The rotten fence

mandate

There’s a wooden fence. It’s painted red white and blue, but underneath that coat of paint the fence is rotten, worm eaten, fragile. It’s only the paint that holds it together. It looks solid, it looks like a fence that can keep out the angry, the dissapointed, the disillusioned, and the determined, but as soon as the fence is tested it will fall apart. That’s where we are now in this UK, Scottish independence is kept at bay by a rotten fence which is coated with the paint of Boris Johnson’s refusal to allow another independence referendum.

The SNP won a convincing victory in Scotland in last week’s General Election, standing on a mandate to give Scotland the right to determine its own future. But mandates and elections don’t count for a great deal in Scotland. But but but Scotland doesn’t want independence, they tell us. But but but the SNP said that a vote for them in this General Election wasn’t a vote for independence. But but but the SNP didn’t get more than 50% of the total vote share. The spurious reasons come thick and fast.

We don’t know if Scotland wants independence or not, for the simple reason that those insisting that Scotland doesn’t want independence refuse to put the question to the test. But if they were really so confident in the correctness of their assertions, then why are they so frightened, hiding in a fridge in order to avoid the question. They tell us that they don’t want a referendum because it was divisive, but the only violence that resulted from the 2014 referendum came from British nationalist thugs running rampage in George Square after the result was announced. Are the British nationalists really telling us that Scotland can’t have another referendum because they can’t control themselves?

Yes indeed, the SNP were saying that a vote for them in last week’s General Election was not a vote for independence, what they were saying was that it was a vote for Scotland’s right to decide its own path whatever that path may be. Having a referendum is not the same as independence. They are quite different and quite distinct propositions. If holding an independence referendum really was the same as becoming independent then Scotland would have become independent as soon as the 2014 indyref was announced. I don’t know if the Tories have noticed, but we’re not independent. It just currently suits the Conservatives to conflate those two issues. They think that you’re stupid, they think that you can’t remember what you were told just a few days ago.

We’re not independent, so the result of the 2014 referendum is being respected. That’s how you respect the result of a referendum in which people campaigning against independence won a majority. Disrespecting the result of that referendum would entail overturning that majority without another vote on the matter. No one is proposing that. But it’s not just the losers of popular votes who need to respect the outcome. It’s far more important that those who won that vote respect the promises and commitments that they made in order to win it. If they don’t respect their own promises and commitments, then it’s them who are the ones who are disrespecting the referendum. If they refuse to allow the electorate to hold them to account, then they’re not only disrespecting the referendum but they are also demanding the right to lie and cheat with impugnity. Democracy dies if that is allowed to happen. Whenever Boris Johnson or Jackson Carlaw demands that the result of the 2014 is respected, they are demanding the right to lie without having to face the consequences.

Perhaps the most common ah-buttery being put about on social media by British nationalists who see their precious union collapse like a rotten fence is that the SNP did not win over 50% of the popular vote in this election. Neither did Boris Johnson, but that doesn’t stop him claiming that he has a mandate for the Brexit of his choosing. This was a General Election, not a referendum. If you want to apply a referendum’s rules to a General Election, I have some biodegradable straws for you to clutch at in order to save you from embarrassing yourself.

It is irrelevant to the outcome of another independence referendum that “only” 45% of the Scottish voting public who registered a vote voted for the SNP. The turnout in the referendum is likely to be far higher, and not everyone who votes for independence is going to vote SNP. We know from opinion polling that there’s a very large segment of Labour parrty supporters in Scotland who would vote for independence. You cannot conflate support for the SNP with support for independence. British nationalists just like to do so in order to make themselves feel better, and pretend to themselves that everyone who votes against the SNP is also voting against independence. It stops them from examining how rotten their fence is.

By Westminster’s own rules, the SNP won this election handsomely, and their victory was far more convincing than Boris Johnson’s supposed landslide. Boris Johnson won 43.6% of the popular vote on a turnout of 67.3%. The SNP won 45.0% on a turnout of 68.1%. Boris Johnson was 11.5% ahead of his nearest rivals in the popular vote. The SNP was 19.9% ahead of its nearest rivals in the popular vote. Boris Johnson won 56.2% of UK seats. The SNP won 81.4% of seats in Scotland. If Boris Johnson has a mandate for Brexit, the SNP has an even stronger mandate for another independence referendum, and moreover this is the fourth mandate for another referendum that has been won by the SNP.

For all their bravado, braggadocio, and bragging, British nationalists in Scotland are terrified. They know that Thursday’s election was a dreadful one for unionism, that it signalled a divergence in views between Scotland and the rest of the UK that cannot be bridged by nawbaggery and a refusal to engage. You can’t run a Union on saying no. You can’t maintain a partnership when one partner insists that it has a veto over whether the other can decide if it wishes to remain in the partnership. All that Boris Johnson’s refusals will achieve is to make the vote for yes even greater when Scotland finally has its say. And make no mistake, Scotland will have its say one way or another. The UK is a rotten fence. We’re pushing against it.


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GINGER2croppedGaelic maps of Scotland are available for £15 each, plus £7 P&P within the UK for up to three maps. T-shirts are £12 each, and are available in small, medium, large, XL and XXL sizes. P&P is £5 for up to three t-shirts. My books, the Collected Yaps Vols 1 to 4 are available for £11 each. P&P is £4 for up to two books. Payment can be made via Paypal.


newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free. You can order here –
https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2019

You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to weegingerbook@yahoo.com, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email weegingerbook@yahoo.com


The dugcast election special

It’s the election special edition of the Dugcast. This week The National’s multimedia reporter Craig Cairns and I dissect the election results, and what the SNP’s stonking result means for Scotland and the independence movement.


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GINGER2croppedGaelic maps of Scotland are available for £15 each, plus £7 P&P within the UK for up to three maps. T-shirts are £12 each, and are available in small, medium, large, XL and XXL sizes. P&P is £5 for up to three t-shirts. My books, the Collected Yaps Vols 1 to 4 are available for £11 each. P&P is £4 for up to two books. Payment can be made via Paypal.


newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free. You can order here –
https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2019

You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to weegingerbook@yahoo.com, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email weegingerbook@yahoo.com


Independence beckons

independencebeckons
Well that’s it. The United Kingdom has died. The Conservatives killed it. It’s all over bar the screaming. It’s all over for any hope of stopping Brexit. It’s all over for the Labour party. It’s all over for the Lib Dem’s hopes of being a relevant political force. It’s all over for the Conservatives’ claim to represent the entire UK. It’s all over for the UK. Yesterday’s election was the death knell of this so called precious union that is no union at all. Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson was given the mandate that he craved from the electorate in England and Wales, but Scotland said no. We told the Tories again, and they’re still not listening.

An independence referendum and Scottish independence is now the only way to prevent Scotland being lost to a Tory Brexit and to years and years of Boris Johnson’s unfettered rule. It’s the only way to defend our NHS from a trade deal with Trump. It’s the only way to protect the weak, the vulnerable, the poor, and the sick.  It’s the only way to protect the post-war settlement that underpins those supposedly British values that so many No voters in 2014 thought they were voting for.

Politically Scotland and England are not merely different countries, we’re different worlds. Scotland showed that it aspires to be a normal social democratic northern European nation, England voted for the kind of right wing authoritarian populism that wouldn’t be out of place in Eastern Europe. The UK is no longer sustainable. Those Scots who consoled themselves with the myths of Britishness have had their comfort blanket ripped from them, exposing the naked truth of a Scotland that’s a possession of Tory nightmares. The Conservatives are calling themselves One Nation Conservatives, they don’t mean Scotland where the SNP pretty much swept the board. They don’t mean Northern Ireland where for the first time nationalist MPs outnumber unionists. They mean Greater England.

The highlight of the night for those of us who stayed up was the victory for Amy Callaghan in East Dunbartonshire, defeating Jo Swinson. Since the Lib Dem vote managed to hold up elsewhere in Scotland, this was a personal verdict on Jo Swinson from her own constituents. And in her speech she displayed all the reasons why she was unfit for leadership as she embarked on a cack handed excuse in ill grace, equating the desire for self-determination in Scotland, the desire to be a part of Europe, with the xenophobia of Brexit. I’m glad she’s gone. Still, it’s not all bad for her. At least she no longer has to pretend that she lives in Milngavie.

Labour’s result was a disaster. Seat after seat that had once been solid Labour in the north of England fell to the Tories. Their vote collapsed across the whole UK. They are no longer politically significant in Scotland. Ian Murray is lonely again. The left in Scotland can no longer tell itself that there is a British path to socialism. There has only been one Labour victor in a general election in the past 40 years, and that was Tony Blair. It ought to be obvious by now that the only way that Labour can be elected in England is by aping the Conservatives. If you seek genuine left of centre politics, the only realistic option is an independent Scotland. Calls to solidarity sound hollow when Scotland’s solidarity with the working class in England is responded to with a kick in the groin. Labour’s solidarity is a suicide pact.

48 MPs for the SNP (including the election of Neale Hanvey in Kirkcaldy) was an overwhelming vindication of the strategy of Nicola Sturgeon. It ought to silence those who criticised her strategy – although it probably won’t. The only pro-independence party with any realistic chance of winning seats made gains across the board, seeing its vote tally rise even in those seats that they failed to take. Tory majorities that had been in the many thousands were slashed to the bone. This election showed conclusively that the electorate in Scotland will respond positively and enthusiastically to a pro-independence message. This election will embolden the SNP to be more assertive and ballsy about pursuing the right to self-determination in the months ahead. There is now a fourth mandate for another independence referendum.

The Tories in Scotland have had their fig leaf of excuses torn away. It wasn’t just the SNP which made this election about independence, it was all that the Conservatives in Scotland mentioned – to the exclusion of Brexit. Their leaflets and information made it very clear that a vote for Nicola Sturgeon was a vote for another independence referendum. The Tories in Scotland campaigned on one single issue, the rejection of an independence referendum. And they lost. They lost badly. Scotland voted for the party that does want an independence referendum. The Tories need to be reminded of that at every opportunity, because it’s not just Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon’s opinions which need to be set in stone. Scotland just voted for Nicola Sturgeon and stripped the Conservatives of over half their seats in Scotland. Scotland just voted for another independence referendum. Jackson Carlaw said so. He’s the one who stomped about the TV studios telling voters in Scotland to “tell her again”. Well we did tell her again Jackson, just not the way you wanted us to.

Brexit is now going to happen. It can no longer be avoided. There will be no EU referendum and the UK will leave the EU at the end of January, taking an unwilling and angry Scotland with it. There is now no longer any possibility of dreaming of a Corbynista future in the UK. We can expect to see an increase in support for independence in opinion polls. We can expect to see consistent majorities for independence from now on. We can also expect to see a Scottish Government and a wider Yes movement which is energised and assertive in pursuit of the claim of Scottish rights. The SNP’s vote share in Scotland is greater than the Conservative vote share in the UK. If Boris Johnson claims he has a mandate to deliver Brexit, he cannot deny, he cannot be allowed to deny, that the SNP has a mandate for another independence referendum.

Boris Johnson is highly unlikely to be conciliatory. It’s not in his nature. His monumental ego will not allow him to become the last Prime Minister of the UK. He’s going to play hard ball. A sign of things to come came in his victory speech. Scotland wasn’t even mentioned. We’re the embarrassingly normal relative in a family of freaks. The metrocommentariat is already in full flow, trying to explain away the SNP mandate and tell us that it’s not really a mandate for another referendum at all. Because they understand Scotland better than we do. Right now as I am typing this, the Brexit Party’s Claire Fox is on Sky News insisting that the SNP victory doesn’t represent a demand for another independence referendum at all. She knows better than we do what we voted for. Aye. Right. And then she rails about the elites depriving the people of what they chose at the ballot box.

The SNP will demand a Section 30 order. The Scottish Government will assert the right of the people of Scotland to decide our own future. Nicola Sturgeon has been given the moral and political capital by the people of Scotland to make that assertion. But Johnson will refuse. He’ll refuse because he knows, just as Jackson Carlaw knows, that the only way that he can only resist Scottish independence for as long as he can resist another referendum.

There will now be a direct collision between Boris Johnson and Scotland. It’s up to us in the Yes movement, and to the Scottish Government, to capitalise politically on that refusal. We need to keep insisting, to refuse to take no for an answer. We cannot and will not accept that Boris Johnson has a political or moral right to refuse the legimitate demand of the people of Scotland to determine their own future. His refusal will only prove that this UK is not a union, that the UK is not a partnership of nations, that we cannot have true democracy in Scotland if a Prime Minister we didn’t vote for has a veto on our future. We must ensure that there will be widespread public support in Scotland for the pursuit of alternative strategies.

2020 is going to be a busy year for the Yes movement. There is a path out of the darkness of Boris Johnson’s Brexit Britain. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Independence beckons.


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If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my 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.

GINGER2croppedGaelic maps of Scotland are available for £15 each, plus £7 P&P within the UK for up to three maps. T-shirts are £12 each, and are available in small, medium, large, XL and XXL sizes. P&P is £5 for up to three t-shirts. My books, the Collected Yaps Vols 1 to 4 are available for £11 each. P&P is £4 for up to two books. Payment can be made via Paypal.


newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free. You can order here –
https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2019

You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to weegingerbook@yahoo.com, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email weegingerbook@yahoo.com


Some thoughts on the exit poll

This is just a quick blog before the proper results from Scotland start to come through. The exit poll, which was pretty accurate at the last General Election, is predicting that the SNP will practically sweep the board in Scotland, and will end up with 55 seats. It’s not clear to me whether this number includes Kirkcaldy or not. It’s a stupendous result if it comes to pass. If it does, keep well clear of Loch Ness as Ruth Davidson – in a desperate bid to remain relevant – has promised to go skinny dipping in the loch if the SNP end up with over 50 seats. There’s really no need Ruth, Loch Ness already has a slimy reptile.

However it also seems that the electorate in the rest of the UK have given Boris Johnson the thumping majority that he was seeking. It proves that you can lie, lie, and lie again and if you’re a right wing British nationalist populist you can still be elected. The poll predicts that the Conservatives will end up with 368 seats, an increase of 50 on their 2017 result. Labour will be left with a mere 191. I could weep. The UK is full of arses who would vote against their own interests because “get Brexit done”.

Scotland is a different country. It’s a country which has rejected Boris Johnson, rejected his Brexit, rejected his lies and his deceit. The United Kingdom is no longer sustainable, although it’s certain that Johnson will use his majority in the Commons in order to try to thwart the democratic will of the people of Scotland.  He might succeed in the short term, but Scotland cannot and will not be denied forever.  The UK died this evening.

In the short term we’re in for a world of pain. We’re going to get Tory neo-conservatism unleashed without anything to restrain it. But if this poll is true, then it also means that Scotland has very firmly and unequivocally demanded its right to decide on its own future. The momentum for another independence referendum, and for independence itself, will be unstoppable. We’re in the darkness of An Dùbhlachd, the Gaelic word for December which literally translates as the gloominess, but the dream of independence is a beacon shining a light on the path to a better country. The next year is going to be huge for Scotland, for the independence movement. This General Election is the General Election that spelled the end of the UK.


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If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my 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.

GINGER2croppedGaelic maps of Scotland are available for £15 each, plus £7 P&P within the UK for up to three maps. T-shirts are £12 each, and are available in small, medium, large, XL and XXL sizes. P&P is £5 for up to three t-shirts. My books, the Collected Yaps Vols 1 to 4 are available for £11 each. P&P is £4 for up to two books. Payment can be made via Paypal.


newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free. You can order here –
https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2019

You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to weegingerbook@yahoo.com, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email weegingerbook@yahoo.com


The oven ready chicken hiding in a fridge

borisactually2
Rejoice! Today the incredible happened. For a short period of time, Boris Johnson wasn’t telling any lies! We had to wait until the very last day of campaigning, but it has actually happened. I know, I scarcely believe it either. Amazing isn’t it. Admittedly it only happened because he was hiding in a fridge at the time, but still.

Boris Johnson hid in a fridge while on a visit to a milk business in Yorkshire in order to avoid being interviewed by Piers Morgan. When the Prime Minister was approached by the Good Morning Britain producer Jonathan Swain who asked if Johnson would do the interview, Johnson’s press secretary Rob Oxley – formerly of the obscurely funded Taxpayers Alliance – was clearly heard telling him for fuck’s sake and then pushing him out of the way. “I’ll be with you in a second,” lied Johnson, who then went off to hide in a fridge. Jonathan Swain should at least be grateful that Boris Johnson didn’t steal his phone first.

Now it does have to be said that under normal circumstances, it would be perfectly normal, indeed laudable, for a normal human being to say fuck off and hide in a fridge in order to avoid Piers Morgan, but Boris Johnson is not a normal human being under normal circumstances. He’s an aspiring Prime Minister who avoids all attempts at serious scrutiny because that will expose his lies, his deceit, and his mendacity. He’s an oven-ready chicken hiding in a fridge. Suddenly the phrase nuke the fridge has taken on a whole new meaning. Perhaps Johnson thought he was channelling Indiana Jones, but he was really just starring in the shittiest version of Frozen ever seen. The light went out when he closed that fridge door. It went out across the whole UK and won’t come back on again as long as he’s anywhere near power.

Boris Johnson has always fancied himself as a modern day Churchill. I don’t think the UK’s wartime leader was ever known to say “We shall fight them in the crisper, we shall fight them in the ice cube compartment, never have so many owed so much to a probiotic yoghurt.” This is the guy who the Tories told us was fantastic with the media, a great performer, unbeatable in his ability to connect. And now it comes to this, hiding in a fridge in order to avoid Piers Morgan.

There are even headlines saying that Boris Johnson was “accused” of hiding in a fridge. There’s no accused about it. We saw him physically scurry into a fridge in order to avoid being held to account. We saw him do it, lying leg movement by lying leg movement. There’s a video. If you vote for a guy who hid in a fridge in order to avoid a toilet, you deserve everything that you’re going to get. The problem is that the rest of us will suffer the consequences too. Of course this incident, which is the perfect metaphor for all of Boris Johnson’s many and manifest character flaws, was the lead story on the BBC news. Hahaha. Sorry. Just pulling your leg there.

Of course that didn’t happen. The incident wasn’t mentioned at all. No one who watched the main news bulletin on the BBC at 6 pm will have learned that the man who wants to be Prime Minister is an oven ready chicken who hides in a fridge. And neither will they have learned that their political editor Laura Kuenssberg is trending on social media because people are calling for her to be investigated for an alleged breach of electoral law when she revealed live on TV information about the results of postal votes.

But then there’s a lot which hasn’t happened during this election campaign. The media never held Johnson to account, and never ensured that the consequences of him avoiding scrutiny were worse for him than doing the interviews and debates in the first place. Because that’s the only way to hold a power hungry sociopath to account. They legitimised his cowardice, and ensured that he’ll continue with the same tactics, because they colluded in making it a beneficial strategy for him.

What didn’t happen in this campaign was for Laura Kuenssberg and Robert Peston to reveal who it was who had lied to them about the punch that never happened. Unlike many, I am not going to blame them for tweeting that it was alleged that an aide of the health secretary Matt Hancock was punched by a left wing protestor. Because if that had indeed happened that would have been news. But it didn’t happen. It was fake news, fake news designed to distract from the real news that Tory health cuts had resulted in a very ill four year old boy being left lying on a pile of coats on a hospital floor. But what I do blame those senior broadcasters for is not revealing who it was who had lied to them. That simply means that those same people can continue to lie, can lie in future, and can do so without facing the consequences.

What didn’t happen was the media going to town on the incredible and unprecedented fact that a former Conservative Prime Minister, a former Conservative Deputy Prime Minister, and a former Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer have been urging voters not to vote Conservative because of the many and varied character flaws and lies of Boris Johnson and his pursuit of a damaging Brexit. This has never happened before, ever. In a normal media in a normal country this would have been a seismic event in an election campaign, as though George Bush had told voters to support a Democrat in a US presidential election. But it scarcely figured. As much if not more publicity was given by the media to some Labour party nonentities saying that they wouldn’t support Jeremy Corbyn.

What didn’t happen was any attempt by the UK media to acknowledge the fact that the UK is not England and that the UK doesn’t have a presidential system. It’s a product of the parochialism and monoglot English speaking nature of so much of the UK that their only model for election coverage is what they see in America. So we saw the largest party in Scotland being sidelined and ignored in TV debates, an inexusable move which is likely to have a direct effect on the election outcome in Scotland. But then that was the intention all along.

We’ve gone from die in a ditch to hide in a fridge. That’s the course of British politics in this election. God help us all if this creature is given a majority. In no small measure that lamentable outcome will be due to the failure of the British media to do its job properly. When it comes to the Conservatives, the British media are oven ready chickens hiding in a fridge.

This is the last post before voting starts.  I’ll leave comments open, however please don’t do a Kuenssberg and post anything about how voting is going in your area or about the results of postal voting if you are at the count.  While the polls are open it’s illegal to publish an exit poll or anything that could be construed as an exit poll.


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. If you don’t have a Paypal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.
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If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my 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.

GINGER2croppedGaelic maps of Scotland are available for £15 each, plus £7 P&P within the UK for up to three maps. T-shirts are £12 each, and are available in small, medium, large, XL and XXL sizes. P&P is £5 for up to three t-shirts. My books, the Collected Yaps Vols 1 to 4 are available for £11 each. P&P is £4 for up to two books. Payment can be made via Paypal.


newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free. You can order here –
https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2019

You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to weegingerbook@yahoo.com, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email weegingerbook@yahoo.com


The battered coffee cup

batteredcoffeecup

We’re almost there now, staggering to the end of the least inspiring, most depressing General Election in living memory. And that includes the experience of Theresa May’s robotic performance in May 2017. It’s not just the punters, even the parties don’t appear to have their hearts in it this time, certainly in my part of the world. Here in the East End of Glasgow I’ve seen one single solitary election poster in someone’s windae – an SNP one. I’ve had just two pieces of election material through the door, both from the SNP. There’s been nothing at all from Labour, the Tories, or the Lib Dems. This is a marginal constituency which Labour needs to take if it is to prove that it’s on the road to recovery in Scotland, yet the party is invisible locally.

Yet despite the boredom, the ennui, the exhaustion, this is a vitally important election. This is the election when Scotland decides who gets to decide the future of this country. Is it to be Boris Johnson, or is it to be the people of Scotland? Are we content to sit back and watch passively, silently, as foodbanks burgeon, as homelessness spreads like a cancer, as in work poverty blights more and more families, or do we say that enough is enough. This election is fundamentally a choice between Conservative selfishness or an assertion that there has to be a better way.

It’s fine to speculate about what might happen next, about the precise mechanism by which Scotland can wrest an independence vote from a reluctant Westminster, but the fundamental truth remains that the vital first step is to ensure that the only pro-independence party which can win seats tomorrow wins as many as possible. It’s imperative that independence supporters are motivated to get out and vote. It’s only by returning a large majority of SNP MPs tomorrow that we can take that first step that leads to a referendum that leads to independence that leads to something better, because if the party falters now, then all is lost.

I was in town yesterday, in the rain and the cold I lost count of the number of young people sitting in a puddle of hopelessness, a battered disposable coffee cup in front of them collecting their pennies of relief. They’re everywhere. Even in streets in the East End where you never saw homeless people before. We are now a society where all that some of us have to hope for is contained in a disposable coffee cup. The Tories did this. With their destruction of the social security system, their decimation of drug programmes, their callous disregard for social housing, Tories did this to those young people. The Tories have done it to all of us.

Every time I go into town I keep a few pounds in my pocket to place in a coffee cup. I don’t judge what it’s spent on. If the person who happens to be the first one that is stumbled across chooses to spend it on alcohol or drugs, don’t judge. Who are we judge how another person copes in a situation that those of us who are more fortunate don’t have to face. Who are we to judge what it takes to get through a long dark cold and wet night of desolation of body and soul. Who are we to judge how to cope without hope. And then I pass another battered coffee cup, and another, and another, and there are no pounds left in my pocket.

The Tories create callousness in all of us, because we can’t individually help every single person in need. We need to turn a blind eye, to walk by in our warm dry clothes towards our warm dry homes while the coffee cups are empty on the streets. The Tories tell us not to care, because it’s the only way that we can cope with the overwhelming nature of the problems that their greed has created. We need to make all of society to care, to make government care, to make those with power care. We can’t solve the problem of homelessness with a few coins in a cup, we can only solve it together. That means electing people who care, and rejecting those who don’t. It means voting out the smug arrogance of a Boris Johnson who lavishes handouts on the rich, on banks and big businesses.

Not all poverty is visible. There’s the poverty of the mother who huddles with her children under a pile of coats in the bedroom, because she can’t afford to pay her gas or electricity bill. There’s the poverty of the couple who trudge to the foodbank in the rain because their social security payment has been sanctioned. There’s the poverty of the man who sits in a van while an app controls his life, hoping for a little bit of work to put food on the table. There’s the poverty of a lifelong struggle, that has caused poor health and illness, that gives men in the area where I live a lower life expectancy than Mexico.

None of this was inevitable. The Tories just want you to think it was. None of this was necessary. The Tories just want you to think it was. None of this needs to be this way. The Tories just want you to think that it must. All this is a result of deliberate choices by a British government, a British government that the people of Scotland don’t want. They can inflict poverty, illness, and marginalisation upon us, because we don’t matter to them. And that is why it is important that we do not allow hopelessness and despair to overtake us, because when those of us who have the strength do not speak up, when we don’t say enough, when we don’t say that there is a better way, we become complicit.

Tomorrow we have a choice. We can choose not to be complicit. We can assert that there is a better way. We can demand that the empty coffee cups are a sick abomination in one of the richest countries in the world, a result of deliberate choices made by a government that doesn’t give a shit. Well we give a shit, and tomorrow is our chance to make sure that Boris Johnson hears that. There’s only one way to teach him, and that is to ensure that there are as few Conservative MPs in Scotland as possible, to ensure that Scotland insists that the people of this country have the absolute right to determine the path that this nation takes. And that is a path that will not be littered with huddled bundles of despair. It’s a path that will not lead to foodbanks. It’s a path that leads to empathy, to compassion. Vote SNP tomorrow. Vote for a future that can’t be contained in a battered coffee cup.


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newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free. You can order here –
https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2019

You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to weegingerbook@yahoo.com, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email weegingerbook@yahoo.com


Boris Johnson is 88% lies, the rest is just nasty

borisactually1

The BBC is at it again. Today there’s a story on the BBC news website entitled “General Election 2019: Adverts are indecent, dishonest, and untruthful.”  The article tells us that a non-partisan body has been fact-checking the truthfulness of political advertising in this campaign by the Conservatives, Labour, the Lib Dems, and the Brexit party.

What the research found was that 88% of the Conservatives’ Facebook adverts featured claims which were either incorrect or not entirely correct. The comparable figure for the Labour party was 0%. Meanwhile the Lib Dems featured hundreds of potentially misleading unlabelled graphs claiming that only the Lib Dems could defeat Labour, the Tories, or the SNP “in seats like yours”.

A fairer headline would have been – Almost all of the Conservative online adverts are lies. Instead the BBC preferred to run a headline which implied that all parties are equally guilty when in fact the Conservatives are responsible for the vast majority of the fake stories, fake reports, and false claims made in online political advertising. It’s a dangerous false equivalence, leading to the widespread anger and disatisfaction with politics and causing the public to be disengaged. That attitude of tiredness and scunneration only benefits the Tories. The fact is that not all politicians are just as bad. Not all politicians are like Boris Johnson. It just suits him for you to think that they are, because that legitimises and disguises the true unacceptability of his behaviour.

Although to be fair, this week the Conservatives did something truthful, albeit unintentionally. It tells you something about the Tories that the only time that they’ve managed to do something truthful and accurate in this campaign is when they’ve done so by accident. They released an online video of Boris Johnson based on a scene in Love Actually. In the advert, Johnson loiters in a dark alley at night in order to send covert messages to a married woman, while telling her to keep the fact she’s seeing him a secret from her husband. It’s the first believable image of his campaign. Although what the Tories might not wish us to remember is that in the movie, the woman chooses her husband, not the creepy stalker guy who stands outside her house with placards.

The placards didn’t say, although they should have, that 88% of what Boris Johnson says is a lie, and the rest is racist abuse. They didn’t say, “I might be your dad.” Neither did the placards proclaim that the deliberately tousled one is a habitual liar who hides from proper scrutiny, although that would have been true. They didn’t say that the forty new hospitals are as mythical as the £350 million extra a week for the NHS that was written on the side of the Leave campaign bus. They didn’t say that there would indeed be customs checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. They didn’t say that Brexit won’t get done by the end of January even with a majority Tory government. They didn’t say “Don’t tell Andrew Neil that I’m here.”

The SNP is missing a trick if they don’t do a version of Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues, the famous video – one of the very first music videos – in which he stands in an alley with the lyrics to his song handwritten on placards. They could do a version fact checking all the many and manifold lies of this Conservative campaign. Although realistically a three minute long song is nowhere near long enough to cover all of them.

The UK politics are a moral cesspit in which lying has been normalised and compassion is dismissed with contempt. This sorry state of affairs has been brought about by a political system in which there are no adequate checks and balances on the power of the executive. The UK prime minister is effectively an elected dictator, moreover one elected on a ballot which is deliberately designed not to be properly representative. The result is that a prime minister can wield this almost unlimited power with a crushing majority in the House of Commons despite the fact that their party has received less than 40% of the popular vote.

In such a system the role of the media becomes even more important than it is in those democracies where the voting system is designed to produce a result which mirrors the voting preferences of the electorate, and in which there are effective checks and balances on the powers of the various branches of government in the form of a written constitution. Yet the media in the UK most commonly acts as cheerleaders for the reactionary, the right wing, and the xenophobic. Meanwhile the publicly funded BBC appears to believe that its role is to defend the status quo instead of calling out lies from the powerful.

You might have thought that in a General Election campaign where one of the most important issues is the trustworthiness of the main parties and their leaders, the remarkable finding that 88% of the Conservatives’ online advertising is a lie would be a news story worthy of having been plastered all over the headlines. You might think that it should have figured as the lead story on the BBC’s Six O Clock news, or at the very least it should have been one of the most important stories covered in today’s bulletin. Yet it didn’t even rate a mention. You might think that it would especially merit coverage as one of the most important stories in the main BBC news bulletin given the lies which the Conservatives have been spreading about Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s special advisor being punched in the face – an incident which did not in fact happen. That story was manufactured in order to deflect from the scandal of the four year old boy left on the floor of a hospital due to Tory cuts. Likewise the story being spread on social media that the incident involving the four year old was invented left wing propaganda was also unmasked as a lie.

So Tory lies are very much in the news today, but instead the BBC went with yet another attack on the Labour party. The lead story was the leaking of a private conversation with a Labour shadow cabinet member in which he expressed doubts about whether his party could win. Of course that’s a story, but the BBC chose to focus on that and entirely ignored the issue of Conservative lying.

One of the great ironies of this election campaign is watching Labour party supporters complaining about media imbalance and bias. Welcome to our world, here in Scotland we’ve had to deal with this for a very long time. In Scotland the imbalance is even worse. Out of 38 or so daily and Sunday newspapers in a country where the population is divided approximately half and half on the question of independence or the UK, only The National and The National on Sunday back a position supported by half the population. The BBC in Scotland sees its job as attacking the SNP and the cause of independence at every opportunity, and not holding to account those governments in Westminster that the people of Scotland didn’t actually vote for. Scotland is a twilight democracy, our democracy lives in the shadows, kept in the dark.


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If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my 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.

GINGER2croppedGaelic maps of Scotland are available for £15 each, plus £7 P&P within the UK for up to three maps. T-shirts are £12 each, and are available in small, medium, large, XL and XXL sizes. P&P is £5 for up to three t-shirts. My books, the Collected Yaps Vols 1 to 4 are available for £11 each. P&P is £4 for up to two books. Payment can be made via Paypal.


newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free. You can order here –
https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2019

You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to weegingerbook@yahoo.com, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email weegingerbook@yahoo.com