Marketing a lie

It’s a quiet news day. No other former Labour leaders have announced their decision to eat kangaroo testicles on national TV, and no more former SNP leaders have announced their decision to set up a broadcasting studio in Vladimir Putin’s front room where they’re going to read out the Kremlin’s little list of things that Russia would like to see happen in Scotland, followed by a translation of And Quiet Flows the Don into Doric. (At least according to the Scottish Unionist media’s depiction of events.) Even all the Putinbots have been reduced to tweeting random lines from Scot Squad.

Back in the real world it’s looking increasingly likely that the UK’s talks with the EU could end in disaster. Ireland is deeply unhappy that the work that the UK has put into ensuring there is no hard border between the Republic and the North after Brexit amounts to Brexiteers stamping their ruby red slippers and wishing on a star. A hard border is a logical consequence of the UK leaving the customs union and the single market, and it can’t be wished away. Ireland has already hinted that it’s going to wield its veto and block any talks on a post-Brexit trade deal until this issue is dealt with to Ireland’s satisfaction. The days that the UK could bully the Irish Republic are gone. But that’s not really news, because it’s not about how Scottish independence supporters are all agents of the Kremlin.

While we’re on the topic of the single market, there’s something that annoys me. It annoys me that apologists for the British state go on about Russian inspired misinformation when they’re perfectly happy to peddle misinformation of their own. It would be lovely if British nationalists and their hangers on would stop with the guff about a “UK single market”. Not that it’s going to happen mind you. SNP MSP Joan McAlpine got dog’s abuse in the British nationalist press for stating the obvious, but she was correct. There is no such thing as a UK single market. “The UK Single Market” is a political and propaganda term invented by supporters of the British state who seek to prevent Scottish independence by drawing a false equivalence between the union that is the collection of sovereign states which comprise the EU and the supposed union that is the incorporating unitary state of the UK.

A single market is a precisely defined term, and it refers to what you get when several distinct and discrete national markets come together into a mutually agreed and negotiated regulatory framework. That’s decidedly not what we’ve got in the UK. What the UK has is the market of a unitary state, that is not a single market in anything like the same sense that the EU has a single market. One market is not the same as a single market.

This might seem like a nit-picking distinction, but it’s important. Crucially, whereas national markets within a real single market retain their own regulatory, taxation, and financial bodies to which fees and taxes must be paid or reported, the regulatory, tax, and financial framework under which the Scottish economy operates is almost in its entirety handled by the central government in Westminster.  And this will be even more the case after Brexit when competencies currently held by Brussels will be held by Westminster.

What this boils down to is that when, say, Belgium reports that it exports X amount to the rest of the EU that there are Belgian tax authorities and economic bodies which are able to collate figures for the Belgian market with a considerable degree of accuracy. The Belgian government and the Belgian press can then discuss Belgium’s tax revenues and its exports to the rest of the EU and be fairly confident that the data they’re using is accurate and meaningful.

There are no comparable statistics for Scottish tax revenues, the figures which do exist are based on estimates because Scotland doesn’t have its own authorities to which such figures must be reported. The great majority of taxes in the UK are determined by the UK government and collected by UK agencies on a UK wide basis. There is absolutely no requirement for a company which operates across the entire UK to separate out its income and expenditure in Scotland when it comes to paying its taxes. Equally figures for Scotland’s exports to the rest of the UK are based on rough estimates derived from voluntary surveys. In fact it’s really only accurate to speak of the UK economy in Scotland and not of “the Scottish economy”.

So it’s misleading to confidently assert that “Scotland exports four times as much to the rest of the UK as it does to the EU” as some apologists for British nationalism do, because Scotland is not a country of origin in terms of the reporting of taxes and fees in the sense required of a member of a single market. The truth is we don’t really know with anything like the precision that the Belgian authorities know about their exports to other EU states. It’s like trying to compare the results of a straw poll taken from amongst your mates in the pub with the outcome of an actual election. You might come up with the correct result, but there is a huge margin of error and there’s no guarantee that your sample is representative. But really it’s nonsensical to speak about exports from one part of a unitary state to another part of the same unitary state. You’d be as well talking about what Glasgow exports to Paisley

Another crucial distinction is that the EU states decide collectively what the regulations governing the EU single market are going to be. In some aspects of the negotiations member states have a veto.  No single EU state can impose its will unilaterally on the others.  It is however nonsensical to assert that Scotland has a separate and meaningful input into decisions such as setting the rate of VAT throughout the UK, or the rate of corporation tax. These are decided by the UK central government. One nation in the UK can and does unilaterally impose its will on the other nations.  That’s why Scotland is getting Brexit.  Within the UK, we all get what England votes for.

The entire taxation system is in the control of the UK government, except for those aspects which Westminster has allowed to be devolved. Naturally the only tax powers which Westminster has allowed to be devolved to Holyrood are those which have the biggest direct impact on the income of ordinary working people. There’s no economic reason for that, only political reasons. After Brexit the UK government has made it very clear that decisions on regulations such as agricultural standards which are currently determined by EU regulations as part of the EU single market will be determined solely by the UK government.

The point here is that the different members of a single market each have input into how that single market is run and regulated, and although some of the countries which comprise the EU have much larger economies than others, in theory each country comprising the single market has an equal say in how it’s run. That ensures that no one country which is part of the single market can use the single market to benefit itself at the expense of other countries in the single market. That is at least the theory, although it doesn’t always work perfectly in practice. However it’s a very different philosophical underpinning to what happens in the UK’s unitary state market, where the entire economy is apparently run in the interests of the south east of England and London sucks up capital, labour and receives the lion’s share of investment.

If those who oppose Scottish independence want to oppose it on the grounds that taking Scotland out of the UK’s unitary market is a bad thing, they could make a reasonable argument for that which would at least be coherent and morally defensible. It is after all indisputable that Scotland has extremely strong economic links to the rest of the UK. However there is no moral defence for trying to pretend that there’s an exact equivalence between the real single market of the EU and the market of the unitary state of the UK. That’s just misinformation, pure and simple. And that’s exactly the kind of thing that they’re accusing Russia of.

So gonnae no dae that. Gonnae. Jist gonnae no.


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.


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Nasty nasty

The past week has been a bit confusing. Isn’t it independence supporters who are supposed to be the nasty ones? That’s what the British press and political class keeps on telling us so surely it must be true. I’m a case in point. I’m certainly no saint. I can be exceedingly rude, especially about Wullie Rennie, and let’s be fair, in the cosmic scheme of things he’s relatively harmless. He’s not wreaked a fraction of the damage on this country that Boris Johnson has.

There are however limits to the nastiness. I specialise in rudeness, in cutting remarks, and invective, but I never ever drag the families and life partners of the targets of my ire into the proceedings. I can be extremely sweary, but never use words that are demeaning to women like the c-word. My stock in trade is hyperbole, but I’d never dream of accusing an opponent who was well within the mainstream of politics of fascism, ethnic cleansing and a propensity to genocide. And I certainly don’t let a woman do all the work and then pop up with my big butch Y chromosome a few days later and not only take all the credit, but actually blame the woman for being responsible for the problem in the first place. Over the past few days British journalists and politicians have done all of these things. So who’s the real nasty one?

First a wee bit of background. Workers at the engineering company Burntisland Fabrications in Methil were concerned about the future of their plant and jobs after management announced that administrators were going to be called in. The workers called on Scottish government ministers to intervene and to save their jobs. And that’s exactly what the Scottish government did. Following two days of intensive negotiations involving company management, the administrators, the GMB union and the Scottish government, a deal was struck to save the jobs. The GMB union tweeted its thanks to the Scottish goverment for stepping in and helping to achieve a deal.

That’s not how former GMB organiser Richard Leonard Who? saw it. Within hours of being elected as the new interim leader of the Labour branch office in Scotland, the list MSP who’s been in office for just over a year Richard Leonard Who? had first of all threatened to purge his female predecessor, and then he went off for a photie opportunity with workers in Methil and tweeted – “I’m currently in Methil standing alongside the BiFab workers. Their courage and determination this week led by their trade unions GMB and Unite, has secured an important victory. This is the Labour movement at its best.” Richard Who? was starting off with threats of a purge of the other faction in his fractured branch office – so way to go to heal Labour in Scotland’s internal divisions there Richard Who? – and then very clearly trying to claim the credit for the work that the Scottish government had done in saving the workers’ jobs. Meet the new Labour boss, same as the old one. And the one before that, and the one before that.

Richard Who?’s tweet prompted all sorts of Labour supporters, mostly south of the Border who knew bugger all about the situation, to claim that this victory in Methil was precisely why Scotland needs to vote Labour again. Which was of course the exact response that Richard Who? had been looking for. Can’t be letting that SNP take any credit for anything now can we. It’s only responsible for things going wrong, never for things going well.

Richard Who? has since tweeted a photo op with himself and the leaders of the Allies at Versailles, a pic of himself alongside Martin Luther King when the US Supreme Court ruled that segregation was illegal, and a photie of himself alongside Marsha P. Johnson storming the police lines during the Stonewall riots.

It was entirely expected, justified even, that Labour figures were going to claim that Kezia Dugdale was petty minded and vindictive for announcing her decision to go on I’m a Celebrity just hours before the results of a leadership contest which was only necessary because she chose to resign due nasty and bile filled infighting. However the nastiness and bile that prompted her resignation in the first place was on full display in some of the responses. Paul Sinclair, former special advisor for Labour in Scotland, wrote a piece about Kezia for the Labour party in Scotland’s favourite organ, that bastion of socialism that is the Daily Mail’s Sunday edition the Mail on Sunday. It was the journalistic equivalent of chewing on a wasp that had been hybridised with a soor lemon dipped in vinegar. What put it beyond the pale was that he dragged Kezia’s relationships with her previous partner and with her current partner, SNP MSP Jenny Gilruth, into his invective. That was totally uncalled for and extremely nasty. The only thing that was proven here was that Paul Sinclair’s article was even more petty minded and vindictive than anything Kezia has done. But he’s done us a favour. It helps us to understand why she did it.

It wasn’t just Labour supporters who reacted to the news that Richard Who? had been elected. Tory MP Adam Tomkins tweeted, “So … someone born in England can be elected leader of a Scottish party. Interesting.” Clearly English born Adam is wondering about his own chances of becoming the leader of the Tories in Scotland after Ruth has buggered off to seek a safe Westminster seat somewhere in Toryshire.  And if he ever does you can bet that the Scottish Unionist media won’t be pressing him too closely on how a former Republican supporter of the pro-independence Scottish Socialists ended up as a red white and blue bedecked Conservative defender of the status quo who loves Iain Duncan Smith’s ideas on social security.

Actually, Labour in Scotland isn’t a Scottish party. It’s the accounting unit in Scotland of a UK party, but that’s a minor point. Adam should have known that deputy leader and former leader of the SNP group in the Commons Angus Robertson was born in that hotbed of Scottish separatism that is Wimbledon. Robert Cunninghame Graham, founder of both the Scottish Labour Party when it really was a Scottish Labour party, and founder of the SNP, was also born in London, his first language was his mother’s native Spanish, and he was educated at an expensive English public school. Scottish politics, Scottish people, and particularly the Scottish independence movement, have never bothered themselves with trivialities about where a person came from.

Sadly that didn’t stop former Guardian journalist Michael White, he of the silly moustache, tweeting in reply, “Not all Scots are committed to ethnic cleansing, the majority still favour the Union and tolerate the English – we like them too.” I’m sure this was just banter. Just a wee joke. But I am also sure you can imagine the shitstorm of protest and outrage that would have befallen us all if a prominent independence supporter had tweeted a jokey remark about English people ethnically cleansing the Scots. It’s fine for Michael to portray us as racists though.

We don’t merely tolerate the English. A lot of us in the indy movement are English, or have English partners or English family. My own daughters are English. However what we are increasingly less likely to tolerate are slurs like those of Michael which trade on the old English stereotype that there is no content to a Scottish identity except an atavistic hatred of the English.  British journalism is full of people who are only able to understand the movement for Scottish independence in the laziest of terms.  It’s not good enough from those who claim that they’re the media professionals and who then complain when the public loses trust in them.

There are plenty of nutjob apologists for British nationalism in Scotland as it is. There are people who will scream that claiming that Scots and Gaelic are equally national languages of this country along with English is tantamount to incitement to genocide. There are actual and real fascists who support the Union and who have already proven that they will resort to violence – we remember who was responsible for the attacks in George Square after the referendum even if Michael doesn’t. Michael’s asinine tweet empowers and gives justification to those loons.

And last and definitely least, there’s the supposedly reasonable Unionist commentator Alex Massie. He’s very unhappy about Alex Salmond presenting a chat show on Russia Today, so unhappy that he called him a c–t. The c-word is to women as the n-word is to black people Alex M, that’s why grown ups don’t use it with reference to political opponents. And just like Michael’s slur about ethnic cleansing, can you imagine the crap in the media if a prominent independence supporter had called a Unionist politician by that word? British nationalist double standards strike again.

Alex Salmond was defeated in the general election by a Tory no-mark, how very dare he not go away and crawl under a rock. Well get this – we’re not going away. We’re not crawling under any rocks. We’re not going to be deterred by the increasingly unhinged hysteria from apologists for the British state and British nationalism. They’re only destroying their own credibility with their petty minded nastiness, and their increasing nastiness is a sign that they know the days of the British state are ending. The UK won’t die with a bang, or with a whimper, it will die with swear words, insults, and petty mindedness. It’s not just the Tories who are the nasty party.


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

I’m a Labour ex-leader, get me out of here

So there you are, thinking that there can’t possibly be anything to top Alex Salmond presenting a chat show on Russian telly, and then along comes Kezia Dugdale going – Haud ma drink. Kezia has decided that she misses Scottish Labour’s diet of repellant, unpleasant and suspicious things that reek to high heaven, so she’s going to go on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. Still, at least it distracts attention from the car crash that is the party’s leadership. It doesn’t even have an interim leader, just an interim interim leader, although to be fair even once the results of the leadership election is announced on Saturday it will still only have an interim leader, because that’s the only kind of leader that Labour in Scotland has ever got. There are small insects without mouth parts with a longer life expectancy than a leader of the Labour party in Scotland, as Kezia will doubtless discover once she’s in the jungle and is having them instead of cornflakes. The news that Labour’s ex-leader in Scotland figures that jungle challenges are part of the day job came as a huge surprise, but knowing Kezia’s unerring sense of judgement as we do however, the real surprise will be if she manages to end up in the right jungle.

Still, it’s churlish to complain about Kezia’s decision to appear on light entertainment telly shows, she’s only copying Ruth I’m a Panellist Davidson’s example. No one in the Unionist media who’s complaining now was too upset when Ruth decided that part of the day job was appearing on Have I Got News for You or Celebrity Bake Off. That last show has Great British in the title so it counts as promoting the Union. And a cake recipe is certainly far more coherent than anything that Ruth has ever presented as a policy. Alex has his own chat show. Kezia’s got I’m a Celebrity. Ruth’s got Celebrity Bake Off. Wullie Rennie is really pissed off, but apparently he’s in negotiations to appear on the front cover of the bus timetable for the number 17 to Kelty.

It’s just a shame that Kezia complained about Nadine Dorris doing the same when she appeared on the show. That’s the problem with digging such a deep hole, the chances are that you’ll fall in it yourself. Which sounds like a jungle challenge. However it is interesting that the Scottish Conservatives stoke up sectarian bigotry leading to a huge rise in anti-Catholic hate crime and the Scottish media says nothing, but Kezia goes on a reality telly show and all hell breaks loose. Priorities, eh.

It’s rumoured, at least by the voices in my head, that originally Kezia asked the producers of the programme if Anas Sarwar could come on the show with her. However they pointed out that they were already in negotiations with the agent of a vapid socialite who’d sold her wedding photies to Hello magazine, so they’d already filled their quota of smug self-satisfied talentless clowns with a sense of entitlement who’re only in the public eye because they’ve got a rich and well connected daddy.

After spending months and months banging on about how Nicola Sturgeon needs to focus on the day job, Kezia has decided that the job description of a Lothian list MSP includes schmoozing with Ant n Dec while Boris Johnson’s dad gets covered in cockroaches. It will be fine. There’s no way that a politician can humiliate themselves by appearing on a trashy reality telly show is there? I mean George Galloway is still a respected elder statesman and no one remembers him in a leotard pretending to be Rula Lenska’s pussy. Anyway, I never actually wanted Kezia to win anything before, so I’m still trying to process these new and unexpected feelings.

I even went back onto Twitter briefly to get a wee skwatch at the reaction of Duncan Hothersall, the Scottish Labour twitteropinionator who has an opinion about absolutely everything. Unfortunately he was doing an impression of a BBC Scotland reporter doorstepping Ruth Davidson about all the bigots, racists, misogynists, and general misanthropes who inhabit the ranks of her party’s cooncillors. Naewhere to be seen, in other words.

Labour’s usual suspects on social media are pure beelin. There they were, trying to extract the maximum outrage possible out of Alecsammin being on Russian telly, and along comes Kezia swinging a pair of kangaroo testicles. I cannae wait for Alex to discuss Kezia’s appearance in the jungle on his chat show on RT. The Scottish Unionist media will have a collective fit of apoplexy that will make a Daily Mail leader writer seem like a calm and rational philosophy professor and the entire country will drown in the frothing outrage.

One prominent Labour person even tweeted a suspicion that Kezia is actually an SNP plant at the very heart of the Labour party. Seriously. That’s how desperate they are to turn this into an SNP bad story. Scottish Labour people are stomping about with faces that could fry a punn of mince from halfway across the galaxy, a skill which would probably be pretty useful in the jungle. Some Labour politicians are demanding that she surrender her MSP’s salary for at least the period when she’ll be in Australia, but to be fair she’s paying her own way there in terms of what’s left of her party’s credibility. They should be glad she’s going. She’s the only person appearing on the programme that anyone in Scotland is likely to recognise. All you really have to do these days to become a celebrity is to go on Jeremy Kyle and trade insults with your significant other. Kezia is a class act by comparison. She traded insults in an actual Parliament. And usually lost, but still.

Kezia’s decision to appear on I’m a Celebrity and the announcement just hours before the results of the leadership contest are announced is a massive screw you to a dysfunctional and moribund party which conspired against her at every opportunity and then stabbed her in the back. This is her Johann Lamont branch office moment. She’s serving back to her ungrateful party the same contempt that they gave to her during her time as leader, only this time it’s with kangaroo testicles and roasted locusts. It serves them right.


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

This ship is sinking

We’re on a cruise liner, and it’s on fire and holed below the waterline. The ship is on an erratic and unplanned course which is taking it ever closer to some dangerous rocks, meanwhile the senior crew members spend all their time and energy plotting against the captain. Mind you, none of them actually want the captain’s job right now, because they want the robotic, short-sighted, and authoritarian captain to take the blame when disaster finally strikes. The captain herself is mostly preoccupied with trying to buy off the muniteers amongst her senior crew, which is most of them. They’re all worried that there’s a chance that the ship might be taken over by the lower ranks who’re being organised by a disgruntled stoker in the bowels of the ship who they suspect of being dangerously communist. One of the chief officers spends most of his time insulting the authorities of all the nearby ports, telling untruths about a passenger who was recently arrested on trumped up charges which means she’s facing a doubling of her sentence. Another has decided to embark upon plotting a course entirely on her own and without informing anyone else in the crew. The man responsible for ensuring that the ship docks safely at the end of its journey apparently lacks the most basic understanding of how docking procedures actually work and he’s hell bent on taking the ship to a destination which only exists in his own imagination. One senior officer has been suspended for alleged inappropriate behaviour with passengers, and another is accused of using the ship’s computers for viewing pornography. The ship’s catering facilities and health facilities are in crisis, and passengers in steerage are dying or being forced to take what shelter they can find on an open deck because they have to wait six weeks before getting any dinner or the rent paid on their cabin. And all this multiclustered idiocy and cruelty is merely scratching the surface of all that is wrong with the ship. Welcome to HMS Britannia.

What’s the main subject of concern in the ship’s newsletter? There is certainly plenty to be going on with. Oh right. A guy who used to be responsible for one of the decks but who isn’t any more is putting on a chat show which is being sponsored by a Russian in a room which most people don’t care to visit.

You know, maybe, just maybe, if we had a media which focussed on proper serious issues instead of pursuing their petty vendettas then perhaps we wouldn’t all be in this mess. Just a wee suggestion there.

I’m not a big fan of Russia Today, as anyone who read my previous post on this topic will appreciate. So I’m not going to be swayed by people commenting here to assure me that it’s really a source of totally unbiased news. It’s not. You can bet that RT is going to be every bit as biased in its coverage of independence movements amongst some of the 140 or so non-Russian nationalities who inhabit Russia as the BBC is about Scotland.

That doesn’t mean that every single item broadcast on the channel is bias or propaganda. Of course it isn’t. That’s not how it works. Not everything broadcast on the BBC is propaganda either. Propaganda and bias work by providing viewers or readers with a considerable amount of objective truth and factual reality. That is the only way that trust and credibility can be built up in the viewers. And then viewers can be swayed in other subtle ways, by omitting certain information or by focussing on an aspect of a story which portrays an opponent in an unfavourable light. Russia Today does that, and so does the BBC.

And before any apologists for the BBC kick off, it’s not a conspiracy either. Bias usually happens because of a world-view, because of knowing what will please your bosses, not because of a conspiracy. The BBC’s problem however is that trust amongst Scottish viewers has pretty much collapsed, whereas there are still apparently some people who are willing to give Russia Today the benefit of the doubt.

I was initially opposed to Alex Salmond’s decision to allow his new show to be broadcast by RT, precisely because I expected a firestorm of outrage from the usual suspects in the Unionist media. However that firestorm has been so over the top, so ridiculous, and so disproportionate considering that the actual programme went out of its way to criticise Russia, that I’m coming to the conclusion that His Eckness’s decision to appear on RT was really a very clever method of undermining any residual faith that people in Scotland might have in the Unionist media.

Apologists for the Unionist media on social media claim that it presents real news, and complain that their “real news” upsets people so it must be doing its job. That’s bollocks. Real news is hard-nosed investigative stuff. What Unionist outlets in Scotland churn out is hysterical nonsense about ex-politicians who are presenting chat-shows, interminable and lazy guff about how fabby Ruth Davidson is and giving her awards for services to making sectarian bigots councillors in order to troll independence supporters, and finding a million and one ways to distract us from the very real and serious issues facing Scotland as a result of the dysfunction of the British state. Woodward and Bernstein it ain’t. The closest that the Scottish Unionist media ever gets to Deep Throat is some snide wee article complaining about Alex Salmond scoffing down a free dinner.

I can exclusively reveal that when Alex Salmond met the dug backstage at the Usher Hall during the SIC’s Build Conference, he commanded Ginger to sit, and the dug immediately sat down obediently and proferred a paw.  Alex made a comment that this showed leadership.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him that it was really because the dug had been getting treats all afternoon, and he thought Alex had some chicken kebab for him.  Now there will be a headline in the Mail about independence supporting dugs getting free chicken kebabs and vegetable samosas.  The very horror.

The reality is that everyone in Scotland has already formed an opinion about Alex Salmond, a man who, let us not forget, no longer holds any public office. He is the marmite of Scottish politics, people already either love him or loathe him. With opinions about Alex Salmond there’s very little in the way of middle ground. Absolutely no one is going to change their mind about Alex Salmond because the media in Scotland is embarking upon yet another round of its all too frequent personal attacks on him. All that’s going to happen is that people who already loathe him will have their prejudices confirmed, while those who do like him will have their prejudices about the Scottish Unionist media confirmed.

The uncomfortable truth for the Scottish Unionist media is that most people don’t care about a TV chat show that they’re not going to watch on a channel that they rarely if ever tune into. The Scottish Unionist media obsession with Aлeкcaммин Tелевидение tells us a lot more about them than it tells us about Alex Salmond. Independence supporters are just about half the population, and if the Unionist media wants to ensure the future of the Union it’s going to have to persuade some of us to its cause. It’s not going to do that with its personal obsessions about an ex-politician which would count as stalking in any other sphere of life. Faith in Scotland’s Unionist media was already at a pretty low ebb, and it’s just ebbed even lower as a result of this frankly pathetic and over the top episode. The only thing that has been proven here is that Scotland’s overwhelmingly Unionist media is not fit for purpose. This ship is sinking. Thank the gods we have a lifeboat.


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 Brextremism Bill

This week the only de jure sovereign body in the UK is debating the Brexit bill, that is, those parts that the de facto sovereign body, which would be the cabinet, lets them have an influence on. They’re debating this because Brexiteers MPs insisted that the EU referendum was fought in order to ensure that the House of Commons was the only sovereign body in the UK because that would be democratic, but those same Brexiteer MPs are now determined to ensure that the House of Commons doesn’t get a say on Brexit because if they did it would be deeply undemocratic. If you’re confused don’t worry, because you’re a whole lot less confused than the government.

MPs didn’t decide on a great deal, except that they did decide – and by a very large margin – that consent for Brexit shouldn’t be required from the devolved administrations. You’ll have had your self-determination Scotland. Remember all that stuff about Scotland being an equal and valued partner in a family of nations? Remember when all those MPs took a train up from London to come to Glasgow to tell us how much they loved Scotland and wanted us to lead within the UK? Looks like those MPs have very short memories. Scotland can lead within the UK, but only in the sense that Westminster can shove us off the cliff first using a cattle prod.

Are you feeling loved and valued? Mind how we were told that if we voted no in the independence referendum then we’d be in the privileged position of a wife who was going to leave her husband but had changed her mind so was now able to call all the shots in the marriage? How’s that working out then? There’s a fair bit of calling the shots going on here, but none of it is coming from Scotland. We’re being told we don’t even have a right to an opinion, never mind a veto.

MPs also debated the really important and crucial stuff. Getting the consent of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland doesn’t count as important, which is why telling us that our consent is not required was passed with a minimum of discussion by a humungous margin of MPs who don’t represent Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland. Incidentally, Scotland’s cohort of Tory MPs voted for Scotland not to have a say. So that’s them standing up for Scotland’s interests. We should consider ourselves lucky they did that much, but then there weren’t any football matches needing a referee that day.

Far more crucial and important was the exact time of Brexit. Theresa May wants it to be written into the Brexit bill, because having it enshrined in an inflexible law is going to give Britain the flexibility it needs to negotiate. Or something. Asking for logic where Brexiteers are concerned is a bit like expecting a wooden bread board to have all the functional abilities of an Apple iPad Pro because both of them are rectangular. Brexiteer MPs have the same approximate shape as rational human beings, but that’s as far as it goes. At least the wooden bread board was once a part of a living, breathing, and vital system, which is a hell of a lot more than you can say for your average Tory MP. The only reason the date and time is being put into law is to provide a weak PM with some protection against the frothier Brextremists on her back benches.

Labour MP Frank Field intervened to insist that when you buy a house you have a completion date, so we need one for Brexit too. Although he was a bit upset that we’re going to be leaving the EU at midnight Central European Time 29 March 2019, because that seemed dreadfully unpatriotic. Britain invented time, damn it. Brexit means Brexit means Greenwich Mean Time. We’re going to exit the EU at midnight Central European Time 29 March 2019 at which point the clocks will be turned back two centuries so Jacob Ree Mogg will seem cutting thrust and modernist. There hasn’t been a bigger useful idiot than Frank since the Labour party in Scotland decided to side with the big drinks companies and oppose minimum pricing on alcohol. That’s Labour in Scotland, determined to stand up for your right to get pished and sing sectarian songs at fitba matches. Although right now they have other issues to fill their shot glass. I’m eagerly awaiting Jackie Baillie’s demand that Alex Rowley stand down as an MSP.

Anyway, the thing about buying a house is that before you buy it at the very least you make sure that it’s got access to the rest of the world. No one except an idiot commits to buying a house without first making sure that there’s a driveway, or at the very least a door, through which supplies and services can get in and out. Oh wait, there’s our problem right there. We’re being governed by idiots. MPs like Frank, who really should just save everyone the bother and become a Tory, want us to commit to buying this house even though we don’t know if there is any access to it, we don’t know if it will provide adequate shelter, and we have strong grounds for believing that the running costs are going to be ruinous.

Yet the Brextremists are still popping up in Parliament to claim that after Brexit Britain can reduce costs by slashing all those tiresome regulations that are so expensive. You know, regulations like those about having more expensive fire-resistant cladding on social housing. Despite their claims that Brexit isn’t about reducing workers’ or employment rights, the Tories are remarkably reluctant to accept any of the amendments to the Brexit bill which ensure that workers’ and employment rights won’t be affected. Funny that.

According to reports there are now 21 Tory MPs who are prepared to vote against the government’s insistence that the time and date for Brexit must be enshrined in law even before we have a clue what sort of Brexit it’s going to be. However it’s a terrible attack on democracy to question Brexit or to try and ensure that it doesn’t turn out to be an epic act of self-harm. The Telegraph says that this makes you a mutineer, and your photie will be plastered all over the paper like one of those wanted posters from the Wild West. How quickly Brextremists and their pals in the press forget that it wasn’t so long ago that an MP was shot and killed by a right wing terrorist. Democracy in this country is at serious risk, but not from those who question Brexit. It’s a risk from the Brextremists and their cheer-leaders in the media.


Phantom Power sent me the latest instalment of his Journey to Yes series last week, although for some reason his email ended up being caught by my spam filter so I’ve only just seen it. You may have seen this video elsewhere by now, but if you haven’t it’s well worth a viewing. I met Bryce in Fife a few months ago when I was doing a talk in Charlestown.

Bryce says Yes. Bryce believes true independence for Scotland can only be achieved for with a commitment to abolish the British monarchy who he sees as an unaccountable and undemocratic institution that isn’t fit for the purposes of a modern progressive society. The breaking Paradise Papers scandal that exposes the questionable financial practices of Prince Charles and the Queen only serves to underline the point. Bryce is also one of approximately 60 thousand people living with autism in Scotland and his experience has left him disgusted with the inhumane Tory welfare reforms. Bryce backed Brexit but is open to a reformed Europe and believes Scotland should decide on its relationship with the EU after independence. Some may remember Bryce from his appearance on the BBC Scottish Leaders Debate during GE17 . He gives his impressions of the show and his memorable encounter with Ruth Davidson.

Bryce is a member of Republic UK:

https://www.republic.org.uk/


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

Lies, damned lies, and newspaper headlines

There’s misleading headlines, there’s biased headlines, and then there’s outright trolling headlines. However an article in Tuesday’s Herald newspaper managed to have a headline which wasn’t just trolling, it was the newspaper attention seeking equivalent of baring your arse at a wedding, wiping your backside with the wedding cake, and all the while screaming that you’d not just shagged both the bride and groom, you’d shagged their cat as well. The headline in question was “Opponents to Scottish independence outstrip Yes voters four-fold, petition shows”. Funnily enough, or rather not so funnily enough, comments on the article were closed, just in case people below the line pointed out the ludicrously misleading nature of the headline.

The reporters who write the articles are rarely if ever responsible for the headline that ends up on the piece when it goes to press. This headline is most certainly not the responsibility of the reporter who wrote the article, it was most likely some sub-editor. But most readers don’t get much further than the headline, so all that the majority will have seen is a headline making the claim that independence supporters are outnumbered four to one by opponents of independence. The message was clear – give up now those of you who dream of a better Scotland. Go home and stick your head under that tartan duvet and cry yourself to sleep.

The article itself cited two online parliamentary petitions, one calling for a second independence referendum which received just shy of 34,000 signatures in Scotland, and one calling for there to be no second independence referendum which received just short of 159,000 signatures in Scotland. Despite the fact that the signatories are by definition a self-selecting sample, it could be argued that this would indeed have provided some evidence of respective support for pro and anti independence sentiment in Scotland – but only if the two petitions had received the same publicity and were promoted in exactly the same way and those who signed the petitions felt that there was some point to signing. But that’s not what happened. There was absolutely no effort in the article to explain any of that either, although to be fair the article itself was largely concerned with the Parliamentary debate provoked by the anti-independence petition.

The pro-independence petition was started by a private individual on Twitter, received no support or backing from any pro-independence party, and was never publicised anywhere. Even if it had been, what precisely is the point of signing a petition asking a Tory and Labour dominated Westminster to facilitate another independence referendum when all they’ve done for the past three years is to scream that they don’t want one? I saw the petition being tweeted online, and despite the fact that you might just possibly think I was in favour of another independence referendum, I didn’t sign it. There was no point. Even if the petition did reach the required number of signatures required to provoke a debate in the Commons it wasn’t going to bring a referendum about. All it would do would be to provide British nationalists with the opportunity to stand up in the Commons and tell us all how much of a disaster independence would be, and how everything that was wrong with Scotland was all the fault of the SNP anyway.

The anti-independence petition claimed that Scotland was being “persecuted” by the SNP. There’s constant one trope about British nationalism, apart from it not being nationalist at all because it’s British, and that’s that it is a poor victim of persecution at the hands of evil nationalists. It’s an odd claim, on the one hand British nationalism proclaims from the rooftops the strength and stability and reputation of the British state, but on the other it can be victimised by a granny from Cowdenbeath who wilfully waves a saltire. These two things are, on even a second’s reflection, contradictory. Just how exactly are the powerful capable of being victimised by those who have no power? It’s the tactic of the privileged the world over, to claim that a loss of their privilege is oppression. But then self-reflection isn’t the strong suit of the British nationalist establishment. It’s an even stranger sort of persecution when you claim you’re being victimised into having a say on your own future. Those bastards! They’re empowering me! They’re demanding that I have a voice and have influence! How vile. Victimhood is when you’re silenced, like you know, what the Tories are trying to do to Scotland.

The “we don’t want a say on our future” petition was backed by the Tories, and received wide support online from Conservative supporters and the usual British nationalist suspects. The pattern of signatories showed considerable support for the petition in areas with active local Conservative party associations, which were clearly encouraging their local members to sign up and to encourage their friends and families to sign too. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, however the point is that there was no equivalent activity on the pro-independence side to encourage people to sign the pro-independence referendum.

The subsequent we don’t want another independence referendum debate in the Commons wasn’t a debate at all. It was an entirely predictable rehash from the British nationalist parties of all the reasons why Scotland is too poor, too wee, and too stupid, and naturally all this is the fault of the SNP and not those Westminster governments which have had sole control over the levers of macroeconomic management for the past 300 years.

David Mundell, Scotland’s entirely useless governor general, used the debate as an excuse to Tweet “SNP MP Martin Day let’s cat out of bag. SNP position is to stop the UK leaving the EU.” My God! And to think no one knew. A party which is determined to oppose Brexit is opposing Brexit. Imagine that. Mind you we did suspect that David wasn’t bright enough to spell properly, and now he’s confirmed it. There’s no apostrophe in lets, unless it’s a contraction of let us, and the Tories never mean to let us in reference to Scotland. And it’s Martyn, not Martin, but points for trying.

Despite the trolling newspaper headline and the equally trolling non-debate in the Commons, there is no evidence that support for independence has declined. The most recent opinion poll, which is not composed of a self-selecting sample of Conservative activists and their friends and families, showed that 46% back Scottish independence. That’s a long way from being outnumbered four to one.

The real reason why the British nationalist parties are so determined to avoid another independence referendum is not because “no one” wants one. It’s because so many people do. But even more than that it’s because so many people in Scotland don’t just want another referendum, they want independence. Support for independence will begin a second independence referendum campaign at a far far higher level than it began the first. The British nationalists are desperate to avoid another independence referendum because they are keeching themselves with fear at the prospect of losing it. They’ve shot their bolt. They’ve used up all their arguments. None of the promises they can make the second time around will be believed because we can test their Vows from 2014 against reality and they turned out to be lies. Independence is just something that we haven’t won yet, and all the trolling newspaper headlines in the world won’t stop it happening.


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

Things to crack you up

Generally the kind of pain which we’re used to in the Scottish independence movement is the emotional pain that comes from witnessing the likes of a newspaper which would be the periodical of choice of a Sith Lord posing as a great defender of moral values. Or there’s the pain incurred by our sensibilities on being informed by the BBC that next week they’re going to broadcast an hour long documentary about one of the great love stories of the 20th century, which they’re trying to tell us in all seriousness is the marriage between Liz and Phil. Ohhhh kaaay.

So that’s an enduring love story if you consider glowering at one another across the state banquet table and telling a flunky to pass the salt as a tale of sacrifice and devotion to each other that’s on a par with Romeo and Juliet. This is the kind of crap that makes the rest of us call the BBC out as a propaganda outlet. Honestly BBC, stick to glossy documentaries about the mating rituals of the lesser spotted great-tit, because you’re fooling no one with your glossy documentaries about the mating rituals of the all too frequently spotted posh person.

A gushing documentary about the love that Liz and Phil have for one another is every bit as fictional as just about any rom com starring Gwyneth Paltrow, only Gwyneth is far less demanding. It’s even less engaging than one of those afternoon television brain boilers about star crossed lovers one of whom is dying of cancer, which is so bad that you find yourself cheering on the tumour. It’s even less believable than any movie with Woody Allen as the decrepit auld romantic lead to whom young and attractive women are inexplicably attracted, and it doesn’t even approach the plausibility of one of those movies in which a beautiful, confident and successful woman ends up falling head over heels with her creepy stalker who has a body odour problem and always wears dirty t-shirts with suspicious stains on them.

All of this makes me wonder if I’m fated to end up in a loving relationship with the creepy stalkerish stamp collector guy who keeps sending me emails telling me how much he hates me. I’m sure he only collects stamps because he loves licking the Queen’s behind so I won’t be surprised if this blog post provokes another missive. Well I say missive. It’s the internet equivalent of a note scrawled in green crayon on a torn piece of hard and shiny toilet paper. (Talking of notes – just a wee note for you, stamp collector guy. If you’re going to write to someone telling them that they have a poor command of written and spoken English, try to use its and it’s properly. It won’t do much for your credibility because that ship has long since sailed, but it will give me one less reason to mock you.)

You can be pretty certain that the gushing documentary won’t be addressing the persistent rumours that Phil and Liz have scarcely been on speaking terms since the 1950s and the claims that each of them allegedly has had their own love stories involving other people. That’s why some were saying that when Phil was celebrating his 90th birthday he only wanted close family to attend, so he didn’t invite Andrew or Edward. That’s the kind of joke you won’t find on prime time BBC telly.

Actually, why am I calling it a documentary? In comparison to this programme Doctor Who is a documentary. What the BBC is telling us is a documentary is really the kind of intelligence insulting fiction that a Brexiteer wouldn’t even dare to write on the side of a bus.

You won’t be surprised to learn that I won’t be watching the programme as I’ll be fully occupied doing something more productive and meaningful, like howking out the dirt from underneath my fingernails or trying extract a particularly irritating and persistent nasal hair. The only redeeming feature about this glossy whitewash job is that it’s not going to be presented by Nicolas Witchell because he’s still fully occupied trying to persuade Prince Charles that his creepy stalkerish love is true and pure. Possibly he should take up stamp collecting.

Anyway, it’s not like there’s any shortage of posh people on the telly pretending to be in serious relationships with one another, Made in Chelsea is going to be on E4 at the same time and no one is going to insist on putting its regulars on a stamp. But E4 doesn’t make Made in Chelsea using money that has been extracted from us all on pain of criminal charges. It’s only the BBC that does that. It’s not just that the BBC pumps out propaganda that we find objectionable. What really sticks in the craw is the fact that we’re expected to pay for it. That’s why the BBC ends up being the subject of so much ire and anger. The Daily Mail and the Express are propaganda sheets that spill bile and dreck all over the body politic, but those of us who find them objectionable don’t have to pay for it. The BBC doesn’t give us that choice. If you’re going to take our money, then we expect you to reflect our views, and that is precisely what the BBC doesn’t do.

Putting up with the pish is all part and parcel of the mental pain that comes from the British state, but no one told me that campaigning for Scottish independence was likely to hurt so much physically. The other week I was doing a talk in Rothesay which involved an overnight stay, and afterwards was walking the dog. My good shoes don’t have great grip, the dug lunged at something, I slipped on some wet leaves on one of Rothesay’s many steep hills and went flying. Ever since I’ve been nursing a cracked rib. It’s even more painful than listening to Fluffy Mundell avoid questions from Scottish MPs. At least Fluffy has a soporific effect, a cracked rib keeps you awake at night. So you might have noticed from the tone of this blog article that I’m a wee bit tetchy right now. I’m sure there will be plenty more to crack me up before the rib heals.


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