Dugcast fae the dughoose – with Craig Dalzell

In this week’s dugcast I’m delighted to be joined by Craig Dalzell, blogger and director of policy for CommonWeal. This podcast was held over from Friday because of Jackson Carlaw’s surprise resignation. We chat about the resignation and what it means for the Scottish Conservatives, the GERS figures and how the coronavirus epidemic breaks them, and a whole lot more besides.

The Within Our Grasp paper which Craig mentions in the podcast can be found here : https://commonweal.scot/policy-library/within-our-grasp

Some of the issues we cover in this week’s dugcast were also covered in Craig’s own podcast this week.  You can hear it by clicking on the following link : https://commonweal.scot/common-weal-policy-podcast-episode-54

If you have problems with the embedded link, you can access the podcast directly here : https://soundcloud.com/user-291670852/dugcast-31-07-2020-with-craig-dalzell

In other news, I’ve decided to take next week off from blogging. I’ve blogged every day almost without a break since before we went into lockdown and I want a bit of time away from Scottish politics to recharge my batteries.  I’ve been getting a bit exasperated with the negativity and gloom mongering and need some time to myself so that I can come back with a positive attitude.  I’ve been working away on some new Gaelic maps while we were in lockdown and want to get them finished.  So instead of ranting about the Tories I’ll be losing myself in the Gaelic place names of Skye and the Small Isles.


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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


Bye bye Surname Surname

byebyesurnamesurname
Within a week of the performance artiste whose stage name is Boris coming to Orkney to save the UK, the leader of his Scottish branch office has resigned with immediate effect. Surname Surname gave no indication during First Minister’s Questions just a couple of hours earlier that he was about to hand in his jotters, although given the way in which he was handed his head on a plate you could be forgiven for thinking that he’d had enough of the weekly exercise in humiliation. However there were credible reports from Sky News, seemingly confirmed by Surname Surname’s opponent in the Scottish Tory leadership contest Michelle Ballantyne, that he resigned before he was pushed out by Tory HQ in London.

Let’s put it this way, whatever you might think about the SNP’s strategy for getting us to another independence referendum, we should at least all be able to agree that the Tories are crapping themselves at the prospect of the next Holyrood elections. As things stand at the moment it would appear that there are people in the Scottish independence movement who have considerably greater confidence in the Conservatives’ ability to prevent another independence vote than the Conservatives do themselves. It’s obvious that the Tories see the writing on the wall, the writing that says INDEPENDENCE in very large letters, and they don’t know what to do about it. Even Adam IT’S THE LAW Tomkins, the Scottish Tories’ former constitutional affairs spokesman, has admitted that independence is now the majority position in Scotland.

A party which is confident in its ability to deliver on what it regards as its core mission in Scotland, to prevent independence from happening, doesn’t lose its leader just 168 after he was elected by the membership. Whether Jackson Carlaw resigned because he says that he’s not the best person to make the case for the Precioussss Union, or he was pushed out by London because they don’t think he’s the man to save the Precioussss Union, the hard reality for the Scottish Tories is that even the best person can’t make a case for something that’s unsustainable and indefensible.

It seems far more plausible that Jackson Carlaw was pushed. If you look closely you’re likely to see Michael Gove and Dominic Cummings standing behind Jackson Carlaw with a knife and a very smug look on their faces. If the erstwhile Scottish Conservative leader had indeed decided to resign of his own accord, he’d have informed his colleagues in Holyrood before the public announcement and would have put plans in place for interim leadership until a new leader could be elected. However the announcement came as much of a surprise to Holyrood’s Tory MSPs as it did to the everyone else. Still, they shouldn’t complain too much. Now they have a little taste of what it feels like to be the Scottish Government, only finding out about important policy changes from London when they read about them in the papers. How’s that respected and valued partner in a family working out for you guys in the Scottish Tories, eh?

They also now know what it feels like for their bosses in London to overrule Scottish democracy. Irrespective of what you think about Jackson Carlaw and his abilities or lack thereof, he was elected by the members of the Conservative party in Scotland and possessed a direct mandate from them to lead, a mandate independent of the party HQ in London. The Scottish Tories have learned the hard way that the Scottish democratic shortfall applies to them too. They stand exposed as a powerless and toothless branch office of a party which has no respect for democratic legitimacy, not even that of its own membership. Now this party thinks that it can sell the British state to an increasingly doubtful Scotland when they’ve just shown us all that they have no respect for the outcome of Scottish democratic processes. All we have to do now is to remind whoever it is that takes over from Jackson Carlaw that their predecessor was removed by London, that they too can be removed by London, and that their own party has amply demonstrated that it doesn’t do democracy as far as Scotland is concerned.

There have been persistent reports that the Tories in London want their Scottish party not to campaign on opposing independence at the next Scottish elections. This is not because they’ve had a change of heart, but rather because they believe that if the Scottish Tories make “no to another indyref” the centre of their campaign and then, as likely, lose seats and vote share, then it will make it more difficult for Westminster to resist demands from a victorious SNP for another independence referendum. However the Scottish Conservatives know that if they don’t campaign first and foremost on opposition to another independence referendum, they’re going to find it difficult to motivate those who oppose independence but who don’t support Conservative policies to come out and vote for them. They fear that the London strategy will only make their defeat even worse, and there will be fewer MSPs in a weaker party trying to oppose the SNP. Jackson Carlaw was most closely associated with “no to indyref2”, his defenestration by London means that the next Scottish Conservative electoral campaign will be one that’s designed, built, and imposed from London.

The leadership of the Scottish Tories has become a poison chalice, a one way ticket to political failure and oblivion. When BBC Scotland reported the news of Surname Surname’s surprise resignation on Reporting Scotland, they were unable to find any Conservative MSPs to comment. Obviously it’s par for the course for the Tories to go into hiding whenever there’s bad news for their party, however this time they were hiding because they were terrified that they might be asked to stand for the post of leader. At the rate things are going, it appears that George Galloway is the leading contender.

In the meantime the Tories are bereft of leadership in Holyrood. Assuming that she remains in post, that would make deputy leader Annie Wells the de facto leader of the party until a replacement for Jackson Carlaw is found. Annie Wells, Saviour of the Union. However reports are that Ruth Davidson is going to stand in the meantime. Is this the price she has agreed to pay for her peerage?

At this early stage, only Moray MP Douglas Ross has confirmed that he will be standing for the leadership of the Scottish Tories. That’s the Douglas Ross who repeatedly missed votes in Holyrood because he preferred to go and referee fitba matches. The Douglas Ross who went asked shortly after his election to the Commons what his political priority would be said “tougher enforcement against Gypsy travellers”. Ruth will look after Holyrood until Douglas can be parachuted in as a list MSP in the next Scottish elections. But by that time it’s likely to be game over for the Tories in Scotland.

Because of the news of Carlaw’s resignation, I’m holding over today’s podcast until tomorrow.


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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 unwitting midwives of independence

Given the state of the opinion polls which point to the SNP winning an absolute majority in the next Scottish elections, combined with consistent majorities for independence, the Tories appear to have fallen back on that trusty old stand-by for denying Scotland another referendum. They tell us that Thatessempee “promised” that the referendum of 2014 was a once in a generation/once in a lifetime event, and they’re jolly well determined to hold them to that promise.

This is pretty rich from the Tories, a party which has never made a promise to the Scottish electorate that it hasn’t gone on to trash. But then hypocrisy is their stock in trade. The Conservatives would have rather more of a leg to stand on in their insistence that they’re going to make sure political promises had been kept if they themselves had kept the promise that Scotland would be an equal partner, a leader in a family of nations. They’d have more of a case if they were not currently engaged in undermining the powers of the Scottish Parliament without the express consent of Holyrood, when they themselves solemnly swore that they’d draw up legislation to ensure that no Westminster government could ever do any such thing. Then they inserted the weasel clause “normally” into relevant section of the Scotland Act, and compounded their lack of good faith by going to the Supreme Court to get a ruling that the provision had no legal effect – with or without the word “normally”.

The Tories would have more of a case if they had at least ensured that the Scottish Government was consulted and involved in the shape that Brexit took instead of Holyrood finding out what Westminster had planned when they read about it in the newspapers along with the rest of us – never mind having swore blind to us in 2014 that voting against independence was the only way that Scotland could remain in the EU, and then dragging us out anyway. When it comes to posing as the guarantors of political promises, the Conservatives have as much credibility as Boris Johnson at a count your children competition.

However this is not the really shocking thing about the Conservatives’ insistence that they will refuse to agree to another independence referendum even if the SNP is returned to Holyrood following next year’s Scottish election with an absolute majority. What’s shocking is that it would represent a direct strike at the very foundations of democracy itself. Because when the Conservatives say that they’re going to hold Thatessempee to the promises of 2014 – and we can dispute until the cows come home as to what those words once in a generation opportunity really meant – what they’re saying is that they’re going to hold the Scottish electorate to account for a promise that they claim the SNP made.

The Conservatives are taking it upon themselves to be the arbiters of which electoral results they are going to recognise based upon their own interpretation of what another party’s leadership said seven years previously. It is a fundamental tenet of democracy that it is for the people to bind political parties with electoral mandates. Parties cannot bind the electorate, yet that is exactly what the Conservatives are proposing to do. They are putting limits on democracy to suit their own narrow political interests. It would be nothing less than a direct assault on the very foundations of democracy itself.

Democracy means that the voters get to decide, not that a political party decides which result it’s going to accept. The sovereignty of the Westminster Parliament is a fetish for the Tories. Amongst other things it means that the decisions of one parliament cannot bind the decisions of a future parliament. Yet the Conservatives want us to believe that the entire electorate of Scotland can be bound by what Boris Johnson tells us Alex Salmond or Nicola Sturgeon ‘really’ meant back in the early days of the first independence referendum campaign. That’s not democracy.

Personally, I’d not be too distressed if the Conservative Government decided to do all it could to block another independence referendum following the reelection of the SNP in 2021 with an absolute majority after standing on a mandate for another referendum. As Professor John Curtis suggests, the SNP should stand in the 2021 election asking for the same mandate that they asked for in the 2011 election. A majority result next year would give the exact same set of political conditions as obtained in before the first independence referendum. The Tories would stand exposed as the undemocratic and authoritarian creatures that they are should they continue to refuse Scotland another referendum under those circumstances.

This would set up a simple equation in the minds of Scotland’s voters between independence and democracy itself. It would deprive any Better Together Mk II campaign of its strongest argument – the claim that Scotland is a voluntary member of a union and not a nation kept captive against its will. The public anger that would be generated would guarantee that when Scotland did vote on the question of independence that rejoining the world as an independent state would be the settled and unarguable will of the Scottish people.

There are, as this blog has repeatedly argued, several ways in which Scotland can have a legitimate vote on independence without a Section 30 order. However the key to the success of any of these strategies is that they must enjoy the support of a clear majority of the Scottish electorate. That’s a condition that will only be met when there is widespread public anger at the refusal of Westminster to recognise Scottish democracy. That anger is seething amongst the independence movement right now, but it has yet to spread into the wider population. That will change if Boris Johnson tries to block another referendum following the reelection of a majority SNP government next year. It’s not when long standing independence supporters demand that Nicola Sturgeon adopt a Plan B that a Plan B will succeed – it’s when the majority of the Scottish population demand it.

In the meantime remember this. When Boris Johnson says that he will not allow Scotland to have another referendum, he is guaranteeing Scottish independence. If he is foolish enough to refuse a Section 30 order following the reelection of the SNP with a majority, independence becomes a certainty. The debate will then centre around the need to restore democracy to Scotland, and they only way in which that can be achieved will be through independence. It will be a powerful and irresistable argument for independence, delivered into our hands by the stupidity and intransigence of the Conservatives and their British nationalist allies themselves. They are the unwitting midwives of independence.


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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 rewards of British political failure

ruthdavidsonlords
According to reports in the press, Ruth Davidson is to be given a peerage by Boris Johnson and will sit in the House of Lords. She’ll officially become the Barrenness of Principles that she’s been her entire elected career. It’s the traditional reward for Scottish Tories who fail. The Conservatives are the vampires of politics, sucking all the life out of Scottish democracy and we can’t kill their careers with election defeats. As such, Ruth Davidson being given a peerage is entirely unsurprising. The only question is which of her faces is being ennobled. A few years ago Ruth Davidson and her allies in the Scottish Conservative organised Operation Arse in an attempt to keep Boris Johnson away from the leadership of the Tories. Now he’s Prime Minister she’s accepting a peerage from him and is more interested in Operation Kiss Arse.

Still, now she can put the boot in while draped in an ermine robe and without having to trouble herself with trivialities like democratic accountability or answering to her electorate. Not that she ever did. Just as anyone who lives in her constituency and they will tell you that she never bothered to do surgeries to listen to her own voters’ complaints and problems. Now she joins the likes of Thatcher’s McMinion Michael Forsyth, sitting in the Lords, influencing our laws and our public policy, without having to trouble themselves with elections, voting, or democracy.

Ruth Davidson was always a media construct. Her limited talents extended to little more than an ability to perform cheeky cheery photo ops which were beloved by her pals in the British nationalist Scottish media from whence she came. She was a creature and creation of a media which preferred to treat politics as a species of light entertainment. Ruth was happy to oblige, popping up on panel shows, Bake Off, and posing for photos with an assortment of barnyard animals some of whom were not even list seat MSPs for her party. But what Ruth “The Next First Minister of Scotland” Davidson never did was to come close to winning an election.

She failed as party leader. Anyone who has followed Scottish politics knows that Ruth Davidson resigned as the leader of the Scottish Conservatives because she could see the writing on the wall, that her party was facing massive electoral losses and she wasn’t prepared to take the blame for it. That’s exactly what happened in the December 2019 General Election. The Conservatives lost over half of their Scottish seats. However the metrocommentariat in London doesn’t follow Scottish politics, they continue to tell us that “without Ruth Davidson” the Scottish Tories lose seats. Yet the Scottish Conservatives would have lost with or without her. Ruth Davidson was far more concerned about her own reputation than the fate of her party. Although admittedly that is what counts as leadership in the Conservatives. Just look at Johnson and the rest of his cabinet.

Neither was Ruth any more successful as the Saviour of the Union, a vital post for the British nationalist media in Scotland, one which lies vacant since she announced her resignation from the leadership of the Scottish Tories. Her replacement, Surname Surname, would struggle to save the deposit on a bottle of scoosh. Ruth not only failed to make any dent in support for independence in Scotland, her period of time as an MSP has seen support for Scottish independence soar into a consistent majority. And it has largely done so because of the actions of Ruth’s own party. Far from being the go-to for advice on defeating Thatessempee, Ruth has presided over the collapse of what was left of Scottish confidence in the institutions of the British state.

What she did do however was to double down on opposition to independence at all costs, and vanished from the public eye whenever one of her councillors was revealed as a sympathiser of sectarian organisations or the extreme right. Disappearing when faced with difficult questions was very much Ruth’s modus operandi, one in which she was ably assisted by her friends in the media who allowed her to slip from view instead of pursuing her with the same energy that they hound an SNP politician when they get a scent of blood. Ruth got a free pass.

By reframing the Conservatives as the party of opposition to independence at all costs, Ruth Davidson must take a large part of the responsibility for emboldening and empowering the far right sectarian extremists in Scotland, the thugs who took over George Square to intimidate, bully, and threaten. They’re only taking the anti-democratic message of the Scottish Conservatives to its logical conclusion. When you insist that Scotland will not be “allowed” another referendum no matter what its people vote for, you are espousing a deeply undemocratic position. You are granting a fig leaf of acceptability to those who have no intention of accepting democracy at all.

Now she’s getting a lifelong free pass to a political career without any of the troublesome bother of standing for elections, having to be accountable, or democracy. Yet you can bet that this unelected unwanted unaccountable politician will still be popping up on our TV screens and in the columns of our newspapers to tell us what Scotland “really wants”. What Scotland really wants Ruth, is for people like you to be accountable to the voters.

What her peerage certainly means is that the Conservatives have now destroyed any chance of Ruth Davidson being a credible leader for any Better Together Mk II. An anti-independence campaign which is trying to sell a doubtful Scotland on the idea that it can be properly democratically represented within the UK while it’s being led by an unelected politician who is beyond accountability is not a good or a plausible look. It would however be an accurate one – because it’s the lack of accountability and the democratic shortfall which are the most pressing reasons for independence. As a member of the House of Lords, Ruth Davidson will embody all the reasons why Scotland must escape this corrupt and corrupting British state.


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


The one step that British nationalism won’t take

Another day, and another article from a British nationalist whose not a nationalist at all about how to save the Union. You’d almost think that they’ve gazed upon the opinion polls and said to themselves, quietly and between pursed lips, “Oh shit what have we done.” However this would only be the case if your average Scottish Conservative with a social media account bedecked with flegs, references to Dunkirk, and bunting, was actually capable of recognising that the rise in support for independence in Scotland was a function of what the British state and its institutions have been doing. There is as yet no indication that this is the case.

This time it’s the turn of former Scottish Conservative spin doctor Andy Maciver writing in The Herald where he presents an eight point plan to rescue British nationalism in Scotland from that existential crisis that it refuses to recognise that it’s got itself into. Andy’s article is a rare attempt from a Scottish Conservative to acknowledge that if independence is to be averted, it’s the Scottish Conservatives and British nationalists in Scotland who need to start doing things differently. They can’t just sit back and lob brickbats at Thatessempee and hope that the whole unpleasant business of those vile separatists will go away because eventually they might find an SNPbad story that’s big enough and bad enough. That won’t solve the underlying issue, which is that Scotland has been drifting towards independence for a long time now and the demographic factors are very much in its favour.

He doesn’t go so far as to admit that the current difficulties in the longer term survival of the Preciousssss Union are entirely the creation of British nationalism, but hey, baby steps. They say that the first step to healing is to admit you’ve got a problem, and Andy’s difficulty is that – at least judging by the bile that continues to pour from British nationalists online – a large and significant body of British nationalism opnion in Scotland has still not accepted that it’s got a problem. It’s a lot more comforting to blame Thatessempee or vile cybernats, and there is every sign that this will continue to be the dominant trope from opponents to independence for the foreseeable future.

It’s that reflex tendency of British nationalism to seek anything and everything that can be used as a weapon against the SNP that Andy warns about. We saw that just last week when the current holder of the post of Saviour of the Union, Surname Surname, hypocritically called for an investigation into allegations of Russian meddling in the Scottish referendum while at the same time backing his colleagues in London who have ruled out any investigation into allegations of Russian meddling in the EU referendum – indeed going so far as to tell the security services not to look for any evidence. Yet if there was an investigation and it did uncover evidence of Russian meddling in the Scottish referendum, it would merely call the result of the referendum into doubt, that referendum whose result the Scottish Conservatives have elevated to the status of one of the Commandments personally handed by God to the Saviour of the Union.

The piece also recognises that the UK cannot prevent Scottish independence by refusing to agree to a Section 30 order. For Westminster to continue to refuse to accept that Scotland wants another referendum, even after Scotland has very plainly and clearly voted for it, is a denial of Scottish democracy which will only create the equation in Scottish minds that independence=democracy. That would spell the ultimate demise of the UK as British nationalism in Scotland could no longer pretend that Scotland’s membership of this so-called union was voluntary.

He also warns about the constant refrains of too wee too poor too stupid. British nationalists vehemently deny that they’ve ever claimed that Scotland is too wee or too poor, and that it’s just a nationalist trope. Then in the next breath they go on to share the latest pretty coloured graph which purports to prove that Scotland has the greatest deficit in Europe and would struggle to manage basic public services without the kindness of handouts from Westminster. Certain British nationalist commentators have built an entire career on such graphs. Or they insistently demand to know what currency Scotland is going to use, the implication being that out of all the nations in the world that have ever become independent, Scotland alone would struggle to have a currency. They want us to believe that land that invented the concept of central banks wouldn’t be able to set up a national currency after independence, and then in the very same breath they deny that they’re implying Scotland is too stupid. The problem here is that most British nationalists in Scotland don’t even realise what they’re doing. However the very first step, even before admitting that you’ve got a problem, is to realise that you’re actually engaging in the activity that some term problematic.

What Andy Maciver is calling for here is for the entirety of British nationalism in Scotland to change its entire culture and the whole framework of its argumentation. That’s a pretty big ask, and while his piece in the Herald might be met with nods of agreement from certain quarters, zoomers gonna zoom. It’s a safe bet that the likes of Jackson Carlaw lacks the political imagination required to develop an entirely new framework for his party. Deprived of SNPbaddery, deprived of a kneejerk opposition to another referendum which merely reinforces the association between the UK and an opposition to Scottish democracy, there’s nothing for the Scottish Conservatives to say.

However the fundamental issue here is that in order to wrest the argument away from the too wee too poor too stupid tropes first identified by the late great Margo McDonald, British nationalism in Scotland needs to have a different story to sell to Scotland. That’s precisely where the entire thing falls flat on its face, because any such story needs to be built and constructed by the Conservatives in Westminster if it is to enjoy even a modicum of political credibility. Andy speaks about the need for increased powers for the Scottish Parliament, for greater devolution, for a rebalancing and repositioning of the relative powers of Westminster and Holyrood. He wants, in fact, something close to devo max. Yet this is precisely what the Conservatives in Westminster are hell bent on resisting. This is not a British Government which is in any mood to cede more power to Holyrood, quite the reverse, they seek to use Brexit as an excuse to embark upon a further round of centralisation in the British state.

British nationalism in Scotland is in a quandary because it cannot save itself. It depends upon a fundamental change in the structures of the British state if Scottish independence is to be prevented. Yet the British state has not got the slightest intention of reforming itself, and barely has any awareness that it needs to reform. The panic of British nationalism in Scotland is because they’re starting to realise that they’re caught between an independence movement with the wind in its sails, and a British state that is unwilling to give it the tools they need to sink the ship. There’s only really one step that the British state must take to save the UK, and they’re not willing to take it because it means stripping Westminster of the absolute power which is a fetish amongst British nationalists.


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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


Trashing the UK

toxicbritain
Daniel Hannan was a Conservative MEP who was at the forefront of the campaign to get the UK out of the EU. Even before the rest of the Conservatives succumbed to the nostrum of the sunlit uplands, the unicorns of free trade deals with former British colonies who’d be desperate to restore their links with the mother country, and the red white and blue cakeism of enjoying all the benefits of EU membership with none of the duties or responsibilities, Dan was there, waving his wee flag and preaching about the evils of an EU that imposed laws on the UK. Laws that the UK didn’t vote for. Laws that were devised by people whom the UK couldn’t vote out of office all by itself even though we won the war you know.

Now that the UK is officially out of the EU and well on its way to uplands that bear rather more of a resemblance to grey and desolate moors where serial killers have hidden the bodies, Dan is at something of a loose end. This is partly because he was deemed too weird even for a local Conservative association to adopt him as a Westminster candidate. Instead Dan now fills his days bringing joy to the world by penning articles in the Telegraph and other right wing publications in which he continues to preach the gospel of according to bunting.

In his latest piece, he believes he understands why there has been a surge in support for Scottish independence. It certainly can’t be because of Brexit, because Brexit is going to shower the above mentioned unicorns and cake on those sunlit uplands that we keep hearing so much about. Oh no. Scottish people would love Brexit, and they’d love the UK, if only it wasn’t for those pesky nats who keep, and I quote, “trashing the British brand”.

There is no problem with Brexit in Dan’s universe. The fact that from a Scottish perspective we are in exactly the same position, only for real this time, that he imagined the UK to be in as an EU member has flown by him. Quite possibly to one of those sunlit uplands that he keeps telling us about. There is no problem that Scotland is a part of a UK where its voice is unheard, where its parliament is undermined, and where the promises made to it have been traduced. None of this is real. The only thing that is real for Dan is that those horrible separatists keep saying nasty things about his beloved Britain.

According to Dan the rise in support for independence isn’t because of the coronavirus epidemic either. Scotland hasn’t really seen a Scottish Government which has delivered a more coherent and cohesive message. It didn’t really experience a much lower death toll once the strategy of the Scottish Government began to diverge from that of the British Government. And did so in the teeth of trenchant criticism from those British nationalists in Scotland who are now demanding to know why the Scottish Government didn’t diverge earlier and more decisively. The response of the Johnson administration in London hasn’t been chaotic, incompetent, and confused. But this is all just propaganda from bitter separatists who are hell bent on breaking up the most successful union the multiverse has ever seen.

Of course this last statement comes with the unspoken rider that we’re defining “union” as the UK and “successful” as “good for London and the South East”. Telling Scotland that the UK has been the most successful UK in history at funnelling wealth, capital, and talent into the maws of London and the South East wouldn’t persuade many to vote against independence. It would however be considerably more accurate. But hey, historical accuracy is just trashing the British brand.

The fact that Dan cannot and will never accept is that the British brand has of late been most spectacularly trashed by people like Dan. Brexit has unleashed an intolerant right wing xenophobia into British politics. It feeds upon a rosy nostalgia for an Empire long gone and for WW2 which was arguably the only time in history when the UK’s war was one that it didn’t go looking for and where our opponents were unequivocally the bad guys – and that was only because they were your actual Nazis. But despite this wallowing in nostalgia and the never ending crusade to stick union flags on everything, Dan tells us that “Unionism” is driven by practicalities and transactional politics, not by emotion and identity politics. Suuuure thing Dan. I’m sure that the British nationalist thugs who have developed a habit of beating up independence supporters and ethnic minorities in the centre of Glasgow are doing so purely out of a concern about the need for a central bank.

Let’s suppose however that Dan was right. Let’s imagine that we didn’t have Theresa May’s hostile environment or the Windrush scandal or institutionalised racism perpetuated by the British state. Let’s pretend that Brexit didn’t happen and that EU citizens who’ve chosen to live here we’re living in uncertainty and fear for the future. Let’s conjure up a reality where the UK wasn’t a colonial power. Let’s make believe that the UK really is an equal partnership of four nations who all happily and productively work together for their common good and the smaller ones aren’t dragged along in the political wake of the largest. You know, the UK that Dan thinks we all live in. The only way in which vile separatists could succeed in persuading a majority of the Scottish electorate that independence is the way to go would be if that electorate was blind to reality. In other words, Dan must think that we’re stupid. We seem to have heard that particular formulation before.

Dan’s is merely the latest addition to the angst ridden opinionating of British nationalists who are at a loss to explain the rise in support for Scottish independence without actually laying any blame at their own door. That’s the common theme in all these British nationalist analyses. It’s never their fault that more and more people in Scotland seek independence.

That’s the core conundrum of modern British nationalism in Scotland. In order to defeat the independence that they so fear, British nationalism has to face up to its own role in creating it. It’s the way in which Scotland has been marginalised and sidelined by the British state which is driving independence. It’s the way in which the British Government unilaterally undermines the settled will of the Scottish people which is driving independence. Solving these issues requires a radical and fundamental change in direction from the British state. It would mean owning up to the deceit of the Vow and the lies made in the Better Together campaign of 2014.

Support for independence is rising in Scotland because many in this country believe that the British parties and their leadership lied to us. For the British state to start to rebuild that lost confindence would mean admitting that they lied to Scotland. And that in turn would mean that they would destroy any case they hoped to make in a future referendum. Because if they have admitted to lying once, then we can’t believe anything they tell us in future. Either way, they’re screwed, and they know that they’re screwed. So instead they prefer to lash out, and rail against Scotland for having found them out. The UK’s reputation has been trashed by the Conservatives and Brextremists like Dan Hannon.


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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


Putting the boot in

puttingthebootin
Tony Blair, he of the tombstone teeth and the illegal war, appeared on the Sophie Ridge show on Sky News this morning. This is an example of Tony Blair making a rare intervention in politics. Just like he did a few days ago, and a few days prior to that. Tony makes as many rare interventions in politics as Gordon Brown broontervenes for the very first time. The UK needs another rare intervention from Tony Blair about as much as it needs a sex tape featuring Michael Gove.

The don’t mention Baghdad guy wasn’t on the programme to answer questions about why his name appeared in Jeffrey Epstein’s little black book. This topic has joined the Iraq War, the dodgy dossier, and his suspiciously well funded lifestyle on the list of “things you can’t ask Tony about”. Rather he was there to warn us that the coronavirus is going to be around for a very long time. He backed up his claim that the virus is a lasting threat with some blurry photographs showing the virus building a very big missile that could threaten British military bases in Cyprus. In other news, the coronavirus has warned that Tony Blair is going to be around for a very long time. The guy you can’t ask about Iraq was also on the programme to talk about the rise in support for independence in Scotland and – surprise surprise – why he thinks that Scottish independence is a terribly bad idea.

But let no one say that Sky News doesn’t do balance. The programme also featured Labour’s Jonathon Ashworth from the Labour party, who thinks Scottish independence is a terribly bad idea, and Layla Moran from the Lib Dems, who thinks that Scottish independence is a terribly bad idea. So it was a well rounded and balanced discussion of Scottish independence from the Londoncentric media. It featured different people who made different British nationalist points about why they believe that Scottish independence is a terribly bad idea. How more well rounded do you want?

Blair now admits that Scottish independence is a possibility. What he didn’t say was that it’s now a probability, which would have been closer to the truth. One of the reasons that it’s closer to a probability than a possibility is the lack of accountability and the distrust in politics and the political classes which he himself was responsible for creating during his time in office. Anyway, apparently the real problem here is that there’s no real opposition to the SNP in Scotland, that’s what’s been driving the rise in support for independence. So we must have imagined the constant stream of SNPbad stories which the British parties have been feeding to the overwhelmingly anti-independence media then. He admitted that Johnson is not going to be the person who saves the Union – because it takes one to know one. Neither is it Blair or a Labour party in his image.

Meanwhile Ruth Davidson has been opining about the fate of the UK, employing the violent metaphors which she frequently resorts to but which her pals in the Scottish media overlook because it spoils the image of her that they so carefully nuture. According to Ruth, the Conservatives are in their current quandary in Scotland because they’ve been far too nice and reasonable. Yeah, that’s how deluded they’ve got now. The only people in Scotland who believe that support for independence is rising because the Conservatives have bent over backwards to accommodate Scotland’s interests and it’s only encouraging the yes movement are a few swivel eyed frothers on social media. Not coincidentally there’s a considerable overlap between these people and membership of the Conservative party in Scotland.

Ruth believes that the Conservatives should have “stuck the boot in” after the yes campaign lost the referendum in 2014. And that is in fact precisely what some British nationalist fascists did in George Square the day after the vote when they went on a rampage seeking yes supporters to beat up. Although of course we can’t actually say that, because that would tell us something important about the true nature of British nationalism. It was, in the words of the BBC “clashes between yes supporters and no supporters”.

So when David Mundell gleefully told the media that the new tax powers promised for Holyrood as a result of the commitments made by the Better Together campaign for strengthened devolution were “a trap for the SNP”, he was really just being nice. When the British Government cynically and hypocritically promised that the powers of the Scottish Parliament would be entrenched in law and could only be altered with the express consent of Holyrood, only to ensure that the commitment had no force in law and then to embark upon a power grab, they were just being kind. When the Tories ripped Scotland out of the EU against its will and without allowing the Scottish Government any input into the form that Brexit takes, they were just being thoughtful and reasonable.

The essential problem for British nationalism is that it has convinced itself that support for independence is rising because of what the SNP is doing. But it’s not. It’s rising because of what the British state is doing. It’s rising because increasingly Scotland is seeing that it cannot be respected, listened to, and accommodated within the creaking structures of a British state which hankers for Empire and which can only understand the language of the victor and the vanquished. It’s rising because Scotland has looked upon the utter shambles of the British Government’s response to the pandemic and the quiet confidence of the Scottish Government and realises that Scotland is being dragged down by the incompetent ideologues who surround the clown prince in Downing Street. It’s rising because we know that Brexit is going to compound the economic damage that the epidemic has created, and within the UK Scotland is deprived of the means to protect itself adequately.

The Scottish Conservatives or Tory Blair can only hope to sell Scotland a vision of a UK that doesn’t actually exist. Their problem is that we can all see what is really happening. We can all see the true nature of this so-called union. They’re not going to save their preciouss union by attacking the SNP, they can only hope to save it by transforming it into something that really is a union in more than just name. Their problem is that Downing Street and Westminster have not got the slightest intention of giving up their power and are hell bent on using Brexit as an excuse to centralise even more. What’s putting the boot into the so called union is the British nationalism and exceptionalism of the Conservatives. It’s showing Scotland that this is no union at all.


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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


The hostile take-over

hostiletakeover
Well there’s a surprise, if you define ‘suprise’ as being something that you could see coming from a mile away and were entirely expecting. The Conservative government of the performance artiste known as Boris Johnson has refused the official request from the Scottish Government for extra borrowing powers in order to help the Scottish economy recover from the effects of the pandemic.

On a flying visit to Edinburgh Steve Barclay, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, officially turned down the request from Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes which had been made a few weeks ago. There’s another example of Conservative politicians that Scotland didn’t vote for dropping into Scotland to tell us that we can’t be trusted with grown up things. The Tories are ensuring that Scotland is to be kept dependent on the UK treasury so that they can tell us that Scotland couldn’t cope with independence because we’re dependent upon the UK treasury.

Telling Scotland that independence means we’d be a fiscal basket case is after all the sole remaining argument that the British nationalists have got left, so it’s scarcely surprising that the Conservatives don’t wish to allow Scotland the ability to exercise even a limited degree of fiscal independence within the UK. Essentially the argument of British nationalism that Scotland depends financially on the British Government is not an argument about money, it’s an argument about power. Naturally a Scotland which is a part of a UK where the UK Treasury jealously guards all the purse strings and ensures that Scotland must rely upon what it pleases Westminster to call a block grant is a Scotland which relies on the UK financially. That’s how it’s designed to work. It’s a bit like yer maw demanding that you hand over your pay packet and doling out whatever she fits to you, and then telling you that you can’t leave home because you’re financially dependent on her. The difference is that yer maw probably loves you and has your best interests at heart. The only interests that the Tories take to heart are their own.

We’re going to see a lot more of this sort of thing over the coming months as the British Government attempts to respond to the new reality of a Scotland where there are regular and consistent majorities for independence. It’s likely that support for independence is only going to grow after December when the UK exits the EU transitional period and the reality of Brexit is properly felt. The Tories, and British nationalism in general, have no answer to the rise in support for Scottish independence. They only have some short term tactics. And in many cases their tactics are not remotely convincing.

Just think of all those people you know who saw that photo of Johnson standing on the quayside at Stromness holding two crabs and thought, “Well that’s me convinced. It’s the UK for me.” Although it’s fair to say that his trip convinced a lot of people of something. Just not what Johnson was hoping for. It was a trip carried out by a Downing Street which doesn’t have the foggiest notion of how it’s perceived in Scotland, and more importantly, doesn’t care.

The notable thing here is that it’s not as if the Conservatives couldn’t have foreseen what was going to happen in Scotland if they pursued a hard line Brexit without taking a Scotland where a substantial majority voted to remain into account. Scotland voted to remain in the EU by a much larger margin than it voted against independence – in an independence referendum campaign where the issue of staying in the EU was one of the most salient debating points. The Tories knew what the response in Scotland was going to be. They just didn’t care. They had already decided that they were going to employ their English majority to ram through whatever they wanted and force the rest of the UK to comply. And then they have the utter gall to preach about a union.

A union is not sustainable when one member is larger than all the others combined and the ruling party doesn’t even think it need to make even a pretence of consulting the smaller member nations and keeping them on board. The so-called union was not sustainable in the long term when there was a solid bloc of 45% of Scottish voters who were determined to seek independence. It’s even less sustainable now that that 45% is 54% – and likely to rise even higher. The long standing trope of British nationalism that their union is founded upon consent and the voluntary membership of its constituent parts will be tested to destruction. The Conservatives could get away with arguing that Scotland’s membership of the UK was voluntary while at the same time refusing another referendum while only a minory, albeit a large minority, of the Scottish electorate supported independence. It’s a very different matter now that a majority of Scotland’s voters want independence. The problem for the Conservatives is that the longer they try to defy the will of a majority of the people of Scotland the more people in Scotland will come to the conclusion that the Tories are lying about the nature of this so-called union and will move to support independence as a result. The Tories’ own delaying tactic of refusing a referendum merely makes it all the more likely that Scotland’s support for the UK will wither and die.

Meanwhile Layla Moran, no I hadn’t heard of her either, is one of the leadership contenders for the Lib Dems. Yes, the Lib Dems are still a thing. Anyway, Layla wants to make an “emotional” case for keeping Scotland in the UK. Although you could be forgiven for thinking that was what we were already getting, what with the temper tantrums of being told that we’d be nothing without Westminster alternating with unconvincing pleas that we’re loved and wanted.

That’s all that the British nationalists have got left, denying democracy and making the kind of emotional romantic pleas that they once accused independence supporters of peddling. But despite their best efforts, more and more the veil is falling from Scotland’s eyes and we are seeing this UK for what it really is, a massive con trick. This isn’t a union at all. It’s a hostile take-over by the Conservatives.


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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


Dugcast fae the dughoose – with Delyth Jewell

In this week’s edition of the dugcast fae the dughoose, I am delighted to be joined online by Delyth Jewell AS/MS who gives us a perspective from Wales.  Delyth sits for Plaid Cymru in the Welsh parliament, the Senedd, as the representative for the South Wales East region.  We chat about the differences between the Scottish and Welsh media, and how the different experiences of Scotland and Wales have produced different responses to independence.  Delyth tells us about the recent vote in the Senedd about whether Wales should be able to hold an independence referendum, the factors behind the rise in support for Welsh independence, and how people in Wales look at what is happening in Scotland with immense interest.   And, of course, much more besides.

The email link that Delyth refers to in the podcast if you have a contribution to make to the debate about Wales’s future is Delyth.Jewell@senedd.wales

If you have problems with the embedded link, you can download the podcast here: https://soundcloud.com/user-291670852/dugcast-24-07-2020-with-delyth-jewell


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


The performance artiste’s Orkney tour

borisinorkney
The performance artiste whose stage name is Boris Johnson has rolled up in Orkney today with his end of the union clown show. Having seen his advisors – well, Michael Gove – do an impression of Edvard Munch’s painting The Scream because of the recent rise in support for Scottish independence and a growing appetite in England for the other nations of the UK to go their own way, Johnson has decided that he needs to do something. After being informed that Scotland is moving towards a substantial majority in favour of independence because most Scottish people can’t abide him, our part time Prime Minister has decided that what we really need is more of him, not less.

He’s like one of those lecherous auld drunks at a party who thinks that the reason you are not succumbing to his dubious charms is because he’s not pawing at you enough. The concept that he might do better by A) not being offensive, entitled and rank, and B) respecting you as a fellow human, being doesn’t enter into his head. There is no room in Boris Johnson’s ego for empathy. He is incapable of grasping that his attempts at a charm offensive are merely offensive.

Reports are that he went to Orkney because he thought that if he went far enough into the Arctic north he could dispense with the obligatory refridgerator. However Johnson was just continuing in the hoary old tradition of Conservative leaders who attempt to sell the alleged benefits of the United Kingdom to Scotland by dint of carefully minimising any possibility of coming into contact with actual Scottish people. The real reason he’s going to Orkney is because the islands contain a settlement called Twatt, and the part time Prime Minister and full time bloviator believes he’ll feel at home there. On his next trip he’ll be going to Fannyfield in Ross and Cromarty and The Bastard near the Mull of Kintyre, both of which are conveniently far away from where most of the Scottish population can be found.

Johnson started his love-in with Scotland by snubbing the Scottish First Minister, who only found out about his visit along with the rest of us when it was reported in the media. But it’s now become traditional for the Scottish Government only to discover what the British Government has got planned for Scotland by reading about it in the English press. This pattern is now so well-established that it to all intents and purposes substitutes for the Joint Ministerial Committee.  Did you know about the Joint Ministerial Committee? Because if you did you’re considerably better informed than Minister for the Union Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. You will all be feeling loved and wanted and leading within the UK now, as per a Better Together press release circa 2014.

Today we’re also seeing that other traditional feature of Prime Ministerial visits to the Scotchlandshire colony, Tory politicians and supporters sending tweets about how Scotland rejects nationalism, complete with a row of union flags and insisting the the Preciousssss Union™ has never been stronger. This was also the message from Johnson in a press release shortly before he embarked upon his Twatt pilgrimage. And indeed the Preciousssss Union™ has never been stonger in the exact same way that there’s no border between Scotland and England, the UK has a world beating contact and trace app, and the entire world looks up to the British Government as a shining example of what to do in a global epidemic.

The real fact of the matter, the fact that Boris Johnson either can’t or won’t face up to, is that what is driving the rise in support for Scottish independence is not that the SNP is making a compelling case for independence. As anyone who has even the vaguest  awareness of the Scottish independence movement knows it is currently dominated by complaints that the SNP is not doing nearly enough to get us to a referendum and to get us out of this dysfunctional mess of a UK. What’s really driving the rise in support for Scottish independence is the rise of rampant English nationalism – a rampant English nationalism which is being propagated by one Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and his pals in the Conservative party.  Johnson himself, with his upper class accent and the entitlement and privilege which drips from his fingertips, is the embodiment of the British establishment’s disdain for Scotland, of an English patrician attitude which regards Scotland as a possession, not an equal partner in a union. Never an equal partner in a union. Every time he opens his bumbling stumbling fnaugh-fnaughing mouth, he reminds us that Scotland was lied to in 2014.

What exactly did the Tories think was going to happen in Scotland, which was already restless and dissatisfied, when they rammed through the hardest Brexit possible without any consideration that Scotland had voted to remain. Moreover they did so without taking into account that Scotland had voted against independence in 2014 partly, some would say largely, on the understanding that voting against independence was the only way to ensure that Scotland remained a part of the EU – and the Conservatives themselves were amongst those who were prominent in making that promise. Yet ever since Scotland has been told that we rejected independence in 2014 and now we just have to suck it up and do as we are told. Every single time that Johnson opens his mouth and gushes his guff about the sunny uplands, about taking back control, about the UK becoming an independent state, he’s only reminding Scotland that he lied to us. No amount of carefully stage managed visits to a creamery in Orkney will stop that from being the case. The Tories knew what was likely to happen in Scotland, they just didn’t care.  Now they have no idea how to deal with the consequences of their own actions.

Meanwhile, as Big Chief Johnson attempts to distract us natives with pretty photo op baubles in lieu of any actual respect, the news from the EU is that the UK is not being serious in negotiations about a trade deal. According to Michael Barnier there is no willingness from the UK to break the deadlock on a deal over fisheries or on the need to achieve a level playing field in trade with Europe.  We are staring at the very real possibility of a no deal Brexit at the end of this year, adding to the economic damage which the UK has already suffered as a result of the pandemic.  Economic damage which is the worst in Europe according to the OECD, something which is entirely the fault of Johnson and the Conservatives.

While Johnson wastes his time and ours on a meaningless trip to a part of Scotland where he can be carefully insulated by his minders from any contact with the realities of this country, his government continues to make the real case for Scottish independence. He’s a prime minister who tells the UK that it’s awful in a union where the people are not listened to or represented, and then he comes to Scotland to tell us how great it is to be in a union where we are not listened to or represented. He is so wrapped up in himself that he can’t imagine that we’ll ever spot the hypocrisy. It’s Tory hypocrisy and Tory lies which spell the end of the UK. Scotland is not going to be reconciled to Johnson’s lies, deceit, and contempt for Scotland because he flew to Orkney in order to pose for a photo op with a large crab.

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