Tory government after what they’ve witnessed in the past few weeks alone? A government that has betrayed their trust and even now is using their futures and their rights as a bargaining chip in a demented negotiation process.

Readers might also be forgiven at this point, for observing that there is little stability, safety, or hope for a socially just society to be found in a UK government of any stripe. There is however Brexit and a never ending austerity ideology. There are alarmingly increasing levels of societal, cultural, ethnic and religious alienation. There is an ever widening wealth gap. There are also increasing levels of poverty and the prospect of more yet to come. There is the very real threat of self imposed national and international isolation. That’s the reality of Westminster government today and I’m seeing no good reasons or argument to believe it will change going forward.

Seems to me in fact that there’s very little carrot on offer, but quite a lot of stick.

You can, as ever, make up your own mind on that folks. Just as you can, IF YOU WANT, change your mind on a past decision. Make a new, more informed by time and events type choice and maybe, just maybe, avoid a fair chunk of the unfolding omnishambles we see before us today.

Worth a thought.

Absent Without Leave

A guest post by Samuel Miller

Readers, I’m not entirely sure where to begin? We started the week with the fallout from the Chequers deal and some ministerial resignations. Then we had the EC’s ruling on the leave campaign’s alleged questionable shenanigans, cross party backstabbery over said Chequers deal and crucial Commons votes on the nature of Brexit UK (Now looking increasingly like a hard or no deal Brexit). A pairing scandal on those votes also reared its ugly head and the catastrophic failure of UK national government to keep its own house in order seemed to complete the picture. You’d think that’d be enough to be getting on with. Y’know, pretty much the collapse of politics in the UK’s big hoose.

The end of the week however? What can you say?

Then (Dec 2017) – conditions of Phase 1 agreement: Main points from agreement between UK and EU –  ” It leaves unclear how an open border will be achieved but says in the absence of a later agreement, the UK will ensure “full alignment” with the rules of the customs union and single market that uphold the Belfast Agreement.” (My bold)

Now (July 2018) – Phase 2: “The economic and constitutional dislocation of a formal ‘third country’ customs border within our own country is something I will never accept, and I believe no British prime minister could ever accept,” Theresa May

Now presumably UK gov are aware of the four freedoms. They did spend some forty odd years helping create EU legislation and voting in the EU parliament after all. Clearly they’re well aware of the EU’s stated position since the referendum result.

Something I wrote in August of last year: “From the EU’s perspective, they aren’t going anywhere. They didn’t force anyone to do anything and didn’t kick anyone out, but they do have rules (as does any club). So far as they are concerned, those rules help ensure and facilitate peace, trade, access and rights between all of its member states. The remaining twenty seven nations agree to live by those rules and enshrined at the core are the four freedoms. They break those rules to accommodate the UK’s wish list and what point the EU?”

So mibbies not a good idea to have signed up to the conditions of the phase one agreement if honouring it was going to prove… problematic? Just a thought.

Mind you historically your average Conservative parliamentarian isn’t all that big on honouring their word, which is ironic for a group of folk who never tire of referring to each other as right honourable members. (cough)

Aaaanyway. Yesterday’s predictable response by Michel Barnier to the white paper? “There are some elements [of the white paper] which do seem to contradict the guidelines of the EU council, the heads of government and state, namely the indivisibility of the four freedoms and the integrity of the single market,” 

Which is a pretty diplomatic and restrained way of saying ‘in your dreams’.

On Ms May’s statement? A cynical sort might suggest that Ms. May has apparently attempted to place blame for the endangerment of the Good Friday Agreement at the feet of the EU and partake in some maniacal political game of chicken. They might also suggest that Ms. May has thrown what’s left of the UK’s tattered political reputation onto a skip, poured petrol on the remains and then thrown a lit match onto the whole sorry mess.

Just to be clear. Any constitutional crisis which has arisen from the EU referendum’s result can surely be laid at only one door – the government of the United Kingdom. That would be your Conservative government. A government that was made fully aware of the endangerment of devolved settlements and standing national agreements before any ballot took place. They knew and apparently, they didn’t care. They were a bit busy sorting out their own party political pissing contest.

I mean, I think we’ve all seen some epically bad politics and political decisions over the years, but this from UKgov wins the prize. If people thought the beginning of the week was the culmination of two years of epic idiocy, then frankly I think we all need to start resetting our standards.

You know what is so depressing about all of this omnishambles? The predictability of the political spin and media coverage. The scapegoating and the insulting attempts to place blame at the feet of others. A government and party of government that refuses to accept responsibility for its own actions. A government that has taken nearly two years not to come up with a viable Brexit plan it should have had in place prior to an EU referendum. A referendum that arguably should never have taken place given standing national constitutional agreements, settlements and assurances. A government that then took time out to fight a leadership battle, two general elections and a court case in order to consolidate (badly) its own right to legislate without scrutiny. A government that was and is still, absent without leave on a voyage of self harm.

The general public? Confused, conflicted, concerned. Mushroom farmed*. (*Kept in the dark and fed on sh.. STUFF!)

This is maybe a good time to deliver your regular reminder that in Scotland you have a choice and a lifeboat. I’d say that’s worth some SERIOUS consideration about now.

 

A Q.E.D. moment

A guest post by Samuel Miller

It can seem, some days, that it’s a pretty grim old world out there for Scotland’s indy movement. An uncaring and intimidating central government dumping misery, general political chaos and legislation by diktat whenever the mood takes. See under EU omnishambles, devolution powers grab, universal credit scheme, bedroom tax, immigration policy… A REALLY big list! Mmmkay? (add your own pet theme). We also have a mainstream media of a fairly politically… assertive… nature, doling out pro UK/anti independence/anti Essenpee narrative on a near daily basis to be getting on with.

Mainly, (and as near as I can tell), ’cause them Essenpee and mad, cultist, indy cybernats are the evilest of the evil. What with their taking the pure pish out of esteemed colleagues and proper politicians like Ruth, Richard and thingy. Then there’s that marching and singing and laughing thing they do. FFS! They can’t even protest properly. There’s meant to be rage and general carnage in a proper protest. Shop windaes smashed, statues defaced and hunners o’ polis cars overturned. There should at least be water cannons involved somewhere. THAT’S HOW RUBBISH THEY ARE! Also? Just because.

Seriously though, this last few years has arguably seen one of the most sustained media/political assaults in post war UK politics that I can remember. And because the vast bulk of the media are so seemingly anti independence and SNP Scottish Government? It’s fair to say that pro indy views in the mainstream are somewhat of a rarity.

You can see where, over time, it may be difficult for people to accept that their political engagement has had any impact whatsoever. In short? If you are supportive of Scotland’s right to self determination, you can feel  pretty much as if you’re being kept in the dark and fed on….stuff. (We’ve covered this one previously) You begin to wonder if its all been worth it? If investing your efforts, your heart and your belief in a thing was a mistake after all these years. A general feeling of the mountain too big and the river too wide can begin to seep into your thoughts.

I think most readers will be familiar with some questions you’ll see recurring in many (BTL) comments sections: What good are we doing if we can’t reach people? How do we combat the blanket coverage of the mainstream media? With Westminster’s control of the narrative and all the resources it can bring to bear, how do we convince others that we have a case to answer? Good, honest questions to be fair.

Please take on board. This is NOT your fault, nor is it the fault of the current Scottish government. No. This piece of soiled cloth can be laid squarely at the feet of the media and Scotland’s media in particular. Their job is to inform, present both sides of an argument, investigate thoroughly and present evidence. Yes? No? If half of your nation’s electorate aren’t, (or do not feel), adequately represented, supported or informed by their media, then the lack of adequate representation is pretty much on that media and no one else. Their choice, which is fair enough I suppose. They have an ideological preference and the freedom to express same. What they cannot then complain about, is that others may have theirs and act accordingly.

Perhaps this snippet may help lift some of those dark thoughts and doubts. Some data released from the latest Scottish Social Attitudes Survey has caused a bit of a stir since last night. Aye, it seems there’s been a bit of a surge in support for an indy Scotland’s economy among other things. You’ll find a good commentary on Wings Over Scotland and it’s also featured in today’s National, both of which provide more detailed dissection.

If you check those articles out, you can see why both the meeja and the Westminster political class may have cause to break oot the antidepressants and camomile tea. You can also see why their ‘NO REFERENDUMS! EVER!’ rhetoric has been turned up to eleven over recent times.

There is no doubt however, that the swing is inexorably toward favouring independence. That there is a change coming. That confidence is growing in Scotland’s future governance being in the hands of those best placed to make decisions on the needs and aspirations of its population.

That’d be you mainly… Scotland’s population (cough).

Now this begs a question or two. Given that all of the above is reasonably accurate concerning Westminster’s political narrative and the meeja’s track record on all things indy to date. How did such fairly significant shifts in attitude occur in such a relatively short period? Fair to say that Westminster government’s own actions have had an impact and focussed a few concerns out there. Let’s face it, you’d have to be living in a cave in Cape Wrath to have avoided them. Also not much of a leap for many to conclude that this is probably the most shambolic, inept, isolationist and socially divisive government in living memory. Is that the whole story though?

Through all of the past four years, major elements within the UK media have still supported Westminster government and its narrative. In Scotland that narrative is often compounded with a distinctly pro union and anti indy narrative. So what has been the difference? What helps combat all of the influence of central government and mainstream media saturation?

Maybe just me, but in my opinion I’d say you and your continued engagement may have had something to do with it. You didn’t go back in your box. You helped grow and support your own media. You talked to family, friends, strangers in the street. You joined and supported pro indy parties and those who didn’t got involved any way they could. You gathered together in numbers and sang and laughed your way down high streets across the country. You did the job your mainstream media and political class would not or could not do.

You kept the opposing narrative alive and got it out there in any way you knew how. You helped bring people from no to yes and from no hope to the hope that we can be better than we are. You want to know what your continued engagement is doing? I’d say it’s changing attitudes where it matters.

I’d also say that should be considered quite the Q.E.D. moment.

No bad readers. No too bad at all.

 

This will be my last post before Paul gets back from his break. So as before, clean up the bottles and pizza boxes on your way out. Also? Many thanks for your company and comments. See you below the line and whatever you do, keep on talking.

The art of being in without being in

A guest post by Samuel Miller

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before (No, don’t!). Seems Labour doesn’t have its troubles to seek Brexitwise these days. It appears Mr Corbyn is making yet another attempt to square one of the biggest circles on his busy to do list by proposing an amendment to next week’s withdrawal bill votes. An amendment which is meant to pressure the government into ensuring access to the single market, but without yer actual full membership of any of its official bodies. (No swerry wurds people!)

“It shall be a negotiating objective of Her Majesty’s Government to ensure the United Kingdom has full access to the internal market of the European Union, underpinned by shared institutions and regulations, with no new impediments to trade and common rights, standards and protections as a minimum,”

Clearly an attempt to win over remain elements within his party, which is fair enough.

Just one teeny speed bump to consider however…

“We can’t possible imagine a situation in which we would accept cherry-picking. We are responsible for guaranteeing the integrity of the single market,”

“The UK knows what the rules are that underpin that integrity because they’ve been helping us put them together for the last 40 years.” Michel Barnier (Feb 2018)

and

“These three points were already made very clear by the European Council and European Parliament, but I am not sure whether they have been fully understood across the Channel,”.

“I have heard some people in the UK argue that one can leave the single market and build a customs union to achieve frictionless trade. That is not possible.

“The decision to leave the EU has consequences and I have to explain to citizens, businesses and civil society on both sides of the Channel what those consequences mean for them.

“These consequences are the direct result of the choice made by the UK, not by the EU. There is no punishment for Brexit and of course no spirit of revenge. But Brexit has a cost, also for business in the EU27, and businesses should assess with lucidity the negative consequences of the UK choice on trade and investment and prepare to manage that.”

“I have heard some people in the UK argue that one can leave the single market and keep all of its benefits. That is not possible.” Michel Barnier (July 2017)

Of course, if Mr Corbyn doesn’t want to accept the fairly unambiguous statements made by Michel Barnier? Then perhaps this observation by Martin Donnelly, former Permanent Secretary for the Department of International Trade may be of use?

“The single market is a coherent tapestry of economic and social regulation. Pulling out one strand is very hard to do without changing the whole picture. And so far the EU has been consistent in its commitment to keep the single market as it is, with a single set of rules for all.”

Setting aside ALL of that parliamentary amending, voting, abstaining and party political strategies waffle for a moment. Three things kinda stand out for even the mildly politically engaged person. 1. The jist of the amendment would tend to suggest that Brexit would appear to still be going ahead. 2. The EU have made it pretty clear that there will be no access to the single market from those outwith its regulatory bodies. 3. Given those fairly clear statements above, just how would a government of any stripe achieve this seemingly impossible ideal agreement?

As of this moment, neither Labour nor the current Conservative government are exactly forthcoming on the ‘how to’ part tbf. Maybe it’s a kung fu thing? Like walking on rice paper without leaving a dent. The art of being in without being in.

This amendment is supposedly an olive branch and a step towards compromise with remain elements within the ranks of Mr Corbyn’s PLP and membership. Personally, I’m not entirely sure Mr Corbyn understands either the nature of what is clearly a binary choice for many, or the resolve of the EU to maintain its charter.

Arguably, over the period since the referendum, merely the effects of the vote for Brexit have impacted on near every aspect of life on these islands. You have to wonder if the political class, in their dash to strategy, even notice what’s happening outside of their chambers.  Do they actually care about the damage that’s been done so far? The agreements they’ve endangered, both nationally and internationally? The pledges and settlements within their own competence they’ve ignored? The economic fallout? (which WILL visit every business and every home)

Remember. Merely the effects of the vote for Brexit. NOT Brexit itself. Not yet.

There does appear to be quite the consensus from evidence gathered so far, whether it be governmental impact reports or commentary from the business press, that Brexit has the potential to cause immense, near catastrophic, damage to the UK’s economy.  Kinda leaves a person wondering, why persist without consulting the population on what is clearly a material change in both information and circumstance? But then, Westminster government does have a habit of ignoring such things. If they don’t suit (cough).

The clock is ticking down to the June summit, by which time both a transition period deal and future trade pact discussions are supposedly meant to be on the cards. Tick, as they say, tock. No pressure guys. (Taps watch) Readers can draw their own conclusions as to whether UK gov are anywhere near ready for that summit.

So far as Scotland’s electorate is concerned? Soon as the deal (whatever it is) becomes clear? Well. It’s very likely that it’ll be your turn to have a say and make a choice.

 

(A rough guide of key Brexit dates can be found HERE.)

You can’t buy this

A guest post by Samuel Miller

Been quite the weekend on the news front readers, but we’ll get to that real news in a moment. Also? Briefly on another tangent entirely and very much in the vein of WHO KNEW? Apparently there’s been a government leak which sez a no deal Brexit will be very, very bad. Near Hollywood disaster movie bad in fact. Food shortages, airdrops, carnage and chaos bad. Full-on three bears bad. Daddy bear BAD being the very worst!

“The supermarkets in Cornwall and Scotland will run out of food within a couple of days, and hospitals will run out of medicines within two weeks.”

There’s also a mummy bear Brexit scenario, which is not quite as bad. Oh, and a baby bear Brexit which has probably only done something unfortunate in the woods near your back door. Mmmmm, not to be a party pooper, but isn’t this pretty much old news?

As for leaking/rehashing? Other than leaking being highly unsanitary, a cynic might suggest it’s also a good way for governments to test the water. As in – (Wavy lines) ‘This outcome is going to be soooo awful, but thenks to our unparalleled negotiating brilliance? We believe we can secure one of the slightly less kettastroaphic outcomes. It’ll only mean penury for the vast majority of the UKs public for several decades, but it could hev bin sooooo much worse. No. No. There’s no need to thenk us…etc’ (Wavy lines back to reality).

Just to be crystal? It never pays to assume that all of the public haven’t been paying attention. Many folk are already well aware that there are three scenarios and that none of them are good. They’re ALL pretty catastrophic outcomes and frankly no amount turd polishing or dumbing down a sales pitch, will alter the fact for those affected.

Now onto that real news.

Turns out there was a bit of a get together in Dumfries for the YES movement on Saturday (stop cheering at the back). Upwards of ten thousand attending decided to let the meeja, politics pundits and politicians, know exactly what they think of their recent commentary and musings on all things indy. I mean, we’ve pretty much heard it all by this point. The YES movement is divided because, growth commission, left politics, right politics, green politics, hates England, Islands will annex themselves, werewolves… reasons in general. Oh, and that people definitely aren’t interested in referendums.  No appetite etc, etc. Well? For the second time in recent history, clearly the YES movement begs to differ. Pretty damned impressive I’d say, considering these marches are organised at grassroots level.

That’s not the only thing they beg to differ on though. Some people may wonder at the use or need for these marches. Maybe they consider them twee, a bit fleg wavy, not serious politics or whatever (shrugs). Personally? I disagree with that kind of thinking. I think these marches do more for those who do matter in and to the world of politics. The people themselves. The right to march in protest or support of a thing, without inciting violence, is precious to our vision and practice of democracy.

In this particular instance, outside of the fact that they bring independence minded people together for a much needed morale boost in pretty dark times? They illustrate, unambiguously, that for every negative and hateful misrepresentation that’s been put out there about them and what they stand for, their reality is the polar opposite of the myth created by less savoury media and political elements. These marchers prove beyond doubt that their political engagement can be positive, peaceful and carry impact. A joy and a privilege to be part of. What the people of these towns and cities will see with every peaceful march can’t be unseen and what they hear, can’t be unheard. For a movement that has rarely received fair or equal representation within the UK’s media or body politic?

You can’t buy that kind of positive imagery.

The groups and individuals attending seem to perfectly understand the true meaning of social unity on and beyond these islands and the impact this solidarity can have when on display. Kinda knocks the meeja’s ‘movement divided’ narrative on its sorry wossiname, yes? Also pretty certain that most of the folk attending these marches have no illusions about why they’re marching and what they hope to achieve either.

I think they’re perfectly aware that independence is not an end in itself. It’s the means to an end. It’s the beginning of a Scotland yet to be, with all the possibilities and visions that entails. Clearly, unlike the folk in Meejaworld, it appears many in the YES movement don’t have a problem understanding the meaning of compromise or consensus to achieve a desired outcome. Again. Who knew?

Might be those marchers are fully aware that an independent Scotland has need of all those visions and ideas. That an independent Scotland needs as diverse a society and plurality of progressive political views as we can all summon. An independent Scotland yet to be and it really only needs one thing to make it possible. Your belief in the principle of self determination.

That principle should bind all of us under one banner. Don’t you think? That principle should unify the rich and the poor. The radical and the more conservative (with a small ‘c’). All parties, no parties. All creeds and all points of origin. Seems to me the folk attending these marches have a pretty fair grasp of that concept.

One last thought to be getting on with. The SNP, as the government of the day, may very well be our first government of an independent Scotland. How and ever, in the history we hope to write for ourselves from that day forward? It most certainly won’t be the last.

As I’ve said more than once or twice, the SNP are currently gatekeepers. They can only hold that gate open for so long before a Westminster government, desperate to consolidate its waning power and resource base and seeking to draw yet more constitutional power to itself, actively moves to close the gate and dump the key in the deepest trench in the ocean.

Personally? At this point I’m for kicking that gate off its hinges altogether.

Oh, and one more thing!

A guest post by Samuel Miller

Righto then. One more time with feeling. This is going to be short and sweet, but I think it’s an important issue. So listen up!

In my post Mushroom farming the population, I stressed the need to support Scotland’s emerging new and traditional media sources. iScot, Independence Live, Phantom Power, The National, Truly Scottish TV and of course, your fav indy sites/blogs. They’re going to be needed and needed soon I’d say. So giving what you can will, I’m sure, be greatly appreciated.

Why will they be needed soon? I’m guessing because, (one way or another), political actions taken over this summer and autumn will define and determine a LOT about the Scottish population’s future and future choices. People will need to hear the opposing and alternative view to the mainstream diet of Westminster narrative and the ever more frantic and reactionary bumtrumpetry of the metrocentric opinion shapers.

Scottish news IS NOT made in London. It’s made in Scotland by you the people(s) of Scotland. It’s time we viewed the world through a lens of our own making. ‘Course it’s not just about Scotland’s population talking about Scottish news and events. It’s also time we discussed and listened to our own views on world events. It’s time we read our own views on world events.

If we want to ‘stop the world because we want to get on’? If we want the world to listen to us and to what we have to say? If we want to join in? Then as a population we’d better start having our own opinions to put forward. Mmmm… Probably also an idea not to have other people offer an opinion on our behalf, write cheques on our behalf and sign us up to… stuff… on our behalf.

It’s a big ask given hardships going on around us right now. Money is tight and it’s going to get a LOT tighter. But if ever there was a year in which those outlets for our voices and opinion were needed? Well, you can fill in the rest for yourself.

 

This is my last post before our host comes back from his well earned break. As ever, I’d like to thank the readers for bearing with my ramblings and for contributing below the line. Also? Make sure you tidy up the mess and get rid of the bottles before Paul gets back, or I’ll be in bother.

 

You get what you give

A guest post by Samuel Miller

You know, I still can’t get my head round it. So many questions and so few answers. Especially given the headlines of the past few weeks. Questions are good though. For instance, just what makes some people put others in harms way? Why mislead to manipulate opinion, when you know others will suffer? When the political class sit down for their triangulation sessions, debate their tactics and strategies over tea and biscuits and such, (or is it latte and biscotti these days? *shrugs*). Do they even for an instant consider the impact of their actions? Is winning the argument, the power, the advantage, so important that they forget the why of ‘government of the people, by the people for the people’?

When did it become a competition, a sport? When did win at all costs include laying waste to the prize? Make no mistake, the population IS the prize. The population is the nation and a nation… is only as good the sum of its parts.

The point of government is to care for your ALL of your population without fear or favour. To put bread on the table. If you’re a civilized, even progressive, society? It’s about how you care surely? How you care for your elderly and your infirm. Keep safe and free from harm those in your charge. To legislate and create laws that don’t cater for the advantage of demographics, but protect, nurture and provide freedom of choice for ALL. It’s a covenant, a contract between the people and their choice of legislation. THIS is what generates confidence, pride, community, empathy and … unity. As a concept, it doesn’t appear to be rocket science. You get what you give.

Does any of that resemble today’s UK? Is today’s politics really what the Conservatives, Labour and the Libdems consider the traditional and acceptable rough and tumble of the adversarial system? Are their actions toward the populations of the UK, in any way, the actions of responsible government? I mean, these parties have formed the backbone of the system of UK government for generations. Their practice of politics, their management of the responsibilities and powers of government, ARE what shaped the UK we see today.

So what happens when what you give is mired in self interest, greed, demographic exclusion and a less than considerate approach to mass manipulation? In our own experience here in Scotland. When the political establishment or their more committed chums in Meejaland assault the Scottish government and essential services with questionable figures, or out of context claims. Y’know, their version of what they laughably term ‘holding to account’. Is that what we want them to do? Is that how we feel politics should be practised? What does that do to us, d’you think? What does that say about us?

When you misrepresent, mislead, break trusts and undermine. When your tactic du jour is to inspire fear, mistrust, even hatred of others amongst your population. When you place the rights and democracy of your population at risk. When you treat others with arrogance, ignorance and disdain. Well? You WILL get what you give.

As we’ve pointed out previously. Maybe it’s about time they stopped for a second and took a look around themselves. Take a look at their precioussss, precioussss, political union. REALLY look and marvel at their works. How much societal unity is there to be had out there about now d’you reckon? Seems to me their practice of the dark science of politics has done a bang up job of fracturing any hope of uniting the populations of the UK. Maybe they should ask themselves one or two more questions. What is more important, the political union or the social union of these islands? In their drive to secure the one, for their own selfish reasons, are they truly willing to sacrifice the other?

It really doesn’t have to be that way. Scotland’s population have already seen that there are other ways to govern. Only a taste so far to be honest, but it’s a glimpse of something yet to be fully realised. Something with the potential to revitalise and repurpose the politics of all the nationalities of these islands. Redraw the nature of our national political relationships, our system of politics and secure the future of a social union. In my view, the only one that truly matters. Personally, I’ve never required any politician’s permission to care for friends or family wherever they are on the globe.

About that potential though.

Asking questions of those who have held power over our lives for so very long is a good first step. Reminding them that eventually you get what you give is another.