Meeting with the tea boy

The Daily SiegHeil is the favourite newspaper of the frothy tendency of the British right. The British press is renowned around the world for its extremism, its bile, and a dedication to the truth that makes Walter Mitty seem like the editor of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, but the Daily Mail is the worst of a bad bunch. Although it does have to be said that there’s a lot of competition. When you manage to be the most vile right wing tabloid in a field that includes the Daily Express, you have to be as appetising as a wasp byke in a cup of vomit soup, flavoured with the essence of bile and spiced up with the sour decay of lost Empire. Only in a society where the checks and balances on media ownership have gone seriously awry could the Daily Mail be a major organ. In this case it’s one which is necrotic. At least Mussolini had the decency to name his fascist organ Avanti! which means forward, the Daily Mail wants to take us all back to the 1950s. Its concept of a united society is one in which the lower orders know their place, and ethnic minorities and gay people are invisible.

Anyway, according to the far right propaganda sheet that somehow masquerades as a newspaper, Nicola Sturgeon is no longer welcome in Number 10 Downing Street. It’s not like she was ever particularly welcome. No one ever seriously thought that Theresa would have glanced out the net curtains to see Nicola coming up the street and thought, “Oh goodie, there’s that lovely Scottish woman,” and then instructed a lackey to get the kettle on and bring out the Peek Freans and some slices of Victoria sponge. We all know that Downing Street looked forward to visits from Nicola Sturgeon as much as a middle aged man looks forward to a visit to the proctologist, or indeed as much as anyone on the planet looks forward to seeing Michael Gove at any time or at any place.

According to the Mail, in a story which was picked up by some other newspapers, but not by BBC Scotland, an “unnamed minister” had told the paper that the Scottish First Minister would no longer have face to face meetings with Theresa May, but would instead have to meet with David Mundell. According to the unnamed minister, this is because Nicola needs to be taken down a peg or seven. How dare she imagine that she’s the First Minister of a constituent nation of the UK. She’s just too full of herself that Nicola, going around as though she’s the elected leader of the Scottish government with a mandate and everything.

The minister went on to add that the Prime Minister of the UK is only going to meet with really important people, like an opposition MSP with a penchant for posing for photo opportunities in military uniform or on top of a tank. Someone whom, in fact, that Mussolini could have related to. This is doubtless why she gets such glowing reviews in the Daily Mail when her entire political platform consists of giving “Scotland doesn’t want another divisive referendum” as the answer to every question as she poses for another whacky photo-op along wish some dumb beast – who happens to be a Tory list MSP for Aberdeen.

So in future, according to this unnamed person who for all anyone knows, or indeed cares, might have been Michael Gove speaking to the Daily Mail because no one else will speak to him, Nicola Sturgeon will only be meeting with Fluffy Mundell as he’s equivalent in rank to her. He can tell her what the British government position is, if anyone bothers to tell him that is. Being told things is way above his pay grade.

The Mundane One’s usual position in the British cabinet is to be the lackey who gets the tea and the Peek Freans and Victoria sponge sorted whenever Theresa spots Nicola striding up Downing Street. Although he’s not allowed to slice the Victoria sponge, as dividing up the cake is a reserved matter, and besides, no one trusts him with sharp objects. To be fair however, even if the Fluffbucket was important enough to be told the British position on Brexit, there would still need to be a position for him to be told and there’s no evidence that there is.

Downing Street has now attempted to distance itself from the unnamed minister’s comments, although it hasn’t directly contradicted them. The Prime Minister’s office released a statement claiming it “did not recognise the comments” which is a long way short of saying that they’re not true. The only representatives of a devolved administration that Theresa May has met with since March, during a time of unprecedented uncertainty and insecurity in the UK, have been Arlene Foster and Ruth Davidson.

It’s utterly sickening that there are actually people, Scottish people, on social media who have been exhulting at a report that the Prime Minister of the UK is refusing to engage with the First Minister of Scotland. Those are people who put their party political loyalties before their consideration of what is good for Scotland. Irrespective of what you think of Nicola Sturgeon or the SNP, she’s the First Minister of Scotland and the leader of the Scottish Government. It’s the whole of Scotland that the Tories want to put in a box, not just Nicola Sturgeon. The alleged refusal of a UK PM to engage with a Scottish First Minister is an attack on all of Scotland. It’s a reduction of a constituent nation of the UK to a glorified English county. Scottish Tories are apparently happy with that, but then there are some people who are in chains and who love their shackles because they think that they’re jewellery. That’s what 300 years of the cringe do.

Remember how in 2014 we were told that Scotland was an equal and valued member of a family of nations? Remember how we were told that Scotland could lead within the UK? Remember how we were told that we were loved, wanted and needed, that our distinct Scottish perspective was essential to making the UK something more than the expression of English nationalism? Well how’s that all working out then? David Cameron’s respect agenda is as dead as his career and as trashed as his reputation, and so is the UK as anything other than a nasty right wing exclusionist English nationalism masquerading as non-nationalism. The Scottish First Minister should be meeting with the UK Prime Minister, not meeting with the tea boy.


gingercartoonWee Ginger Fundraiser

I’m doing a fundraiser this year to keep this blog going for another twelve month and to allow the dug and me to continue visiting local groups all across Scotland. You can donate via my crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo –

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/wee-ginger-crowdfunder-independent-blog

Alternatively you can donate by Paypal by clicking the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special bank account I’ve set up for the purposes of this fundraiser, 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.

Many thanks.

Waiting for the alarm clock

There is a theory that there is an infinite number of universes, that this universe we live in is just one reality in a countless myriad of realities which stretch out forever in the vastness of the possible, as limitless and unending as Ruth Davidson’s estimation of her own ability. If that’s true, then it means that there is no fiction, and there is no imagination, all that can be thought or conceived in the mind is actually happening somewhere in the multiverse. It is as real as the cup of tea you’re drinking. As real as the screen upon which you read these words. Although it’s still true to say that there is no universe anywhere in which Fluffy Mundell does anything useful.

The human brain is has evolved as a glorious device for travelling across the boundaries of different realities, untrammelled by time, untrapped by space. Whenever you dream your mind is falling through different universes in which the absurd is really taking place, where there is no reason or sense, where the ridiculous is truth and the ludicrous is mundane. And then you wake up and turn on the TV news to see the glaikit faces of David Davis and David Mundell and discover that we are in fact living in one of those absurdist universes which the consciousness of someone from a sensible universe comes careening through in their dreams. Then they wake up to tell their significant other about the weird dream they just had, set in a place where nothing made sense.

We’re stuck here and no amount of pulling the duvet over your head will make it go away. You can pinch yourself and all that will happen is you feel even more pain. The only redeeming feature about this bloody dream state of the UK is that it doesn’t have Donald Trump as president. But it does have Theresa May as Prime Minister so that’s not saying much. Sometimes the best you can do is to pull yourself into a foetal ball and gently rock yourself into oblivion.

Before Brexit negotiations started, Theresa May haughtily refused to say what she wanted out of Brexit, refusing to reveal her hand before negotiations started. Unfortunately she’s not prepared to show her hand even after negotiations started. This is not unrelated to the fact that Captain Hook has one more hand than Theresa does. And these are the people who claimed that only they could provide strong and stable government. These are the people who told Scotland that we need the broad shoulders of the UK to support us. We’re governed by a British government which is made up of bunch of clueless opportunists who’re making it all up as they go along, whose idea of success is that they’ll be able to salvage their own careers from the wreckage.

In a sensible universe, the leaders of our government would make careful and detailed preparations for something with such a huge impact as Brexit. There would be briefing papers. There would be policy positions. There would be a bloody plan. But this is a dreamland, and all we have is David Davis with his finger in his ear, making it up as he goes along, and mugging to the camera. Not to have a plan, is the plan. Perhaps our sleepwalking Tory government imagines that by not having a plan the fiendish plans devised by the EU to frustrate the UK plan will be derailed because the UK doesn’t have a plan after all.

Michel Barnier was clearly frustrated by the progress of the talks. “We make better progress when our respective positions are clear,” he said during the press conference after his brief meeting with David Davis. Davie stood there with his finger in his ear, smiling and nodding, although if he really was listening to the simultaneous translation he wouldn’t have been smiling at all. He might as well have been listening to the latest track from Beyoncé on BBC Radio 1, and indeed he possibly was. He certainly wasn’t tuned in to the EU.

According to numerous reports in the press, the EU is finding it impossible to negotiate with the UK because they have no clear idea of what the UK wants to get out of negotiations. But then that’s hardly surprising, because the UK doesn’t have any clear idea of what the UK wants to get out of negotiations. The position of Brexiteers in the government appears to be that the UK needs to leave the EU, not pay any money, but still enjoy all the benefits of EU membership. EU citizens will no longer be free to settle in the UK, but UK citizens should still be free to settle in the EU. The British want something that only exists in one of those surreal universes, only this time not the one which we’re inhabiting.

The only thing that anyone knows for certain about the UK’s position on Europe is that time is running out and the Tory party is far more interested in jockeying for position and briefing against fellow cabinet ministers than in establishing a sensible and realistic position on Brexit. Cabinet infighting has reached such a fever pitch of briefing, counter-briefing, slur, and counter-slur, that the only cabinet member that no one has said a bad word about is David Mundell. But that’s only because no one thinks it’s necessary to slag off a stuffed toy that sits uncomprehendingly in the corner of the room. Although to be honest, a stuffed toy is at least more decorative.

In a statement to the press late this week, environment secretary Michael Gove stated that the cabinet is united on the need for a Brexit transitional period. Michael is probably the only cabinet member who thinks that Theresa May’s cabinet is united, and from his perspective they cabinet is indeed solidly united. But that’s only because they all hate him. This is one of the very few instances in which the rest of the Conservative cabinet has its finger on the pulse of public opinion.

The nightmare continues in its senseless and irrational way. There might not be much we can do to save the UK, but the thing about dreams is that eventually something so stupid, so unexpected, so shocking happens, that you wake up with a start. One day very soon Scotland is going to wake up. The alarm clock will be going off any day now.


gingercartoonWee Ginger Fundraiser

I’m doing a fundraiser this year to keep this blog going for another twelve month and to allow the dug and me to continue visiting local groups all across Scotland. You can donate via my crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo –

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/wee-ginger-crowdfunder-independent-blog

Alternatively you can donate by Paypal by clicking the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special bank account I’ve set up for the purposes of this fundraiser, 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.

Many thanks.

Wee Ginger Fundraiser

gingercartoonI don’t usually do crowdfunding, having always preferred to sell books and rely on the donate button which is at the end of every blog article on this site – or at least at the end of every article I write myself. It wouldn’t be fair to attempt to raise donations on the back of someone else’s work. This year however, and with no small amount of trepidation, I’ve decided it’s time to do a fundraiser. Fundraisers always fill me with dread, which is why I avoid them. They mean putting yourself to the test, to ask whether people really do value your work enough to put their hands in their pockets. But needs must.

There won’t be any new instalments of the Collected Yaps this year, so there are no new books to sell for the time being. That doesn’t mean there won’t be any more books in the future, there probably will. However for the time being there are no plans to publish any more books. After publishing no less than six books within a fairly short period of time, the Collected Yaps Volumes 1 to 4 (anthologies of blog articles), and two volumes of Barking Up the Right Tree (anthologies of articles for The National newspaper), it’s probably best to wait a while before publishing more.

While I am hugely appreciative of the donations that people give by clicking on the donate button at the end of articles, the truth is that it’s a pretty hit and miss method of funding the site, and certainly doesn’t bring in enough to live on. Occasionally an article seems to strike a chord and there’s a wee spurt of donations, but other times days can go by without anything coming in at all.

There are a few things I’d like to do over the coming twelve months, and it would be good to have a wee bit of financial security in order to do them. The grass roots independence movement really needs to be re-energised and re-engaged, and I would like to continue the work I’ve been doing over the past year or so going out to speak to local groups and help them re-establish themselves in any way I can. Me and the dug have been across the length and breadth of Scotland, from Campbeltown and Stranraer to Thurso and Orkney and from Fort William and Skye to Duns and Dunbar. There will be a lot more visits to local groups over the coming months. In August the dug and me will be in Pitcairngreen near Perth, Cumbernauld, and Lanark, and in September we’re due to visit local groups in Forfar, Bellshill, East Kilbride, Dalbeattie, Alness, and Girvan.

I never charge a speaker’s fee when going to speak to a local group. Local groups don’t have much money, and I speak for them in order to allow them to do fundraisers for their own activities. However I do need to support myself somehow. Until now I’ve been relying largely on book sales, but as already mentioned, there won’t be any new books for the time being. I want to do a lot more speaking events over the coming months because it’s vital that local independence groups stay energised and active, and in order to do that a wee bit of personal financial security is required.

I’d also like to get these long-awaited Gaelic maps published. Publishing them has been put back due to unforeseen elections and assorted other issues. But the fact is that in order to get them published it’s going to take a fairly hefty sum to be paid up-front. Self-publishing maps is turning out to be a lot more complicated than self-publishing books.

Blogging takes time. The articles on this site weigh in at over 1000 words every time, and I manage to get several articles online every week. This is a not insignificant amount of writing. It’s a greater output than most other blogs. In total I’ve written approaching 2,000,000 words on this blog since it started in 2013. That’s more than JK Rowling, and though I flatter myself that my blogs are magic there’s not a wizard in sight. But I also hope that as well as quantity, this site also delivers quality, and that you find that the articles on this site are worth reading, and that they are occasionally informative, amusing and provoke thought and emotion. I try very hard to approach blogging as though it’s the creation of literature that can stand the test of time. I don’t alway succeed, but I do like to think that one of the reasons this site has such a great following is because of the quality of its content.

Content creation doesn’t come out of thin air. Bloggers have to eat. They have to read newspapers and watch the TV news, so you don’t have to. They have to think of smart arsed things to say. They have to reach down into their souls and bare their feelings. At least, this one does. All of that can only be done if you have the security of knowing that you’ll be able to pay your bills and keep food on the table.

So I’m doing a fundraiser. I’m hoping to raise £10,000 which will enable me to support myself for the next year. I hope it’s not a greedy sounding amount. It works out at less than the minimum wage. This amount will allow me to continue to blog, to go and give talks in support of local groups all over Scotland, and to appear at pro-independence events and to support other pro-independence initiatives. I’m very grateful to have so many loyal and regular readers, this blog would not be possible without you. Please help me to keep it going and keep the Dug’s tour of Scotland going too. All support however small is gratefully received.

You can donate via my crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo –

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/wee-ginger-crowdfunder-independent-blog

Alternatively you can donate by Paypal by clicking the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special bank account I’ve set up for the purposes of this fundraiser, 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.

Many thanks.

The row of the summer

Well that went well. After loudly proclaiming that it’s time to get down to business with the EU, David Davis, the Secretary of State for Thick Vain Lazy Toads, spent less than 15 minutes with Michel Barnier in Brussels followed by a cursory meeting involving senior officials lasting an hour before heading back to London in order to leak something embarrassing to the newspapers about his colleagues. Who wants to be in Brussels ensuring that the country isn’t turned into an economic basketcase worse than the worst predictions made for Scotland by the frothiest of frothing Unionists during the independence campaign when there’s very serious business in London to get back to – shafting fellow members of the government as they all jockey for position once Theresa May has been tossed off the Brexit cliff along with the economy.

You’d have thought that 110 days after his boss pressed the big red Brexit button – the one marked “self-destruct” – the time to get down to business would have been quite some time ago, especially since there are only 730 days between pressing the button and the whole thing exploding in our faces in a very unpleasant mess. 15% of the available negotiating time has already passed, much of which was taken up with an entirely unnecessary vanity election for Theresa May which ended in a debacle, much like the EU negotiations are shaping up to be. Yet here we are, with one seventh of the available negotiating time already eaten up, and still we’ve got no idea of what the British government actually wants to get out this process other than a magic unicorn and all the advantages of EU membership without having to pay for them or being a member.

A photo of the encounter between Dave and Michel showed the EU side, two women and a man, with stacks of briefing papers in front of them, while the all male British team was fronted by nothing more than an embarrassed smile and a vacant expression as they wondered whether the women were train drivers. The British press team insisted that the lack of briefing papers on the table was merely because Dave hadn’t retrieved his documents from his briefcase, which is possibly the first time in history that a half-eaten M&S coronation chicken sandwich and a dog eared copy of the Daily Mail open at a page with a photo of Michael Gove which has been defaced by crudely drawn spectacles and a beard have been described as diplomatic papers. He did have a piece of paper in his pocket saying “have cake, eat cake, remember to pop into M&S on way back from Eurostar”, which is as close to a negotiating strategy that the UK has got.

This was what Dave had touted as the “row of the summer” just a few months ago, when he’d also claimed that as soon as the Brexit starting pistol was fired he’d forget about Brussels and be off to Berlin to do a deal with an eager Angela Merkel. It fell much further short of a row than the distance between Brussels and Berlin. In fact the row of the summer goes hadn’t got any further than the cabinet office in Whitehall, where the real row of the summer was taking place.

This is the row that involves nasty Tories leaking anonymous briefings to the press that their nasty Tory colleagues are in fact nasty Tories. Someone called Dave a vain thick lazy toad, said that Phil Hammond was sexist, and that Boris Johnson was a boorish buffoon, and then everyone blamed Michael Gove for being a crawling wee gobshite whose idea of politics is to stab his friends in the back before his enemies do. All of which may be true, but none of which comes as any surprise. The only surprising thing about a press release slagging off a Tory cabinet minister from anyone who is described as a friend of Michael Gove is that Michael Gove has anyone who can be described as a friend.

Whitehall rumour has it that the Toady One only got the negotiating gig because when Action Man Dave was a member of the SAS he was trained to garotte the enemy with a length of chicken wire. This is about as close as anyone in the UK government is able to get to an understanding of EU poultry subsidies in Latvia. However as anyone who ever possessed an Action Man as a child will know, the Action Man figure is missing certain vital bits. In Dave’s case the vital bits consist of anything approaching a semblance of awareness that he and his colleagues are sleepwalking the UK into one almighty disaster.

According to the Guardian, some Conservative MPs are going to attempt to get rid of Theresa May after Westminster’s summer break, which is due to begin on Friday. The only thing uniting the Tory party at the moment is the need to avoid another General Election, because they’re afraid that they’ll get humped. With the Tories party interest always comes first and foremost, and if securing the interests of the Conservative party means bringing down the economy, falling out of the EU with the worst deal possible, and turning the UK into an even bigger laughing stock internationally than Donald Trump, then so be it. Back in 2014 we were told that Scotland needed the broad shoulders of the UK and the security and stability of Great Britain. So how is that working out, hmm?

None of this is going to get any better any time soon. The Tory party will continue tear itself apart as its leaders fight for the captaincy of the Titanic. Labour will continue to make all sorts of fine sounding promises and then fail utterly to deliver on them. Britain will continue to slide towards irrelevance and the potential of economic disaster. For independence supporters, it’s pretty much a question of allowing the UK to destroy itself. But that doesn’t mean we can sit back with the popcorn. Not everyone joins up the political dots. We need to use this time of weakness in Westminster to organise, build a coherent story of the better Scotland that is possible, and educate people that talking about independence is not a distraction from education, health, jobs or public services, independence is the only way to secure them in an increasingly insecure British state. The collapse of Westminster into a mire of its own manufacture wins us only half the battle, we need to win the other half ourselves. While the Tories consume themselves in their row of the summer, let’s get winning the case for independence.

If you’d like me and the dug to come and give a talk to your local group, email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com


Donate to the Dug This blog relies on your support and donations to keep going – I need to make a living, and have bills to pay. Clicking the donate button will allow you to make a payment directly to my Paypal account. You do not need a Paypal account yourself to make a donation. You can donate as little, or as much, as you want. Many thanks.

Donate Button

If you’d like to make a donation but don’t wish to use Paypal or have problems using the Paypal button, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for details of alternative methods of donation.


frontcovervol3barkingvol2coverSigned copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 2 3 & 4 are available by emailing me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Price just £21.90 for two volumes plus P&P. Please state whether you want vols 1 & 2 or 3 & 4. You can also order signed copies of all four volumes for the special price of £40 plus £4 P&P within the UK.

Copies of Barking Up the Right Tree are available from my publisher Vagabond Voices at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993 price just £7.95 plus P&P. The E-book of Barking Up the Right Tree is available for Kindle for just £4. Click here to purchase.

Get your copy of Barking Up the Right Tree Volume 2 by placing an order on the Vagabond Voices website. Just click the following link.

https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/bookshop-rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2016

Reaching for the stars

On Saturday, the National published a front page article about the development of the space related industries in Scotland. Already, Scotland generates some £134 million annually in space-related industries, primarily in building small satellites, and Scotland’s contribution makes up a disproportionately large part of the UK space industry. 7000 of the total 38,500 UK jobs in space-related industries are based in Scotland. According to the economic consultancy firm London Economics, Scotland has a 11.7% share of the total UK space economy, a figure well in excess of Scotland’s 8.25% share of the UK population.

A new report from the Common Weal think tank suggests that part of the difficulty in developing Scotland’s space industry is that many of the necessary powers are currently reserved to Westminster, but if that can be overcome and Scotland invests in a spaceport and Scottish Space Agency, it could potentially provide an enormous boost to the Scottish economy. It could create hundreds of well paid and skilled jobs, and bring in millions in extra revenues. All it takes is imagination, work, investment, and to build on the skills and talents that Scotland already possesses. We can reach for the stars.

The National was the only publication to pay any attention to the report from the pro-independence think tank. This isn’t unusual. The Fraser of Allander Institute only has to clear its throat to have it plastered all over the Unionist media and the BBC, which is quite an achievement for an organisation which sounds like a knitwear shop in Pitlochry. The fact is no one needs to write a report on how any report that shows up Scotland in a bad light or provides a musical backing to the latest chorus of SNP bad, is going to get top billing on Reporting Scotland and the Scotsman. We already know that. Meanwhile reports from Common Weal about how independence can be beneficial get as much publicity in the Unionist media as an explanation from a tax lawyer about how setting up a new company means you’re not the same as the old company gets in a Rangers fan newsletter.

Sadly, and all too predictably, the National’s story was met with an outpouring of derision and scorn from Scotland’s Unionists. There were the usual complaints about how Scotland couldn’t possibly develop a space industry – even though it’s already got a space industry – because the Scottish government can’t make a decent fist of running whatever public service happens to have been attacked on the Scotlandshire news that week. One of the key features of Scottish Unionism is its wilful inability to distinguish between how any single political party runs aspects of a devolved administration and the wider issue of independence.

Devolution means that the playing field is tilted against the Scottish Government – irrespective of which party happens to be in power. It means operating within the constraints of a budget which is set elsewhere, without the full range of powers that an independent country possesses to regulate and improve its economy. Saying that Scotland shouldn’t become independent because the Scottish Government isn’t managing a devolved public service well is like saying that a football team which performs poorly on a playing field that’s strongly tilted against it and in a game where the rules are biased in favour of the opposition would do even worse on a level field in a fair game.

The fact is that Unionists don’t want to admit that an independent Scotland would be a fully functioning democracy. They don’t want to admit that an independent Scotland would be more democratic and have a more accountable government than a Scotland within a UK which is governed by a UK government we didn’t vote for, propped up by a party we can’t vote for, which is implementing a Brexit that Scotland voted against. It suits them to conflate independence with the SNP because then they can avoid dealing with the real issues of the lack of democratic accountability that Scotland in the Union faces. It allows them to mount party political attacks on a topic that is not party political.

Tory MSPs went out of their way to laugh at the ridiculous notion that Scotland could ever do something that a normal developed country might do – indeed something that Scotland is doing right now. Imagine the very idea of it eh, a Scotland which has a world class record in invention, innovation, and design Scottish Unionism is the philosophy that physical and material poverty is acceptable, that poverty of the imagination is laudable, and that poverty of ambition is normal. Unionism teaches that the only way Scotland can ever gaze on the stars is when it’s lying in the gutter. It demands that all of Scotland gets down into the gutter and feeds off the scraps that Westminster chooses to toss our way. Unionism is the politicisation of the cringe.

The most frightening thing to some caged birds is the opening of the cage door. Unionism cowers in terror at the back of the cage, angry and fearful at its fellow birds who stretch their wings and dream of a wide blue sky. Scottish Unionism is scarred by the fear that in a wide open sky with bright horizons ahead, it will no longer rule the roost. It’s only by clipping Scotland’s wings that the Union can survive.

Unionism turns the cringe into a weapon with which to beat us all down. It’s the dead weight that pulls dreams down and into the mud and calls nightmares realism. Don’t get above yourself. Don’t dream. Don’t aspire. And above all, don’t dare to imagine that you could ever be the master or mistress of your own destiny. Unionism results in a bunch of rockets telling Scotland it can’t build a rocket. It’s a band of space cadets who laugh at those with the imagination to fly. They wield the cringe as a weapon to bring down those who show any sign of rising above their fear. They’re terrified because independence is the booster rocket that will take Scotland into a global orbit, and then we can reach for the stars.

If you’d like me and the dug to come and give a talk to your local group, email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com


Donate to the Dug This blog relies on your support and donations to keep going – I need to make a living, and have bills to pay. Clicking the donate button will allow you to make a payment directly to my Paypal account. You do not need a Paypal account yourself to make a donation. You can donate as little, or as much, as you want. Many thanks.

Donate Button

If you’d like to make a donation but don’t wish to use Paypal or have problems using the Paypal button, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for details of alternative methods of donation.


frontcovervol3barkingvol2coverSigned copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 2 3 & 4 are available by emailing me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Price just £21.90 for two volumes plus P&P. Please state whether you want vols 1 & 2 or 3 & 4. You can also order signed copies of all four volumes for the special price of £40 plus £4 P&P within the UK.

Copies of Barking Up the Right Tree are available from my publisher Vagabond Voices at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993 price just £7.95 plus P&P. The E-book of Barking Up the Right Tree is available for Kindle for just £4. Click here to purchase.

Get your copy of Barking Up the Right Tree Volume 2 by placing an order on the Vagabond Voices website. Just click the following link.

https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/bookshop-rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2016

The repeal bill that will repeal the Union

According to our Unionist media, the big news of this week is not that Westminster is attempting the greatest power grab since Henry VIII changed England’s religion so that he could get his end away with Anne Boleyn after ransacking some monasteries. It’s not that Theresa May has been saying for months that she would listen to and consult the devolved administrations, but it now transpires that her listening consists of her sticking her fingers in her ears and repeating Brexit means Brexit and clicking her kitten heels together as she sets off down the yellow brick road that ends in a plummet off a cliff.

It’s not even that the devolution settlement is about to be blatantly trashed by a Westminster that’s taking devolved powers back to itself and placing restrictions on what Holyrood and Cardiff can do, and only then deciding what if anything it’s disposed to give back again. It’s not that the Sewell Convention saying that Westminster will not change the powers of Holyrood without the agreement of the Scottish Parliament, a Convention that was supposedly enshrined in law, has now been proven to have less practical use than a Klingon dictionary on a foreign holiday. It’s none of these things. According to the Unionist press the big news this week is that our governor general David Mundell has warned Nicola Sturgeon not to hijack Brexit.

Even if this was indeed the most salient point to have come out of this week’s Westminster train wreck, the hypocrisy from the Tories is on a par with Henry VIII’s insistence that finding a legal justification for his screwing opportunities was the path to eternal salvation for an entire nation. And in fact, it’s worse, because in this instance the Tories are insistent on screwing an entire nation and the only salvation on offer is the salvation of the careers of Conservative politicians.

The Tories are the ones who have hijacked Brexit, taking the most narrow Leave vote and choosing to interpret it in the manner that’s most beneficial to the right wing of the Conservative party and to hell with the rest of us. They’re using Brexit as a chance to impose a far right vision of a deregulated, neo-conservative low wage low tax economy that will benefit the rich at the expense of the poor. They’re using Brexit to shred social protections and allow big businesses unfettered power to screw as much money out of the country as possible. Then they greet like weans at anyone who resists them, anyone who dares to point out that what is good for Michael Gove’s career opportunities isn’t likely to be especially good for anyone else.

David Mundell is the governor general who for the past year has been insisting that Scotland stands to gain significant extra powers from the Brexit process. This week we discovered, predictably, that Mundell’s promises are worthless. There are no extra powers for Scotland in Westminster’s bill to leave the EU. If you’re surprised by that revelation you will probably be surprised to discover that the big wig wearing contestants on RuPaul’s Drag Race are in fact men. In Scotland we ought to be used to Westminster politicians promising all sorts of innovative jam for us, only to discover that not only is the jar empty, but we’re still expected to pay for it. That doesn’t stop our Unionist media trumpeting every hollow promise made by Westminster as though it was a lottery win, and then when the promise fails to materialise it’s independence supporting parties who get blamed for pointing it out.

Instead, and entirely predictably, there’s a Westminster which is taking back powers which were previously devolved. With its Great Repeal Bill, Westminster has unilaterally, and without consultation with Holyrood or Cardiff, destroyed the key principle of devolution, and it has done so for the party political interests of the Conservative party. This is an even greater assault on democracy since Margaret Thatcher abolished Greater London Council because she was annoyed with Ken Livingstone.

The underlying assumption of the Scotland Act upon which devolution rests is that all powers are devolved except those which are specifically reserved to Westminster. The updated and improved – no laughing at the back there – version of the Scotland Act passed after the referendum of 2014 supposedly enshrined in law the principle that no changes could be made to devolved powers without the consent of the Scottish Parliament. Those foundations have now been proven to be as worthless as Theresa May’s tears. The UK government, not even the UK parliament, has taken it upon itself to decide what is or is not devolved. They’re giving themselves the right to do this not merely without consulting with Holyrood or seeking its approval, but the right to do so without consulting with or seeking the approval of Westminster MPs. What was that about taking back control? This bill is a direct assault on devolution and the Scottish parliament. Brexit will result in a Scottish parliament that’s under greater constraints and has fewer powers than before. Another Unionist promise broken. If Unionist broken promises were piled up in a bonfire, it would be higher than any found in Belfast in July.

It would be bad enough if it was just the devolution settlement that was being ripped up by the UK Government’s Brexit bill. It’s far worse than that. The bill is supposed to transfer EU law into UK law following Brexit, but it won’t include the EU Charter of fundamental rights. This is a charter which underpins human rights and employment rights – such as the right to data privacy, the protection of children’s rights, the right to equality. We’ve already seen that this Conservative government has a poor record on these. It’s happy to separate children from their parents if one of the parents is a non-European citizen and the family doesn’t have a certain level of income. It’s happy to bring in a snooper’s charter. It’s happy to drive about vans telling migrants to “go home”. The Charter of fundamental rights covers rights not fully covered by the European Convention of Human Rights, and we’re about to lose them, surrendering them to the interpretation of people who have demonstrated that they regard Brexit as an opportunity for the advancement of their own sectional interests. We live in a country without a written constitution, and without a clear and unambiguous statement of citizens’ rights, and we’re expected to trust Theresa May, Michael Gove, and Liam Fox with the interpretation of human rights.

The Scottish Parliament will have to vote on this bill because key aspects of EU law are enshrined in the Scotland Act. Holyrood can refuse to give its consent to the bill, that won’t prevent Theresa May’s constitutional vandals from progressing with it, but it will make explicit that Westminster will ride roughshod over the Scottish Parliament, and will demonstrate that the wishes of the Scottish people are ignored and traduced by a British government that doesn’t wish to listen. They might not choose to listen, but we can still make our voices heard. All this Great Repeal Bill will achieve is to hasten the eventual repeal of the United Kingdom.

If you’d like me and the dug to come and give a talk to your local group, email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com


Donate to the Dug This blog relies on your support and donations to keep going – I need to make a living, and have bills to pay. Clicking the donate button will allow you to make a payment directly to my Paypal account. You do not need a Paypal account yourself to make a donation. You can donate as little, or as much, as you want. Many thanks.

Donate Button

If you’d like to make a donation but don’t wish to use Paypal or have problems using the Paypal button, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for details of alternative methods of donation.


frontcovervol3barkingvol2coverSigned copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 2 3 & 4 are available by emailing me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Price just £21.90 for two volumes plus P&P. Please state whether you want vols 1 & 2 or 3 & 4. You can also order signed copies of all four volumes for the special price of £40 plus £4 P&P within the UK.

Copies of Barking Up the Right Tree are available from my publisher Vagabond Voices at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993 price just £7.95 plus P&P. The E-book of Barking Up the Right Tree is available for Kindle for just £4. Click here to purchase.

Get your copy of Barking Up the Right Tree Volume 2 by placing an order on the Vagabond Voices website. Just click the following link.

https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/bookshop-rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2016

The Walk of Shame

It’s yer actual 12th of July today, the hotspot of Orange hate. Over the past few days Northern Ireland and parts of Scotland have been subjected to a celebration of “Loyalist culture”. It’s always a good and positive thing for any community to celebrate its culture, the problem is that what passes for Loyalist culture seemingly consists of burning symbols of all the communities that Loyalists despise. Those would be, Irish and Scottish Catholics in particular, Catholics in general, gay people, black people, Muslims, Eastern Europeans, Europeans in general especially the Catholic ones, Scottish independence supporters, Celtic language speakers, anyone who supports a Scottish fitba team that’s not Rangers, people who believe in dinosaurs which aren’t actually Scottish Tory or DUP policitians, and anyone who doesn’t tie up their budgie’s swing on a Sunday so that it can’t break the Sabbath. So if you’re a gay socialist from a Catholic Eastern European country with a season ticket to Parkhead and a free swinging budgie which isn’t a euphemism, you can expect an especially warm welcome in East Belfast.  As in, a bit of a roasting.

The 12th of July is the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne, when the Dutch King William of Orange defeated the supporters of King James VII and II and thus deposed a Catholic monarch. Ironically, it was Billy who enjoyed the support of the Vatican, and although he’s since become a symbol for sectarian homophobes, there is fairly substantial evidence that he had a series of male lovers. Pope Alexander VII was a close ally of William of Orange as the Papal States at the time were opposed to the attempts of France to establish its dominance in Europe and William was one of the papacy’s supporters. When he defeated James at the Battle of the Boyne, the Pope ordered the bells of the Vatican to ring in celebration.

What passes for Loyalist culture is a wrung out and dessicated version of historical truth, which has been cooked over the centuries so that only the hatred and resentment remain. One of the modern targets of Ulster Unionists is their implacable opposition to an Irish language Act in Northern Ireland, which would give legal protection and status to the Irish language which was once widespread across Northern Ireland just as it was elsewhere in the island. But the so called Loyalists of Northern Ireland are ignorant of their own history. The Irish language is as much the cultural property and patrimony of Ireland’s Protestants as it is of Irish Catholics. Language isn’t determined by religion.  If you’re going to have an annual parade to celebrate your culture and history then maybe you should be arsed enough to find out what your culture and history actually is.  It’s not like the information is difficult to find.

The Scots Presbyterians who settled in Northern Ireland during the Plantations in the 17th century came predominantly from Galloway and Ayrshire. At that time those parts of Scotland were mostly Gaelic speaking, and they spoke a dialect of Scottish Gaelic which had more in common with Irish than most of the surviving dialects of the language do. One of the first Presbyterian ministers ordained in Ireland, a certain Jeremiah O’Quin from Bushmills in the north of county Antrim, was a native Irish speaker who was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1647. Presbyterian services were conducted in the medium of Irish throughout the next two centuries. One of the first books for people who wished to teach themselves Irish was written and published by a Presbyterian minister. The Rev. William Neilson of Kilmore in County Down published An Introduction to the Irish Language in 1808. It was based on the speech of his own parishoners. In the 19th century there were Presbyterian schools in the Glens of Antrim and Tyrone and all across Northern Ireland which taught Irish speaking Presbyterians to read and write with the aid of the Irish language bible. For further information see http://www.presbyterianhistoryireland.com/history/presbyterians-and-the-irish-language/

Modern tribalist Loyalists are not loyal to their own history. They’re loyal to a perverted version of history from which uncomfortable truths have been expunged, leaving nothing but a barren wasteland on which a pile of wooden pallets bearing Irish flags, rainbow and EU flags, and racist slurs against black footballers is set alight once a year. It’s a culture which seeks to ingratiate itself with an establishment which treats it with contempt. It’s the culture of a sectarian statelet which was carved out of Ireland on the basis of bigotry and which systematically discriminated against the minority community in order to ensure that they remained a minority. Protestant preference in jobs, housing, education may be a thing of the past, but any community which has historically enjoyed privilege sees any equalisation of the playing field as a form of oppression. Those most likely to cry victimhood are those whose position depends upon the victimisation of others.

When they do embrace a symbol of something that they identify with other than the British establishment and its monarchy, it’s the flag of the racist American Southern Confederacy, or even a swastika. This is not a culture that looks outwards to embrace the world, it’s a culture that retreats from it and hides away behind a barricade of hatred and suspicion. Deep down, what passes for Loyalist culture is animated by the terror that if ever they concede that they are no longer dominant then Catholics will treat them the same way that they’ve treated the Catholic community.

This annual hatefest is condoned by Scotland’s Conservatives. They turn a blind eye to it. They dog-whistle in support of it. The Scottish Conservatives are riddled with sectarianism because historically they were the party of the Protestant Ascendancy in Scotland. For much of the twentieth century, the Conservatives in Scotland were able to secure working class votes on the basis of sectarianism. They were the party of Protestant preference. They were the political wing of the Orange Order and avid supporters of their annual walk of shame.

Over recent years, since the rise of the independence movement, the Scottish Conservatives have attempted to build on those roots in an attempt to create a bulwark against the rising tide of independence. So we get Scottish Tory MSPs tweeting about “the Queen’s Eleven”. We get Scottish Tory politicians with a history of sectarianism in social media. We get councillors who are members of the Orange Order. What we don’t get is an unambiguous statement from the Scottish Conservatives that they condemn and disavow Orangeism and its annual parade of ahistorical malevolent exclusionary bitterness. It’s time for the Tories to disassociate themselves clearly and unequivocally from the big drum of hatred, to apologise for their historical role in promoting and maintaining sectarianism, and condemn those amongst their elected representatives who indulge in the dog whistle of bigotry. When, and only when, that happens, will the Scottish Tories be able to preach to us about the evils of division and divisiveness. I’m not holding my breath.

If you’d like me and the dug to come and give a talk to your local group, email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com


Donate to the Dug This blog relies on your support and donations to keep going – I need to make a living, and have bills to pay. Clicking the donate button will allow you to make a payment directly to my Paypal account. You do not need a Paypal account yourself to make a donation. You can donate as little, or as much, as you want. Many thanks.

Donate Button

If you’d like to make a donation but don’t wish to use Paypal or have problems using the Paypal button, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for details of alternative methods of donation.


frontcovervol3barkingvol2coverSigned copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 2 3 & 4 are available by emailing me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Price just £21.90 for two volumes plus P&P. Please state whether you want vols 1 & 2 or 3 & 4. You can also order signed copies of all four volumes for the special price of £40 plus £4 P&P within the UK.

Copies of Barking Up the Right Tree are available from my publisher Vagabond Voices at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993 price just £7.95 plus P&P. The E-book of Barking Up the Right Tree is available for Kindle for just £4. Click here to purchase.

Get your copy of Barking Up the Right Tree Volume 2 by placing an order on the Vagabond Voices website. Just click the following link.

https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/bookshop-rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2016