It’s good to be back

We had a good time away, and it’s a good time to come home. Huge thanks to Ray and Sandra for giving the dug such a great holiday when we were away. It’s still good to be home even though it’s to return to a Scotland whose European identity has been ripped away from it, and which is under assault by an English nationalist government in Westminster which is doing its utmost to render Scotland politically irrelevant. It’s good to be home because Scotland is full of European Scots who refuse to sit quietly and shut up like good little North Britons. It’s good to be home because Scotland isn’t going to surrender.

We’ve now had three opinion polls in a row which show support for independence at 50% or above, and the great idea to save the yoonyin is a bridge that everyone knows will never be built. There’s no realistic way in which the scarily deep Beaufort’s Dyke, full as it is of radioactive waste and chemical weaponry, could ever be safely bridged. Still, at least we now have a candidate ditch for Boris Johnson to die in. It is of course entirely coincidental that this imaginary bridge that will never get built was announced on the exact same day that Michael Gove weaselly admitted that there will in fact be post-Brexit border checks despite spending the past few years denying that there would be any such checks at all. However there is now to be a period of consulting about this new bridge that won’t ever get built. The UK government could save itself a whole lot of bother just by giving me £10 million quid and I could tell them right now that the idea is a stupid one. It would still be a tiny fraction of the cost of HS2.

Jackson Carlaw is the new leader of the English Nationalist Brexit Party’s Scottish branch office and Annie Wells is his deputy. Look on their works ye mighty and giggle a bit. Jackson spent 25 years as a used car salesman, so at least he knows when he’s lying. This is a step in the right direction for a Tory politician, and for that small mercy we must be grateful. Jackson’s first act as leader, well, I say leader, was to describe the independence movement as an evangelical faith based cult. This is what counts as leadership in the We Just Love Being Told What To Do By Boris Johnson fan club. I’d have thought that a better definition of an evangelical faith based cult was a political party whose sole policy was telling people in Scotland that they cannot have any agency over their own lives but must surrender to the absolute power of a despot in London. Boris and Brexit will provide. All hail the World King. Although the Scottish Conservatives do raise an interesting philosophical question, how can you be a leader of an organisation whose entire raison d’etre rests upon being told what to do? It’s the antithesis of leadership. You’d be as well campaigning for voting to abolish democracy. Oh wait. That’s exactly what the Scottish Conservatives are doing.

Jackson Carlot is going to spend the next year or so saying no to another independence referendum, and since his band of nawbags has nothing else to offer the people of Scotland will make it their sole policy in the 2021 Holyrood elections. Then once the Tories get their collective arse handed to them on a plate in the ballot he’ll deny that the election was ever about an independence referendum at all. So very much as he did following the General Election then.

And talking of those who would struggle to lead their way out of a wet paper bag, Alister Jack has managed to survive Dominic Cumming’s, sorry Boris Johnson’s, cabinet reshuffle. In retrospect he was always going to. Boris Johnson was never going to allow anyone to keep their jobs if there was the slightest possibility that they might outshine him, and there are few bulbs dimmer than Alister’s. There are in fact small damp patches of photosensitive mould which glow more brightly than Alister. And they make a greater contribution to human wellbeing too. Sajid Javid lost his job as Chancellor, giving him the distinction of being the first British Chancellor of the Exchequer ever to be sacked before delivering a budget. He’s been replaced by the speak your weight machine that is Rishi Sunak, a man who makes Phillip Hammond seem like he’s edgy and charismatic. Sajid said no self-respecting minister could accept the conditions of subservience that were required for the job, and then Rishi comes along and says me! me! This is because if you were to draw a Venn diagram containing circles representing self-respect and Rishi Sunak, the two would be separated by a ditch deeper and wider than Beaufort’s Dyke, and every bit as toxic.

You might be forgiven for wondering why it was that if Dominic Cummings was such an eminence grise that we have a cabinet of third rate villains from a B movie, who are as fit for their positions as Herod was as a child protection officer. Liz Truss is now the longest serving member of the cabinet. Liz. Truss. Let that sink in for a moment. A woman that you wouldn’t trust to look after your goldfish. Liz Truss, who wants us to believe in Brexit because she thinks the whole world is crying out for British cheese and jam. Gavin Williamson still has a job. Gavin is the guy who leaked the proceedings of a national security council meeting to the press in order to get one over his political rivals. He’s the man who tried to defeat Vladimir Putin with petulance. This is the man who makes Private Pike seem like he’s in charge of the SAS. Gavin is the kind of reject from the early phases of auditions for The Apprentice that the other fireplace salesmen would strip naked, truss up to a lamppost, and leave to the mercy of a pigeon. This is the cream of the UK political crop, allegedly. God save us.

The UK cabinet has turned into an episode of a badly made kids’ tv show, in which contestants keep chanting the host’s favourite catch phrases. 40 hospitals! 50,000 nurses! 4000 buses! There’s not an atom of self-respect to be seen. Adults in that show where children got to ritually humiliate their teachers and parents with gunge possessed more dignity. I can’t take the dog out because my toes have curled so much that I can scarcely walk.

I keep trying to think of a sentence using the word we which could include both me and any member of the Tory cabinet, and keep failing. I did come up with “At least we’re not brainless monsters from the evil Mirror Universe of Star Trek”, but then I remembered that Suella Braverman exists, so that didn’t work. It’s not that Suella isn’t the brightest bulb in the lobby, more that she displays all the intellectual acuity of a baked potato that’s been left out in the sun for three weeks. Actually that comment is unworthy. It’s unfair to three week old baked potatoes. At least you can trust a three week old baked potato, which is a lot more than anyone could ever say about Suella.

Despite the collective crapfest that is the British government, the main reason that it’s good to be home is that support for independence is rising, and it will continue to rise. It will continue to rise no matter what self-inflicted disasters the SNP leadership manage to bring upon themselves. It will continue to rise no matter the outcome of next month’s high profile trial, which is being eagerly anticipated by British nationalists on social media like vultures waiting for a carcass. Unfortunately for them, they haven’t realised that the stink of death in their nostrils is the smell of their own decay.

The fundamental error made by those who are rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of a damaging trial for the SNP is the belief that support for independence is driven by the SNP. It’s not. They have the cart before the horse. It’s support for independence that drives the SNP. What drives support for independence is the failure of the British state. No matter what happens in that trial, it won’t change Brexit. It won’t make the Tories go away. It won’t alter Boris Johnson’s contempt for Scotland. It won’t suddenly make the UK a more attractive place for a Scotland that wants something different.

Meanwhile British nationalists in Scotland are handicapped by a singular blindspot, the blindspot that will be their undoing. They are obliged to make the assumption that remaining in a dysfunctional Union which isn’t really a Union at all is the default position that’s best for Scotland. It is screamingly obvious that the political and constitutional structures of the UK cannot accommodate Scottish political distinctiveness. It is equally obvious that remaining within the UK mean being subject to the whims of an English nationalist government which has no interest or need to listen to Scotland and a winner takes all voting system which means that the Labour party has little chance of power for many years to come. Even when a mildly progressive force does manage to take charge in Westminster, it can – as Blair proved – only do so by aping the Conservatives and then any good that it manages to achieve in its period in office will be undone once the Tories inevitably return to power. British nationalists in Scotland have to accept all this and present it to us as a good thing.

This might have worked back in 2014, in another political world it was possible to argue that the UK was wonderful, that its amazingness spoke for itself, that there was no need to prove its superiority. All that was taken for granted by British nationalists, just as it was taken for granted that British nationalism was the nationalism that was better than Scottish nationalism because it was magically not nationalist at all. It won’t work any more. It won’t work in a Scotland where the majority now support independence, where the default position amongst the public is a belief that independence is the normal state of affairs for Scotland.

But the greatest single problem that opponents of independence have is their credibility gap. That’s why they will struggle to make any positive case for the UK. The inescapable fact is that they made us all sorts of promises the last time round, and those promises can now be measured against the reality of what was actually delivered. No one is going to believe another Vow. No one will listen to another solemn promise that Scotland is a partner. No one will give any credence to a heartfelt plea that Scotland is loved and respected.

In 2014 a vote for independence was a vote for aspiration. In the next independence referendum a vote for independence will be a vote for exasperation. It will be a vote driven by exasperation about the decline of the UK, its destruction of the social security system and public services. It will be a vote driven by despair over the prospect of endless Conservative governments with Anglocentric politics and the worthlessness of Scottish voices in Westminster. It will be a vote driven by disgust about the small mindedness of Prime Ministers catering to the mean, the vindictive, the ignorant, and the xenophobic. It will be a vote in anger because we have a government chock full of nonentities who have less compassion and humanity than those dummies that people put in the passenger seats of their cars so that they can drive in the car-share lane without getting fined.

2020 is going to be the year when support for independence in Scotland is consolidated. It’s good to be back home and to be a part of making it happen.


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

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


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

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

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


The light we shine for ourselves

So this is it then. This is the better, safer change they promised us in return for a no vote in 2014. This is that brighter future in a Britain that respects and loves Scotland. This is the equality, the partnership, the leading not leaving. Every one of us in Scotland who is weighed down by a UK passport is losing our European citizenship, despite the fact that Scotland voted to remain a part of the EU by a considerably larger margin than it voted to remain a part of the UK, despite the fact that a central plank of the no campaign’s pitch in 2014 was that Scotland could only remain a part of the EU by voting against independence. This is where we are now, on the dark end of a benighted island, ignored, marginalised, sidelined, treated with contempt and derision. Today there is mourning and anger. But there is more than grief and rage, lying beneath, like the glistening metal beneath the rust of a decaying British state, is a steely Scottish resolve that we will have our say, that we will have our day, that our light will shine.

This is the end of the Scottish Unionism of old, the comforting myth of partnership between Scotland and the rest of the UK dies today. Brexit’s acid burns away the fairy story of equality. This is the time of wakening up. This is where the pretending stops. The pretending that Scotland can be both British and European. That has been taken away by those who claim to defend and love the so-called union between Scotland and the rest of the UK. You can no longer realistically say that you want Scotland to be part of the EU and a part of the UK. It has to be one or the other. The UK will not be rejoining the EU any time soon. The quickest route back, the only realistic route back, the only route which is politically plausible, is the route of Scottish independence. It’s time to choose between a Scotland which determines its own path, or a Scotland whose path is decided for it by politicians in London who are only interested in Scotland as an extension of their own vanity and pride.

There are those who would try to confuse us with the deceit that Scottish independence can be equated with Brexit. It’s a lie. Scottish independence allows those of us who choose a Scottish citizenship to exercise it, it allows those Scots who identify as British to continue as British. Scottish independence would allow anyone who identifies as British in Scotland to retain their British citizenship, their British passport, their British identity. If any of those things were to be lost to British people in Scotland as a result of Scotland becoming independent it would be as a result of decisions made by Westminster, not by Holyrood. Brexit strips European citizenship from every Scot with British citizenship, whether we want it or not. It imposes and commands, it lessens and diminishes. It tells us who we have to be whether we recognise ourselves in the Brexit mirror or not. Brexit amputates Scotland from its European self and gives us a Great British shortbread tin in its place.

Today is the day that the real struggle begins. Today will mark the turning of the tide, when a consistent and growing majority of voters in Scotland support independence. The YouGov poll which was published this week showed a majority in support of independence, 51% in favour with 49% against. It was a historic poll from a polling company which has usually returned a lower support for independence than other pollsters. But lurking beyond the headline figure there was an even more significant result in that same YouGov poll. Of those under the age of 65, 58% support independence. Scotland is shifting from being a country where support for the UK is the norm to becoming one where support for independence is the norm. The future of UK rule in Scotland is time limited.

The Tories tell us no. They tell us that we can’t have another independence referendum, not now, not after the Holyrood elections, not ever. They claim that the result of the 2014 referendum must stand for all eternity irrespective of how circumstances change, or how the Tories have traduced the promises that they made in order to win that vote. Then having denied that there has been a material change in circumstances they tell us that they are perfectly entitled to make unilateral changes to the devolution settlement because Brexit is not a normal circumstance. The Tories are, as Nicola Sturgeon said in her speech today, goading Scotland not governing it.

Today we got a call from the First Minister for more persuading, more campaigning. The First Minister’s speech will have disappointed many of us who have already been persuading, campaigning and making the case for independence. We’ve not been sitting on our hands for the past six years. It will not have reassured those of us who want to know what happens when Boris Johnson says no in 2021 just as he’s said no already. This campaign needs to be proactive not reactive, it needs to take the fight to Westminster. Instead of fearing a Westminster legal challenge to a referendum without a Section 30 order, it needs to start legal action of its own. You don’t win independence with timidity.

Yet the reality is that those of us who were disappointed today are not the target audience of the First Minister’s speech. We’re not the ones who need to be persuaded. We’re not the ones who need to be courted. We’d crawl on our hands and knees over broken glass in order to vote yes. There is only one way in which to win Scotland’s independence, and that is to ensure that there is a solid majority for it, not to haggle over procedure and process. Winning independence is hard work.

But the danger for the SNP leadership is that in its understandable and entirely sensible focus on persuading soft no voters and undecideds that it alienates and discourages those who are already committed, those who are needed to do the persuading. On this day of endings, we needed a sense of a new beginning. Sadly we didn’t get that from Nicola Sturgeon’s speech. Her tactics may be right, but the tone was wrong. On a dark and fearful day we need fire to light a route out of the darkness, not managerialism.

But look beyond the disappointment of a speech that didn’t live up to expectations. There is hope. Scotland is changing, it is rediscovering itself and its place in the world. That new beginning does exist, it remains within reach. Every opinion poll showing a majority for yes confirms it. Scotland is on a path that leads to independence. It will be a rocky path. There will be reversals along the way, but there is only one destination. It’s a Scottish destination in the heart of Europe. There is a light for Scotland, it’s a light we shine for ourselves.


You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Please log into Paypal.com and send a payment to the email address weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Or alternatively click the donate button. If you don’t have a Paypal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.
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If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information.

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

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


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

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

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


Blog break

It’s time for a break. As you probably know if you’ve seen the wee text along with the most recent dugcast, I’m off on my much belated honeymoon. Americans get seriously crappy holiday entitlement so my husband and I were not able to go away on a honeymoon after we got married in 2018. Due to how the Home Office processes visas, he had to get over to Scotland almost immediately after he was granted his spouse visa allowing him to live and work in Scotland, and had to come over here with just a couple of suitcases. We’re going back to his home state to pack him up properly and arrange to ship his possessions over to Scotland, and then are visiting the West Coast of the USA for a couple of weeks to get away from it all. We’re back in Scotland on 17 February when blogging service will be resumed as normal.

The last few months have been hectic, what with an election and trying to keep an increasingly fractious indy movement together. Sometimes I’ve felt like we’re fighting on two fronts. I’ve often been doing two blog articles a day, thousand plus words of opinion which take time and energy to write, plus my work for The National, and on top of that have been out and about all over Scotland at various indy events. I’ll not lie, it’s been tiring, wearing, and exhausting, and I need a bit of down time.

But we’re in a good place. In the last election Scotland clearly said that this is the time for another independence referendum, support for independence is slowly but inexorably rising. When the time comes for us to have a vote on this country’s future, I have no doubt at all that Scotland will vote to rejoin the family of independent nations as an equal. Brexit is looming, and that can only increase the pressure within Scotland for a vote on this country’s future.

However it’s not going to be easy. Westminster will not willingly let us slip from its clutches. There is a battle of wills ahead. There will be reverses along the way. There will be difficult days. But a people in motion is an unstoppable force of nature. We are the tide of the future, and we will win. Westminster is about to get into a stubbornness contest with Scottish people. That’s only going to end one way, and it will not be a good way for Boris Johnson. I’ll come back to the fray refreshed and re-enthused in a month’s time.

I will have intermittent internet access while I am away and may post an article to two if I have time. Nae guarantees though. In the meantime I’m going to leave this blog as an open thread. Use it to chat about independence, or about what’s happening in British and Scottish politics. Please refrain from using this space as a forum to attack other independence supporters who may have different views or opinions. Please refrain from personal abuse and insults. Enjoy using the comments space. There’s a wee family of regular commentators here, and this space is as much yours as it is mine.

Please note. I will not be able to moderate posts frequently while I am away. That means that if a comment is held in the moderation queue it could be some days before it is released. You are not being censored, so don’t get all huffy about it please. Comments get held in the moderation queue if you are posting here for the first time or are using new log in details that you’ve not used before. Comments also get held in the moderation queue if they contain more than two URL links – this is an anti-spam feature of WordPress. You can avoid this by ensuring that each comment contains only one or two links. Split your comment into two or more comments if you wish to share more than two links.


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


Dugcast – 17 January 2020 – & an announcement

Welcome to the 17 January edition of the dugcast. In this week’s episode The National’s editor Callum Baird and I discuss last weekend’s massive pro-indy march organised by AUOB. We discuss Boris Johnson’s entirely predictable refusal to cooperate with a Section 30 order and the possible next steps that can be taken towards independence in the teeth of his refusal. We also chat about the tin ear that Labour leadership candidates have for Scottish concerns and sensibilities, and how within the framework of the UK Scotland’s interests will always be subordinate to the political priorities of the country “down below”.

There’s also an important announcement. This will be the last dugcast for a month as my husband and I are finally going on our much delayed honeymoon. We were not able to have one after the wedding. However next week we are returning to his home state of Connecticut for a week in order to pack his things up properly and arrange for them to be shipped over to Scotland, and then we’re off to the Grand Canyon, Route 66, Las Vegas, Palm Springs, and San Francisco. I’ll be back in Scotland on 17th February.


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


The twin cheek of the twin cheeks

lisanandy
“Now is the time to look outwards, paint with broad strokes and set up an international commission, led by and for Scottish people, that seeks to learn from the few examples where at times in modern history the cause of social justice has beaten divisive nationalism.”

So said Labour leadership contender Lisa Nandy on Monday. Now if anyone has any idea what she meant, please let the rest of us know because we’re genuinely struggling. What Lisa tweeted is one of those sentences where you understand each of the words individually, but when you put them all together they make absolutely no sense at all. Perhaps Lisa is indulging in some Dadaist art project cunningly disguised as a Labour leadership campaign? Or maybe it’s one of those motivational posters, only written by someone out of their tree on meth.

If we were perplexed and faintly amused at the start of the week, by the end of the week Lisa had managed to make many in Scotland livid. During an interview with Andrew Neil as a part of her leadership bid, she said that the UK needs to learn from Catalonia in how to handle separatist movements. Her exact words were, “We should look outwards to other countries where they’ve had to deal with divisive nationalism … in places like like Catalonia”. No, really. She said that. Blinding people with rubber bullets, bashing grandmothers over the head with police truncheons, imprisoning peaceful independence campaigners and pro-independence politicians. Lisa wants “us” to learn from that.

This gobsmackingly crass remark can only mean one of two things. Either Lisa is an idiot who doesn’t understand what has gone on in Catalonia, or she does understand it and she’s quite happy to inflict violence and legal sanctions on Scotland’s independence movement too, a movement which has been entirely peaceful, law abiding, and concerned to operate within the parameters of the UK constitution. So which is it?

In Catalonia one of the major pro-independence parties, the ERC whose leader Oriol Junqueras languishes in a Spanish prison, is considerably more socialist than Labour’s ally the PSOE. But it’s the ERC which practises “divisive nationalism” according to Lisa. And notice that in her remarks Lisa said “we”, because those of us in Scotland are not “we”, but “they”. And then she preaches about divisive nationalism. She is of course entirely blind to the divisive nationalism of the British variety, because that’s a nationalism that’s better than all other nationalisms by virtue of not being nationalist at all.

What’s really astonishing here is that in England, Labour supporters loved Lisa Nandy’s interview with Andrew Neil. It’s only in Scotland that there is any outrage with her crass suggestion that the UK ought to adopt the tactics of Madrid in suppressing the independence movement in Scotland. There’s been not a peep from the supposedly progressive English left which constantly preaches the need for solidarity at us. Because it seems that the Labour party’s idea of solidarity is that Scotland must display solidarity with the Labour party, but the Labour party doesn’t need to bother displaying solidarity with Scotland.

Together with Jess Phillips, what we’re seeing here in the Labour party is a meeting of closed minds on the subject of Scotland with the Tories. Conservative or Labour, both are equally British nationalist, and both will happily traduce and arrogantly ignore the democratic will of the people of Scotland as expressed through the ballot box. Nowhere in any of these pronouncements from British nationalist politicians have we seen the slightest justification of why they believe that they have the right to ignore the democratic will of the people of Scotland, and to continue to ignore it for as long as it suits them. Nowhere do we see any attempt from them to answer the question for Scotland that their own stance raises, nor indeed any acknowledgement that any question might arise. But here in Scotland we cans see the question all too clearly. If the British state can ignore the democratic will of the people of Scotland, if it can ignore in perpetuity the outcome of elections in Scotland, then what does it serve Scotland to remain a part of the British state. If the UK will not take the votes and views of Scotland into account, then it’s not a union, it’s simply Greater England.

Meanwhile over in the Guardian, we see the Labour supporting Metrocommentariat’s contempt for Scotland in its full and unedifying display. Martin Kettle, whose articles about Scotland really ought to come with a health warning, has opined that Boris Johnson’s arrogant dismissal of the First Minister’s request for a Section 30 order as being more sensitive than the response of others within the Tory party. That’s a bit like describing a guy who hits you over the head with a baseball bat while calling you a bastard “more sensitive” than a guy who hits you over the head with a baseball bat then kicks you in the crotch and calls you the c-word.

Johnson’s reply to Nicola Sturgeon dripped with arrogant contempt. There was no attempt in his brief letter to give any serious reasoning for his refusal, merely the cheap trick of quoting the rhetorical comments of the SNP leadership in 2014 which were aimed at encouraging people to participate in a historic vote. That’s a spurious reason. Johnson knows it’s a spurious reason. Martin Kettle calls it “useful”, but doesn’t himself give any substantive reason why the UK Government can continue to ignore mandates given to the victorious party in Scottish elections without calling the issue of democracy in Scotland into question.

But it gets worse. Martin tells us that the Conservatives are not disposed to recognise a mandate for another referendum which is obtained at the Holyrood elections in 2021. This seems to be just fine with Martin. Anything to keep those uppity Jocks in their place eh. He is clearly aligned with Lisa Nandy and Jess Phillips in that respect. The attitude we’ve seen from leading figures in the Labour party and their cheerleaders in the London press explains why the Labour party is dead in Scotland and is going to stay dead. Labour and the Tories both display the twin cheek of the twin cheeks of the same arrogant, entitled, and antidemocratic British nationalist arsery.

But yeah, faced with this casual dismissal of Scottish democracy by British nationalism, Lisa Nandy was almost right. It only takes a few small tweaks for what she said to make perfect sense. We, the people of Scotland, should look outwards, paint with broad strokes and set up an international commission, led by and for Scottish people, that seeks to learn from the many examples where at times in modern history the cause of social justice has beaten divisive and arrogant British nationalism.


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

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


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

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

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


The Broken Buckle

callumHe’s a busy man and talented man is Callum Baird.  When he’s not editing The National, editing the Glasgow Evening Times, and being interrupted by me during the Wee Ginger Dugcast, he’s been off recording his long awaited new album.  Called The Broken Buckle, you can download it from iTunes or Spotify or whatever it is that young people today do for music bah humbug etc etc. In my day we stuck a microphone in front of a transistor radio when the week’s Top 20 presented by a creepy DJ serial child abuser came on so that we could record the Sex Pistols and Souxie and the Banshees on a hissy cassette tape – and we thought we were as cool as all get out.  OK so we were stupid.  Downloading is so much less hassle.

Follow Callum on the Twitters @callumbaird1
or on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/callumbairdmusic

You can listen to the album on Bandcamp here
https://callumbaird.bandcamp.com
You can use that link to purchase a digital copy of the album for just £7. You know you want to.

Meanwhile here’s a song from the new album which Callum recorded way back in 2014 for the independence referendum.  It’s called We’re Better Off Alone (A love song to Scotland).  He’d like to change the title to “We’re better off pooling a little bit of our sovereignty in an international grouping of independent states who would actually respect us”, but that wouldn’t rhyme or scan.

The stick to beat the bully

plebiscite
There’s been a bit of discussion recently about how to circumvent the refusal of the UK government to concede to another independence referendum. Yesterday in the Herald it was reported that Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil has suggested turning the 2021 Holyrood elections into an effective referendum on independence. The idea is that the SNP and other pro-independence parties would be using these elections, not to seek yet another mandate for a referendum that Westminster could ignore, but rather to seek a mandate for independence itself. In other words, to turn the 2021 Holyrood elections into a plebiscite election.

I’ve always favoured the idea of a plebiscite election as the option of last resort. Other options should of course be explored, but if there comes a time when all these other options fail then it’s a back up plan which can guarantee a recognised and legal independence ballot in which the anti-independence parties must participate.

There are certainly other options. There’s continuing to press for a Section 30 order and using the increasing political pressure and demand for independence within Scotland as a means to put pressure on Boris Johnson. There’s court action to force Westminster to respect the existing mandates for a referendum. There’s testing the legality of an advisory referendum without a Section 30 order. All these avenues must be explored and exhausted. Even if they do not succeed in bringing about a referendum the very process of exploring and exhausting them will continue to put pressure on the British government and will keep the question of independence front and foremost in Scottish politics. Exploring and exhausting these routes will continue to promote the drift in Scottish public opinion towards support for independence.

A plebiscite election is not UDI, it would not amount to a unilateral declaration of independence. However it would neatly sidestep an obstinate Westminster which continues to refuse to cooperate with another independence referendum. It would provide the people of Scotland with a recognised democratic ballot in which they could express their support for Scottish independence. It would give the First Minister a mandate to write to the UK Prime Minister to demand the immediate opening of negotiations for Scottish independence. Backed by a popular mandate for independence itself obtained legally and legitimately within the framework of the UK constitution, that’s going to be impossible for Westminster to ignore, all the more so as Europe and the rest of the world will be taking a close interest.

There is absolutely nothing in UK law or under what passes for a British constitution which prohibits a plebiscite election. Indeed, that’s precisely what the SNP was doing prior to the establishment of the Scottish parliament. The party was using Westminster General Elections as plebiscite elections, seeking a mandate for independence based upon the number of MPs it was able to return to the Commons. It was widely accepted at the time that if the SNP had ever been successful in obtaining a majority of Scottish MPs, then it would have achieved a mandate to open negotiations with the British government for Scottish independence.

This is a crucial point. A plebiscite election is often misunderstood as seeking a majority in Holyrood for pro-indy parties which can then make a unilateral declaration of independence. That’s not quite the case. In order to be legal and constitutional within a framework which will be recognised and respected by the international community (which is what counts if independence is to become a reality) the plebiscite election should be fought with the goal of obtaining a mandate to negotiate independence with Westminster. Westminster can still be obstructionist, it could still refuse to collaborate. However what it can’t do in the eyes of the international community is to ignore the result of a democratic vote within Scotland giving the Scottish Parliament a mandate to negotiate independence. In fact you can bet your last penny that if there’s a majority in Holyrood for independence following a plebiscite election, Westminster will be falling over itself to offer a referendum. However should Westminster continue to be obstructionist and to refuse to recognise Scotland’s democratic mandate, that would give the Scottish Government the political capital it requires to internationalise the dispute.

In a recent paper published by the constitutional legal experts Chris McCorkindale and Aileen McHarg a number of objections were raised to a plebiscite election. However these objections are not legal in nature, but rather political. As such they are not barriers which cannot be surmounted. The first objection they raise is that the Scottish Government is not in favour of a plebiscite election. That’s the case because the Scottish Government currently believes that it possesses sufficient leverage to get an agreement from Westminster on a Section 30 order. We are yet to see what the further steps will be that Nicola Sturgeon has said that the Scottish Government will take at the end of this month. It may well be the case that Westminster will eventually concede and will cooperate with a Section 30 order, in which case discussions about a possible plebiscite election will be moot.

However the opposition of the Scottish Government only remains an objection until such time as the Scottish Government changes its mind. It may very well change its mind faced with continued intransigence from Westminster and a rise in support for independence in the opinion polls because Brexit becomes a reality at the end of this month.

The second objection raised by McCorkindale and McHarg is that Westminster would not recognise a mandate for independence achieved via a plebiscite election. This may or may not be the case, however we’re currently in the situation where Westminster is not recognising successive mandates for a Scottish independence referendum. Therefore it could just as easily be argued that there is nothing to lose by going for a plebiscite election and everything to gain. Forcing the Conservative government to ignore a mandate for independence itself raises the stakes considerably and increases the political pressure on Westminster and Boris Johnson by several orders of magnitude.

The third objection is that the international community would not recognise a unilateral declaration of independence based upon a plebiscite election. This is what occurred in Catalonia, whose declaration of independence was not recognised by the international community. However there are two significant differences between Scotland and Catalonia. The first is that a plebiscite election seeking a mandate for independence is illegal under the Spanish constitution. It’s not illegal or unconstitutional in the UK. Secondly the point of a Scottish plebiscite election would not be to make a unilateral declaration of independence that Westminster does not recognise but rather to force Westminster to the negotiating table. The international community would be willing to collaborate in that process and would put pressure on Westminster to negotiate with Scotland as simultaneously with the plebiscite election the UK will be mired in trade negotiations with the EU. It is in the interests of the EU to ensure political stability in its trading partners.

However the real value of publicising and discussing the possibility of a plebiscite election just now is that it sends a very strong signal to Westminster that its refusal to collaborate with a Section 30 order and its continual ignoring of successive mandates for a referendum obtained by the SNP will have consequences. Consequences which will end Westminster rule in Scotland. It tells Westminster that it’s very much in the interests of the British Government and the anti-independence parties to cooperate in bringing about an independence referendum because that is the only means that they have left of persuading people in Scotland that this really is a union in which Scotland is a voluntary partner.

If Scotland is forced into a plebiscite election on independence, the anti-independence parties will no longer be able to make the much loved partner argument with any plausibility. Telling Scotland that it’s a partner in a union is the strongest argument, the only argument, that they’ve got. It is important that the independence movement and the Scottish Government make Westminster realise that a democratic reckoning awaits Westminster at the end of their refusals, obstruction, and denial of Scotland’s wishes.

It’s the realisation that Scotland is planning for and intending to go ahead with a plebiscite election which can force Westminster to collaborate in a referendum process, because if a plebiscite election does come to pass it will mean that Westminster has entirely lost control of the process. The possibility of a plebiscite election is the independence movement’s big stick with which we can threaten Westminster and get their collaboration in the referendum process. And if they don’t cooperate, we have a vote anyway. The anti-independence parties can say that they’d boycott a referendum, but they can’t boycott elections to the Scottish Parliament. They can’t stop elections from happening without trashing the devolution settlement even more than they have already – and that would only increase support for independence. For the independence movement, it’s a win-win.

If we’ve learned one thing about the Conservatives, it’s that they don’t respond to pleading, begging, or being nice. The prospect of a plebiscite election is a surefire way of telling Boris Johnson that his refusals mean nothing, because eventually, with or without his cooperation, Scotland will have its say. When dealing with bullies, you need to stand up to them, and you need to demonstrate to them that they will be the losers in the end. Ultimately a plebiscite election and the ballot box is our weapon, the stick we can use to defeat the bullying Boris Johnson.


You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Please log into Paypal.com and send a payment to the email address weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Or alternatively click the donate button. If you don’t have a Paypal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.
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If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information.

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

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


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

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

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