The voice that must not be heard

gedebate
The SNP is taking ITV to court over the broadcaster’s decision to hold a political debate which can only be described as rigged. The broadcaster is hosting a debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn, claiming that these are the only two politicians with a realistic chance of becoming Prime Minister. Yet we do not live in a country with a presidential system, if we did then perhaps there would be some legal means of holding Boris Johnson to account for his repeated and continual lying. The UK is, in theory at least, a parliamentary democracy. Corbyn and Johnson are the party leaders of just two of the parties who are vying for seats, they’re not the only ones.

In Scotland, the debate gives the second party and a party which is either third or fourth in the opinion polls an unfair advantage. Their leaders will get airtime on a national broadcaster, allowing them to put across their message, but the leader of Scotland’s largest party by far will be denied such an opportunity. The reality of Scottish politics is such that in several recent opinion polls the SNP’s vote share is greater than that of the Conservatives and the Labour party combined. Yet it’s those minority parties alone which will be granted a platform giving them a reach into the home of every voter which is to be denied to Scotland’s largest party. There is no reasonable justification for such a move, except if you believe that England’s political priorities are the only important ones.

This is, as everyone acknowledges, a general election in which the question of another Scottish independence referendum is crucial to the debate. It is the first question put to all the party leaders whenever they venture into Scotland, and both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn have said that they are prepared to ignore the democratic will of the Scottish people. Johnson has even gone so far as to state that he will not permit another Scottish independence referendum under any circumstances, even if the Scottish electorate returns a landslide for the SNP in this General Election, and even if pro-independence parties secure another majority for independence at the next Scottish elections. Jeremy Corbyn is likewise disposed to ignore the Scottish result of this General Election, and both party leaders are united in their dismissal of the mandate for another independence referendum that the Scottish Government currrently possesses. Corbyn and Johnson disagree about many things, but they’re not going to hold one another to account on a topic on which both agree. In the process, an important part of Scottish public opinion is ignored and marginalised.

Irrespective of whether you agree with independence or another independence referendum or not, it is nakedly manipulative to give airtime solely to two parties who oppose another independence referendum and to deny it to the main party proposing such a referendum. That misrepresents the general election debate in Scotland and gives an unfair advantage to those who argue that it’s perfectly fine for a British Government to ignore the democratic will of the Scottish people.

In a separate court case, the Lib Dems are also taking ITV to court over their decision to exclude the Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson from the debate. The Lib Dems, like the SNP, have good reason to feel aggrieved. They argue that in a UK General Election in which the question of Brexit is vital, it is unreasonable and biased that the debate does not include any party advocating remaining in the EU. They have a point there. Both the Tories and Labour officially seek an exit from the EU. The Lib Dems are the only major party in England which is arguing for an unequivocal remain.

Unfortunately, and as is so often the case, the Lib Dems only go and ruin a good argument with their own hypocrisy. There is a significant distinction between the Lib Dem’s case and that which is being brought by the SNP. The Lib Dems are only arguing that Jo Swinson must be included, they’re perfectly happy to see all the other parties excluded, and they’re perfectly happy to have a leaders’ debate broadcast in Scotland which doesn’t include any party advocating another Scottish independence referendum. They would be content with the SNP being excluded, even though the SNP have many more MPs than the Lib Dems do. On the other hand the SNP is taking a more principled stance, and is arguing that all the smaller parties must be represented.

The Lib Dems want their leader – who represents a Scottish seat in Westminster – to be included in the debate, yet the effect of that is simply to make the lack of balance in Scottish politics even worse. There would be three party leaders arguing against another Scottish independence referendum instead of just two. The Lib Dems cannot legitimately argue that all shade of Brexit opinion must be represented in a debate during a General Election where Brexit is an issue but at the same time deny that all shades of Scottish independence opinion be represented in a debate during a General Election where an independence referendum is an issue.

Whether the court will decide that the debate is unfair is anyone’s guess. There was a leaders’ debate during the 2010 General Election which featured David Cameron, Ed Miliband, and Nick Clegg, but where the SNP and other parties were excluded. On the other hand the leaders’ debates in the 2015 General Election featured all the leaders of the main parties. In the 2017 General Election, Theresa May refused to participate.

There’s an important question of principle at stake here. Opponents of independence are constantly telling us that Scotland is a valued partner in a union. Well if that is the case, then ensure that Scotland’s distinctive politics are represented in UK General Elections. Because if you’re quite happy to see Scotland’s largest political party excluded, a party which is the third largest in the entire UK, then you don’t believe that Scotland is a partner in a union at all. You believe that Scotland is a region in a unitary state which can be overruled, sidelined, and marginalised because its votes can never constitute a majority at UK level. So what’s it to be unionists? Are you really unionists? But judging from the blatant hypocrisy of the Lib Dems, we already know the answer to that question. Scotland is the voice that must not be heard.


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

If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information.

Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

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


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

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

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


Tartan scarf, public schoolboy, or vote for a grown up

Bedecked in a tartan scarf in order to disguise himself as a native, Jeremy Corbyn came to Scotstoun in Glasgow today. It even has Scot in the name, how more Scottish do you want him to get? Not Scottish enough that the Labour party will respect the democratic will of the Scottish electorate if the SNP wins the General Election in Scotland – but tartan scarf! It’s the McCringe tartan, that’s Labour’s clan. Sadly it wasn’t enough for one local resident, a well known Christian fundamentalist extremist who supports Boris Johnson and thinks that Jesus wants us to hate on Muslims and gay people.

The Labour leader managed to muddy the waters of the stagnant pool which constitutes Labour’s policy on Scotland, but then this is Jeremy Corbyn here. No one looks at Jezza for a 10 second soundbite that plays well on the tellybox. What you get is a detailed exposition complete with footnotes, which is based on an extended metaphor about seizing the means of production in a Bolivian vicuña farm. And even then he manages to sound really bored when he’s telling you, despite the fact that socialism as it relates to the Latin American peasantry would be his specialist subject on Mastermind.

Anyway, the key point that he wanted to get across to his Scottish audience was that there would be no Scottish independence referendum within Labour’s first term in office. At the rate the Labour party is going, we’ll be lucky to have a Labour first term in office before the end of the 21st century. But let’s be kind and assume that Labour does manage to win the election, Jezza just told us that Scotland won’t be getting another independence referendum for at least five years.

There was the sound of screeching brakes from the Labour party’s press office afterwards, when a press release clarified that Labour’s position could change if the SNP win a majority in the Holyrood election in 2021, adding that the Labour leader didn’t think that the SNP could win a majority in 2021.

However when pressed by a journalist what he’d do if the SNP win a substantial majority of seats in the General Election, Corbyn sort of maybe perhaps possibly hummed and hawed a bit. “If the SNP win the majority of seats that’s the election of those MPs,” he said. Because apparently those MPs won’t be elected on any sort of a mandate at all. What we can be quite sure of is that there’s going to be many more SNP MPs in Scotland than Labour ones. Labour’s going to be lucky to hang onto a single seat, so they have no moral or democratic right to lecture Scotland on what Scotland can get.

Neither can the Tories, although that doesn’t stop them. The Tory policy on Scotland is Scotland gets what Westminster tells it, and if that means that Scotland can’t get another independence referendum until a majority of English MPs say so, then that’s just tough for Scotland. Precious union. The most perfect union of nations ever. Waugh waugh fnaugh fnaugh. Insert weak pun here. Fnaugh fnaugh waugh waugh.

We get plenty of soundbites from Boris Johnson. We also get some seriously dodgy analogies. In what was billed as his first keynote speech of the election campaign, the Prime Minister likened Brexit to a Pot Noodle. “It’s ready to go, just add water, stir in pot … it’s there,” he told us. Although it’s not as bad an analogy as some of his others. Like a pot noodle Brexit is unpalatable, tasteless, and cheap and nasty. It promises you a tasty meal and you end up with a disgusting mess that you can’t swallow and which you end up tossing in the bin. A few years ago someone said that pot noodle was the “slag of snacks”, and in the exact same way Brexit is the slag of politics.

Like all pronouncements from this Prime Minister, the latest speech was a confection of lies, wrapped up in a bow of deceit. Again he asserted as a fact that there’s a deal between Labour and the SNP. Although to be fair to Boris Johnson, not all of his speech was lies. Some of it was waffle, and some of it was racist dogwhistling. We even got British jobs for British workers. Still, it will play well to the kind of person who thinks that Scotland should just sit down, shut up, and do what its betters tell it. Which isn’t the likes of you or me.

The highlight of the speech, well I say highlight, was when Boris Johnson said that having referendums on the EU and Scottish independence would be “onanism”. There’s floods in Yorkshire, a report on Russian funding of the Brexit campaign and the Tory party that he’s hiding, he’s denying basic democratic principles in Scotland, and he chooses to talk about masturbation. Not so much throwing a dead cat on the table as throwing your schlong. And what he’s done in effect is to call those seeking another EU referendum or another Scottish referendum “wankers”. If he’s not talking about spilling seed he’s talking about spaffing it against a wall. That’s where British politics is at these days.

Back in the world of the grown ups, the SNP like the Lib Dems before them, have started legal action against the unconscionable decision of the UK broadcasters to exclude them from debates. The action of the broadcasters is particularly indefensible in Scotland, where the SNP is by far and away the largest party. Scotland is not merely some region. It’s one of the constituent nations of the UK, moreover it’s a nation which was denied the right to have control of broadcasting by Tony Blair’s government – despite a promise that broadcasting would be a devolved power. So it’s a double perversion of democratic debate for Scottish political distinctiveness to be drowned out by the issues and parties which dominate in England.

We can have the man whose commitment to Scotland consists of donning a tartan scarf. We can have a childish former public schoolboy with an obsession with masturbation. Neither of them respect Scotland. We need more grown ups in politics, not these no-marks and chancers. Some of the SNP candidates need your support. Please give generously to their crowdfunders.

Philippa Whitford – Philippa is a breast cancer surgeon who cares passionately about the defence of our NHS. The NHS is under threat like never before, we need people in Westminster who are able to speak up for NHS workers and service users articulately and knowledgeably. Help to re-elect her as MP for Central Ayrshire.
https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/re-elect-dr-philippa

Anne McLaughlin – Anne is a tireless campaigner for local people in one of the most deprived constituencies in the whole of the UK. She previously served as MP between 2015 and 2017, her passion and commitment both to Glasgow North East and to Scottish independence make her the ideal person to return as MP.
https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/we-need-anne-mclaughlin-as-our-mp-in-glasgow-ne

David Linden – David is my local MP, representing Glasgow East. This is an area blighted by poverty and deprivation. It needs a strong local voice who will fight for the people of the East End. David was elected in 2017 on the slimmest of majorities, let’s make sure that he gets a landslide this time.
https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/re-elect-david-linden-for-glasgow-east

I’ll be punting a few other crowdfunders for SNP candidates over the next few days.


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

If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information.

Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

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


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

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

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


As others see us

asothersseeus
Last night BBC 2’s Newsnight programme concluded its four part look at how Brexit and this election is affecting the unitary state which it pleases opponents of independence to call the Union. Last night it was England’s turn, and the reporter went to Grantham in Lincolnshire, a strongly pro-Brexit constituency in the East of England and the home town of Margaret Thatcher, to ask local voters about their views on Scotland and the other nations in the UK.

The segment started with the reporter, Elizabeth Glinka, asking a group of youth footballers how many of them regarded themselves as English. A large majority raised their hands, although it was noticeable that the three or four Black and Minority Ethnic kids did not. The message was clear, English nationalism is on the rise, yet it seems to be exclusive and based in a sense of ethnic identity which is not so dominant in Scotland.

There were voices who spoke of their regret that Scotland was being pushed away, but the dominant attitudes on display were pretty much what we’ve come to expect, a mixture of patronising arrogance, ignorance, and entitlement all viewed through the prism of the unshakeable belief that Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland are possessions of Greater England. One person speaking proclaimed that Britain conquered half the world, so Scotland couldn’t possibly become independent. The other nations of the UK, another man stated, can’t go because they can’t finance themselves. They are just a “little bits of Britain”, far away and insignificant. Another man stated that if the UK finished, the world would be finished. A third speaker said that the typical attitude locally – one which he stressed that he did not share himself – was that Scotland could go to hell.

What was clear from the Newsnight report was that there is no appetite or interest in England for compromising on Brexit in order to keep Scotland within the UK.  It was also clear that there’s a huge amount of resentment against Scotland for daring to be different, a resentment founded upon a lack of understanding. England doesn’t know Scotland, and doesn’t understand Scotland’s point of view. So it’s only natural that they view Scotland through a prism of English resentments and we get told that we only want independence because we hate the English. People in England have no other information to go on, so it’s hardly surprising that they attempt to make sense of Scotland based upon their prejudices and misunderstandings. The UK media doesn’t attempt to explain Scotland to them – it makes no attempt to explain Scotland to Scotland never mind the rest of the UK. Where there’s a vacuum of knowledge, ignorance rushes in to fill the gap.

Similar attitudes were also to be seen in a video which was shared on social media by, amongst others, the Conservative commentator Toby Young, the guy who vies with Piers Morgan for the title of the UK’s most odious man. The nature of the video ought to have been clear even before you saw it all, as it bore the stamp darrengrimes.com. Darren is the pro-Brexit activist who was at the centre of allegations about misspending by the Leave EU campaign. Darren now runs the digital media operation for the Institute of Economic Affairs, which calls itself a think tank, but which is more accurately described as a lobbying organisation for corporate, right wing, and pro-Brexit interests. The accountability group Transparify, which rates so-called think tanks according to the transparency of their funding, classes the IEA as “highly opaque”.

The video which Darren produced was a warning about what right wing English nationalists would like us to think would happen if Jeremy Corbyn got into power and agreed to a Scottish independence referendum. “Vote Corbyn, lose Scotland”, announced the video. Note the perspective there. Scotland is a possession for English nationalists to lose or retain, not another nation which has a right to decide for itself where its future lies. The video itself was a farrago of factual inaccuracies. Which is pretty much what we’ve come to expect from proponents of Brexit. The video was so far removed from any recognisable truth that it passed through the irritation barrier and became amusing instead. It’s the Patronising Better Together Woman of this election campaign.

The video treated us to a trot through the Better Together campaign’s greatest hits. Scotland wouldn’t be able to buy the NHS. Because apparently it would still belong to the rest of the UK. Scotland isn’t entitled to any publicly owned assets, not even those in Scotland. The Royal Bank of Scotland would leave. UK military bases would close down. BBC Scotland would cease broadcasting – and we were told that like it was a bad thing. We even got the Spanish veto warning which has been debunked more often than Piltdown Man. So there’s Darren, a guy who has spent the last few years making sure that the UK is taken out of the EU, actually trying to threaten us with a scare story saying that an independent Scotland wouldn’t be allowed into the EU.

Rabbie Burns once expressed the wish that the pouers wad gie us the gift tae see oorsels as ithers see us. In modern Scotland we have that all the time, but it’s not a gift it’s a curse. The only reflections that the British media shows of Scotland are those viewed through the distorting mirror of English nationalism. So we learn that we are far away and insignificant, existing solely in order to bolster the self-esteem of English nationalists. Our country is a mere appendage, not entitled to decide its future for itself, told that it’s too weak and too poor to make it by itself. And we internalise those views, because they’re the only ones that we are taught. It is indeed a gift to see ourselves as others see us, but only if we are first grounded in a solid understanding of ourselves.

The UK media deprives Scotland of that understanding. It also deprives the rest of the UK of that understanding, and that’s one of the most important reasons why the UK is currently in the state it is, a state in its final days. The Union never really existed, we can see that every time we turn on the TV.


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

If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information.

Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

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


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

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

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


Don Canleone and the Bru bottle mafia

doncanleone

It’s official people. Satire is dead. It has been killed by Reporting Scotland, who in their efforts to out SNPbad the SNPbaddest of the print media are now reporting old episodes of Seinfeld as news. The story concerned the Scottish Government’s proposed scheme to charge a deposit of 20p on plastic and glass bottles and drinks cans which would be refundable when the drink container was returned to a recycling depot. The idea is to reduce the amount of plastic, class, and aluminium which isn’t recycled.

It’s a good idea which works very well in other places. In the US state of Connecticut there’s a 5 cent deposit on bottles and cans. There are bottle and can return machines in major supermarkets and malls. You never see any cans or bottles lying around as rubbish in the street because people collect them in order to return them and collect the deposit. A number of places in Europe have a similar scheme. Everywhere which has introduced it has found that it works well and is a good way of ensuring that less waste which could be recycled ends up in landfill. A recent study of a bottle and can deposit scheme in the American state of Oregon found that it was successful in obtaining a return rate of over 90% of all the cans and bottles sold in the state. It’s a good idea, and everywhere it has been introduced it has been successful.

Despite that, it couldn’t possibly work in Scotland. This country can’t have nice things. And we most certainly can’t have any nice things if that thing has been proposed by Thatessempee. We were solemnly told in this evening’s edition that the Scottish Government’s proposed bottle deposit scheme was going to run into severe difficulties because crooks would fill up lorries with bottle and cans and import them from England in order to make a quick profit. When I was a wean there was a 10p deposit on Barrs Irn Bru bottles. We used to call them gless cheques. But I don’t recall any gless cheque ginger bottle mafia raking in millions. Perhaps my memory is just faulty because someone mugged me for an empty bottle of cream soda and I am suffering from post traumatic scoosh syndrome.

This all sounds very familiar to the warnings prior to the introduction of the minimum price scheme for alcohol that people would be organising booze trips in order to stock up with bevvy in Carlisle and Newcastle. That didn’t happen either.

Yes. This was an actual news story. BBC Scotland actually decided to take up some of your time and warn you about the risks of people raking in a massive profit from a proven scheme to recycle bottles and cans. The Tories are being funded by dark Russian money, conspiring with the Brexit party to take remain voting Scotland out of the EU against its will and telling us that it doesn’t matter how we vote we won’t be allowed to have another independence referendum under any circumstances. Scottish democracy itself is being trashed. But never mind that, ran the thinking in Pacific Quay’s news editorial team, some guy with a vested interest is making entirely spurious claims about putting a deposit on ginger bottles. Let’s run with that instead.

Never mind the drug trade, Scotland will be plagued by gangs running plastic bottles and drink cans. Bru is the new cocaine. Innocent passers by in Govan will be drive by casualities of Don Canleone of the recycling mafia taking out the Russian Plastikbottlov gang in order to steal their stash of empty bottles of Fanta. Pensioners in Berwick and Carlisle will be the hapless victims of Scottish thugs mugging them for their bottles of dandelion and burdock. But that’s if they can get there, as muggers and booze trippers heading south are likely to collide with all the lorries packed full of bottles and cans heading north and there will be traffic chaos on the A1. Did the SNP not think this through!

Tomorrow we can expect to see an earnest report from Scotland in Union telling us that the trade will be worth billions annually because in an independent Scotland we’ll be using bru bottles as currency. Still at least that ought to put their interminable banging on about what currency are you going to use eh eh? to bed. Oh woe! Oh Scotland! You can’t ever have any nice ideas. We’re the only country on the planet that’s incapable of having money or even gless cheques.

What Reporting Scotland didn’t tell you was that this idea was the basis of an episode of the US sitcom Seinfeld in 1996. In the two part episode The Bottle Deposit, the 21st and 22nd episodes of season seven of the popular comedy show, the character Newman learns that there’s a 10 cent deposit on bottles and cans in the state of Michigan, as opposed to the 5 cent deposit in New York, and becomes obsessed with finding a way to load up a truck full of bottles and cans to take to Michigan in order to profit from that state’s deposit scheme. Naturally all Newman’s scheming comes to naught. But who needs episodes of Seinfeld when we have Reporting Scotland, killing satire for us every evening in our living rooms.

Nowhere else where a drinks container deposit scheme has been introduced has suffered serious issues with Don Canleone and the Bru Bottle mafia. What also didn’t happen was any serious attempt on Reporting Scotland to rebut the story as the pile of steaming unrecycled crap that it is. But hey, we’re in an election and the priority is to make sure that Scotland doesn’t fall prey to those vile separatists with their dangerous notions of ridding the land of plastic waste. Can we please put a 20p deposit on the Tories and whoever it is who decides on what is going to be the news agenda on BBC Scotland? There’s a lot of us who would like to return them as well.


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

If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information.

Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

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


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

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

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


Outclassing Paul Sweeney

Labour’s candidate for Glasgow North East Paul Sweeney, fresh from telling the world that he’s a superior individual who outclasses the other candidates, has decided to tell the rest of us what this general election is all about. Paul knows these things because he’s a superior individual who outclasses everyone else. Contrary to what you or your independence supporting maw might believe, Paul has averred that this election isn’t about Scottish independence. Keep your parochial Scottish issues for your parochial Scottish elections. So that’s us telt. This election is to be what Paul wants it to be about, which means that it is mostly about how he’s such a classy individual who isn’t remotely egoistic at all. Oh no.

Speaking in Glasgow after the Remembrance Day ceremony in George Square, Paul said that the issue of independence was one that should be left to Scottish Parliament elections, and not to elections to that Parliament on the banks of the Thames which actually has the legal authority to make constitutional changes. I am not entirely sure why all of a sudden it’s only elections to Holyrood which count when it comes to demonstrating a mandate from the people of Scotland for another independence referendum. You might think, and you’d be logical and superior, and indeed classy, in your thinking, that an election to the parliament which has the ability to alter the constitution might provide a stronger mandate for constitutional change than an election to a parliament which doesn’t have such a power.

In much the same way, if you wish to provide a party with a mandate for, say, increasing the minimum wage, you do so by voting in an election to a body which has the power to increase the minimum wage, and not by voting for a Strictly contestant who has said that they’d like to see people get a fair return for their dancing. But then if you thought that way then you wouldn’t be demonstrating Paul Sweeney superior thinking, and so it doesn’t really count.

Possibly, and I am just speculating wildly here, this new found enthusiasm for an independence mandate in Holyrood may not be unconnected to the likelihood that the Labour party and the Tories in Scotland are going to get their electoral arses severely kicked by the people of Scotland in this coming General Election. So it’s not really that they’re keen to leave constitutional matters to Holyrood, and more that they’re desperately scrabbling around for excuses to avoid another independence referendum.  They know that when that referendum does happen, they’re going to lose it.  Westminster hasn’t exactly been treating Scotland in a classy way since 2014, or indeed before that.

However Paul did say that if there was a pro-independence majority in Holyrood, no UK government would be able to deny another referendum. You know, like the pro-independence majority that Holyrood currently has. Oh wait. No. Not like that majority at all. Apparently a mandate from the people of Scotland is only a mandate from the people of Scotland when Labour and the Tories decide that it is and they think that it has been printed in the SNP manifesto in a sufficiently large font so that Mr Magoo can read it without his glasses from a distance which is approximately the same as the radius of Paul Sweeney’s ego.  So about the distance between here and the nearest gas giant, who is also, not coincidentally, the Labour candidate for Glasgow North East.

Of course what this is really about is kicking the can down the road. It’s about the anti-independence parties desperately looking for reasons to avoid having to deal with demands for another independence referendum in the hope that if they can avoid it long enough some other factors will intervene to take the steam out of the independence movement. Something. Anything. Alex Salmond trial! A hospital with a leaky roof! Sturgeon ripping up post it notes! We’ve seen this sort of behaviour from the Labour party before, which is why we still have an unelected House of Lords despite the Labour party promising for over 100 years to abolish it.

But they’re wrong. They’re wrong because the desire for independence isn’t driven by the SNP. It’s not driven by the “forces of nationalism”. It’s driven by the behaviour of the anti-independence parties and the contempt and disdain with which they treat Scotland, and the way in which they constantly go back on the promises and commitments that they make to the people of Scotland. It’s not events which have to change in order to take the steam out of the independence movement. It’s the anti-independence parties which need to change, and they show not the slightest bit of awareness that they have to.

So they tell us that denying another referendum is totes OK right now, and it will still be OK after the people of Scotland ensure that the SNP is the victor in the general election to come and elect them on a mandate for another independence referendum. Because reasons. Paul Sweeney reasons, which are reasons which outclass any other reasons. This election isn’t going to be about what you want it to be about, what your maw wants it to be about. It’s going to be about what Paul Sweeney wants it to be about. That’s democracy, allegedly.

It’s not for any politician to tell the electorate what the electorate’s priorities are. We are the voters, and it’s for us to decide what issues are important to us, not Paul Sweeney. For hundreds of thousands, millions even, of us in Scotland this is an election which is defined by two big issues, neither of which are the Labour party’s proposals for introducing free prescriptions or university education in England. It would be great if people in England got access to free prescriptions and free university education, but here in Scotland we already have those things, thanks to the SNP.

Here in Scotland this is an election about Brexit, and about the best way of getting out of the Brexit mess that has been created by the dysfunction of a Westminster parliament and political system that is unfit for the 21st century.  It’s about how Scotland can ensure that it gets governments that respond to Scotland’s needs and which listen to what the Scottish electorate tells them.  For Scotland, the escape route is independence.

It’s not for Paul Sweeney or anyone else to tell you what Scotland’s priorities ought to be, or what your vote represents. That’s a decision that you get to make. For many of us, this election is about demonstrating that we outclass Paul Sweeney and the British political parties which treat Scotland with contempt.  The best way to do that is to vote for the SNP’s Anne McLaughlin in Glasgow North East.


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

If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information.

Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

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


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

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

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


Rescuing Scotland from Johnson and Farage’s UK

Nigel Farage is still tired from all that walking he didn’t do earlier this year on his much touted march on London. Only as far as Nigel was concerned it turned out not to be a long hard slog all the way from the north of England, and more of a short stroll to the first pub en route. This however is probably not the reason why he has decided that he’s not after all going to put up candidates for his Vanity Party – sorry Brexit Party – in every constituency. Although even Nigel would struggle to visit 650 pubs across the entire UK over the next four weeks or so.

The reason has rather more to do with the same reason that the millionaire stockbroker enemy of the elite has decided not to stand for election himself. It’s because he knows that he’s going to get gubbed. Gone are the big words and even bigger demands of just a few days ago, when he called on Boris Johnson to abandon any deal with the EU and go for a no-deal disaster capitalist wet dream of a Brexit. Nigel fancied himself as the great king-maker of Brexit, but instead he discovered that his polling ratings were in a right royal mess.

So he’s climbed down and has attempted to rescue what influence he can, and secure himself publicity and future invites to Question Time in the process, by announcing that he’s only going to stand Brexit Party candidates in seats which don’t have a Tory MP. This is, he proudly announced, the great leaver alliance. He told a press conference that he’d reflected on the chances of allowing Lib Dem MPs in constituencies in the South West of England, and reflected on Boris Johnson’s commitment to keep his word on leaving the EU, and then decided to believe Boris Johnson – entirely coincidentally guaranteeing his place on the honours list in the not too distant future. Arise Lord Farage of Arse Covering. The real question here is will those mugs who gave Nigel £100 each in order to stand as Brexit party candidates get their money back.

What this development tells us is that the Conservative Party has now completed its transformation into Ukip. They’re the party of choice of Donald Trump, and it’s reasonable to wonder whether this move by Farage is because of any pressure that he’s come under from the American President. It’s now going to be harder for the opposition parties to dislodge sitting Conservative MPs, particularly for the Lib Dems in the south of England.

Meanwhile the Labour Party has completed its transformation into Unelectablity. Labour’s chances, slim as they are, are not being helped by Jo Swinson, who goes about saying that her party is the only party of remain (conveniently ignoring the SNP) but seems to spend more of her time and energy attacking the Labour party than attacking the Tories. It’s all very well claiming to be the party of remain, but the Lib Dems are giving a very good impression of preferring to be a bunch of self-righteous I-told-you-soers in a Tory Brexit Britain than allowing even the slightest chance of letting the Labour party or the SNP get within a sniffing distance of victory.

Naturally Boris Johnson is delighted. This move gives him everything he wanted and costs him nothing. The chances of a Conservative majority government in the UK have increased. A nakedly populist right English nationalist party is set to dominate UK politics. British politics have realigned, and in a way that makes the UK unsustainable. This is not a UK that has any place at all for Scotland’s distinctive political traditions. This is a UK which is going to crush the devolution settlement.

The UK that we now live in is not merely not the UK that Scotland was promised in 2014, it’s Scotland’s worst nightmare. It’s a UK ruled by Boris Johnson propped up by Nigel Farage. It’s a UK which is determined to destroy those tattered remnants of the post-war settlement that the Conservatives haven’t yet ripped up. It’s a UK which is not just headed out of the EU, but a UK which is headed for the hardest most right wing kind of Brexit imaginable. It’s a UK which apes the policies and politics of Donald Trump. It’s a UK whose governing party is funded by Russian money. It’s the UK which independence supporters warned about in 2014, but their warnings only caused them to be decried as crazed zoomers. And yet, here we are.

Everything that yes supporters warned would happen if Scotland voted no has happened, and worse. England will vote for an English nationalist Conservative party dragged ever further to the right by the Brexit Party. That’s your future in the UK Scotland, suck it up.

Yet there is hope. The ever rightward march of the Conservatives into full blown English nationalism in a Brexit Britain can only strengthen the demand within Scotland for independence. It is now more important than ever that Scotland seizes the chance on 12 December to return as many pro-independence MPs as possible. We must demonstrate that Scotland rejects the Tories and that Scotland demands the right to decide its own future.

Of course if there is a majority Conservative government led by Boris Johnson, he’s going to refuse another independence referendum. However that refusal combined with his government’s pursuit of hard right politics will only reinforce the demand within Scotland for independence. We’re not there yet, and many things can happen during the course of this nasty election campaign, but even a majority Johnson government cannot withstand the demand for Scottish self-determination forever. His government will be a government in his image, chaotic, shambolic, and characterised by overweening entitlement and contempt. This will not be a government which is going to go down well in Scotland. Support for independence will rise significantly, and with it the chances of success and public support for alternative strategies in the face of the refusal to agree to a Section 30 order.

The road ahead is not an easy one. But it’s a road that leads only in one direction, towards a Scotland that decides its own future, decides to embrace a future as an independent European nation. Your vote in this coming General Election will be crucial in ensuring that Scotland stays headed in the right direction, the only direction that can rescue Scotland from the dysfunctional mess that the British state has become, rescuing Scotland from Johnson and Farage’s Britain.


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

If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information.

Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

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


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

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

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


It’s the Scotland Act, not the Boris Johnson Act

scotlandact
According to a clause buried deep within Boris Johnson’s EU withdrawal bill, the law would be changed following the successful passage of the bill to allow the British Government to make unilateral changes to the devolution settlement by way of regulations, without having to seek the approval of the Westminster Parliament. Ministers could make the changes that they see fit by fiat. And not just changes to the devolution settlement as it affects Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland, ministers would also have the power to make changes to the Human Rights Act. The powers given to ministers go so far as enabling them to abolish the Scotland Act in its entirety.

The powers that ministers would award themselves were discussed in a report on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill published by the House of Lords Constitution Committee. The committee wrote:

82. There is one significant difference between powers under new section 8C and those under 8B(5) that were discussed in chapter 4. There is no restriction on 8C powers being used to impose or increase taxation or fees, make retrospective provision, create a relevant criminal offence (i.e. with a penalty exceeding two years imprisonment), establish a public authority, amend, repeal or revoke the Human Rights Act 1998 or any subordinate legislation made under it, or amend or repeal the Scotland Act 1998, the Government of Wales Act 2006, or the Northern Ireland Act 1998.

You can read the full report by clicking on this link –
https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201920/ldselect/ldconst/21/21.pdf

The powers referred to under section 8C relate to “deficiencies” which would arise in law following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, when EU legislation would no longer apply to the UK. Strictly speaking then, these powers should be used only sparingly, and only in a very limited sphere relating to retained EU law. That is precisely how they are being sold to us. The bill provides that the new powers are to be subjected to a test of “appropriateness” as set out in Section 8(1) of the 2018 Act. However what is approprate is not defined and is left to the discretion of ministers. The relevant section detailing the test of appropriateness in the 2018 Act reads:
“A Minister of the Crown may by regulations make such provision as the Minister considers appropriate to prevent, remedy or mitigate—
(a)any failure of retained EU law to operate effectively, or
(b)any other deficiency in retained EU law,
arising from the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU.”
See http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2018/16/section/8/enacted

Now I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t look like much of a test of appropriateness to me. Personally I might think it’s entirely appropriate that you give me all the cash in your wallet, and you might disagree, but if I’m the guy who gets to decide what’s appropriate then you’re giving me the cash in your wallet along with your hard won devolution settlement.

But we need not worry our pretty little untousled heads because our wunnerful British Government has sworn that it’s only going to use these far reaching powers for a very restricted set of purposes and only for a short term period. After all, Boris Johnson cares deeply about Scotland and he’s motivatedly solely by what is in our best interests. The Tory candidate for Angus Kirstene Hair told us so on BBC Question Time, and no one laughed at her at all. Oh no.

The problem however is that Boris Johnson and his government can’t be trusted for as far as a small child could throw them. Not even as far as the next ditch. We therefore are left with the word of the likes of Boris Johnson and Michael Gove as our sole guarantee that the British Government would not use these wide ranging powers to achieve nakedly political objectives – such as for example the effective neutering of the powers of the Scottish Parliament.

We have already seen what happens when ministers twist the arm of Parliament to award themselves more powers. For example when the Government gave itself greater powers to take action against terrorist organisations, Gordon Brown used them to take action against Iceland because of the behaviour of Icelandic banks. We were told that the powers were only going to be used against the threat of ISIS and Al Qaeda, but then they were used against Bjork and some puffins. It’s a safe bet that this bunch of Conservatives will be more than willing to find excuses to extend the range and use of the powers that they’re so keen to award themselves.

The other problem is that once ministers have obtained these powers, they’re going to be very reluctant to give them up again. These are not people who can be trusted to willingly surrender powers that they have to make widespread changes to legislation and law without the scrutiny of Parliament. In the short period of time that he’s been Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has already shown the lengths that he will go to to avoid Parliamentary scrutiny.

Now, the Tories are not going to use this provision to abolish the Scottish Parliament. They may be venal, greedy, undemocratic, and hypocritical, but they’re not actually stupid. Well, some of them at any rate. They know that unilaterally abolishing the devolution settlement would create such a groundswell of anger in Scotland that we’d be independent a week later. What they are far more likely to do is to use this provision to whittle out the devolution settlement from within.

What’s especially concerning however is that this provision comes on top of the proposed changes that the Conservatives have already said that they want to make to the devolution settlement. Michael Gove has already spoken openly about the UK government spending in Scotland on devolved areas of comptence, and making sure that this is branded with a union flag. This will act as a Trojan horse, to gradually reduce the areas of competence of Holyrood. The Tories have never liked devolution, and they are no friends of Scottish political distinctiveness. Within a post-Brexit Britain there is even less place for Scotland to have different political priorities from the rest of the UK.

These developments represent another important material change in circumstances which justify another independence referendum. One of the key promises of the Better Together campaign in 2014 was that the powers of the Scottish Parliament would be enshrined in law and would be put beyond the ability of any British Government to alter without the express consent of Holyrood. We can see now that was a lie. The British Government is now quite openly declaring that it and it alone has the unilateral right to alter the devolution settlement as it sees fit. That’s not what Scotland was promised in 2014.

The current devolution settlement was approved by the people of Scotland in a referendum in 1997, by a considerably larger majority than Brexit was approved. But you don’t hear any Conservatives saying that the result of that referendum must be respected. You don’t hear any Conservatives saying that their promises and commitments to Scotland in 2014 must be respected. By attacking the devolution settlement, the Tories might like to tell themselves that they are making independence less likely, but all that they are really doing is destroying that union that they claim to love so much.

Get out and vote on 12 December and tell the Tories that they’re the ones who are not listening to what Scotland wants. It’s the Scotland Act, not the Boris Johnson Act.


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

If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information.

Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

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


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

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

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