British politics, a consensus of delusion

Every time the deputy Prime Minister Demonic, sorry, Dominic Raab appears on the telly I can’t help but think about one of those crime dramas in which an arrogant area sales manager with a terrible temper and a permanent smirk is spied on by his neighbours in the dead of night, pouring concrete for a new patio shortly after his put upon wife has just gone off ‘for a visit to her parents.’

It might be Raab’s political career which is shortly buried under a hastily built patio, as Rishi Sunak appears to be distancing himself from Raab, who is mired in multiple allegations of bullying and demeaning junior staff in various government departments. Earlier this week ‘Integrity’ Sunak insisted he was not aware of any complaints about Raab’s behaviour when he appointed Raab as deputy Prime Minister in October. A senior civil servant told the press that Raab “has zero self-awareness of what he’s doing, or the impact he is having on the civil servants who have to work with him.” This is a supremely arrogant man, who is both incompetent and inadequate, living off the wits of his subordinates, and making everyone’s life a misery with his furious insecurity. He seems like the kind of boss whose idea of staff motivation is to give them a wedgie and hold their head down the toilet, which may well be how he persuaded Rishi Sunak to give him a job.

However despite his previous denials it now transpires that Sunak was warned about concerns about Raab’s behaviour in his previous departments long before giving him a senior role in his government. Sunak has the same relationship to the truth as his predecessor Boris Johnson, a man whose lies and deceit Sunak was happy to enable for some years only moving against him when he thought he had a chance of taking the top job for himself and Sunak is seeking refuge in a weaselly definition of ‘formal complaint.’ Sunak was not aware of any ‘formal complaints’ against Raab even though he was warned that Raab was the Tory party version Biff Tannen from Back to the Future.

Sunak appointed Suella Braverman even though he knew that she had broken the ministerial code, he appointed Nadhim Zahawi even though he knew there were questions about Zahawi’s tax affairs. He appointed Gavin Williamson, another smirking area sales manager even though allegations about Williamson’s bullying ways were common knowledge on the Conservative benches. And he appointed Dominic Raab despite being warned of allegations about Raab’s behaviour, a man who as foreign secretary refused to return from holiday as the Taliban were approaching Kabul and who denied that he had been paddle boarding as Kabul fell, because he claimed, “The sea was closed.”

Yet Sunak does nothing because he is too weak to act, a hostage to the plotting factions who war with one another on the Conservative back benches. Meanwhile Johnson swans around as though he were still Prime Minister, biding his time until he can plunge a knife into Sunak’s back as Sunak did to him. This is why Sunak is so weak, so afraid to take action about the misbehaviour of his ministers. He is too afraid of gifting Johnson a powerful ally on the back benches.

So Sunak’s government drifts along rudderless and buffeted by one scandal after another, desperately clinging to power in the hope that something might turn up which can turn the Conservatives’ dire polling figures around.

When not refusing to do anything about the appalling behaviour of members of his government and then trying to assure us with all the self confidence of a business consultant whose power point presentation has unaccountably started to display images from the tractor porn pages of Porn Hub that he has acted decisively, Sunak spends his time making equally unconvincing declarations that Brexit has absolutely “nothing to do” with the UK’s ongoing cost-of-living crisis despite figures which show that the UK’s economic outlook is worse than that of similarly sized countries, countries which do not have the benefit of substantial domestic reserves of oil and gas.

However Sunak on Wednesday at PMQs Sunak insisted that the “number one cause” of the cost of living crisis was inflation created by the rise in energy prices as a result of the war in Ukraine, conveniently ignoring the fact that every other country in Europe is also affected by the war in Ukraine, many of them were considerably more dependent on Russian oil and gas than the UK was yet they still have lower inflation than the UK does. Germany’s inflation rate in January was 7.9%, the USA’s was 6.5%, France’s was 6.7%, Italy’s was 10.1%, all of which are lower than the 10.5% reported for the UK.

This week The International Monetary Fund reported that the UK economy will shrink and continue to perform worse than that of other advanced economies, even including Russia, as the cost of living continues to hit households,. The IMF said the economy will contract by 0.6% in 2023, rather than grow slightly as previously predicted, the main cause of this is British Government policy, which perpetuates the economic self-harm of Brexit and which protects the profiteering of the energy companies over protecting households from the rising cost of energy. There is money to invest in public services and in wages for public sector workers, but this government prefers to see it go offshore into the already bloated tax haven bank accounts of the obscenely wealthy. The truth is that the UK does not have a cost of living crisis, it has a cost of Tory crisis.

But then the Labour leader Keir Starmer is quite happy to give a free ride to Sunak over his Brexit denialism because Starmer is equally keen to pander to the pro-Brexit prejudices of voters in the Midlands and North of England. We are all being held hostage to that minority of the electorate which laps up the scare mongering nonsense of the right wing gutter press.

Demonic Raab will most likely be ousted sooner rather than later and another Conservative scandal will be along to take his place in the headlines. Meanwhile both Labour and the Tories will conspire to avoid blaming the B word for the ills which assail the British economy. The only consensus in British politics these days is a consensus of delusion. The Tories would rather burn the entire UK down as they cling to power than call an election and lose office with dignity. The only sane option for Scotland when an election finally comes is to use it to vote for independence.

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albarevisedMy Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to weegingerbook@yahoo.com (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).

I am now writing the daily newsletter for The National, published every day from Monday to Friday in the late afternoon.  So if you’d like a daily dose of dug you can subscribe to The National, Scotland’s only pro-independence newspaper, here: Subscriptions from The National

This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.

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Brexit : Three years on, lies, deceit and delusion

On Tuesday 31 January it was the third anniversary of the UK crashing out of the EU with Boris Johnson’s half baked and fundamentally dishonest Brexit deal. None of the much heralded Brexit benefits have materialised, there is still no sign of the advantageous trade deals that the rest of the world was supposedly poised to offer Britain. Instead of the reductions in food prices promised by the likes of Jacob Rees-Mogg, shoppers in British supermarkets are having to cope with a rise in the prices of food and beverages of 16.9% in the twelve months to December 2022. British citizens have lost their right to freedom of movement and no longer have an automatic right to work and settle in EU member states. instead of being waved through at border control upon arrival in an EU country British citizens must now have their documents inspected and must prove that they have a return ticket and funds to support themselves during a stay which cannot exceed 90 days in any period of 180 days. But hey! Blue passports! which aren’t blue, which are printed in France, and which the UK could have had all along if it had wanted.

Meanwhile the Tories are poised to abolish all the EU laws and legislation which remains in force in the UK, many of which ensure basic standards which guarantee consumer and employment rights.

Even many of those who voted for Brexit back in 2016 now regret the decision. Even the most delusional English nationalist is hard pressed to identify any sunlit uplands that the UK has arrived at thanks to Brexit despite the best efforts of G Beebies News to present a televisual equivalent of the anti-EU nonsense regularly published in the Daily Mail, the Express, and the Telegraph. When idly switching through channels recently I briefly alighted on G Beebies to see the presenter telling viewers that Britons had experienced a narrow escape because the EU had recently ‘introduced crickets into the food chain’. Despite the scaremongering of Nigel Farage who announced that he ‘didn’t want locusts for breakfast’ and called for a ‘proper Brexit,’ the EU is quite clear that no one is going to be forced to eat insects. The greater the harm that Brexit causes and the more elusive its benefits the more the likes of Farage and his right wing media enablers demand an even ‘purer’ and more extreme form of Brexit. It’s like having been crippled because you foolishly allowed Farage to batter your kneecaps with a hammer, he’s now insisting that you’ll be able to run a marathon in record time if only you give him a bigger hammer.

In fact the UK Food Standards Authority admitted that it had made a mistake in banning edible insects at the end of the Brexit transition period and transitional measures were made law allowing the legal sale in the UK of insects for human consumption until December 2023 after which companies selling insect products for human consumption can apply to the Food Standards Agency for a novel food authorisation. So crickets are already ‘part of the food chain’ in the UK.

But of course that doesn’t stop Brextremists in search of a non-existent threat that Brexit can supposedly save us from. They don’t have any real Brexit benefits to boast of so they have to make stuff up. This is how risibly pathetic they have become.

Ever since leaving the EU Britain has been mired in economic problems and political chaos. Public services are falling apart, industrial action spreads across many different sectors. ‘Take back control’ has translated into the real world as delivering chaos. Energy prices soaring puts the basic human dignity of being able to heat their home out of financial reach for many households, this in a country with an abundance of energy resources. Yet the priority for the government is to protect the bloated profits of the energy companies.

Last year we reached the current nadir when we had three Prime Ministers and four Chancellors of the Exchequer. But we cannot be sure that the Conservatives do not have further depths to plumb. Sunak’s administration lurches from one scandal to the next, in permanent crisis management mode. Despite the Conservatives having a current working majority of 67, Sunak’s grip on his fractured party and its warring factions is weak and tenuous. There is a very real possibility that he will lose control.

Scotland looks askance upon all of this. Scotland never voted for Brexit and opposition to it has only grown as the appalling magnitude of its catastrophic impact became apparent. Scotland has had no say at all on the form that Brexit has taken, every concern or suggestion from the Scottish Government was brushed aside without consideration. An opinion poll in August 2022 found that 72% of respondents in Scotland thought that Brexit was a mistake and 69% would vote to rejoin the EU if given a chance to do so, a chance that both Labour and the Conservatives are determined that they should not have. Indeed both the major British parties are partners in a conspiracy of silence not to mention the B word even as the negative effects of Brexit become harder and harder to ignore.

Heaping insult upon injury the Conservatives are hell bent on using the Brexit that Scotland did not vote for in order to undermine the devolution settlement that Scotland did vote for. The vision of a post Brexit centralised British nation state that the Conservatives are pursuing is incompatible with the devolution settlement and indeed with the concept of the UK as a voluntary union of different nations. naturally the Conservatives have no interest in seeking a mandate from the Scottish people to by pass the Scottish Parliament or to rewrite the foundations of this so-called union. They know that such a mandate would not be forthcoming so they just dispense with Scottish democracy, another casualty of Brexit along with economic and political stability and truth and accountability in British politics. It’s a sad and sorry story after three years. Brexit has delivered all the most dire predictions by Better Together of what would happen to Scotland if it voted for independence in 2014 only without a Scottish Parliament with the power to chart Scotland’s own path. Vote No for the best of both worlds they said, but they have given us the worst.

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albarevisedMy Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to weegingerbook@yahoo.com (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).

I am now writing the daily newsletter for The National, published every day from Monday to Friday in the late afternoon.  So if you’d like a daily dose of dug you can subscribe to The National, Scotland’s only pro-independence newspaper, here: Subscriptions from The National

This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.

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EU membership for Scotland, let’s do it the right way

The SNP constitution secretary Angus Robertson has suggested that a vote for Scottish independence should also count as a vote for Scotland to rejoin the European Union and that a second vote on EU membership would therefore not be required. He said that in a future vote the independence case would be “for Scottish independence within the European Union as a member state.”

This is, to put it bluntly, a terrible idea. For starters it’s a bad idea because the European Union has until now preferred to accept new members after the people of that country have clearly and unequivocally voted in favour of EU membership in a referendum which is specifically and unambiguously about joining the EU. That said, there is no absolute requirement for a referendum. Neither Bulgaria or Cyprus held an EU membership referendum, they applied to join the EU after general elections won by parties campaigning for EU membership. However it is certainly considered to be good democratic practice for countries to hold a referendum on EU membership.

By linking EU membership to an entirely separate issue, that of Scottish independence, the will of the people of Scotland to be a part of the European Union would remain open to question. The EU has already had its fingers burned with Brexit, it’s going to look with great suspicion on a former part of a state which left the EU seeking to rejoin when there remains any room for argument about whether its people clearly and without the slightest doubt wish to be a part of the European project. Bulgaria and Cyprus were both already independent countries. No country has ever sought independence on the basis of linking it to EU membership.

Scotland, as we learned during the first independence referendum campaign, found itself subject to a massive amount of scaremongering from opponents of independence who were eager to tell us that Scotland would not be allowed to join the EU. We were told that Spain or Belgium would veto Scottish membership, that Scotland was too poor, and despite the fact that none of these scare stories were true they gained massive traction in a British media which is overwhelmingly opposed to Scottish independence, their rebuttals struggled to get an airing.

We will see the exact same thing the second time around so it is therefore a huge tactical error to insist that Scotland could join the EU through an entirely novel and unprecedented process. It presents an enormous open goal for opponents of independence on a par with the sterling currency union the first time round, and the British nationalists and their allies will be queueing up to rubbish it. Indeed they have already started. Scotland in Union’s Pamela Nash has been quick to give some dismissive quotes to the Herald.

Indeed the proposal smacks of British exceptionalism, the very thing that Scottish independence seeks to escape from. Proposing that Scotland could have a unique and special route to EU membership is unlikely to endear the cause of Scottish independence to other European countries, the very countries whose support Scotland is going to need in order to put pressure on Westminster to negotiate independence following a victory for independence at the ballot box.

Personally I am keen for an independent Scotland to be a part of the EU, like millions of others in Scotland my European citizenship was stripped away without our consent or consultation by right wing English nationalists and I want it back. Most polls show that a clear majority of voters in Scotland support EU membership and believe that Brexit was a mistake. Incidentally, Scottish independence will categorically not strip British citizenship from those Scots who currently possess it and who wish to retain it. It is a false equivalence to equate Scottish independence with Brexit for this and for many other reasons.

However there are other things that I’d also like to see in an independent Scotland, for example I’d like an independent Scotland to divest itself of the anachronistic and anti-democratic clown show that is the Windsor dynasty and become a republic. But like membership of the EU, this is a question to be debated and decided by the people of Scotland once the fact of Scottish independence and an independent Scottish state has been established. Otherwise we run the risk of alienating voters who are open to the idea of Scottish independence but who quite like the idea of a Scottish monarch – after all Scotland was a monarchy throughout its centuries long existence as an independent state – or those who would prefer an independent Scotland to remain outwith the European Union but perhaps with a closer trading relationship than that offered by the Brextremist zealots of the Conservative party of Keir Starmer’s Labour.

Such voters could well be put off from voting in favour of independence if they thought that their vote for independence was also going to be tied to something that they opposed. Although recent polls point to a pro-independence majority they do not suggest that there is a large enough margin of support for independence that we can afford to do without any pro-independence constituency, no matter how small it may be. Frankly it is sheer idiocy not to try and maximise the pro-independence vote, Angus Robertson’s proposal makes a vote for independence simultaneously a vote for something else entirely. This not only risks paring away potential independence supporters, it also prevents Scotland from having a clear and unambiguous debate about joining the European Union, something which is vital in the interests of democracy.

It is absolutely not a terrible idea for the Scottish Government to state that one of the primary purposes of independence is to reopen the possibility of EU membership for Scotland, that door into a real union is firmly closed as long as Scotland remains a part of this British lie-union. But the decision that the people of Scotland are going to make cannot be preempted. The first General Election following Scottish independence can be fought on the basis of giving the Scottish government a mandate to open accession negotiations with Brussels, and in that vote I will strongly advocate EU membership because in my view it is unquestionably the right thing for Scotland. However there is no need to jump the gun and in the process potentially damage our chances of securing independence, without which we will never be able to rejoin the EU.

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albarevisedMy Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to weegingerbook@yahoo.com (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).

I am now writing the daily newsletter for The National, published every day from Monday to Friday in the late afternoon.  So if you’d like a daily dose of dug you can subscribe to The National, Scotland’s only pro-independence newspaper, here: Subscriptions from The National

This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.

You can help to support this blog with a PayPal donation. Please log into Paypal.com and send a payment to the email address weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Or alternatively click the donate button below. If you don’t have a PayPal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.

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Holyrood’s death by a thousand Tory cuts

In a recent interview with the News Agents podcast, the First Minister said that she is no longer 100% certain that the Conservatives would not attempt to abolish the Scottish Parliament. Even a few months ago this would have been an unthinkable possibility, but given the blatantly anti-democratic behaviour of the Conservatives over recent months with concerted attempts by the Conservatives both at Westminster and at Holyrood to delegitimise and undermine the Scottish Parliament, it now seems clear that the Conservatives would abolish the devolution settlement if they thought that they could get away with it. Combined with a Labour party which pays only lip service to challenging the Conservatives’ attacks on the powers of Holyrood, we are perilously close to the political situation where the Conservatives might think that the political damage caused to them by the abolition of the devolution settlement is outweighed by the advantages of concentrating all power at Westminster, which in practical terms means in the hands of whoever happens to occupy Ten Downing Street.

The only thing preventing the Conservatives from a head on assault on Holyrood, and the devolution settlement in general is their fear of the political consequences in England. They have given up on Scotland, even though they cannot admit it, but they know that there are few votes to be had for them in Scotland, certainly not enough to help them to victory at the next General Election. What they are afraid of is Labour weaponising a Conservative attempt to abolish the devolution settlement in order to portray the Conservatives as a danger to British unity and to the national interest.

However, perhaps even more salient in their thinking is that they are also afraid that an overt attempt on their part to abolish the devolution settlement without any mandate to do so from Scotland or Wales would put turbo boosters under the demand for independence, something that they cannot afford to risk as long as Scottish independence and the possibility of another independence referendum remain live electoral issues. Even BBC Scotland would have a hard time explaining away or minimising the impact of a return to the direct Conservative rule of the 1980s and 1990s. If Scotland is foolish enough to vote against independence in another independence referendum, then the Conservatives would not hesitate to abolish Holyrood or at least to introduce measures to turn it into a toothless talking shop, because under those circumstances they could do so with limited political damage to themselves.

To be clear, the First Minister still does not believe that the Conservatives would go so far as to abolish the devolution settlement outright. The reality is that they can achieve their Anglo-British nationalist centralising goals by other, less direct means. You don’t pick a fight that is going to cause you significant harm even if you know you are going to win in the end if you also know that you can achieve all or most of the same goals by other less overt and more underhand means which do no come with the same cost to you.

The Conservatives are venal, politically short-sighted, and deeply hypocritical, but they are not entirely stupid, at least not all of them, and they know that they can achieve most of their aims by less overt means which can be provided with political explanations which will not attract the attention or anger of a Scottish media which is already overwhelmingly disposed to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Instead what is more likely to happen is that we will see further incremental attacks on the devolution settlement and a gradual chipping away of the powers of the devolved parliaments combined with more measures allowing Westminster to intervene directly on devolved matters, by-passing the Scottish and Welsh Parliaments like those we have already seen. This would give the Conservatives political cover and allow the likes of Michael Gove to assert that the Tories are really ‘augmenting’ devolution, a claim which the supine Scottish media will allow to pass unchallenged no matter how risible it really is.

Should the Conservatives successfully normalise the use of a section 35 order, which they have employed in order to veto the Gender Recognition Bill passed by a cross party majority at Holyrood, we will find that future Labour governments are just as ready as the Conservatives to employ this measure in order to ensure compliance on the part of the devolved parliaments and we will be in a position where Holyrood will self-censor and be reluctant to pass any legislation which has not met with the prior approval of the British Government or find itself under attack from Scotland’s overwhelmingly anti-independence media for ‘grievance politics’ and ‘picking fights with Westminster’. The fundamental basis of the devolution settlement will have been negated, and the Conservatives will have achieved most of their key aim with only very limited political damage to themselves.

Those independence supporters who warn that the Conservatives are poised to abolish the Scottish Parliament are missing the real Conservative strategy. The Tories do not need to abolish Holyrood when they can get away with what the First Minister calls their “concerted effort to undermine, delegitimise and remove powers from this parliament.” That is what the Conservatives have been doing since the EU referendum of 2016, and they will intensify those efforts in the months and years ahead.

Labour will not resist these gradual attacks and the incremental political erosion of the powers of the Scottish Parliament because Starmer knows that if the Conservatives are successful in getting away with them it increases his own room for manoeuvre once he gets himself into Number Ten. Spending political capital to ‘defend the Scots’ which merely damages Labour’s standing among those English nationalist Brexit supporting voters whom Labour strategists have identified as the key constituency which Starmer must win over in order to ensure a Labour victory at the next General Election.

It remains highly unlikely that short of a resounding defeat for independence in a future independence referendum – de facto or otherwise – the Conservatives will move to pass legislation to abolish the Scottish Parliament outright, instead Holyrood and the powers of the Scottish Parliament will be subjected to a long slow and lingering death by a thousand cuts.

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albarevisedMy Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to weegingerbook@yahoo.com (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).

I am now writing the daily newsletter for The National, published every day from Monday to Friday in the late afternoon.  So if you’d like a daily dose of dug you can subscribe to The National, Scotland’s only pro-independence newspaper, here: Subscriptions from The National

This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.

You can help to support this blog with a PayPal donation. Please log into Paypal.com and send a payment to the email address weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Or alternatively click the donate button below. If you don’t have a PayPal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.

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Coronation sicken

The beginning of May would be a very good time to escape the country, if you can afford to seeing as how the energy price cap comes to an end in April and millions of households will be struggling to afford their gas and electricity bills, a Westminster created utter disgrace in a country such as Scotland which produces several times more in energy than it requires for domestic consumption.

King Charles #NotMySpaniel has displayed the Windsors’ unerring inability to read the room by refusing to settle for a pared back coronation. Not at all, this immensely vain and self regarding man wants the whole show with all the bells, whistles, equerries, brocaded trumpeters, massed ranks of ermine clad lords, RAF fly-pasts, and mounted cavalry in highly polished breast plates that public money can buy, all so he can sit on a gilded throne while an arch-bishop plonks a jewel encrusted hat on the head of a plonker, a head filled with nothing but an over-weening self-importance.

The Coronation will stretch over three days in early May with the actual jewelled hat plonking taking place on 6 May. The costs of this exercise in gilded self-indulgence will run into the many tens of millions, some estimates put the cost at as much as £100 million, and this at a time when we are told that there is not enough money to pay nurses a living wage that means they do not have to rely on food banks in order to ensure that their kids have enough to eat and public service workers across many sectors are being driven to take industrial action.

Although the Coronation celebrations are scheduled to take place over three days, they will be preceded by weeks of interminable hype on the BBC as BBC  and Sky presenters desperately seek to shoe horn coronation references into every news report, story, and light entertainment show with obligatory vox pop pieces asking random passers by how excited they are about the coronation on a scale from Wheeeeee! to wetting themselves. And of course there will be the traditional tonguing of the royal arse from the BBC’s resident monarchical oleaginst, Nicholas Witchell. After all, no royal event in the UK would be complete without switching off the telly in disgust because that insufferable man is sliming over the TV screen again.

The big coronation blow out comes less than a year after millions of pounds of public money were spent on the Queen’s four-day Platinum Jubilee, and will be just 42 days before yet another pointless show of royal pomp and circumstance for the monarch’s annual birthday parade, Trooping the Colour – Charles’s first – in June. The UK Government acknowledges that it set aside £28 million of public money to cover the cost of the Platinum Jubilee, the real cost was certainly far higher. The forecast costs of the coronation do not include the money that will have to be spent to keep Prince Andrew out of public view for the duration of the proceedings. Neither does it include the economic impact of closing down the entire country for three days in order to sing the praises of a man who doesn’t give a thought for the impact of his privilege on everyone else.

Just last week trains to Ayr from my local station were cancelled all morning because Charlie’s diesel guzzling private train was occupying a platform at Ayr station for several hours because he, Camilla, and their retinue of valets, toothpaste squeezers, underlings, lackeys, and fnaugh-fnaughing aristocratic hangers on were on a jolly to Dumfries House, a property funded by public money and various heritage charities (£5 million of which was contributed by the Scottish Government) which Charles treats as a private residence for himself and his huntin’ shootin’ and fishin’ friends. It’s safe to assume that the disruption and inconvenience he caused to local people did not register with him.

There were initial reports that Buckingham Palace was going to opt for a pared back coronation in order to appear sensitive to the difficulties struggling households face. But then after consultations with the Spaniel and his lackeys it was decided who cares about being sensitive to the poors. No, said the Spaniel, let’s go for the full fat flummery. That’s the message we want to send here. Apparently the coronation is seen as an invaluable opportunity to sell Britain to the world, because it seems that the world is desperately wanting to buy Ruritarian pageantry, clueless entitlement, and tone deaf symbols of privilege. This is what passes for advertising the UK these days. It raises the obvious question, if this is what they are advertising, just who do they think they are selling to?

The expensive ceremony is not a constitutional requirement. Charles is already king, He automatically became king the moment that his mother passed away on 8 September last year. The constitutional niceties were taken care of when he was officially proclaimed king on 10 September when the Accession Council , consisting of members of the Privy Council, gathered at St James’s Palace in London in order to make a formal proclamation of Charles as the new monarch. The Clerk to the council read out the Accession Proclamation and Charles swore an oath to uphold the independence of the Church of Scotland, and that was the Constitutional requirements taken care of. The Coronation is not necessary. The Nazi sympathising Edward VIII was king from 20 January 1936 until his abdication on 11 December 1936 even though he never had a coronation. This year’s coronation is merely a sop to the vast ego of an immensely privileged and entitled man. It’s Let Them Eat Coronation Chicken, or whatever other culinary monstrosity is invented in an attempt to manufacture public engagement with the event and to distract from the fact that this is coronation sicken for many many more of us than the BBC cares to acknowledge.

The majority of contemporary European monarchies today have either long since abandoned coronation ceremonies or have never had them in the first place. Only the British monarch still insists on a coronation ceremony. Yet the coronation ceremony is not even, as it is presented, a hoary centuries old tradition. Most of the modern ceremony was invented in 1902 for the coronation of Edward VII, another vain and insecure adulterer who had spent decades in his mother’s shadow and who demanded all the flummery and toadying that the British state could muster in order to further inflate his already bloated ego.

It’s a ceremony which encapsulates all that is wrong with modern Britain, the deference it pays to the obscenely rich, the exceptionalism, the lack of concern for the problems of ordinary people struggling to make ends meet, the celebration of feudalism and the democratic deficit. If this is selling the UK, Scotland is certainly not buying it.

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albarevisedMy Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to weegingerbook@yahoo.com (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).

I am now writing the daily newsletter for The National, published every day from Monday to Friday in the late afternoon.  So if you’d like a daily dose of dug you can subscribe to The National, Scotland’s only pro-independence newspaper, here: Subscriptions from The National

This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.

You can help to support this blog with a PayPal donation. Please log into Paypal.com and send a payment to the email address weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Or alternatively click the donate button below. If you don’t have a PayPal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.

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Winning a de facto referendum is within our grasp

A major new poll for The National has found that a clear majority of voters would back pro-independence parties if the next UK General Election were to be used as a de facto independence referendum. In such a scenario total of 54.4% of voters would give their votes to either the SNP, the Scottish Greens, or Alba, bringing about a reversal of the 2014 independence referendum result, described at the time by the BBC as ‘decisive’.

I do not propose to rehash the arguments for engineering an early Holyrood election versus using a UK General Election as a de facto referendum, both options have their advantages and disadvantages, as I have already detailed at some length here : https://weegingerdug.wordpress.com/2022/11/29/holyrood-election-vs-uk-general-election-as-de-facto-referendum-the-pros-and-cons/

What this poll demonstrates is that using a UK General Election as a de facto referendum could be a winning strategy. The poll does not seem to ask about voting intention in an early Holyrood election fought as a de facto referendum, so it’s not possible to pass comment on whether that would win a majority for independence. The option of engineering an early Holyrood election is not amongst those being voted upon by SNP members at the party’s special conference in March, and so it is vanishingly unlikely to happen, no matter how much its advocates might wish it were otherwise.

The strategy being put to the SNP conference sees a three pronged attack on Westminster intransigence. Firstly to use the next UK General Election as a de facto independence referendum, should the SNP together with any other parties standing on a platform for independence win a majority of votes cast, this will be regarded as a mandate for independence and for the Scottish Government to open negotiations with Westminster to secure independence. Secondly, if the threshold of an absolute majority of votes cast is not met, but the SNP wins the election in terms of being the party with most seats and greatest vote share, this will be taken as a mandate for another independence referendum and the Scottish Government and the SNP will seek a transfer of powers to Holyrood in order to bring about the referendum. Thirdly, if Westminster continues to ignore Scottish democracy and refuses to facilitate another independence referendum, then the next scheduled Holyrood election will become a de facto independence referendum.

The significance of today’s poll is that it demonstrates that achieving a majority of votes cast for the pro independence parties at the next UK General Election may not be the insurmountable hurdle that some have feared. The poll found that the SNP alone could surpass the 50% threshold with 52% of votes cast, if replicated at a General Election this could see the SNP sweep the board.

The Conservatives poll especially badly in this poll, losing votes to both Labour and the frothing English nationalists of the Reform party and polling an embarrassing 12%. The Conservatives are looking at the very real possibility of a repeat of the UK General Election of 1997, when they were annihilated in Scotland and lost every one of their Scottish MPs. Indeed the Tories could be left to deal with even greater humiliation. In 1997 they polled 17.5% of votes cast in Scotland. This poll suggests that they will be lucky to come close to that next time round. They could be in for an electoral oblivion that would see the end of the Conservatives as a significant political force in Scotland for decades to come. It’s a punishment which would be richly deserved for a party which has treated Scotland and Scottish democracy with the utmost contempt and which has systematically trashed every promise and commitment which it made to the people of Scotland in 2014 in order to win that year’s independence referendum even as it hypocritically demands that the SNP ‘respects’ the result of the referendum, presumably by not asking the people of Scotland if they believe that the Better Together parties have fulfilled their end of the bargain that they struck with the electorate of Scotland.

It’s not democracy that the Conservatives want, it’s a permanent get out of jail free card. It’s up to all of us to ensure that they don’t get one. Although this opinion poll is very encouraging, the independence movement needs to cease its internal arguments about process, which do absolutely nothing to persuade undecided voters and soft noes why they should support democracy in Scotland. Democracy in this country can can only be secured by supporting independence.

After the SNP special conference in March the process will be clear, the focus must then be on co-ordinating efforts in order to maximise the pro-independence vote in the face of a largely hostile media. So it is welcome that senior figures in the SNP such as veteran MP Pete Wishart are calling for a cross movement and cross party Independence Convention to mobilise and co-ordinate the grass roots campaign and to establish a campaign headquarters and structure which will involve all pro independence political parties prepared to contest the General Election as a de facto independence referendum. This body, says Wishart, “Must be inclusive, consensual and community based.”

There remains a huge amount of work to do, but this is a very positive development. It would help to ensure that all pro independence parties and organisations are working toward the common goal of winning a mandate from the people of Scotland for independence even as they maintain their individual identities and points of view. If nothing else it could help bring about an end to the counter productive sniping which sees certain supposedly pro independence activists and groups devote the majority of their time and efforts to attacking others within the independence movement for ‘doing independence wrong.’  Instead we should be trying to reach out from within the confines of those who are convinced Yes voters in order to make arguments that can persuade those vital undecideds and soft No voters to support independence. The real enemies of independence are not other independence supporters, they are the Conservatives and their allies. It’s high time we took the fight to them.

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albarevisedMy Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to weegingerbook@yahoo.com (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).

I am now writing the daily newsletter for The National, published every day from Monday to Friday in the late afternoon.  So if you’d like a daily dose of dug you can subscribe to The National, Scotland’s only pro-independence newspaper, here: Subscriptions from The National

This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.

You can help to support this blog with a PayPal donation. Please log into Paypal.com and send a payment to the email address weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Or alternatively click the donate button below. If you don’t have a PayPal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.

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The Twilight Zone

Alister Jack has spent the past week or so refusing to explain his reasons for blowing up the devolution settlement by making unprecedented use of a section 35 order to veto the Gender Recognition Reform Bill passed by the Scottish Parliament after extensive debate and consultation and with cross-party support. As Shona Robison the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government pointed out in a Letter to the Scotland Secretary : “Using the Section 35 power to impose a veto on the Bill when already passed by the Scottish Parliament, after ignoring every opportunity to raise these issues or seek changes to the Bill over several years, demonstrates complete disregard for devolution, and flies in the face of the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding between our Governments which states that these powers should be seen ‘very much as a matter of last resort’.”

Jack insists that the person responsible for explaining how the bill supposedly impinges upon the operation of the UK Equalities Act should be the UK (in)equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch who is so far out on the right wing of the Conservative party that she makes Suella Braverman seem like one of those student activists who glues themselves to the carriageway of the M25 in order to protest about how greedy and irresponsible capitalism is destroying the planet.

Badenoch, whose concept of equality appears to begin and end with the notion that corporations should be free to exploit everyone equally, is the equalities minister who mocked LGBT rights, questioned equal marriage, and misgendered trans people in a bizarre rant recorded in 2018, a year after she was elected as an MP. Despite this, or more likely because of it, the Tories saw fit to give her a seat in the cabinet as the Equalities Minister. Of course the real reason Badenoch has been given a position of power and responsibility is because Sunak needed to shore up his support on the frothing extreme right of his increasingly fascistoid party. However there is one way in which Badenoch is entirely mainstream within the Conservative party, she doesn’t believe that the British Government needs to be held accountable for , or even explain its actions any more than Sunak or Jack do.

Entirely predictably, Badenoch has joined Jack in declining an invitation to appear before the Holyrood Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee in order to explain why the British Government believes that the Scottish GRR bill is such an egregious breach of UK Equalities legislation that it has simply vetoed it without bothering to refer it to the UK Supreme Court for a definitive legal ruling on the matter, which assuming that the British Government’s view was upheld would at least give legislators some clarity on which aspects of the bill need to be altered in order to ensure that the bill does not conflict with UK legislation and could thus pass into law.

We are now in the same impossible place with the Gender Recognition Reform bill as we already were with the democratic route to another independence referendum. The Tories insist that this remains a voluntary union but refuse to say what the democratic route to another referendum is, equally the Tories insist that the Scottish Parliament can make changes to the Gender Recognition Reform bill in order to ensure that it does not impinge upon the operation of reserved legislation, but they refuse to say what those changes might be. This is no longer about the narrow issue of the GRR bill. The Conservatives have trapped the Scottish Parliament and the devolution settlement in a bizarre Twilight Zone where Scottish democracy exists only as a shadow which has no substance.

This is highlighted by one of Jack’s stated objections to the Scottish Bill, his belief that it is impossible to have two different systems in operation in ‘one country’, yet this a contradiction of a principle which is fundamental to the very existence of devolution. If it is not possible for Scotland to implement policies and procedures which differ from those in force in the rest of the UK then not only the devolution settlement but the very existence of Scots law and Scotland itself as a nation and country are at risk of being deemed incompatible with the conception of the Anglo-British nationalists of the United Kingdom as ‘one country’ and as a unitary state.

As Shona Robison pointed out in her letter :”This unprecedented intervention represents an attack on the democratically elected Scottish Parliament and its ability to make decisions on devolved matters.” If the Conservatives will not even permit the Scottish Parliament to pass legislation relating to devolved matters, nothing that the Scottish Parliament does is safe, nothing in the devolution settlement is safe, and nothing guaranteed by the Treaty of Union itself is safe.

We have come a long long way indeed from the fine promises made by Better Together in 2014, promises which the Conservatives signed up to along with Labour and the Lib Dems. That would be the same Conservative party which screams that the SNP must respect the 2014 referendum even as it trashes all the commitments that it made in order to win that referendum for the No side. If the Conservatives had been honest in 2014 and told the people of Scotland that if Scotland voted No then the Tories would take us out of the EU and abolish freedom of movement, that they would preside over a law breaking government mired in sleaze and corruption, that they would then would veto legislation relating to devolved matters and would deny any democratic route to Scottish self-determination, the outcome of that year’s referendum is likely to have been very different.

Yet had the result indeed gone the other way, the Tories would have refused to respect the democratic verdict of the people just as they are currently refusing to accept the democratic verdict of the people in the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections when they voted for a parliament with a pro-independence majority in the full expectation that this would bring about another independence referendum. The Tories only respect democracy when it gives them a result that they are willing to accept and when it does not, they will veto it and then refuse to explain themselves.

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albarevisedMy Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to weegingerbook@yahoo.com (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).

I am now writing the daily newsletter for The National, published every day from Monday to Friday in the late afternoon.  So if you’d like a daily dose of dug you can subscribe to The National, Scotland’s only pro-independence newspaper, here: Subscriptions from The National

This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.

You can help to support this blog with a PayPal donation. Please log into Paypal.com and send a payment to the email address weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Or alternatively click the donate button below. If you don’t have a PayPal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.

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The Trojan horse

Alister Jack, the Viceroy of the Province of North Britain, has compounded his contempt for the Scottish Parliament by refusing to appear before a Holyrood committee to explain his reasons for his unprecedented use of a section 35 order to veto a Holyrood bill relating to devolved matters which was passed by a large and cross-party majority of MSPs, on the supposed grounds, vigorously disputed by the Scottish Government, that the bill has a serious impact on the implementation of the UK Equalities Act.

“That’s not my job,” said Jack imperiously when asked why he would not attend the Holyrood committee on Monday. He then went even further by declining an invitation to appear on the BBC Scotland Sunday Show as the mild questioning he’d receive there would be too much of an insult to his aristocratic haughtiness. In Jack’s patrician view his job is to give orders to the Caledonian peasantry, while they beat grouse for him. Jack belonging to that rarified upper class who employ grice beaters. He is certain far too lofty to explain himself to them, and it is unthinkable that he should be held to account by them. As far as he is concerned that would be like the under-butler in Downton Abbey demanding to know why he has been ordered to polish the silverware and threatening to lay down the silver polish if a cogent explanation is not forthcoming. It’s not an explanation Jack thinks he should give, it’s a jolly good thrashing.

Meanwhile Kemi Badenoch, the UK Government Equalities Minister, has so far not deigned to reply to an invitation from the Scottish Parliament to discuss with Holyrood possible ways forward on the GRR Bill. This follows Alister Jack’s refusal to engage on the matter, saying it is her responsibility, not his. The truth is that the Conservatives despise devolution, despise the Scottish Parliament, despise the democratic choices of a Scottish electorate which consistently rejects them, and they are determined to undo what they regard as a huge mistake made by the Blair administration and to put devolution into reverse.

The power of the Scotland Secretary to veto any Holyrood legislation was always contained within the devolution settlement. It was put there by a Labour party in order to placate Labour MPs who feared that Holyrood might challenge the supremacy of Westminster. It was a ‘get back in your box’ clause, designed to assert the subordinate position of the Scottish Parliament and its inclusion in the Scotland Act was defended by Donald Dewar.

At the time it was inserted into the Scotland Act by Blair and his ministers, it was described by the Conservative Michael Ancram, then the Conservatives’ Constitutional Affairs spokesman, as ‘the Governor-General clause’ and ‘the veto clause.’ Ancram predicted that its use could lead to serious confrontation between Holyrood and Westminster. The option of the Section 35 order has never been used until now in the 35 year history of devolution. It was very much seen as the ‘nuclear option’, only to be employed in extremis and where all other interventions had failed. In a 2012 memorandum of understanding between the British Government of David Cameron and the devolved governments the option of a Section 35 order was referred to in the following terms :

“Although the UK Government is prepared to use these powers if necessary, it sees them very much as a matter of last resort. If formal intervention should become necessary, the UK Government will whenever practicable inform the devolved administration of its intentions in sufficient time to enable that administration to make any representations it wishes, or take any remedial action.” See https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/316157/MoU_between_the_UK_and_the_Devolved_Administrations.pdf

What is striking about Jack’s taboo shattering use of the Section 35 order to prevent the Scottish Gender Recognition Reform Bill from passing into law is that it was very far from the last resort. During the consultation period before the bill was voted on by MSPs, and in the weeks and months prior to that final vote and indeed during the three day long debate on the bill, the Conservative government had ample opportunity to inform the Scottish Parliament of its belief that the bill as it stood had a serious impact on the Equalities Act passed by Westminster and of its intention to challenge the bill. It did not do so. The British Government has made no representations to Holyrood on how the Scottish bill could be altered in order to ensure that it conforms with UK legislation.

Neither did the Conservative Government make use of the mechanisms it has previously employed to challenge Scottish legislation which it believes to impinge upon reserved matters such as it did when Holyrood passed a bill to incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into Scottish law. Westminster exercised its right to refer the legislation to the UK Supreme Court, which ultimately found in favour of the UK Government.

The thing about political taboos is that they are only taboos as long as the taboo is respected. Until now the use of a Section 35 order to veto Holyrood legislation has been the great taboo in the devolution settlement. However the moment that the Conservatives break the taboo and get away with it, a Section 35 order becomes merely another instrument at the disposal of the Westminster Conservatives for whipping the Scottish Parliament into line and forcing even legislation on devolved matters to comply with the wishes of an English nationalist political party which has been unable to win at the ballot box in Scotland for generations. It negates the very reason and purpose of devolution.

Future battles between Holyrood and Westminster lie ahead. Having used this power once, the Conservatives will use it again and again in order to ensure that Holyrood complies with the Conservatives’ wanton destruction of those European rights and protections which still remain a part of law in the UK, even those relating to devolved matters. This year the Conservatives plan a bonfire of European legislation, much of which relates to devolved matters. Their use of this emotive and controversial issue is a Trojan horse, the Conservatives hope that the highly vocal opposition to the Gender Recognition Reform Bill will help them to get away with this blatant assault on the Scottish Parliament, thus normalising the use of the section 35 order power and facilitating its further use in the future, enabling them to ensure Scotland complies with their right wing English nationalist Brexit.

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albarevisedMy Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to weegingerbook@yahoo.com (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).

I am now writing the daily newsletter for The National, published every day from Monday to Friday in the late afternoon.  So if you’d like a daily dose of dug you can subscribe to The National, Scotland’s only pro-independence newspaper, here: Subscriptions from The National

This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.

You can help to support this blog with a PayPal donation. Please log into Paypal.com and send a payment to the email address weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Or alternatively click the donate button below. If you don’t have a PayPal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.

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Prime Minister’s Quarrelling

There’s pointlessness, and then there’s Prime Minister’s Question, where democracy goes to kill itself, who needs to stare aimlessly at peeling wallpaper when every week we are confronted with this joyless exercise in futility. There may once have been a time when the Prime Minister gave a serious and informative response put to him or her by the leader of an opposition party, but that time has long gone. In recent years the last several Conservative Prime Ministers have ceased even to pretend to give an answer to the questions put to them, treating them instead as opportunities to deliver rehearsed and deeply unfunny put downs. You’d have more luck scratching your right elbow with your right hand than in getting Rish! Sunak, the current resident stand up non-comedian of PMQs to give a sensible response to the questions he is asked. It’s supposed to be Prime Minister’s Questions, not Prime Minister’s Quarrelling. There are arguments on primary school playgrounds which are wittier and more informed than the yah boo sucks to you which passes for an answer from the Prime Minister at PMQs.

The truly shocking thing about this weekly farce is that the Speaker routinely enables this naked contempt of one of the very few methods that Westminster allows MPs to interrogate the holder of an office to whom the British parliamentary system gives almost unlimited power. This is proof that the Westminster system is utterly dysfunctional and incapable of holding the powerful to account. Indeed it’s not going too far to say that the entire purpose of the Westminster system is to ensure that the powerful cannot be held to account. It provides the trappings of democracy, but little of the substance.

The current incumbent of 10 Downing Street has no personal mandate, he has not won an election, not even an election carried out amongst members of his own party. He holds office on the sufferance of his backbench MPs only because their dislike of the idea of another General Election is greater than their dislike of Rishi Sunak – at least for the time being.

Sunak is a bizarre mash up of the previous four Conservative Prime Ministers, Like David Cameron he’s rich, immensely privileged and woefully out of touch with the lives of ordinary people, like Boris Johnson he trades in deceit and duplicity, like Theresa May he’s robotic and wooden, an empathy free zone, and like Liz Truss he’s hopelessly out of his depth and a puppet of his party’s most extremist factions.

Tory MPs shouting, screaming and braying while the Labour leader details what the Conservatives have done to the ambulance service in England is not a good look, but it is completely in keeping with the selfish, uncaring, cruel, heinous, ugly selfish bastards they are.

Scotland has its problems with the NHS too, but ambulance response times in Scotland are nowhere near as bad as they are in England. This is a topic about which I have deep personal experience. When a person suffers a stroke it is imperative to get them to a hospital as soon as possible so that they can have a scan and the cause of the stroke be determined. If the stroke was caused by a blood clot – as mine was – the patient can be injected with a clot busting drug which will prevent further damage to the brain. If the stroke was caused by a bleed, they can then be given medication to rapidly coagulate the blood and thus prevent further damage to the brain.

The treatment for one type of stroke is damaging to a patient who has suffered the other kind of stroke. Crucially there is only a narrow time window in which patients can be given the appropriate treatment. If this time window is missed the brain tissue affected by the stroke dies and brain damage is the result. This is why it is imperative to get stroke patients to hospital as soon as possible. Ambulance service guidelines state that patient who have suffered a suspected stroke should be got to hospital within 18 minutes.

I know from bitter experience what happens when this target is not met. I had a stroke during the worst period of the pandemic in 2020 before there were any vaccines. Ambulance crews were short staffed as many health workers were themselves ill with covid, those still at work had to cope with a flood of covid patients struggling to breath and in need of urgent medical care. It took over an hour before I was got to hospital and the cause of my stroke determined, by this time it was far too late to inject me with clot busting drugs and I was left with significant brain damage which has caused disabilities which will be life long and which are serious enough that I was awarded the maximum possible in disability benefit. If It had been possible to get me medical treatment within 18 minutes, I might not have been left with the significant disabilities which now rule almost every aspect of my life.

This week in England in some areas it is taking ambulance crews two hours or more to reach patients who have suffered a stroke. These patients, if they survive, will suffer far more serious disabilities than they otherwise would have. They will require greater rehabilitation resources, higher levels of disability benefit, more in the way of community and social support, all of which imposes a far greater burden on the public purse, not to mention the immense emotional and psychological toll that coming to terms with a serious disability imposes on patients and their loved ones.

But when Starmer asked Sunak a simple question about ambulance response times in England, an issue which has been highlighted all week and which Sunak should have expected, the Prime Minister looked utterly clueless while the monkeys on the Tory benches behind him hooted and howled and threw metaphorical poo. Finally Sunak replied with a cheap jibe about the Labour party, who have not been in power for 13 years. I almost burst a blood vessel and had another stroke.

Then it was the turn of the SNP leader Stephen Flynn to be patronised and fobbed off. Stephen Flynn put it to Sunak that by using a Section 35 Order to block Scottish legislation democracy in Scotland has become collateral damage as the Tories pursue their culture war. He accused Sunak of creeping toward a policy of direct rule. There was more dismissive point scoring from Sunak, at which point I switched off. I only wish that Scotland switches off from Westminster permanently.

I have a physiotherapy appointment tomorrow to help me with my persistent muscle cramps, so I won’t be about. The next new blog piece will be on Monday.

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albarevisedMy Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to weegingerbook@yahoo.com (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).

I am now writing the daily newsletter for The National, published every day from Monday to Friday in the late afternoon.  So if you’d like a daily dose of dug you can subscribe to The National, Scotland’s only pro-independence newspaper, here: Subscriptions from The National

This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.

You can help to support this blog with a PayPal donation. Please log into Paypal.com and send a payment to the email address weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Or alternatively click the donate button below. If you don’t have a PayPal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.

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Nap time with Alister Jack

The cluelessness of the Conservative Governor General of the colony of Scotlandshire never ceases to amaze. Alister Jack takes arrogant patrician ignorance to such depths that by comparison he makes the self regarding contestants on Love Island seem like professors of moral philosophy debating why if there is indeed a loving god he allows so much suffering to take place, or indeed why he has seen fit to place Alister Jack in a position of power and responsibility over a supposedly democratic harmless small country which has not voted for Jack’s party for a decade before Jack was born.

On Tuesday Jack gave a statement to the House of Commons about his reasons for invoking Section 35 of the Scotland Act in order to prevent the Scottish Gender Recognition Bill from receiving Royal Assent. He began by stating that he would rather not be in this position and as the debate went on that became abundantly clear. Jack was clearly longing for his peerage so that he could recline on the benches of the House of Lords and have a nice wee nap. He repeatedly failed to answer any questions about his actions or about the effects of the bill from increasingly irate MPs. Instead he spent his time humming and hawing, emming and ahing his way through the session. This is a man who would be out of his depth in a damp patch.

It was soon abundantly clear that he understands nothing about the subject that he had chosen to weaponise in order to attack the Scottish Parliament and the devolution settlement. When asked by SNP MP Kirsty Blackman what a Gender Recognition Certificate is and what it does he stammered away for a bit before triumphantly answering a different question entirely. This was of course just fine with Lindsey Hoyle, the speaker of the House, and that is why the House of Commons is a joke which is unable to hold the British Government to account. A functioning democracy would be nice, but Scotland won’t ever get it as long as it remains under Westminster’s corrupt and unaccountable rule.

Jack doesn’t even know what a Gender Recognition Certificate does but he still thinks it’s so important that he has used it as an excuse to blow up the devolution settlement and create a major constitutional crisis. He was equally unable to explain exactly which parts of the Equality Act are changed by this Bill, or why the existing Gender Recognition Certificates do not clash with the Equalities Act but the new ones would, even though they have exactly the same purpose and effect. All that is changing is a simplification of the process by which the certificates are obtained by transgender people, the certificates themselves and their legal effects remain exactly the same. It was lucky for him that no one asked him why the British Government recognises and accepts gender recognition certificates from eighteen other countries which have self-ID for transgender people but it cannot accept Scottish ones, because what passes for his brain would most likely have exploded.

Kemi Badenoch, the far right Conservative Minister for Inequalities who manages to make Suella Braverman seem moderate, announced on Tuesday that the British Government plans to ‘revise’ the list of countries whose gender recognition certificates it accepts, a clear attempt to provide some retrospective cover to the decision to invoke a Section 35 order against Holyrood. But it was too late to save Jack’s blushes. Although of course Jack would never have blushed anyway as he is without shame.

You might have thought that before going for the nuclear option and blowing up the devolution settlement and sparking off a major constitutional crisis Alister Jack might have got on top of his brief and appeared before MPs with full and detailed answers that laid to rest the questions that he, or rather his advisors, most assuredly will have realised that MPs were going to have. But no. Rather he flailed around helplessly, he had rehearsed his opening statement and as far as he was concerned that ought to have been quite sufficient for the peasants. It’s hard to decide what is worse here, that Alister Jack thought it was perfectly OK to use an unprecedented measure to blow up the devolution settlement by vetoing a bill relating to devolved matters which had gone through the normal procedures and scrutiny which any bill presented to the Scottish Parliament is subjected to, or that he thought that having done so it was acceptable to appear in front of MPs and be unable to explain clearly and logically why he had taken the action that he had. The arrogance and contempt are breath-taking.

If Jack had deliberately sought to create the impression that the only reason the Conservative Government had taken this step was because it wanted to weaponise a culture wars issue in the hope of creating a precedent which would make it much easier in future for it to veto any legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament that it didn’t like, he succeeded admirably.

The truth is that Jack neither knows nor cares what this bill does, for him and his Tory colleagues it’s all about using a stigmatised minority as a stick to beat Holyrood into line. They chose this issue thinking that the controversy surrounding it would help them to get away with a blatant attack on the devolution settlement and the Scottish Parliament. The Tories certainly don’t care about trans people or about women, they only care about power and getting their own way. They don’t care who or what they destroy in the process.

Jack insisted that his action in using the Section 35 order did not set a precedent and future Holyrood legislation would be safe under the Conservatives. To which the only sane response is “Aye, right, uh-huh.” The Conservatives have blocked Scottish legislation before by going to the Supreme Court, as they did in 2021 when they took the Scottish Government to the Supreme Court over the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill.

This time there has been no court ruling, rather Jack has blocked Scottish legislation by executive order. If the UK Government really thought that it had a legal basis to challenge this bill it could have referred the bill to the Supreme Court. But it chose not to do that. It chose to order that the bill should not receive Royal Assent, unilaterally over-riding a bill that had been passed by the Scottish Parliament with a large cross-party majority. The Conservatives lost the election to the Scottish Parliament, they lost the vote in Holyrood when the bill came before Holyrood, but they are determined to get their way anyway, just as occurred with the independence referendum. In the process they have made a mockery of democracy, made a mockery of the Scottish Parliament, and made a mockery of the devolution settlement. It doesn’t matter how the people of Scotland vote in elections, it doesn’t matter how the MSPs that they elected vote in the Scottish Parliament, the Conservatives will just impose their will on Scotland anyway.

All Alister Jack and the Conservatives have done is to confirm that the campaign for independence really is a campaign for democracy in Scotland.

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albarevisedMy Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to weegingerbook@yahoo.com (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).

I am now writing the daily newsletter for The National, published every day from Monday to Friday in the late afternoon.  So if you’d like a daily dose of dug you can subscribe to The National, Scotland’s only pro-independence newspaper, here: Subscriptions from The National

This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.

You can help to support this blog with a PayPal donation. Please log into Paypal.com and send a payment to the email address weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Or alternatively click the donate button below. If you don’t have a PayPal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.

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