How to be civilised

howtobecivilised
Neither Boris Johnson nor Nigel Farage could be arsed turning up to the Channel 4 Climate Debate on Thursday, and since Johnson had sent some no-mark that no one had heard of to represent him at the debate on the BBC on Friday night, Labour responded by sending a no-mark of its own instead of Jeremy Corbyn. We also discovered this week that Boris Johnson has not in fact agreed to be split roasted by Andrew Neil in his infamous “wrong foot a politician” technique which he likes to call interviewing, despite the fact that the other party leaders had only agreed to participate because they’d been assured that the Artfully Tousled Wick Dipper had already signed up to it. Johnson even had the nerve to assert that it wasn’t up to him to decide whether to be interviewed by Andrew Neil, claiming that this was a decision to be made by other people. The leader of the Conservative party wants us to believe that he’s not actually the leader of his own campaign. Aye. Right. Uh-huh. He can’t even be arsed making his lies halfway believable any more.

Then the BBC announced that they would refuse to allow Johnson on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday until he agreed to do the Andrew Neil Inquistion. However this didn’t last long as the corporation backtracked after the London Bridge attack on Friday, saying that it was important for viewers that we get to hear Johnson’s fnaugh fnaughing about being hardline on terrorism. This is despite the fact that it was the Tories who cut 20,000 polis in the first place. Now we have the BBC using the deaths of two innocent passers by as a justification for giving Lying Liar Johnson a preferential platform during this general election campaign. That’s pretty low, even by the standards of the BBC’s behaviour during the Scottish independence referendum campaign.

It doesn’t say much for Andrew Marr’s interviewing skills and his ability to hold politicians to account that Johnson has agreed to do an interview with him but not with Andrew Neil. And it says even less about the BBC’s ability to stand up to a governing party which pulls cheap tricks in its attempts to avoid being held to account. Right now the only chance that the BBC has of regaining even a modicum of the public trust that it has squandered would be for Andrew Marr to develop a strategic illness on Sunday just as he sits down with Johnson, and then Andrew Neil can walk on to replace him. That would be worth it just for the look on Boris Johnson’s lying scheming face.

None of the UK parties is having a good election here, but we can already be quite sure that the biggest losers are the BBC. There is already a crisis in public confidence in the BBC, especially here in Scotland. You don’t challenge that perception by allowing Boris Johnson and his team to get away with avoiding proper scrutiny and indulging in behaviour which cheats the public and deceives the BBC. The BBC’s coverage of this election campaign is an absolute horror show.

In Scotland the BBC remains obsessed with attacking the SNP on health issues, which are devolved, and doesn’t display even a small fraction of that same energy in pursuing the anti-independence parties on their anti-democratic refusal to recognise mandates provided to the SNP by the electorate at the polls. The Conservatives and the Lib Dems tell us that they won’t recognise even a landslide victory by the SNP in this election as a mandate for another independence referendum, and the BBC in Scotland just shrugs its shoulders and tells us that it’s up to Downing Street to grant a Section 30 order.

Meanwhile on another channel, Channel Four’s climate debate itself was very different in tone from previous election debates. For the most part, it was informative, good natured, and civilised. Which just shows you what public life could be like without the Tories or Farage in it. Unfortunately they are very much still in the UK’s public life, turning up uninvited in our consciousness like Michael Gove at the MOBO awards show doing an impression of Stormzy.

Despite it being a leaders’ debate, Michael Gove turned up at the Channel 4 studio with Boris Johnson’s dad and a film crew in tow, demanding to be allowed to take part in the debate instead of Johnson. The son, not the father. Perhaps Michael was struggling with the concept of “leader of the Conservative party”. Which is not surprising given that not so long ago he described Boris Johnson as not being up to the job of leading the Conservative party. Maybe in his imagination he thinks it’s really himself. Channel 4 quite rightly held their ground and refused to allow Gove to take Johnson’s place. Cue much harrumphage from the human goldfish. What part of leader don’t you understand Michael? All of it, as it turns out. Channel 4 were not going to be enablers of Boris Johnson’s shamelessness. Take note BBC. They had a melting block of ice instead of the Tories, which was a perfect metaphor for public trust in British politics. Nigel Farage wasn’t their either, but everyone agreed that this was a huge relief and so no one cared. After all, this wasn’t BBC Question Time.

We then had the spectacle of the Conservatives complaining to Ofcom about Channel 4’s refusal to allow them to participate in a debate that they themselves had refused to participate in. Worse, the Tories are now threatening Channel 4 over the renewal of its broadcasting licence over the episode. We are now actually living in a state where the party which aspires to government is threatening a TV station with closure because it refused to collude in the moral bankruptcy of Boris Johnson. This is where we actually are in the UK now. This is the crazy that passes for normal.

On Friday we had another debate, this time on the BBC. All seven party leaders were invited, as well as the Conservatives, Labour, the Lib Dems, and the SNP, there were also representatives from Plaid Cymru, the Greens, and the Brexit party. Yet again Boris Johnson was a no show, but unlike Channel 4, the BBC didn’t have the moral backbone to no-platform him or to replace him on the podium with a melting block of lard. Instead they allowed the Conservatives to substitute Rishi Sunak. No, I’d never heard of him either, but apparently he is the Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Before going into politics he was a public schoolboy who went on to become a hedge fund manager and his wife is the daughter of a billionaire. So you know, totes in touch with working class voters and not elitish at all. Oh no.

Labour said that since the Tories are substituting someone that no one has heard of, it’s only fair that they do the same, so instead of Jeremy Corbyn we got Rebecca Long-Bailey. Meanwhile the Brexit party was represented by Richard Tice, who looks as though he should have been a 1970s catalogue model, artfully posing in bri-nylon and acrylic cardigans. Which to be fair is the era where the Brexit party’s social attitudes remain fixed. This debate was marked mostly by the divide between the Brextremists and everyone else, which some particular bad blood between Richard Tice and Nicola Sturgeon. She certainly managed to get under his perfectly groomed skin, which is why we vote for her. However I must confess that I didn’t actually watch the whole debate, since I was having a personal life for a wee change.

So what have we learned this week? We have learned that British politics are morally bankrupt, and that the BBC is unfit for purpose. Neither of which comes as news to anyone who has been paying attention. We also learned that the only way that politics can be civilised again is when Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage aren’t in it. Which is quite possibly one of the best arguments for Scottish independence that I’ve ever seen.

And finally, in some personal news for those who haven’t already heard it on the dugcast, my husband Peter’s visa has been granted and he’ll arrive in Scotland for good on the 16th of December. It’s been a long time coming but we got there in the end. I’d like to send a huge personal thank you to all those British nationalist trolls on social media who attacked us when I did last year’s crowdfunder, especially the guy who organised a wee campaign to get people to complain to the Home Office about us. I took copies of all the nastiness and printed it off. It was submitted to the Home Office along with Peter’s visa application as supplementary evidence that we were in fact in a genuine relationship. All that their hate achieved was to help bring another Yes supporter into Scotland, and since the Scottish Government plans to extend voting rights to everyone legally resident in Scotland irrespective of citizenship, he’ll be able to vote Yes in the next referendum too. So thanks for that Britnat hatemongers, and consider yourselves well and truly trolled.


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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


Wee Ginger Dugcast – 29 November 2019

In this week’s edition of the Dugcast, The National’s Stewart Ward and I discuss the last week’s election campaign. We chat about the Leaders’ interviews on the BBC last Friday, Boris Johnson’s no-show for an interview with Andrew Neil, the recent opinion polling that’s looking very positive for the SNP in the General Election and for a Yes vote in the future – and I explain why I loathe and detest this bunch of Tories even more than I loathed Thatcher. We also chat about the fifth anniversary of The National and how it’s become a vital fixture in the Scottish media scene and a pillar of the indy movement, and I share some very good personal news of my own.


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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 lying liar who refuses to be held to account

There’s been a couple of opinion polls over the past couple of days. First there was YouGov’s multiregressive synaptic trigonometrical poll, or something like that. It was some new sooperdooper method of polling from the bottom up, and the result would see an absolute majority for the Conservatives in the UK as a whole. Because too many people in the rest of the UK are mad and gammony. The same poll’s Scottish subsample would place the SNP on 43 seats, almost wiping out Labour, taking Caithness from the Lib Dems (I met the SNP candidate Karl Rosie when I was in Wick the other week – good guy, vote for him!) and making modest gains against the Tories.

Today a new, Scotland only poll, was published. An IPSOS Mori poll for STV places the SNP on 44%, an 18% lead over the Conservatives who have just 26%, with Labour a distant third on 16% and the Lib Dems picking up just 11%. On this result, the SNP would see a gain of 13 seats taking them to 48, the Tories would lose 7, dropping to 6, and Labour would be left with just Ian Murray in Edinburgh South. Meanwhile the same poll places support for indepenence on 50%. As it was primarily a poll of Westminster voting intention, it seems (although I could be mistaken) that it doesn’t include either 16 and 17 year olds or EU citizens, both groups who would have a vote in an independence referendum but not in a Westminster General Election. That would place the true figure for independence very slightly higher.

Both these polls point to similar outcomes. Support for the SNP in this General Election has increased compared to the General Election of 2017, and support for independence continues to show a slow and incremental increase. However a poll doesn’t really matter, only voting does. So it’s vital to ensure that people who support independence and support the SNP get up and get out to vote. If we don’t make sure that happens, then the sole crowing narrative that we’re going to hear from the media and the anti-independence parties is that Scotland doesn’t want independence, and doesn’t want another referendum. No party is perfect, but the SNP is the only vehicle that we have, and it’s the only vehicle which can get us across the bridge of the next General Election. All routes to another independence referendum must first cross that bridge.

Meanwhile, after assuring all the other party leaders that Boris Johnson would be subjected to constant interruptions from an Andrew Neil who has no interest in getting answers from politicians, but merely wrong footing them, we discover that the Conservative leader has -at the last minute – cancelled his interview. He got the result he wanted, the other party leaders were sneered at by the Brillopad, while he gets away without scrutiny. The BBC was at best naive to agree to allow Johnson to be interviewed last. It was entirely predictable to everyone that he’d cancel at the last minute after interviews with the other party leaders had already been broadcast. The Tories have judged that it’s less damaging for Johnson to be accused of cowardice than it is for him to be shown up to be the empty headed opportunistic liar that he really is. So instead of being ritually humiliated by Andrew Neil, he’s going to spend some time wherever it is that Jacob Rees Mogg is hiding. If Andrew Neil, the chairman of the right wing Spectator magazine, can’t get an interview with Boris Johnson, the former editor of the right wing Spectator magazine, then any pretence of political accountability in the UK is dead.

Johnson had already pulled out of the Channel 4 debate which is due to focus on climate change. Brave brave brave bold Sir Boris. This is a man whose sense of entitlement is so great that he believes that he has the right to rule the UK, to determine the course that our lives take, to unilaterally suspend Scotland’s democratic right to decide its own future, to take us out of the EU, and all without being held to account either by the public or by Parliament. He’s very brave when it comes to calling gay men “bum boys”. He’s fearless in his willingness to insult muslim women. He’s bold in his ability to father children that he refuses to acknowledge. He’s courageous when it comes to using racist language to describe people in Africa. He’s heroic when it comes to dismissing the abuse faced by women MPs. But when it comes to explaining himself, when it comes to being held to account for his lies and deceit, he’s a spineless snivelling coward.

This is a man who would fail a character test for a licence to have a dog. He’s a man who penned an article in the Telegraph about how it was unfair and reprehensible that married couples were expected to contribute via their taxes to the support of single mothers who “chose” to have children without being in stable relationships with the father, all the while he was cheating on his wife and siring children he later refused to take responsibility for. Yet this loathesome creature is entirely likely to become the next Prime Minister of the UK.

Yeah. You might detect a note of scorn. You might pick up that I really dislike Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. You’d not be wrong. This man is dangerous. He lies as easily as the rest of us breathe, and he’d be happy to sell his grandmother to a US health corporation if he thought there was an advantage in it for him. So you can be sure that he’s got even less concern for the rest of us. I lived all the way through the 1980s, and worked up a supervolcano’s worth of contempt, anger, and disgust for the Conservative government of Thatcher. This guy is worse.

Voting to reject the lying liar Boris Johnson and his bunch of xenophobes, sectarian bigots, and English nationalists is a moral imperative. It’s only by ensuring that we hammer the Tories in Scotland that the Scottish Government will have the political and moral capital it requires in order to pursue Scotland’s right to decide its own path – a path that takes us away from deceitful entitled posh boys who refuse to be held to account as they trash our public services, destroy our democracy, and reduce us to forelock tugging downstairs servants in a dystopian Downton Britain.

So vote. Vote to keep out the Tories. Vote for the candidate most likely to keep the Conservatives out in whatever seat you live in. In most seats in Scotland, that means voting SNP. Your future, the future of your children, and Scotland’s future depend on it.


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


Democracy or domination, dignity or disdain

There’s a definite whiff of desperation about the anti-independence parties in Scotland these days. And by whiff I mean the overwhelming stench of a pile of rotting corpses on a sunny day. It’s clear now that they only have one tactic for winning a second Scottish independence referendum, and that is to try and prevent another referendum from ever taking place. They know that when that referendum does eventually come about, they’ve as good as lost.

How exactly can you campaign on a platform of assuring Scotland that it’s a valued and loved equal partner in a family of nations when your actions over the past five years have proven that Scotland is no such thing? You can’t, is the short answer. The promise that Scotland would be an equal partner in a family of nations wasn’t merely broken, it was crushed, filtered so that any grain of truth was removed and discarded, and the remainder shot into a black hole so that it’s no longer accessible from this universe. The Conservatives might be venal, they might be avaricious, they might be underhand, authoritarian, and anti-democratic, but they retain a tiny modicum of awareness that tells them that the people of Scotland won’t swallow the lie of a partnerhip of nations ever again.

Ever since David Cameron stood in front of Downing Street the morning after the independence referendum of 2014 and told us that it had really been about England all along, and that he would introduce measures to restrict the voting rights of Scottish MPs in the Commons, Scotland has been sidelined, marginalised, and treated with contempt. You can’t on the one hand offer Scotland the guarantee that the powers of Holyrood would be entrenched in law and put beyond the ability of any Westminster government to alter without the express consent of the Scottish Parliament, while the other hand grabs as many powers back as it can and dismisses Scottish attempts to resist.

The history of the past few years speaks for itself. Anyone who sets out to campaign on the basis of telling Scotland that this country depends upon the security and stability provided to it by the UK will be ridiculed, laughed at, and mocked in derision. The UK has been mired in confusion, instability, and chaos for the past few years, the extreme right has taken over the Conservative party, the Labour party is consumed itself in internal battles. Labour is being brought down by accusations of anti-semitism, the Conservatives are doing their level best to deflect accusations of islamophobia. It’s only because the media assists them in their deflections that Conservative racism, xenophobia, sectarianism, and islamophobia is not as big an issue in this election as the accusations of anti-semitism which Labour is facing.

It is now a mainstream position in British politics that the results of elections in Scotland can be ignored. Democracy itself is threatened. All the main British parties are ignoring the mandate which the Scottish Parliament already possesses for another independence referendum. They get away with this shocking contempt for democracy because the media does not hold them to account for it, even though they apparently have no solid reasons other than the claim that it wasn’t written in the 2016 SNP manifesto in sufficiently large letters.

All those British parties are equally determined to ignore the result of this coming General Election in Scotland. It wouldn’t matter to them if the SNP wins a substantial number of extra seats, increases its vote share significantly, they tell us that won’t count as a mandate for another independence referendum. Just because. Because they say so. Because it suits them. Because the media helps them by not holding them to account for it. That’s a fundamental undermining of the basic principles of democracy. Yet that’s where we are in the UK today. To campaign against Scottish independence in another referendum means defending that position. That’s not a good look for any political party. That’s why they don’t want another referendum any time soon, because they know that they have nothing positive to offer the people of Scotland, nothing positive to say. All they have are threats, scare stories, bullying, and intimidation.

Our public services are threatened, bruised and battered, like never before. There are only so many sticking plasters that a Scottish Government can put on the open wounds created by a UK Government which controls the economy and the budget – yet it’s the Scottish Government which gets the blame for the macroeconomic decisions of the British state. The trade deal that Boris Johnson seeks risks the future of the NHS, it will see standards in food, consumer and employment rights plummet. Continuing Tory rule will see even more homeless people on our streets, even more kids going to the foodbank with their parents instead of the supermarket, even more elderly people freezing in homes they can’t afford to heat. The post war British consensus that delivered free health care, free education, a social security system that offers a safety net for all, decent public services that guarantee dignity, it’s been shattered and destroyed by those who preach about the values of Britishness. The only way to save them is by rejecting the British state that has rejected those supposedly British values, values that are really values of basic decency and humanity.

There is no prospect of an end to this self-inflicted misery any time soon. Boris Johnson’s campaign slogan in this election “Get Brexit done” is the biggest of his many lies. Brexit isn’t the process of taking the UK out of the EU, it’s the end state. Brexit isn’t over and done with when the UK leaves the EU, it’s only just beginning. It’s like telling us we need to get an uncomfortable and unpleasant journey done, and ignoring the fact that the destination is even worse. The journey may be uncomfortable, but Johnson’s destination is a hellhole.

There’s only one way to escape, only one route that leads to common decency, to dignity, to democracy. That’s to vote for a party that campaigns for Scotland to have the right to determine her own future, and not to have its future determined for it by people like Boris Johnson who neither know us nor care about us. There’s a simple choice in this election – democracy or domination, dignity or disdain, development or devastation. That means voting for the party that wants Scotland to have a say. There’s only one party in this election with a realistic chance of winning seats that offers that choice – that’s the SNP.


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


James Kelly’s gonna party like it’s 1979

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Boris Johnson has graced us uppity Caledonians with a visit today. Well, I say graced us with a visit. He’s really locked away in a Tory bubble again, carefully insulated from anyone who might wish to tell him tae gaun byle his heid. Which at the last count was approximately 80% of the population. The Lying Liar was at pains to stress his opposition to another independence referendum, and for once we could actually believe him. He knows as well as we do that when there’s another independence referendum he’s going to lose it.

The man with no shame was in Fife to launch the Scottish Conservative manifesto, which consisted of a single piece of paper with the words “no to indyref2” on it in very large letters, and a photie of Ruth Davidson covered over by a Boris Johnson sticker. There will be no second independence referendum under any circumstances as long as the Conservatives are in power in Westminster, he asserted. So even though the Tories are presenting the Scottish electorate with a Scottish Conservative manifesto, and even though the Scottish electorate is as likely to give the Scottish Conservatives a majority of Scottish seats as the Chief Rabbi is to endorse Jeremy Corbyn, we’ll be getting the Scottish Conservative manifesto foisted upon us on the backs of votes elsewhere in the UK. This is what counts as democracy in Scotland in 2019.

Meanwhile in Holyrood, the Labour branch office in Scotland was keen to demonstrate that the Tories don’t have the monopoly on anti-democratic behaviour in Scotland. James Charisma Kelly MSP introduced an amendment to the Referendums Bill wending its way through the Scottish Parliament which was identical in form and purpose to the infamous 40% rule in the 1979 referendum. Only this being Labour’s branch office in Scotland in the 21st century, it was even worse and even more cack-handed. Kelly’s amendment would introduce a requirement for 50% of the registered electorate to vote in a referendum in order to make the result valid. Tonight James is gonna party like it’s 1979.

Labour’s 40% rule was introduced 40 years ago, and it has gone down in the mythology of Scottish politics as the great betrayal of the people of Scotland by the Labour party. All these decades later, it is still cited as evidence of the UK’s perfidy and contempt for Scottish attempts to attain greater self-government. The referendum of 1979 is remembered as the referendum where the dead voted no. James Kelly wants to repeat the same trick. If you have died, but you still figure on an electoral roll which typically takes a few months to catch up with demographic reality, you’re going to be no voter in the next referendum if James gets his way.

Labour pulled that shamefully anti-democratic move when it dominated Scottish politics and the Labour vote was famously weighed not counted, so the party thought it could get away with it. In the short term it did, but the shoddy move left a legacy of bitterness and distrust which eventually contributed to the party’s fall from grace. However in modern Scotland some 40% of Labour voters in Scotland support independence and the party is bumping along in a very poor third place in the polls with every indication that its vote will collapse in the General Election in a couple of weeks. There is no longer any benefit of doubt that the electorate of Scotland is prepared to grant the Labour party. So you might think that branch office would have learned its lesson. But then you wouldn’t have counted on the the periferal visionary that is James Kelly.

The effect of this provision, in the unlikely event of it making it into the final bill, would be to guarantee a no victory in any future referendum. All that the British nationalists would have to do if yes was well ahead in the polls would be to advise their supporters not to vote in order to reduce the turnout for the referendum below 50%. Et voila, Scotland would have ‘rejected independence’ even if the vast majority those who actually voted had voted yes.

James wants the dead to vote No. But really he’s signing the death warrant for his own party. This naked attempt to subvert democracy by the Labour party in Scotland, together with the Conservatives’ insistence that they will refuse another independence referendum no matter how large or how frequently the voters of Scotland provide a mandate for one merely illustrates that the sole remaining tactic for preventing independence is to try to stop a popular vote on independence from ever taking place. The parties of we’re not nationalist because we’re British know that as soon as it is officially announced that the vote will take place, they’ve already lost.

The chances are that Boris Johnson will get his majority in the rest of the UK. The chances are also that the Conservatives will suffer reverses in Scotland and the SNP will make gains. We will once more be in a situation where Scotland will suffer the malign effects of Conservative rule despite having rejected the Conservatives at the ballot box. The likes of James Kelly claim to oppose the Tories, but they’re happy for Scotland to be condemned to the very worst excesses of English nationalist Conservative rule because, they tell us, they hate nationalism.

A majority government of the bunch of inadequates, liars, chancers, opportunists, ideologues, and reactionary English nationalists will be dreadful for Scotland – and for the rest of the UK. We will be taken out of the EU into a hard Brexit, deprived of our European citizenship, isolated at the top end of an island with a government hell bent on pursuing the fantasy of long lost empire. Our public services will be decimated. Our NHS will be threatened like never before. But finally, people in Scotland will learn – sadly the hard way – that they cannot have both the advantages of a modern liberal European state and remain a part of a modern liberal UK. That modern liberal UK has been killed off by those who claim to love the precious union the most.

A Boris Johnson government will shift opinion polls in Scotland and take support for independence and for another independence referendum into a clear and persistent majority. That shift will give the Scottish government, boosted by a clear victory in next month’s General Election, the political capital it needs to pursue an independence referendum in the teeth of Boris Johnson’s opposition. It will ensure that those currently undecided voters will be on board if and when the time comes to pursue alternative strategies.

But remember, this is not a man whose word can be trusted on anything. He says that he opposes another independence referendum, but Boris Johnson would sell his grandmother in order to secure his power. If he sees a political advantage in getting rid of 59 troublesome Scottish MPs, he’s quite likely to do so. One way or another, Scotland will have its say on its future, whatever Boris Johnson says. This isn’t 1979, and Scotland will not consent to another decade and a half of Tory misrule.

Scotland is not powerless, the Tories and their tame media just want us to think that it is. Boris Johnson might win the battle of this UK general election, thanks to the rest of the UK, but his victory will mean that he’s lost the war against Scottish independence.


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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


Holding power to account

holdingpowertoaccount
Michael Gove said recently that a Conservative victory in the General Election would ‘cement’ Scotland’s place within the UK. What does that mean exactly? The Conservatives might well win the General Election in the UK, but they certainly won’t win it in Scotland. They are the second party, a second party that comes a very long way behind the SNP in vote share and number of seats, yet they’re a party which thinks that it possesses the absolute right to dictate to the people of Scotland about whether or not Scotland will be “allowed” to have a conversation with itself about its own future.

It is a shockingly anti-democratic stance for a party to take in what is supposed to be the mother of all democracies. Yet for the most part the media in Scotland and the UK doesn’t challenge them on this. It’s taken as a given that Westminster has the legal right to refuse Scotland a referendum. The moral and political right is never questioned. It is taken for granted that voters in the rest of the UK have the absolute right to dictate to Scotland what Scotland’s future is to be, taken for granted by the very same people who would howl in outrage about the supposed EUSSR if the EU had refused to allow the UK to hold a vote on its EU membership.

The Conservatives apparently have two positions on another independence referendum. There are those like Michael Gove who rule it out in perpetuity, because he doesn’t understand – or doesn’t care – that a union without consent is occupation. A union without consent is unsustainable, and when it does finally come to an end that end will also spell the end of the Conservatives in Scotland as a political force. Michael Gove, if he maintains his anti-democratic stance, is signing the death warrant for both his precious union and for his party.

His colleague, the Governor General and Secretary of State for Boris Johnson in Scotland, Alister Jack, had – at least until Michael Gove slapped him down – conceded that there might just possibly, maybe, perhaps, be a conversation about considering another referendum if the SNP were to win an absolute majority in Holyrood in 2021. In other words, the Conservatives are taking it upon themselves to decide what other parties stand for. So if you plan to vote Green, Socialist, or for some other pro-independence party in the next Holyrood elections, Alister has helpfully decided for you that your vote won’t count. It’s only the SNP which is allowed to support independence. Alister Jack and Jackson Carlaw said so. And yet this shockingly anti-democratic position is far too liberal for the likes of Michael Gove.

Meanwhile today’s news where we are, the leader of Labour’s Scottish branch office, Reingold Lurkseater, announced that he grasps the concept of voting. Up to a point. That this revelation made the front pages of Scottish newspapers, and moreover was condemned by the Conservatives, tells you pretty much all that you need to know about the dire state of democracy in a Scotland that remains a part of the UK. Ragnarok Lacksvoter’s announcement was the simple acknowledgement that if there’s a pro-independence majority in Holyrood in 2021, then this might constitute a mandate for another referendum, even if the SNP don’t win an absolute majority all by themselves but need the votes of other pro-independence parties. This is apparently news in Scotland. It is considered news in Scotland that democracy is a thing. Or at least that democracy is a thing up to a point. Consider our gobs well and truly smacked.

The Tories were appalled and outraged that Romulus Lickwindower had conceded that Scottish people might be allowed to vote for a pro-independence parliament. In Torywold, voting is divisive. What’s not divisive is to impose Westminster rule from above and not allow Scotland to have a say in the matter. We’re glad that they’ve cleared that up for us.

Naturally BBC Scotland, STV, and the massed ranks of the Scottish press are appalled at the deeply authoritarian and anti-democratic stance that the Conservatives, Labour, and the Lib Dems are taking. The Scottish media ave been rigorously questioning the Tories on why they think that they have the right to subvert the democratic will of the Scottish people. Newspaper reporters have been doorstepping every Tory candidate about what right they have to stand for election in a democratic vote when their party has said that it won’t acknowledge the outcome of democratic votes that it finds displeasing. It’s the main topic on the news, and the BBC in Scotland is worrying away at the topic like a wee dug with its teeth firmly locked into Jackson Carlaw’s bahoochie. Because wee dugs suffer for the cause.

The press in Scotland isn’t ceasing to question the candidates in this election about why they think that Scotland voting parties which support another independence referendum doesn’t actually count towards another independence referendum. What’s so magic about Holyrood in 2021? Is it that they genuinely believe that Scottish issues cannot be decided in Westminster elections? Because if that’s true, then what precisely is the point of a UK General Election in Scotland. There is no point, and the press and broadcasters are constantly asking all those who oppose another independence referendum in Scotland why they’re bothering to stand at all.

That’s the same Scottish media that has been fearlessly hounding the Labour, Conservative, and Lib Dem parties about what right do they think that they have to ignore the mandate for another independence referendum that the Scottish Parliament already has. It’s the same Scottish media that has always responded to assertions that the result of the 2014 referendum must be respected with questions about how those parties have failed to fulfil the promises and commitments that they made in order to win it.

The media in Scotland is ceaseless with the message that a union without consent is indistinguishable from occupation, indistinguishable from a colony, and a union without consent is not a union that can last. With their contempt for Scottish democracy, the Labour, Lib Dems, and above all the Conservatives are merely bringing closer that independent Scotland that they fear so much. Because in that independent Scotland they will no longer be able to call for haunners from south of the border in order to impose their will on a Scottish electorate that has rejected them. Thankfully we have a Scottish media that is dedicated to holding power to account and is constantly hammering them on that message.

Oh wait. No. Sorry. Silly me. That was a dream. The media in Scotland is just telling us what the anti-independence parties say, and for the most part it is nodding approvingly. It’s not the job of the media in Scotland to hold power to account unless that power is the SNP and it involves hospitals or trains. Westminster power, for the media in Scotland, is like the weather. We just have to put up with it. We can complain about it, but we just have to suffer. It’s the British way.

Well we don’t. We don’t have to put up with it. The way to demonstrate that is first of all ensuring that the anti-democratic parties of British nationalism are rejected at the polls on 12 December. The way to demonstrate that is to keep up the clamour for Scotland’s right to decide its own future. The way to demonstrate that is to support that part of the Scottish media that does recognise Scotland’s right to decide. One way or another, Scotland will have its say. But it will only have its say if we don’t shut up about it. It’s up to us to hold the powers of British nationalism to account. Nae other bugger is going to do it for us.


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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


A Tory vote is a vote for a liar telling lies

potbrexit
Nicola Sturgeon has an article in today’s edition of The Observer newspaper in which she sets out her opposition to Trident and explains why she would never press the nuclear button. It’s a pretty strong indictment of how far from the moral high ground that British politics has fallen that a party leader has to explain why they think it’s wrong to evaporate hundreds of thousands of people, condemn millions more to slow lingering death, destroy cities, and pollute the planet with radioactive fallout risking the end of civilisation. It’s an even greater indictment that she’s being criticised for stating her opposition to killing millions of people. It’s the greatest indictment of all that suitability for leadership in the UK is predicated upon a person’s willingness to commit mass murder and use weapons of mass destruction. What does that tell us about the moral character of the British state? Nothing good.

You’d think that opposing mass death and destruction ought to belong to the category of things that were obvious. Like it should be obvious that you think that burning innocent people to death and condemning the survivors to cancer and to bear children with horrifying deformities, because a minority amongst them voted for a self-serving avaricious idiot as the leader of their country. But not in the UK. Oh no. They deserve all they get, because they’re foreign.

Likewise it should belong to the category of obvious things that a party leader who is incapable of telling the truth about the number of children that he’s got, who built an entire career out of lying in the pages of The Telegraph newspaper, and who has lied repeatedly in the few short – but seemingly so long – week that he’s been Prime Minister cannot be trusted to keep any of the promises which are now so copiously and frequently falling from his fat lying lips. But not in the UK. Oh no. Will of the people. Get Brexit done. Oven ready just add water. The destructive liar who’s prepared to press the nuclear button is regarded as being a more serious contender for leadership than someone who baulks at the idea of mass destruction.

Today, Sunday, the Conservatives revealed their manifesto. Answers on a postcard about why they bothered, as everything that Boris Johnson has said to date has been a lie, so it’s not really clear why this manifesto is going to be any different. It only has one purpose, to get the Conservatives through the next couple of weeks, to secure them a majority on 12 December, then it will join the long list of lies and broken promises already made by a man who lies about what his name is.

Even the campaign slogan for the Conservatives is a lie. Brexit will not get done by the end of January even with a majority Tory government in Westminster. The UK leaving the EU at the end of January next year won’t mean that Brexit is done. It means that Brexit is only just beginning. The divorce might be agreed, but there is still no agreement on the future relationship between the UK and the EU. Those negotiations are going to be even more brutal for the UK than the divorce agreement has been, because the UK will by then be a third country as far the EU is concerned, and because the Conservatives are still being fundamentally dishonest about the kind of relationship that they seek.

We will be back to deadlines, to Brexit clocks in the corner of TV news screens, to approaching cliff edges. If the UK is to remain closely aligned to the EU then that will entail an acceptance of EU standards and regulations that are anathema to the Brextremists. The trade deal will need to be done by December next year, but it will not be carried out under Article 50, but rather Article 218. It will have to be ratified individually by each EU member state, and by certain regional assemblies within some of those states. Wallonia in Belgium held up the trade deal with Canada. If any one of those blocks the deal, we’ll be back to the risk of crashing out with no deal unless the Prime Minister asks for another extension. Brexit will dominate 2020. It will dominate British politics for years to come. Get Brexit done is a lie repeated by man who lied when he said he believes that truth in politics is important.

The tragedy for the UK is that it appears, if polling is anything to go by, that the Conservatives are likely to win that majority that Boris Lying Johson craves so much. He’ll use it to take the UK out of the EU at the end of January, then will piss away 2020 pretending to negotiate a trade deal. He’ll use his majority to castigate the poor for the sins of the rich, and we’ll see even more homelessness, more foodbanks, more sticking plasters on open gaping wounds in the body politic.

Boris Johnson will use his majority to tell Scotland to get back into the shortbread tin. We will see a return to the era of the 1980s, when Thatcher ran roughshod over the will of the Scottish people. Only this time with Brexit, with threats to the integrity of the NHS, with a government full of liars and opportunists who lie shamelessly and often. The rising public anger within a Scotland that’s been torn out of the EU and into a Tory dystopia will only fuel demands for independence.

The next Conservative government will be a government which will destroy any pretence that Scotland is a partner in a union. It’s a government which will make Scottish independence inevitable, although the road is a rocky one. They’re not going to make it easy for us but we shall win in the end. Buried away in today’s news is a Scottish opinion poll which showed that 45% of people in Scotland believe that independence will be a great opportunity for Scotland, as opposed to 37% who think independence will make Scotland worse off. Only 24% think that Brexit provides an opportunity for Scotland. We’re winning the economic argument. We’re winning the argument about democracy. We’re winning the argument about morality. Independence is only a matter of time. The first necessary step to that goal is to keep calm and vote SNP on 12 December.


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