Party political borecast

Across the road from my flat, there a tree with a plastic bag caught in its branches, blown there in the high wind. The plastic bag is full of nothing but air, which makes it exactly like Richard Leonard delivering the latest party political broadcast for the Scottish branch office of the Labour party, although to be fair the plastic bag is considerably more animated than Richard could ever manage. Eventually the bag will work its way loose of the branch, it may even fly high, but Labour in Scotland will be stuck on a minor branch forever, flapping about uselessly in the breeze. Even those who still vote for the party have given up wishing that Labour in Scotland will ever get any better, they’re just hanging on in the vague hope that it might suck a little bit less. And they’re still constantly disappointed.

It would be churlish to doubt Richard’s personal commitment to redistribution, to social justice, to equality, to challenging deprivation. It’s just that he delivered his piece to camera with all the passion of a nodding dug on the parcel shelf of a car, and with remarkably similar gestures to one of those animatronic figures you find at the entrance to a ghost train ride in a tired seaside town and with an equally predictable lack of thrills. The only thing stopping him from nodding his head as he robotically moved his arms up and down was that there was a big red scarf wrapped several times around his neck, which had the unfortunate effect of making him look like he was in the process of being given birth to by a large wooden plank. Richard clearly lives in a house without mirrors.

It was so boring that all over Scotland people were wishing that he’d go and play with matches. It was so boring that we were longing for a David Torrance lookalike. Anything, anything to break the monotony. Even James Kelly doing an impression of that boring guy in the pub who pontificates at the end of the bar about the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act would have been a relief by this point.

For those of you who had switched over channels, gone off to make a cup of tea, or were banging your heads off the coffee table in frustration, the basic message of the broadcast was twofold. Vote for us because we did stuff seventy years ago, and vote for us because we promise to undo all the stuff that we did when we were in power the last time. Labour is apparently the champion of equal pay for women, even though it was Labour controlled councils which were the worst offenders in paying female council employees less than their male counterparts and which fought tooth and nail to prevent them getting redress. Labour is opposed to zero hours contracts even though they first mushroomed under the last Labour government. There’s also going to be lashings of jam, better public services, a higher living wage. It’s going to rain gold coins from the sky and everyone with an ironic beard and tattoos will get free avocados.

Oh, and they don’t want another referendum. Richard didn’t say why. Just because. I always thought that Iain Gray was the least exciting and least charismatic politician in Scotland, but even he could work up a bit of enthusiasm when it came to bashing Thatessempee. Richard can’t even manage that. He only won the branch office leadership because Labour MSPs hated him slightly less than they hate everyone else in the party.

Just like the Tory party broadcast the other week, Labour’s offering failed to mention the single most important issue facing Scotland and the rest of the UK. Brexit was notable solely for its absence. This is not unconnected to the fact that Richard voted along with the Tories in Holyrood for Scotland to suck Brexit up, but it has even more to do with the fact that Labour’s policy on Brexit manages to make that of the Conservatives appear principled and well-thought through. If you want an example of naked opportunism, you could do a lot worse than look at a Labour party leadership trying to attract support from people opposed to Brexit while at the same time pursuing Brexit as relentlessly as the Tories. Labour is so full of crap it makes a toilet jealous.

Under Jeremy Corbyn the Labour party has set up no less than eight policy commissions in order to consult with party members and help to determine party policy for the next general election. There’s a commission on the environment, one on the economy, one on justice and home affairs. There’s a commission for everyone, except there isn’t a commission that’s dealing with Brexit. When asked why Labour wasn’t developing a policy on the most important and pressing issue facing the UK today, the party replied sniffily that its international affairs commission was dealing with Brexit. Which would be fine, only the international affairs commission has made it clear that it’s not accepting submissions about Brexit. Brexit isn’t on the agenda for the commission’s next meeting. Just like their party political borecast, Labour wants to pretend that Brexit isn’t happening.

But Brexit is happening, and because of the economic damage that it’s going to inflict Labour won’t be able to afford all the jam that it promises in its party political broadcasts. What makes it even worse is that the Labour leadership can’t, or more likely won’t, tell us exactly what it is that they want Brexit for. At least the Tories can come up with some reasons for why they want Brexit, they might be stupid reasons, they might be lying reasons, they might be utterly unrealistic reasons, but they do have some reasons. All you get from Labour is the shuffling of feet and looking elsewhere in the hope there’s a cute wee kitten to act as a distraction.

Just like the Tories, Jeremy Corbyn and Richard Leonard both want Brexit to happen, maybe if Richard had told us why then the party political borecast might have been marginally more watchable. But then that would have entailed Labour dealing with reality, and that’s the one thing that the Labour party in Scotland can never face up to.


weegingerdug.scot

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


gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

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

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

Many thanks.

Daein it fur oorsels

It’s coming. You can feel it in your bones. You can smell it in the air. You can almost touch it. Things are changing. Things are developing. The seeds that the British establishment was so convinced it had buried in 2014 are germinating. A tightly coiled bud that has been guarding and maintaining its strength and its energy is about to burst, fed and nourished by hopes and expectations. It’s been well manured with the dung of a British state that doesn’t care and doesn’t care who knows that it doesn’t care. We’re reaching the end of a stormy winter and the green shoots of a better country are about to sprout. A movement is about to make a move, and when it does this land will change forever.

It won’t be political parties which change Scotland. It won’t be national leaders or organisations which transform it. It will be thousands of ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things. It will be the talents and skills of punters who’re punting the old lethargy and lassitude out of the park. We’re making a revolution, and we’re doing it with Yes picnics and Yes hubs, with tea and scones and laughs and dreams. We’ve not had our tea. We’re cooking up a future, and it’s tasty and mouthwatering. The ingredients are enthusiasm, energy, and hope, and those simple ingredients are going to cook up a dish that Westminster will choke on.

You can wait about for leadership. You can sit on your hands and guard your tongue. You can be passive and acquiescent, resigned to dreein a weird that doesn’t come much weirder than Jacob Rees Mogg and Michele Mone having more of a say over Scotland’s future than you do. You can endure in long-suffering silence and thole the fate allotted to you. You can take refuge in cynicism, or burn yourself with anger, raging uselessly against the machine that consumes you. But none of that changes anything, none of that will make a Scotland that you don’t need to feel angry or embarrassed about. All it does is to make those who have power believe that they are invincible. Silence makes you complicit in the crap that’s heaped upon you.

But even if it were to come along, this leadership we’ve been waiting for, this solving of all our problems by someone else, this magic wand that will wave away all the obstacles, it risks us ending up being stuck in the same passivity that we’ve always had. It’s the passivity and quiet endurance of a country that’s been told and taught to substitute a cringe for a culture that has led to the Scotland of injustice and inequality that drives our desire for a better place, a more equal place, a more just place. We’ll maybe end up with a Scotland where we have all the same inequalities and injustices as we’ve always had, just all tied up in a pretty tartan bow that restricts and confines a passive people who’ve learned not to engage and not to upset old certainties and old cringes.

We’re taking the old culture of the gaunie no and the naw ye cannae and replacing it with the aye a’m gaunie and the youse cannae stop me. We tell the British nationalists in Scotland, your cringe does not define us. Your fears do not chain us. Your limitations are yours alone. When they tell us that we can’t, we reply, “Watch us.”

People are realising that Scottish independence is the radical notion that the cringe is a lie, that we’re more than just scenery, that this green and wet and heart-achingly beautiful country in the far north west of Europe is every bit as good as anywhere else, that the people of this land are every bit as capable as anyone else, and a damn sight more competent than the British establishment which has got us into the messy humiliations of Brexit. Scottish independence is the dangerous belief that a country is best governed by people who actually give a toss about it. It’s the conviction that the only sovereign body in this country is composed of the people who live in it. It’s the heresy of believing that Scotland can be a normal country too.

All over Scotland extraordinary ordinary people are saying to themselves, feck this fur a gemme o sodgies. There’s got to be a better way. There’s got to be a different way, a more productive way, a way out that leads to something worth dreaming about, worth hoping for, worth leaving future generations. There’s got to be a Scotland that is more than a recepticle for the fag ash of British nationalist vanities, doubting itself as we’re filled with the wreckage of Britain’s bad and nasty habits.

And they say to themselves – I’m going to make it happen. I’m going to do it for myself. I’m going to be loud. I’m going to be annoying. I’m going to stand up with those beside me and create the better Scotland that we all deserve, because nae other bugger is gaunnie dae it fur us. This is the DIY referendum. If independence is to be about anything meaningful, then it starts with independence of the mind and independence of the spirit. Independence means that we realise that the political is personal, and we start with the declaration of our own personal independence.

All over Scotland local groups are organising, they’re reaching out to their communities, forming alliances with others, and it’s all entirely self-direction and self-determined. This is the real grassroots Scotland, not the Scotland of the lairds and the landowners, the rich and the powerful who fund Scotland in Union. The independence movement is a movement of the people, and the people are ready to move. Scotland is heading for independence, and all the people of Scotland, all of us who were born here, all of us who have chosen to live here from all over the world, we’re daein it fur oorsels. Our destiny is in our own hands, let’s shape it. Britain is the past, Scotland is the future.


weegingerdug.scot

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


gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

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

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

Many thanks.

Why the indy movement needs to crowdfund

Someone pointed out to me today that someone on social media has been wondering why independence publications, sites, and bloggers like myself, Bella Caledonia, Wings Over Scotland, Scotland Goes Pop, iScot magazine, Indylive etc, do fundraisers and ask for donations whereas the British nationalist representatives on social media generally don’t. Now I should point out that – donate button notwithstanding – this article is not a plea to you to give me money. It’s intended as an explanation of why the independence movement has to be a lot more public and transparent about its fundraising activities than anti-independence campaigners need to be. Anti-independence campaigners can raise money in ways denied to pro-independence campaigners, ways which are less obvious to the public, and that means that they can falsely claim a moral high ground to which they are not entitled.

There are some very simple answers to the visibility of fundraising on the part of independence supporters, and the invisibility of fundraising attempts by opponents of independence.  Partly it’s because if you support and defend the status quo, it’s because you’re already doing well out of it, and because you can rely upon the support of others who are likewise doing well from the status quo. People who are already comfortably off and who are supporting a particular constitutional stance because it creates and supports the conditions of their financial comfort don’t need to do fundraisers. Independence challenges the status quo. Independence is seen by the rich and powerful as a threat to their financial interests. That means that the rich are going to oppose independence, and will fund groups and individuals which campaign against Scottish independence.

Organisations like Scotland in Union can fundraise by asking a small number of very rich people to give it money, but the Duke of Nawbaggery or the Red White & Blue Hedgefund Management Company Ltd are highly unlikely to dig deep into their vast funds and toss a big wedge of banknotes to the independence cause. Independence campaigners rely on small donations from a large number of ordinary people, and that in turn means donations buttons and annual fundraising campaigns. It’s a lot more work to raise a large number of small donations than it is to raise a small number of large donations. You have to be a lot more open about it, you have to advertise the need more widely. This is one of the differences between being a part of a genuine grassroots movement, and being a part of an astroturfing outfit where the only grassroots thing about them is the claim they make on their website.

If you can get two large donations that run into five figures, then you don’t need to ask thousands of people to give you a couple of quid each. The independence campaign is a genuine grassroots movement. We don’t have links to big business. We don’t have links to the superwealthy. We are most definitely not a part of the establishment. The establishment controls the wealth, and the establishment will use its wealth to protect its own interests. The British establishment is going to fund anti-independence campaigners in ways that pro-independence campaigners will never have access to. When you rely on a small number of large donations, you can fundraise in quiet. When you rely on a large number of small donations, you have to fundraise in public.

Some opponents of independence may have access to other sources of funding, sources which are most definitely denied to pro-independence campaigners. In the January 2017 issue of iScot magazine the writer and broadcaster Tom Morton wrote about his decision to back Scottish independence in a future referendum although he’d been a vocal supporter of the No campaign in 2014. Discussing his previous writing in support of Scotland remaining a part of the UK, he said, “I received peculiar invitations to come to London for discussions with someone who apparently specialised in crisis PR for sensitive political situations. They’d pay me to write more pro-union blogs. I never really got to the bottom of that …”

Tom declined the opportunity to write anti-independence blogs for payment and never met with the people who offered him the “peculiar” invitation, saying in his piece for iScot that the whole thing sounded “dodgy”.  Without any shadow of a doubt the people who approached Tom Morton will have approached others who wrote or campaigned against Scottish independence. They may not have been the only group making such offers. Some opponents of independence will not have been as suspicious as Tom Morton was about accepting the invitation. They may very well still be writing and blogging in opposition to independence and for all we know may still be receiving payments for doing so.

Now, for the sake of clarity, I have no idea who any of these people might be, and am not pointing any fingers at any individuals. I don’t know who they are. I am certainly not suggesting that everyone who writes in opposition to independence on social media is in the pay of some secretive organisation, just that it is highly probable that some of them will have been approached and made offers by such a group. No doubt the usual suspects will accuse me of being a conspiracy theorist for discussing this, but the point is that it is a matter of record that shadowy groups and organisations have offered anti-independence campaigners money in order to write in opposition to independence.

Even if someone has accepted such secret payments, they’re certainly not going to admit to taking money from some “dodgy” outfit in London, but they will condemn independence writers and bloggers for running crowdfunding campaigns. These are probably the same people who accuse pro-independence writers and campaigners of being stooges of the Kremlin. If they take a secret shilling from suspicious people, they don’t have to run crowdfunders or donation campaigns and so can condemn independence campaigners of supposedly only being in it for the money.

There is a greater need for full time pro-independence writers and campaigners on social and digital media in order to counter the anti-independence bias of the great majority of the Scottish media. Those who oppose independence have the support and backing of the great majority of the media, they do not rely on social and digital media to get their message out to anything like the same extent. There is far less of a need for full time anti-independence campaigners on social and digital media because anti-independence campaigners are already gainfully employed and well paid by the Daily Mail, the Scotsman, the Express, the Daily Record etc etc and dispiritingly etc. Those publications, and the broadcast media which takes its news agenda from them, are far more likely to offer paid writing opportunities and appearance fees to opponents of independence than to supporters of independence. When was the last time James Kelly of Scots Goes Pop or yours truly were on the telly talking about independence? Yeah. Exactly.

The visibility of fundraising efforts within the independence movement is a sign that the independence movement really is a grassroots popular movement. It means that this is a movement that ordinary people in Scotland own and control, not big business, the aristocracy, the super-rich, or shadowy “PR organisations”. The lesson here is that the only way that the independence movement can continue to grow and flourish is if ordinary people put their hands in their pockets to support it.


weegingerdug.scot

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


gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

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

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

Many thanks.

A country in a filing cabinet

The British Government is going to let members of the Scottish Parliament have a wee squatch at the impact study into the economic effects of Brexit on the various nations and regions of the UK. Isn’t that nice.  This is the study that they’d previously denied existed. David Mundell’s office wrote to the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament late on Wednesday 7 February to inform him that MSPs would be able to view the document by appointment only on Thursday 8 February or on Friday 9 February between 10 am and 1pm and between 2pm and 5pm at the Scotland Office building in 1 Melville Crescent. Times when MSPs are busy with Parliamentary business or when they’re due to be holding constituency surgeries. MSPs won’t be allowed to copy the papers, to photograph or scan them. They won’t be allowed to take copies away with them. They won’t be allowed unsupervised access to the papers, and they’ve been warned that the content of the papers is not to be made public. But subject to these restrictions the papers will be freely available on short notice for a short while in an office in the basement behind a storage cupboard guarded by a leopard. So that’s totally reasonable. You’ll have had your freedom of information Scotland.

Naturally MSPs were pretty pissed off about this. It’s an insult to the Scottish Parliament to promise access to the papers and then to make it as awkward and inconvenient as possible for MSPs to actually obtain access. Labour MSP Neil Findlay was pure beelin that it was outrageous that the British government was expecting MSPs to schlepp all the way to London just to get a wee glimpse of the documents. That’s the Neil who is an MSP for the Lothians, who works in Edinburgh, who lives near Edinburgh, and who doesn’t know that the Scotland Office has premises in Edinburgh. Nor indeed where Melville Crescent is. Google Maps is your friend Neil.

But there’s an even bigger insult to the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish people than the UK government’s contemptuous evasion and obfuscation over information about the economic effects of Brexit. Last year the Fluffy One told the Scottish Parliament’s Europe Committee that the UK government had not carried out any “Scotland specific” analysis of the effects of Brexit. This came a short while after he’d admitted in the media that there was in fact such an analysis. Now we know that there is after all an analysis which looks specifically at the economic effects of Brexit on Scotland and on all the other nations and regions of the UK.

There are only two possible conclusions here.  Either the Scotland Secretary had been lying when he said that there was such a study because he didn’t actually know that there was, which in turn means that his colleagues in the British cabinet don’t keep him informed of Scottish specific information, or that he knew all along that the report existed and what it detailed and he was deliberately misleading the Scottish Parliament. Neither of these conclusions inspires much confidence in the ability of the man who is theoretically charged with speaking up for Scotland in the UK cabinet to speak up for Scotland in the UK cabinet.  David Mundell must be a liar or an idiot, although admittedly those are not mutually exclusive possibilities.

You might think that it was an important story that the Scotland Secretary was misleading the Scottish Parliament on a topic which is vitally important to the future of Scotland, misleading the Scottish Parliament about a UK government study demonstrating that the economic damage of Brexit will be even greater than the economic damage that the Conservatives were telling us independence would be. You might think that this ought to be the lead story on BBC Scotland’s flagship evening news programme, Reporting Scotland. But then if you think that then you are kept even less informed about the purpose of Reporting Scotland than the UK cabinet keeps the Scotland Secretary informed about Scotland specific Brexit information. The lead story was naturally a story about Thatessempee being bad because of the resignation of the chief of Police Scotland, this was followed by two stories about murrdurrs, a story about a soldier’s body being repatriated from Iraq, then a story about problems with an NHS hospital in Aberdeenshire.

It was only then that BBC Scotland saw fit to present us with a short piece saying that the Scotland Office was giving MSPs limited opportunity to scrutinise the documents. There was no mention of any attempt on the part of the BBC to get the Scotland Secretary to explain himself, even though a BBC journalist had tweeted during the day that the Fluffy one was refusing interviews. There was no mention of his previous denials to the Scottish Parliament that the information existed. There was no mention or explanation of the immense damage that the documents say will be caused to the Scottish economy. There was no mention of the Scottish Conservatives calling the Scottish Government’s study “over the top scaremongering”, even though their own government’s paper showed the same, or worse, harm being caused. If you’re expecting BBC Scotland to hold the Conservatives to account, you probably also expect that Brexit will deliver everyone in the country a free bus with a misleading slogan written on the side of it.

There’s certainly no way that the majority of the Scottish print media is going to hold the Tories to account, but then we’re not obliged to pay for newpapers we don’t agree with. Their job is to keep Scotland a part of the UK irrespective of the circumstances. The same people who accuse independence supporters of supporting independence even if it were proven to damage Scotland are hell bent on keeping Scotland a part of the UK even though it’s been demonstrated that it’s damaging Scotland.

The fact however is that the Conservatives will continue to treat Scotland with contempt because the majority of the media in Scotland lets them get away with it, makes excuses for them, and enables them. It bears repeating, if Scotland had a media which spent as much time and energy critically examining and dissecting the behaviour of the UK government as they do criticising Thatessempee, Scotland would be independent already. And that’s precisely why they don’t. The Brexit papers are a metaphor for Scotland’s place in the UK. Locked away in a filing cabinet as an inconvenience.


weegingerdug.scot

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


gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

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

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

Many thanks.

Going over the top

You know how if you tell lies you’re supposed to end up weaving a complex web? The Scotland Office can’t even manage that much. It’s not so much a complex web of lies that they’ve woven as a moist tissue that falls apart with a gentle prodding. The only thing complex about the Scotland Office is something psychological that probably isn’t amenable to therapy because it’s a personality flaw.

You may recall a wee while back when the Scottish government released its impact study on the effects of Brexit on the Scottish economy. The study showed that there’s no scenario under which Scotland ends up benefiting from Brexit. Even a soft Brexit à la Norvège ends ups with null points for the Scottish economy. Leaving the customs union and the single market as the UK government is proposing results in a serious hit to the Scottish economy. If no trade deal with the EU has been struck by the time the UK leaves the EU, the Scottish government’s study forecast that Scottish GDP would suffer by some 8.5%.

To be fair, there is a scenario under which the Scottish economy benefits from Brexit. That’s the scenario where the EU agrees to allow the UK full access to all the benefits of the single market and customs union and doesn’t mind that the UK is no longer a member. Under this scenario the EU will agree to everything that the UK wants and there will be no negative consequences at all. The EU will also agree to give every UK citizen a free apartment in a Spanish holiday resort and will ban Germans from putting towels on sun loungers. Brussels will agree to put pressure on FIFA to ensure that England can never be put out of the World Cup on penalties ever again, and the French government will award Boris Johnson, Liam Fox, Jacob Rees Mogg and Michael Gove the Legion d’Honneur for services to European goodwill and fraternity. This scenario wasn’t covered in the Scottish government impact study, because the Scottish government was only interested in what might happen in the real world and not in the fine wine infused reveries of Conservative Brexiteers.

It was of course entirely predictable that the grievance mongering Thatessempee would ignore the scenario favoured by the British government on account of it being, to use a technical economics term, a load of auld pishwankery spouted in a wet dream by Empire Loyalist fantasisers. The other entirely predictable outcome of the Scottish government’s study was that Tory MPs and MSPs and their pals would take to the newspapers and airwaves and harrumph about it and try to make out that it was entirely unrealistic. Which is precisely what they did. The Express reported that the Scottish government had “resurrected Project Fear”, conveniently forgetting that Project Fear was a British nationalist exercise in the first place. Adam Tomkins MSP, the Scottish Conservative spokesranter for It’s The LAW! denounced the Scottish government report as over the top scaremongering from a government whose financial forecasts couldn’t be trusted.

Meanwhile the Scotland Secretary decided not to mention the figures given in the report, instead he did his usual thing of fixatedly accusing the Scottish government of being fixated on independence.  All he said about the report was that it didn’t recognise that the UK was seeking the aforementioned auld pishwankery so beloved of delusional British nationalist Empire loyalists and so could be dismissed. Which is a bit like saying that you don’t need to worry about losing your job, being evicted from your home, and ending up starving on the streets because that scenario doesn’t recognise that you might win £100 million on the lottery. Actually it’s not really like that at all, because there is a finite chance that you might win £100 million on the lottery. It’s a very small chance, but it does exist and it is quantifiable. The chances of the UK getting the deal that Theresa May is pinning her hopes on are precisely zero. There’s more of a chance that David Mundell would stand up in the House of Commons and demand that his government take Scotland’s concerns seriously.

Then on Wednesday we discovered that the UK government’s own Brexit impact assessment shows that every part of the UK is going to be negatively affected by Brexit. Scottish GDP would suffer by a hit of 9% under a no-deal Brexit. If the UK remains a member of the single market, the Scottish economy faces a hit of 2.5%, and if there’s a comprehensive free trade deal, the damage to GDP would be 6.1%. These figures are remarkably similar to those published by the Scottish government. You know, the ones that Adam called over the top scaremongering.

In other words the British government expects Brexit will cause a similar amount of damage to the Scottish economy as the Scottish government report calculated, a report which the Conservatives ridiculed as over the top scaremongering. Under a no-deal scenario the UK government is predicting even greater damage to the Scottish economy. Yet all the while the Conservatives were belittling and trying to undermine the credibility of the Scottish government’s report, they knew that their own government’s report was predicting the same ill effects on the Scottish economy. We know who can’t be trusted here. That would be the Conservatives.

The British government impact study is one that the Secretary of State for Stuffed Toy Tories first said did exist and then said didn’t. Which was appropriate really. The British government’s policy for Brexit is for the UK to be simultaneously in all the benefits of the EU while at the same time being outside the EU, a sort of Schrodinger’s Brexit. When that sort of thing is official government policy having a Brexit impact assessment that simultaneously exists and doesn’t exist isn’t really unsurprising. British Brexit policy isn’t quantum. In quantum physics you can either know where a particle is or you can know what its direction is. No one knows where the British government’s Brexit policy is, but we do know where it’s heading. It’s going over the top of a cliff, and it’s taking the rest of us with it.


weegingerdug.scot

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


gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

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

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

Many thanks.

The symbol’s gone, the substance is the same

We’ve got a new BBC weather map! Whoop, and indeed, de doo. Scotland is growing before our very eyes. The new map is a vast improvement on the old one, which showed the distance between Aberdeen and Newcastle as being approximately the same as the much shorter distance between London and Southampton. On the downside you’ll no longer be able to save hours on your journey time in the northern end of the island of Britain by using the BBC weather map as a guide.

Contrary to the assertions of a particular journalist on an anti-independence newpaper, I have never used this blog to argue that the BBC weather map was part of an anti-Scottish conspiracy by the BBC head office in London. I have argued, and still maintain, that the old weather map angered many in Scotland because it came to symbolise, in a very explicit way, the London-centric view of the Corporation. The map was a symbol of a BBC which looked down from London on the rest of the UK, a BBC which thought that the further away from London you were the smaller and less important you became. For many people the BBC weather map is the only map of the UK that they regularly see, and it led people to believe that Scotland is a great deal smaller – and therefore less important – than it really is. You wouldn’t realise from the old BBC weather map that Scotland comprises one third of the UK’s landmass.

Contrary to the assertions of some cartographically challenged apologists for British nationalism on social media, there was no geographical or map projection reason for the map. Scotland was not depicted much smaller than it really is in relation to the south of England because the world is a globe. Just look at any atlas. The pages in books are notoriously flat. The distinctly two dimensional pages in books are indeed as lacking in a fully rounded view of Scotland as a paid up member of Scotland in Union. Most likely what really happened was that someone in the BBC graphic design department thought it looked cool, and no one in BBC management paused to consider whether people at the opposite end of the island to London might object to being marginalised and diminished. Or if they did, they didn’t care.

The map wasn’t a conspiracy, it was just a lack of care, but its geographical distortion was a convenient symbol to many of all the other things that are wrong with the BBC, a perfect picture of the Corporation’s innate southern metropolitan bias. That’s why it provoked such an emotional response in so many people. Trying to discuss this cultural phenomenon became a tin foil hat conspiracy theory in the view of a particular journalist. But then that same journalist has also claimed that I’m not really an independence supporter because I’m actually a black ops agent for British intelligence. At least that is when he’s not claiming that I am an agent of the Kremlin. Personally I suspect that he’s just a bit jealous of this blog’s popularity. In 100 years time people who are studying this period in Scottish history will be reading what is written here, whereas what he writes is forgotten by lunchtime.

Objecting to the map was dismissed by Conservative MSP Jackson Carlaw as “the worst form of nationalist paranoia.” But then Mr Carlot has previous for objecting to the millions of pounds spent, in his imagination at least, on Gaelic roadsigns, because as anyone who reads the Daily Mail realises, Gaelic roadsigns are a leading cause of potholes. So he knows quite a lot about nationalist paranoia, at least nationalist paranoia of the British nationalist variety. But then that’s not nationalist paranoia because British nationalism isn’t nationalist at all. So it’s just your regular British paranoia then.

What’s decidedly not paranoia is the indisputable fact that Scotland is short-changed by the BBC. A report last year showed that just 55% of the licence fee revenue raised in Scotland is spent in Scotland on home produced programming, compared to 95% in Wales and 75% in Northern Ireland. The BBC is short changing Scotland by around £140 million annually. None of this is likely to change much with the introduction of the new part-time Scottish channel later this year. Instead of allowing Scotland an hour long news programme to replace a BBC news which tells us all about the NHS and education in England and devotes considerable time to the English football and cricket teams, and also to replace the discredited and parochial Reporting Scotland with its fixation on murrdurrs, wee cute kitten and yet more fitba, the BBC is fobbing us off with an underfunded ghetto channel which is being set up for failure.

What’s not paranoia is to point out that Scotland lacks a national public service broadcaster of its own. What’s not paranoia is the reality that throughout Europe it’s the norm for self-governing nations, territories, and regions to have their own broadcast media and that it’s the UK which is the odd one out so it should be for the UK to justify why Scotland doesn’t have the same rather than the onus being on Scotland to argue for it. What’s not paranoia is to acknowledge that during the independence referendum, Scotland’s views and opinions were drowned out by the ill informed noise of London based commentators metrosplaining Scotland to people outwith Scotland. It’s not paranoia to say that while the UK may not be the only country with a TV licence fee, it’s the only one to criminalise people for not paying it. It’s one thing to broadcast what many regard as pro-British propaganda, it’s quite another to fine and criminalise people for refusing to pay for it. None of these imbalances are changing just because the weather map will no longer be so imbalanced. The symbol may be gone but the injustices it represents are still the same.


weegingerdug.scot

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


gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

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

Many thanks.

The real lesson of WW2

It is an accurate assessment of British politics that if the answer is Theresa May, then you must be asking the wrong question. Unless that is the question is, “Who is the British politician least likely to give a straight answer to a straight question?” Or possibly, “Which British prime minister is most likely to have her Madame Tussaud’s waxwork figure melted down in ten years time because people ache to expunge her memory from their consciousness?” Or even, “Who’s the prime minister who promised an impression of Margaret Thatcher but actually delivered an impression of comedy matron in a Carry On movie, one of the ones from the 1970s when they’d stopped being funny and were just sleazy and embarrassing?” But other than that, Theresa May is invariably the wrong answer to the wrong question.

The Tory party is teetering on the edge of explosion, which under normal circumstances would be a good thing. The problem however is that they’re hell bent on taking the rest of us with them. The entire UK is being held to ransom by a small group of far right Conservative MPs for whom the hardest possible Brexit is an article of faith. Negotiating with them is not possible. Compromises with them are not possible. These are people who have never changed their minds since Margaret Thatcher became leader of the Conservative party and they dropped any pretence of the paternalistic One Nation Conservatism of the first half of the 20th century. They were wrong then, and they’re still wrong now. Theresa May is staking her job on placating them, and to hell with what’s good for everyone else.

This is the Conservative party which says that it damages the national interest to release the UK government study which demonstrates that any form of Brexit is bad for the national interest. The biggest threat to the national interests of the UK is the Conservative party. They don’t give a shit about what’s best for most people in Britain, and they care even less about what’s best for Scotland. They’re pursuing a Brexit that will benefit only the rich and the well connected.

The cultist Brexiteers of the Tory right are sure as hell not trying to take the UK out of the protections afforded to ordinary workers and citizens by the human rights and protective legislation of the EU in order to transform Britain into a paradise of civil liberties and employment rights. They’re not taking the UK out of the EU in order to strengthen protections against the exploitation of working people by global companies. They’re going to destroy what public services remain. They’re going to sell out what public assets are left. They’re going to offer lucrative contracts to their friends in big business. For Scotland, the Union for the few means inequality for the many. The Britain for the rich means impoverishment for the masses.

But it’s what the people voted for! They cry. The people didn’t vote to see their real income fall. They didn’t vote for their children to live in penury. They didn’t vote to lose their jobs. They voted on the basis of lies told to them by liar in chief Boris Johnson, a man who isn’t even capable of being honest about what his name is. His full name is Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, and his friends and family call him Al. Boris is just a character that Al invented, a carefully constructed cartoon as a vehicle for his rampant ambition. So Al insists that Britain must be outside the customs union, outside the single market, and he insists that’s what people voted for. It isn’t. The people had a chance to vote for the hard Brexit of the Conservatives in June 2017, and they looked at it, they looked at Al’s alter ego Boris, they looked at Theresa May, and they stripped the Tories of their majority.

It’s not even that this government doesn’t know what it wants out of Brexit, what kind of Brexit that it would like to achieve. It would be bad enough if Theresa and her co-conspirators were simply clueless. But they do know exactly what sort of Brexit that they want, and they know that it doesn’t exist. They want a Brexit that allows Britain to leave the customs union, to leave the single market, to be free from all and any EU rules and regulations, but to still enjoy the exact same access to the EU for trade and services that Britain has just now. They want to restrict the right of EU citizens to settle, work and live in the UK, but for British citizens to have the exact same freedom of movement and settlement that they currently have. And they know that the EU will never consent to any of this. But facing up to that reality means that the Conservative party has to face up to the extremists in its own ranks. We’re being governed by cowards and liars.

Facing up to that reality means facing up to the truth that Britain isn’t special. Britain isn’t great. It’s just a middle ranking European country with a WW2 fetish about a plucky little island that stood alone. The hard line Brexiteers forget that Britain didn’t win the war all by itself. It only won because it was part of the Allies. The clue is in the name. If you want to win you need friends. All that Brexit is achieving is to destroy what friendships that the UK has left. This isn’t a plucky little island that’s punching above its weight. It’s an international laughing stock.

The question for us here in Scotland is just how bad does Britain have to be, just how low does the UK need to sink, just how much damage does the Westminster government need to wreak, for people in Scotland to realise that even a bad independence would be better than this shit. Just how bad do you think independence is going to be if you still think that it’s going to be worse than the multicoloured fuckstrosity that the UK is dumping on our heads. Right now we’re trapped in the back seat of someone else’s car crash. With independence we control the steering wheel. With independence we can have allies. With independence we can protect and defend those good aspects of the British state that the Tories are hell bent on destroying, the NHS, free education, public services, the social security network, a society that cares for the weak and the vulnerable.

We’re in for a rough ride, but there’s one thing we can all be quite certain of. However bad things get in the UK, however low this state sinks, however much national humiliation is heaped upon it, the Conservatives will protect themselves and their friends in the city, and Scotland – along with Wales, Northern Ireland, the North of England, and working class communities in the south – will pay the price of Tory hubris. It doesn’t have to be this way. Scotland has a way out. Let’s take it. Let’s learn the real lesson of WW2. Let’s protect those social gains and benefits that our grandparents won after the war. Standing alone and isolated doesn’t win you anything. Let’s connect Scotland to Europe and to the rest of the world.


weegingerdug.scot

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


gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

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

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

Many thanks.