We’re all bastards from Newsnet now

When independence campaigners who are compelled to pay a licence fee on pain of criminalisation complain about how the BBC doesn’t reflect their views, and demand that the Corporation refrain from its anti-independence bias, they’re accused of trying to silence journalists and being enemies of democracy. It now transpires that it’s the BBC which has been silencing journalists, and if silencing journalists makes you an enemy of democracy then that would be the BBC.

The broadcaster and comedian Hardip Singh Kohli has reported that during the independence referendum campaign that he was told by a BBC Radio Scotland manager that his name appeared on an email list of Yes supporting individuals whom the Corporation would not invite onto its news and current affairs programmes. There is naturally no bar on appearing on BBC news and current affairs programmes if you oppose independence, because opposing independence isn’t bias at all. Oh no.

The news comes as the Corporation revealed its plans for its poxy wee Caledonian Ghetto Channel, to be launched later this year on a shoestring budget, broadcasting on a channel lost in the depths of the EPG for a few hours each evening. The new channel is the BBC’s answer to demands for a Scottish Six hour long news programme on BBC1. It’s pretty obvious that the Corporation intends to hive Scottish programming off into a minor channel that few will access, to underfund it, and then to claim that there is no demand for Scottish progamming. It’s another example of how Scotland is being sidelined and marginalised by the BBC. Get back into your box Jocks.

The BBC denies that it has any blacklist of pro-independence campaigners, and you might be surprised to hear that I actually believe their denials. In the small and cliquey world of Scottish broadcasting where everyone knows everyone else there is no need for an official blacklist. An unofficial one would work every bit as effectively. There are certain people who are “our pals”, and certain people that “we” don’t want to give airtime to because they’re not “our pals”. There may be no official blacklist, because an official blacklist would certainly call into question the BBC’s supposed impartiality, and would open up a legal and political can of worms for the Corporation. Why bother with all that hassle when an unofficial blacklist works every bit as effectively.  A nudge and a wink and private conversation in the pub achieves the same thing, and it’s entirely deniable.

I don’t wish to name any names, because this was told to me in a private conversation, but it’s not just Hardip who has been cast out into the wilderness by the BBC. Another prominent independence campaigner, someone who once appeared regularly on BBC news and current affairs programmes to give their view on the Scottish politics of the day and who had a distinguished career in broadcasting, told me recently that since 2014 their broadcasting invitations have virtually dried up.

Unlike Hardip, who is now seeing aspects of his personal life being tossed around on social media by British nationalists like dogs with a rotting bone, this particular individual has never been involved in any scandals or controveries, public or private. It’s pretty obvious that the sole reason that their broadcasting career has died a death is because the BBC doesn’t wish to give airtime to articulate and informed independence campaigners who can lend an air of credibility to the cause of independence.

The lesson from the bosses of BBC Scotland is very clear. If you want to support independence, then your career in broadcast journalism is at an end. If that’s not silencing journalists and being an enemy of democracy I don’t know what is.

The Corporation does of course invite a couple of pro-independence people on to its news and current affairs programmes, but invariably those are people who lack a prominent standing within the grassroots independence movement, and are people who have displayed a willingness to criticise that movement as much as they’ll criticise the British establishment. So if you are an independence supporter who wants to get on the telly, the best way to do so is to start criticising other independence supporters. Because apparently the British establishment is really keen to foster diversity within the Yes movement. And if you believe that I have a licence fee to flog to you.

I’m pretty sure my name appears on that list that doesn’t exist too. I write two weekly columns for The National, I do most of the public speaking for the newspaper at its public Roadshow events, and while I don’t like to blow my own trumpet I’m told that I’m one of the columnists who does best for the paper on social media. I write this blog which is one of the top ten politics sites in Scotland, and unlike most of the sites which appear in that ranking, this is a single author site and not a multi-author one. The editor of The National has told me that he has given my contact details to the BBC on several occasions.  Unlike many columnists for the paper I actually live within easy travelling distance of the BBC’s Pacific Quay studios, but I’ve never once heard from the Corporation. I don’t expect to either. The wee clique that controls the Scottish media has as low an opinion of me as I do of them. I’m not one of their pals and have no wish to be.

I’m quite sanguine about the fact that I’ll never be invited on BBC Scotland to talk about politics and current affairs. I was involved with Newsnet Scotland, and am one of those people once described by former BBC Scotland director Ken McQuarrie as “those bastards from Newsnet”. When you have spent as much time and energy as I have complaining about how the BBC marginalises and excludes Scottish independence supporters in an effort to resist the normalisation of independence, you can’t really be surprised that the BBC doesn’t want to give you airtime.

But that caveat doesn’t apply to many, and perhaps most, of the other names that appear on that BBC Scotland nudge nudge wink wink blacklist that has no need to really exist. We’re all bastards from Newsnet now.


weegingerdug.scot

The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.


gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Just click the donate button.
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Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information. Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

Many thanks.

Increasing the immigration statistics by one

I thought I’d write a more personal blog article this time, so that you can all know what my plans are for the coming months. Readers, I’m getting married. My partner Peter and I have set a date, the wedding will be on Friday 26th October and will be celebrated on the coast of the US state of Maine, where most of Peter’s family come from originally. He’ll be coming back with me to Scotland afterwards for a week, and we’ll be having a second celebration here in Scotland for our friends and family on this side of the Atlantic who aren’t able to make it to the USA. Then he’ll have to return to the USA, and we’ll start on the arduous and ridiculously expensive process of getting him a visa to live with me here in Scotland. All going well we hope that can happen sometime next year.

This is going to be my first “proper” wedding. My late partner Andy and I had a wee party to celebrate holding an entirely unofficial humanist wedding that we had back in the early 1990s, but that ceremony was not legally recognised. When, many years later, we had a civil partnership it felt as though it was just a matter of regularising some paperwork. This time, Peter and I will be having a real wedding. Naturally we’re both wearing kilts. He’s coming over here in the summer in order to get fitted for one. I told him that weddings are not legally recognised in Scotland unless you wear a kilt. He believed me for all of five seconds.

This is not an easy time to try and bring a foreign spouse into the UK, and I have never despised the Conservatives more than I do just now. Their policy of making life as difficult as possible for migrants separates families, separates loved ones, and means that only those who are wealthy can have the confidence of knowing that they can live in the UK with their spouse. It’s very easy when you’re Prince Harry and Megan Markle. It’s not so easy for the rest of us.

On top of the cost of the wedding, which is going to run into a few thousand even though we’re trying to keep things simple, it’s going to cost £1600 in payments to the Home Office for a spouse visa, a further £600 in fees to the NHS so that Peter is eligible for health cover, and around a further £1500 in legal fees. That’s some £3700 which is on top of the £18600 annual income that you need to prove to the Home Office that you’re earning before they’ll even consider an application for a spouse visa. The Home Office won’t take into account my partner’s earning potential, it’s all dependent on the income and earnings of the British citizen. What’s really annoying is that he is highly skilled, he works in IT, and is precisely the kind of person that Scotland needs. He can earn considerably more than I can, but the Home Office won’t take any of that into account. He’s not going to be a drain on public resources, he’s going to be an active contributor.

I recognise that I’m in a far more fortunate situation than many because it is possible, albeit difficult, for me to fulfil the Home Office’s heartless criteria. I know of a woman who has a small child. Her husband, the child’s father, isn’t able to live in the UK, and because she’s got childcare commitments she’s unable to earn anything like enough to get her husband into the UK. That’s the reality of Theresa May’s “hostile environment”. It means children separated from parents, it means families split up. It means lovers who have to keep their relationships alive through Facebook and Skype.

So I’m in for a very expensive year, and it’s not easy earning a living as a writer and commentator on Scottish politics from a pro-independence perspective. Just ask Hardip Singh Kohli. In a recent talk he confirmed what many of us have suspected for some time, that the BBC has an active blacklist of pro-independence activists whom it will not invite onto its news and current affairs programmes. We’re biased, and that’s why the BBC doesn’t want to give us air time. Naturally people who oppose independence aren’t biased at all. Oh no.

Hardip’s own name is on that list, and I’m pretty certain that mine is too. It’s not just that we are unable to earn the appearance fee that you get from going on the telly, it’s also that we don’t get the publicity and name recognition amongst the public that comes from it. It makes it harder for us to get writing and other gigs from other media outlets because we don’t get the same exposure that British nationalists get. It makes it harder for us to get our message across to the wider public. It makes it a lot harder for us to make a living out of writing and commentating. And that’s precisely why the BBC bans us. They want to marginalise the cause of independence and silence independence supporters. Personally I wear it as a badge of pride. If you want to know why independence campaigners are more likely to rely on crowdfunding than opponents of independence, this has a lot to do with it.

In order to boost my earnings and ensure that I can keep the Home Office happy and pay for the wedding and the visa and associated fees, I’m going to produce some new stuff for sale. I’d far rather offer something concrete for sale than to ask for donations. Asking for donations and doing crowdfunders only seems to breed resentment amongst people who are less successful at it. That doesn’t mean I’m not grateful and appreciative for the support that so many readers of this blog show me. It means a lot to me.

I earn money from writing for The National, but that is nowhere near enough to take me over the Home Office’s earnings threshold. I’m planning to publish a couple of new books later this year. There’s going to be a third volume of Barking Up the Right Tree published by Vagabond Voices, an anthology of articles which previously appeared in The National. And there’s also going to be a self-published collection of my articles from iScot magazine. I’m also looking into producing some other merchandise, and have been discussing with Chris Cairns the possibility of him doing a cartoon of the Dug which we can put on t-shirts, mugs and other merchandise. I’m also planning to do a revised and corrected version of the Gaelic map of the whole of Scotland.

The bottom line is – I need to earn some money, because I’m not Prince Harry. No one is giving my partner a free pass to come and live in the UK. I’ve got to pay for it. I’ll keep you all posted about the progress of the books and the merchandise. In the meantime, the four volumes of The Collected Yaps and the first two volumes of Barking Up the Right Tree are still available online, and Gaelic maps of Glasgow, Kintyre & Arran, and Fife are available for sale when I do public talks. Just email me for details.

Grassroots is what the independence movement does best. British nationalism is about keeping people out of the country, Scottish nationalism is about bringing people in. British nationalism is about creating a hostile environment for migrants, Scottish nationalism is about creating a welcoming one. I hope you’ll help me to increase the immigration statistics by at least one.


weegingerdug.scot

The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.


gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Just click the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information. Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

Many thanks.

Hard work, but not difficult work

The one-man whirlwind that is Robin McAlpine of CommonWeal has recently published a book which is an invaluable contribution to the independence debate and which provides many of the answers which we were struggling for during the first referendum campaign back in 2014. Called How to Start a New Country, a Practical Guide for Scotland, chapter by chapter, issue by issue, the book lists all the steps that Scotland will have to go through from the victory for independence in a referendum to the declaration of independence and Scotland regaining its rightful place amongst the independent nations of the world.

It’s one of those examples of nominative determinism, like someone called Baker ending up working in Greggs, or someone called Essenpeebad becoming the director general of BBC Scotland news. Robin’s surname is of course also that of Kenneth McAlpine, the king of Dalriada who founded the kingdom of Scotland after that dodgy dinner party when he gave the Pictish aristos some seriously severe stomach upsets.

Given his name it’s quite fitting that Robin has produced what is the definitive guide to starting a new independent Scottish state. The only people who are likely to have upset stomachs after reading Robin’s books will be all those British nationalists who keep telling Scotland, “Naw ye cannae.” This is a book which not only asserts “Aye, we can,” it explains in detail how we do so. It doesn’t come with a free serving of Gaviscon for British nationalists, but hell mend them. This is a book that they’ll choke on.

The key message from the book is that starting a new state is hard work, but it’s not difficult work. The path to independence is a path that many nations have trodden. It’s well marked, it’s well sign-posted. There are no terrors or horrors lurking in the unknown along the way. By becoming an independent state, Scotland will not be taking the leap into darkness that British nationalists would like us to think it would be. The problems that Scotland will face along the way are entirely predictable, and so are the solutions to those problems. Both are known quantities, and both can be tackled. Establishing an independent Scotland is a series of practical problems, all of which are problems that other newly independent countries have tackled, and all of which are problems with practical solutions. This isn’t rocket science.

British nationalists want to make out that the establishment of an independent Scotland is a fearsomely difficult task which is unprecedented in human history, so they constantly throw up questions which are really non-questions. Questions like “Which currency will you use? Eh? Eh?! A-ha!” Because of course no country in the history of the planet has ever become independent and then had a currency.

Robin’s book details the steps that an independent Scotland will have to take in order to set up its own currency, the Scottish Pound, which he suggests should be held at parity with Sterling. Setting up a new currency is, as he states, hard work, but it’s not difficult work. It’s the difference between getting your garden redesigned and coming up with a solution to the problem of cold-fusion reactors. British nationalists want us to believe that setting up a currency for Scotland is like delving into the complexities of particle physics and solving problems that no one has ever managed before. Oh my god we just can’t do it! Let’s call the whole thing off.

On the other hand, step by step Robin explains the process to us, because really setting up a new currency for a newly independent country is rather more akin to redesigning your garden. It’s hard work re-doing your garden, it’s a slog. It involves a lot of effort and grunt work, but there are plenty of experts to consult, there are plenty of other people who have done the same thing from whom you can learn, there are plenty of plans and designs to copy from. That’s what it’s like to establish a currency for a new state. The book explains how Scotland would go about establishing a new currency, how it would be introduced, and how it would then found a central bank in order to manage it. It’s all eminently doable, and it’s all quite affordable.

It’s the same with the other big scare story of the Better Together campaign, pensions. When Scottish pensioners were warned that independence would mean that they’d no longer get a pension, they were being lied to. Robin’s book explains that the UK government has a legal obligation to pay pensions to everyone who has contributed over the years via National Insurance, and it can’t simply walk away from that obligation without compensating Scotland accordingly. The upshot is that whether it’s the UK government that continues to pay Scottish pensioners their pensions after independence – in the exact same way that it pays the pensions of those who’ve chosen to settle in Spain or Portugal or Greece – or the pensions will be managed and administered by Scotland, the net effect will be the same pensions being delivered for the same cost to Scotland. This is a message that the independence movement needs to scream from the rooftops.

The only slight criticism is that an index would have been extremely useful, but from citizenship, to the media, defence, energy, paying for the new nation and much more, you’ll find the answers in How to Start a New Country. It’s the independence movement’s one-stop shop for shutting up nay-sayers. Everything that Scotland needs in order to become a successful and prosperous democratic independent state fit for the 21st century can be achieved within three years of a yes result in the next independence referendum. No one is pretending it’s going to be a doddle. It’s going to involve a lot of hard work, but it’s not difficult work. It’s work we’ll do because we really will be in the early days of a better nation. Hard work, but not difficult work.

You can purchase a print copy of the full book for just £10 here
http://allofusfirst.bigcartel.com/product/how-to-start-a-new-country-a-practical-guide-for-scotland
A print copy of shorter and more user friendly version detailing the main points can be bought for just £5
http://allofusfirst.bigcartel.com/product/a-short-guide-to-starting-a-new-country
Alternatively you can purchase both together for just £12
http://allofusfirst.bigcartel.com/product/package-deal-how-to-start-a-new-country-a-short-guide-to-starting-a-new-country
The good news is that you can get a FREE e-copy of both versions of the book by following the instructions on the following links. Download, link and share!
http://allofusfirst.bigcartel.com/product/e-book-how-to-start-a-new-country-a-practical-guide-for-scotland
http://allofusfirst.bigcartel.com/product/e-book-a-short-guide-on-how-to-start-a-new-country-a-practical-guide-for-scotland


weegingerdug.scot

The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.


gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Just click the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information. Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

Many thanks.

Let us be very clear

In an article for the Sunday Times this weekend, Jeremy Clarkson says that he doesn’t understand the need for Scottish independence, but then no one has ever knowingly accused Jeremy of having any sort of insight into anyone who doesn’t fully subscribe to the agenda of the right wing British nationalist press. Jeremy is now an expert on all things Scottish because he’s a privileged middle class pal of David Cameron who has just spent a week in the Highlands. So naturally he’s more deserving of a platform to air his views on the Scottish constitutional debate than people who have lived in Scotland all their lives.

But Jeremy was looking in the wrong place. One of the biggest reasons why Scotland needs independence won’t be found in the tenements of Glasgow or the hills of Torridon during a brief trip north of the border. It’s to be found in that Parliament on the banks of the Thames where Scotland’s voice is marginalised and ignored. What Scotland wants is not what Scotland gets. What Scotland votes for is not what Scotland sees being implemented, and nowhere is this mismatch between the democratic voice and what transpires in reality more marked than when it comes to matters of military action.

We remember the debacle of the Iraq War and how this country was rushed into military action without any plan about what to do afterwards, resulting in the destablisation of the Middle East and a chain of conflicts which have seen ancient cities reduced to rubble, hundreds of thousands lose their lives, hundreds of thousands more wounded or maimed, and millions flee into exile. We remember how that same mistake was repeated in Libya. And now there’s Syria.

Theresa May didn’t just embark on a military adventure in Syria without first debating the issue in the supposedly sovereign parliament, she did so without even bothering to give a coherent explanation of her reasons for doing so or presenting any meaningful idea of what she sought to achieve by it. There’s no strategy, there’s no plan. Theresa May reacted dismissively when it was put to her that she was merely following the American line by joining in an attack on Syria so that Donald Trump could divert media attention from the mounting scandals which threaten to sink his presidency, and insisted angrily that she acted out of her own principles. But she couldn’t actually articulate what those principles might be.

We keep seeing military actions being carried out by a British government which is happy to rush into war and to wrap itself in the red white and blue in order to get itself out of some unrelated short term political difficulty. Theresa May is enjoying a wee boost in the opinion polls because she’s bombed some Middle Easterners.

To use Theresa May’s favourite phrase, let us be very clear. There may very well have been a chemical attack in Douma carried out by the Syrian regime against its opponents. It wouldn’t be at all surprising if that was the case. But the point is that the British government has lost all right to take unilateral action on any such attack without incontrovertible proof of the attack being presented by a neutral source and without the events being investigated by an unimpeachable international organisation. The assertion of the British government that bad people have done bad things is no longer enough, because the British government has lied about these matters in the past with disastrous results for the countries which are the subject of the military action. It has lied more than once and it has always got away with its lies even after the lie has been exposed. Where there are no consequences for the liars for lying, there is no incentive to stop lying.

That’s the issue here. It’s an issue of trust. It’s not that anyone trusts in the assertions of the Syrians and of Bashir Assad or Vladimir Putin that we should all move along because there is nothing to see in Douma. It’s that we don’t trust the British government and we are no longer prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt. That’s a pretty lamentable state of affairs in a democracy. What’s worse is that this is a state of affairs that has been brought about, not by fake news from the Kremlin, but by the lies and deceit of successive British governments themselves.

Supporters of the British state can scream all they like about fake news, about Russian manipulation of the news, but that’s not going to rebuild trust in a British government which has repeatedly lied and has been dishonest without any help from Vladimir Putin. The only people who can rebuild trust in the British government are the representatives of the British government, but that British government doesn’t seem inclined to change its ways. There is no willingness to learn from the mistakes of the past, and Westminster keeps on repeating them. Being British means to be caught in a groundhog day of war. All this has happened before, and it will keep on happening.

There is no accountability built into the structures of the British state. The Prime Minister can do what he or she pleases as long as they have the support of a neutered parliament of lobby fodder. There are no checks and balances, no written rules. The famously unwritten British constitution really just gives the power of the day carte blanche to do as it pleases. Sometimes a country really does need to go to war, but Britain has created a situation where even if that were the case many people would oppose it because successive British governments have lied about the need for military action so often in the past. There are times when military action is indeed justified, but British governments have created a situation in which the public can no longer be confident if that action is justified or not.

This is why Scotland needs independence. Britain is never going to change, but Scotland can. We need to get away from a state which treats warfare as a short term political tactic. We need independence because we need a government which can be held to account. We need independence because we need a government which is representative of the views and the will of the people of Scotland. We need independence because politicians cannot be trusted, and we need to keep them close to us so that their arses are within kicking distance of our feet.  Then when our politicians do take us into war we can be confident that they’re doing so in the national interest, and not in their own.


 

weegingerdug.scot

The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.


gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Just click the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information. Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

Many thanks.

Mission accomplished

Remember when we said that Donald Trump would start WW3 on Twitter and we thought it was a joke? There he was the other day boasting about how smart his missiles are, which made everyone wonder if the missiles wouldn’t be a more intelligent American president, and now along with Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron he’s gone and blown up Syria. Or more accurately has blown up Syria a bit more than it has already been blown up.

At least I managed to get back home from my holidays before it broke out. Yay! I live just 25 miles away from the biggest nuclear arms dump on the planet and it is totally not a target for the Russians in the event of Armageddon. Thanks Jackie Baillie! I feel so safe now. In the seconds before the whole Clyde Valley is blown to pieces in the blast the people of the West of Scotland can console ourselves with the thought that your determined defence of Trident guaranteed the existence of a medium sized Tesco Express in the greater Helensburgh area whereas people in the rest of the country get on with the important business of wondering which of Tesco’s sandwiches best resist radioactive contamination.

We’re being told that the UK, the US, and France had no choice but to unilaterally bomb Syria because the only way to demonstrate your disapproval of the Syrian government running roughshod over international law is to run roughshod over international law. It’s a bit like expressing your disapproval of people leaving dog crap on the grass in the park by smearing it all over the pavement. Nevertheless, the military action was entirely legal, because Theresa May and the right wing press said so. This is the only standard of legality that matters in the UK. International law might have a different opinion, but international law doesn’t right the editorial column in the Daily Mail so it doesn’t count.

Still, it’s silly of us to worry about provoking WW3, because it worked out so well the last time that the UK got involved in bombing the crap out of some Middle Eastern country. Iraq and Libya are now glowing examples of peace and stability, in much the same way that Richard Leonard is an outstanding representative of the power of charisma and charm and Ruth Davidson has never been known to obsess about opposing independence referendums.

There is certainly no doubt that the Assad regime is comprised of some deeply nasty and unpleasant people. It is alleged that there was a chemical warfare attack in the rebel controlled city of Douma, carried out by the Syrian government. I have no idea what happened in Douma. The point is that neither does anyone else. The UN chemical warfare investigating team was due to visit the area this coming week in order to ascertain what really happened. There’s no pressing reason for the rush into military action this weekend.

Neither was there a pressing reason for the UK to rush into military action before Parliament comes back after the Easter break, giving our representatives the opportunity to debate the matter. Remember how we were told before the EU referendum that it was vital to restore the sovereignty of the British Parliament? That’s working out as well as the promise that Scotland was going to be an equal and much loved partner in the UK and would be secure in its membership of the EU if only it voted against independence.

There’s nothing like a spot of military porn to get the media frothing. What bombing the crap out of some Middle Eastern country really is best for is diverting attention from other more pressing political difficulties. There is a real and serious need for urgency when it comes to taking action in Syria, and that would be Donald Trump’s need for urgency in changing the news agenda in order to distract attention from the criminal investigation that the FBI is carrying out into Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen, and the alleged payment of $130,000 in hush money to the porn star Stormy Daniels. According to reports, Stormy Daniels was paid the money during the US presidential election in order to keep her quiet about having sex with Donald while his wife was pregnant. Trump denies that he had sex with her, which means that she was paid the money to keep quiet about not having had sex with Donald Trump. I’ve never had sex with Donald Trump either, and there’s a donate button at the bottom of this blog in the unlikely event that the American president is reading.

What I do certainly have in common with Stormy Daniels is that she denied that she was ever sexually attracted to Trump, who says that claims he has a fake tan are fake news. I’m not sexually attracted to Trump either, but I’ll admit that in my case this is due to an aversion to consorting with orange people. That’s more a Scottish Tory thing.

There’s an equally real and serious need for distraction in the UK, anything but anything to take attention away from the galactostrophe that is Brexit. If it takes dropping a few bombs at £800,000 a bang on some random Middle Easterners then that’s a price well worth paying. After all it comes along with the opportunity to condemn anyone who’s opposed to rushing into war as betraying our troops and being a stooge of the Kremlin and the one thing that the British media really needs is another excuse to beat up on pacifists and people who think that it’s a national humiliation for the UK to sook up to Donald Trump. Condemning Jeremy Corbyn for calling for consultation in parliament is just a bargain bonus. The only way it could be any better would be if the British nationalist media in Scotland could find some way of blaming the SNP for the gas attack in Syria. That will probably be the lead story in the Hootsmon next week.

Theresa May is on the telly claiming “mission accomplished”. The mission has been accomplished. The mission is the derailment and distraction of the news agenda away from the surrounding stench of sleaze that envelops Donald Trump. The mission is the further debilitation of what passes for democracy in the UK and the conversion of the UK into an adjunct to Trump’s vanity. How’s that safety, security, and stability of the UK working out for Scotland? It’s high time we accomplished a mission of our own, the mission to get Scotland out of this failing state.

And finally, a big thanks to Macart for his excellent posts in my absence. That’s a mission that he accomplishes with style and panache. It’s hugely appreciated.


weegingerdug.scot

The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.


gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Just click the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information. Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

Many thanks.

As others see us – com les altres ens veuen

A Scottish court has had the good sense and common decency to free Clara Ponsatí on bail while she fights the extradition order brought against her by the Spanish government seeking to prosecute her on politically motivated charges which could potentially result in the former Catalan education minister facing up to 30 years in a Spanish prison. Scotland’s courts have in this instance proven themselves to be more humane and to have a greater respect for human rights than the German court which refused bail to Catalan president Carles Puigdemont.

Despite the fact that senior figures in Labour in Scotland like Ian Murray MP have tweeted that they support the arrest and extradition of Clara Ponsatí, some in that party are, gob-smackingly hypocritcally but entirely predictably, trying to use her arrest as an excuse to indulge in some SNPbaddery. Some in Labour, like Labour Youth, are trying to claim that the SNP supports the repressive measures of the Spanish government because the Scottish government has said that it cannot interfere in a legal process. Can you imagine the outrage from that same Labour party if the SNP had indeed said it was going to interfere in a legal process? Exactly. Labour in Scotland has two faces, both are covered in egg, and each one is supported by a brass neck.

Given the hypocrisy of the Labour party in Scotland who are keen to tell us what they think people in Catalonia think about the SNP, it’s worthwhile to have a look at what people in Catalonia are saying about the response of the Scottish government and the people of Scotland to Clara’s arrest. Why listen to Labour’s monkeys when we can listen to the Catalans themselves.

Clara’s arrest and her fight against extradition is the lead story today in the leading Catalan language pro-independence digital news site Vilaweb.cat. The newspaper reported that through her lawyer Aamer Anwar, Clara had released a statement thanking the people of Scotland for their support saying, “Scotland is a true friend of Catalonia in these dark hours.” The newspaper also highlighted the support given to Clara by various members of the SNP, reporting that they had condemned the persecution that she was facing. It went on to report that the Scottish government has written to the Spanish embassy in the UK to complain about the European extradition orders against Puigdemont, his ministers, and members of the Catalan parliament. It reported that Scottish justice secretary Michael Matheson had spoken in the Scottish parliament to criticise the failure of the Spanish government.

Meanwhile the Spanish language Catalan newspaper La Vanguardia is reporting that Clara has been freed on bail, and the story is the most commented on and most liked on the paper’s website today. La Vanguardia is a right wing newspaper, which is fiercely anti-independence, it’s sort of like the Hootsmon but with ageing Francoists, but many of the comments under the article express thanks and appreciation to Scotland.

The pro-independence left wing daily El Punt Avui also carries the story on its front page, as it does with the story that the Scottish government has written to the Spanish embassy in London to complain about the use of European arrest warrants against members of the Catalan government.

El Punt Avui carries a far more detailed story about the protests of the Scottish government than anything you will read in the traditional Scottish media, with of course the honourable exception of The National, which gets a mention in El Punt Avui’s article. The paper reports in full on the comments in parliament of Michael Matheson, and talks about the letter written by the SNP’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Fiona Hyslop to the Spanish embassy. The paper also reports on the call from Alex Salmond published in The National saying why we should all be speaking out about the Spanish government’s treatment of Catalonia, and gives a link to the video published by our only pro-independence Scottish daily newspaper.

The pro-independence Ara.cat has likewise made the Clara Ponsatí story its leading article, and also reports on the incredible success of Clara’s fundraiser.

The support being given to the fundraiser by ordinary people in Scotland is being seen and heard in Catalonia. It is being perceived, rightly, as a sign that the people of Scotland are giving their backing to our sisters and brothers in Catalonia, that their struggle for self-determination is our struggle.

What absolutely no one in Catalonia is paying the slightest bit of attention to today is what the Labour party in Scotland is saying, and neither should we. On the other hand, they are talking about the support that Scotland is demonstrating for Catalonia. It has been noticed, and it is appreciated.  They know that many people in Scotland and the Scottish government are on their side, whatever nonsense Labour in Scotland hacks might put out on social media.  Their views are not being reported in Catalonia, the support that Catalonia is receiving from Scotland is very much in the Catalan news.

The above article on Vilaweb.cat has now been replaced as the lead story by the news that Clara had been released on bail and that her lawyer is saying that it’s the Spanish police who ought to be answering for the brutality and violence of their actions. Meanwhile the paper is also reporting that the crowdfunder to raise money to fight her extradition had wildly exceeded all expectations. The original target was £40,000, but that was smashed through within a few hours. At the time of writing this blog article, the crowdfunder had exceeded £176,000.

We need to show our support for Catalonia in its hour of need, because if Scotland doesn’t stand up for Catalonia, we cannot complain if no one stands up for Scotland when we’re the ones needing support.  Their struggle is our struggle too.

You can donate to the fundraiser here – https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/defendclara/

I am off to the USA for two weeks on Friday as it’s my partner’s birthday and we’re going on holiday together. Sam (Macart) will do his usual sterling job of looking after the blog in my absence.


weegingerdug.scot

The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.


gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Just click the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information. Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

Many thanks.

Getting pecked to death by a chlorinated chicken

There’s a lot of very serious stuff going on. It’s being alleged that Cambridge Analytica and the Vote Leave campaign stole the EU referendum and it’s entirely possible that the UK is being dragged out of the EU on the basis of a fraud. It’s bad enough that the Conservatives have decided after the event of the vote that it was a vote for the hardest possible Brexit, outside the customs union and outside the EU single market. It’s bad enough that the campaign was characterised by lies and mendacity. But now it seems that the entire leave campaign was fought unfairly and it is being alleged that the leave result was only obtained because electoral law was broken. All of our futures have been negatively affected because of data that was collected by Facebook against our knowledge and which was used by Cambridge Analytica without our consent because the leave campaign threw large amounts of money at them in an alleged breach of electoral law. This is an attack on the very foundations of the democratic process. The EU referendum divided the UK, and now it seems that it was dishonest.

Then, in order to cast aspersions on the credibility of one of the whistle blowers, a policy adviser in Downing Street, a man whom Theresa May counts as one of her closest aides, outed the whistleblower as gay. This is one of the worst things that one gay person can do to another. It’s a sin that is rarely forgiven or forgivable. The right to come out at the time of your own choosing is a precious thing. Outing someone else against their will is quite literally depriving them of the right to self-determination. I knew long before it became public knowledge that Kezia Dugdale and David Mundell were gay, but despite my many and varied political disagreements with them, despite the many and varied ways in which I’ve had a go at them, I would never had dreamed of outing them. There are some things you just don’t do. What makes it even worse is that the whistleblower concerned comes from a conservative Muslim family of Pakistani origin. His life is now at risk if he wants to visit his relatives in Pakistan. Yet Theresa May has refused to condemn her adviser, refused to discipline him, and refused to apologise. Did the Prime Minister’s office collude in a gross act of homophobic abuse? Theresa isn’t saying.

The Prime Minister has likewise shrugged off the links between the Conservative party and Cambridge Analytica. SCL, the parent company of Cambridge Analytica, donated £700,000 to the Conservative party between 2004 and 2017. One of their major shareholders of SCL, Jonathan Marland, served as a trade minister in David Cameron’s government, while the company’s chair Julian Wheatland campaigned alongside Cameron in 2015. Julian Wheatland was chair of the Oxford West and Abingdon Conservative Association until January 2017. Cambridge Analytica was in contact with the Conservatives in December 2016, offering its services to the party. Today The National reported that Cambridge Analytica had also offered its services during the Scottish independence referendum, although it was unclear to whom. Given the company’s close links to the Conservatives, it’s vanishingly unlikely it offered to help the Yes campaign.

Meanwhile Boris Johnson and Michael Gove are doing an impression of Ruth Davidson in a debate about fish. The normally loquacious pair are strangely silent on what they knew about the alleged collusion to break electoral law within the leave campaign of which they were such prominent members. What did Johnson and Gove know about the channelling of funds to AggregateIQ, a company with links to Cambridge Analytica, allegedly in breach of electoral law. You’d be as well asking Ruth Davidson’s party not to betray the Scottish fishing industry.

As if this was not enough, the UK government is continuing to rattle its sabre at Putin’s regime over the Salisbury affair. They’re not showing anything like the same degree of interest in preventing the UK being used as a safe place for Russian kleptocrats to store their ill-gotten gains, and they’re desperate to distract attention from the obvious truth that when the UK makes itself a haven for gangsters from a country where the distinction between gangsters and government is, to put it mildly, blurred, then you’re also making the UK a haven for the methods of the mobsters. Although given the behaviour of the Conservative party, the methods of mobsters were already very much at home in the politics of the UK.

With all this going on, with this sickness at the very heart of the British state, you might think that the Scottish media would be shouting and screaming at the parties of British nationalism, to get their houses in order, to ensure that they keep their promises to Scotland in order to keep Scotland happily esconced within the UK. But then if you thought that you probably also thought that the Scottish Tories really meant it when they said that they’d bring down Theresa May’s government if it doesn’t defend the rights of Scottish fishing communities.

The Mail on Sunday was getting itself in a lather because the SNP has spent money on adverts on Facebook. The Mail on Sunday didn’t see fit to mention that the amount that the SNP has spent on adverts on Facebook is less than the amount that the Scottish branch office of Labour party spent, and quite a lot less than Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives™ has spent, but you know. SNPbad. The Mail was outraged at the nerve of Thatessempee spending its money on adverts targetted at people who voted Tory or Labour last time, because apparently a political party should never ever try to persuade people who haven’t already voted for it to vote for it. Who knew? Next week, the Mail on Sunday will have a searing expose about the SNP’s office having an internet connection, a telephone, and a dog eared copy of the Yellow Pages.

The real issue today for the British nationalist media in Scotland is that a guy with links to the SNP has registered a domain name that could be used in a future independence referendum campaign. Oh. My. God. Someone has planned ahead. That’s just not British. If people thought ahead there might actually be a plan for Brexit. We should at least be grateful that the domain name wasn’t registered to Alex Salmond’s telly show, or we’d never hear the end of it. Reading the British nationalist press in Scotland is like a beakless chlorinated chicken trying to peck you to death. It’s trivial, pointless, and poisonous. Luckily for us, it will poison itself before we consume enough of it to kill us.


weegingerdug.scot

The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.


gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Just click the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information. Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

Many thanks.