A candle in the darkness

candleinthedarkness
It’s at times like this that I wish I still did drugs. Brexit has turned into a cross between the Neverending Story and the Walking Dead, only with gammons instead of dragons, and precious little magic. In recognition of the fact that Theresa May is an undead political leader, the EU have given her until Halloween to sort out Brexit. Then when she comes back begging for another extension because she’s done bugger all at least she won’t have to dress up. She can just come as herself, that’s plenty scary enough for anyone. The rest of the UK can dress up as a cliff edge.

Just three weeks ago, Theresa May stood before the House of Commons and announced that she could not, as Prime Minister, delay the UK’s exit from the EU beyond 30 June. Well now she’s done exactly that. Will she resign? Will she buggery. She’s lied about everything else. She’s lied so often and so frequently that she’s now lost all concept of what truth might be. She lied about not having a snap general election. She lied about reaching out to the other parties in order to find some consensus. She lied about no deal being better than a bad deal. She lied about not pulling her deal in Parliament the first time it was due to be put to a vote. Theresa May infamously doesn’t answer questions, she’s notably only for her abilities to evade, dissemble, and deflect, but you can be pretty certain that on those rare occasions that she does make a statement that appears to contain some solidity to it, that it’s going to be a lie.

We’re not going to crash out of the EU on Friday. Despite the on-going permachaos of the British body politic, this is a good thing. The EU leaders have decided to give the UK until 31 October to come up with something, anything, that might put a stop to this endless faffery. It gives Jeremy Corbyn six more months in which to keep avoiding coming to any decisions. It gives the Commons six more months to fail to agree on anything. Nothing has changed. Nothing has changed. But most importantly of all, for Theresa May it gives her another opportunity to fail to resign as the rest of her cabinet openly vie to succeed her. Then we can look forward to a new Tory leader who is even more obdurate than Theresa is, and who will do his or her damnedest to trash anything that passes for a deal, and embark upon a new round of hostilities with the EU. Those drugs are looking pretty attractive right now.

It’s at times like this that you wonder if half the British political establishment is on drugs. That’s the only possible explanation for the hagiography in the Telegraph asking why we don’t have more MPs like Mark Francois and touting him as a potential leader of the Conservative party. And there was you thinking that we’d already reached the summit of Mount Ludicrous. Oh no. There’s the vast angry splutteration of Mark, bobbing above your head like an irate balloon animal. Mark is the bastard offspring of Middle England and Middle Earth. He’s what you’d get if an Orc served in the TA for a couple of years and took to wearing a blazer. Those scientists who took the photie of the black hole 54 million light years away needed to use a virtual telescope the size of the entire Earth in order to do so, but even they couldn’t locate Mark’s intellect.

There’s no obvious way out of this mess. The Conservatives don’t want a general election. The reason they’ve been trying to avoid having to hold the European elections is because they’ll get thrashed by the voters. Labour, even given the total chaos and dysfunction of the worst Conservative government in living memory, still can’t achieve a meaningful lead over them in the polls. They’re none too keen on a general election either, despite the ritual claims that they want one. Jeremy Corbyn wants Brexit to happen as much as Mark Francois does. He just doesn’t want to take the blame for it, then he can still pose as the saviour of his largely remain supporting party. Neither Corbyn nor May wants another referendum. This crisis is largely a crisis of political leadership. At a time when the UK needs leadership which can reach out, build consensus, make compromises, heal wounds, we get the two most tribal idiots in British political history, products of a broken system which regards tribal idiocy as a strength.

Until now the strategy of the SNP has been to wait for some clarity on Brexit before moving ahead with a Scottish independence referendum. That was a sensible strategy when there was still some modicum of possibility that there were sensible people in charge in British politics. It’s clear now that all that the British political system has to offer is unending chaos, permanent dysfunction, and everlasting confusion. If you’re waiting for clarity on Brexit, you’re going to be waiting forever. The Brexit issue will continue to dominate British politics for the foreseeable future, even if some deal is reached, even if the UK does crash out with no deal at all. Arguments about the UK’s relationship with Europe are still going to dominate British politics. If we do leave, under whatever circumstances, there will be plenty of people offering the possibility of a return to the EU. The arguments are only going to go on.

All we know for sure is that there will be no certainty about anything for at least another six months. We can be certain that Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn will squander the time they’ve been granted and will use it to continue their dance of pointlessness. But we can also be pretty sure that there will be no political stability in the UK for decades to come.

Confusion and political chaos is the new normal for the UK. That’s the reality for the SNP. Waiting for clarity implies that there is some clarity to be found, that a deeply dysfunctional and broken British political system is capable of producing it. It clearly isn’t. That can only mean that it’s up to the Scottish Government to create some clarity of its own instead of waiting passively as a victim of events. We have a window of opportunity, a chance, to achieve Scottish independence before leaving the EU. We must not squander this opportunity by waiting for the clueless to find a clue.

The Scottish Government needs to state now that it wants a Scottish referendum, on Scottish terms, and at a timetable that suits Scotland. It must renew its call for a Section 30 order, while simultaneously testing the legal waters for a referendum without such an order. It must also make sure that the British government understands that a refusal to cooperate with a referendum will mean that the next set of elections in Scotland, whether that’s a UK General Election or the next Scottish Parliament elections, will become an effective referendum on independence. That will be an election fought against the backdrop of a dysfunctional UK which refuses to allow Scotland to ask itself about its own future. That’s going to make it impossible for opponents of independence to pretend that Scotland really is a partner in a union. The British Government must be made to understand that one way or another, Scotland will have a legal vote on its own future – and that the permission of the British Government is not required.

It’s time to stop waiting, and start doing. Clarity only comes to those who light their own candle in the darkness.


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The black hole of Brexit Britain

blackhole
There’s nothing to do but wait while our fates are decided by the leaders of the small European countries that British nationalists in Scotland always scoffed at and told us that Scotland would become. Whether the UK can have an extension to Article 50 in order to avoid a chaotic and damaging Brexit will be decided by the 27 members of the EU who haven’t shot themselves in the foot and tied themselves to a lump of concrete before leaping into the sea while shouting that Britannia rules the waves. Latvia and Estonia, the former British ruled Cyprus, Malta, and Ireland, all of them have an equal say along with Germany, Spain, France, and Italy. Countries far smaller than Scotland, with a mere fraction of Scotland’s resources and economic potential, they all have far more power than Theresa May, never mind Scotland. The UK itself has no say. This is what taking back control has turned into. This is the strength and stability of the UK that Scotland was told it couldn’t survive without.

Those countries small and large hold our futures in their hands, the future of the entire UK. If Scotland had chosen independence in 2014, Nicola Sturgeon would be one of those to whom Theresa May would be begging as a supplicant. Instead she’s waiting, powerless and voiceless like the rest of Scotland. No one in the British government is interested in Scotland’s opinion. So we wait. Silenced and impotent. Hushed up and hobbled. That’s the British way.

The British way was on full display during Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons. Jeremy Corbyn ignored the Brexit elephant in the room. He didn’t think to ask the Prime Minister why it is that she’s now pleading with the EU for things that she insisted just a few short weeks ago were utterly unacceptable. But Jeremy doesn’t want to engage with Brexit, because then it might mean he’d have to get off that fence whose posts are so firmly rammed up his backside. So instead he asked some questions about subjects that Theresa May had no intention of answering. It was an exercise in futility while the UK sank below the waves of the Brexit storm.

When the SNP’s Ian Blackford asked her a question about the Brexit elephant, Theresa May harrumphed that Scottish independence means taking Scotland out of the EU. She’s trapped in a 2014 timewarp. Scotland is already being taken out of the EU, by Theresa May. If ever you wanted to see shamelessness in action, you only have to watch Theresa May during PMQs. The only question about PMQs is has Theresa ever answered a question.

Today is the day that scientists announced the first ever photograph of a black hole. Strictly speaking it’s not a photograph of the black hole itself, as no light escapes from a black hole’s immense gravitational pull, so there’s nothing to take a photograph of. It’s a photo of the black hole’s accretion disk, the matter and energy swirling around the galactic plughole. The photo itself is a picture of the crown of light which was able to escape being crushed into nothingness instead of being swallowed up, crushed, and deprived of its individuality, and which made its own path out into the universe. Now there’s a metaphor for an independent Scotland for you.

It’s a remarkable achievement, taking a photograph of an object in the Messier 87 galaxy which is 54 million light years away. Light and electromagnetic waves take 54 million years to travel between the Messier 87 galaxy and Earth, so a television signal setting out from Earth today will be swallowed up by that black hole 54 million years in our future, at which time the UK will still be arguing about Brexit, consumed by a Conservative black hole of its own. As energy and matter crosses the event horizon of a black hole, it is crushed into nothingness as time dilates making a second seem like an eternity. We’ve all learned what that feels like.

54 light years works out at 324 trillion miles, which coincidentally is also the distance between Theresa May and a grasp of reality. She’s gone back to Brussels to ask them to give her an extension until the end of June, so that her party can avoid getting slaughtered in the European elections. This is exactly the same as what she asked them for the last time, but she was refused. She doesn’t have anything new to tell them this time. She has no different offer to make. She has no plan, no route map. She’s relying on her charm and charisma to persuade EU leaders to give her what she wants. That’s how screwed we all are.

Many people across the UK feel humiliated, belittled, embarrassed, and infantilised as the UK is forced to beg the EU for more time, and the British government is utterly powerless to influence the course of events. They realise that they have no choice, they have no latitude of movement, they are at the mercy of others, the victims of events and not the agents of change. Now they know what it feels like to be Scottish. The way that the UK is powerless today in Brussels is exactly how Scotland is treated all the time by Westminster. The difference is that the EU leaders in Brussels are actually listening and possess a modicum of care about the fate of the UK.

Many people voted for Brexit because they were motivated by the fear that Brussels might treat the UK the way that Westminster treats Scotland. That’s the British model for dealing with constituent nations. It bullies, it threatens, it scaremongers, it commands. The British political system cannot comprehend any other way of doing politics. Westminster is like a small toddler which hasn’t learned the concept of sharing. The difference is that the toddler will eventually grow up, Westminster keeps sliding ever further into senescence and the nostalgic dwam of a lost empire. Now all of the UK knows what it feels like to be Scottish. It doesn’t feel good does it, being treated like a child.

So we wait. Powerless. Apprehensive. The clock ticks as our fate is being decided behind a closed door and we’re not invited into the adults’ conversation. That’s today. That’s every day. Scottish independence is the desire for Scotland to grow up. We have a voice. We have things to say. But within the UK every day is sitting outside the conference room for Scotland.


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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.

The federalism fairy flaps again

delusions
We’re living in strange days. This is widely described as the greatest political crisis in the UK since WW2, and it’s entirely self-inflicted. Things in Ukania have got so bad that Scottish newspaper editorials have, on occasion, been forced to get through 1000 words without finding the time to slag off the SNP. The Conservative party is on the verge of meltdown. Labour is riven with internal disputes, factions, and threats of division. The civil wars within both parties are so intense and bitter that even the Herald has had to become distracted from its usual insistence that it’s only the SNP which is falling apart.

The government’s central policy lies in tatters. Theresa May has been reduced to making a humiliating tour of EU capitals to beg for concessions while her party is in open rebellion in the Commons. It is still possible that the UK will crash out of the EU without a deal on Friday, our fate is entirely with the patience and forebearance of the other 27 members. So much for taking back control. So much for sunny uplands. So much for the easiest deal in history. So much for possessing all the cards.

However it is more likely that the EU will give the UK a much longer extension to Article 50 than Theresa May wants. The UK will have to take part in the European elections which she has sought so hard to avoid, and it is likely that the UK will have to submit to a series of humiliating tests and suffer restrictions on its rights as an EU government because the other EU states have lost all trust in the goodwill and good intentions of the British. The rest of the EU wants to ensure that Brextremist wreckers can’t block the EU budget or other EU measures that the 27 decide to adopt for themselves. We have become the ASBO state of Europe, with an electronic tag on our ankle to ensure our good behaviour.

All this is entirely the fault of the Conservative party, which has consistently put its own short term party interests before all other considerations. This disaster is many orders of magnitude greater than any SNPbad story to grace the pages of the Scottish press, and it’s a Great British Mess, made by and 100% the property of the British political establishment. This is not the UK that Scotland was sold in 2014. It’s not a union. It’s not united. It’s not safe, stable, and secure. It’s declared that it doesn’t want to be European. It has trashed its international reputation. The UK is a joke without a punchline, it exists purely as a cautionary tale to fledgling democracies. Even banana republics have bananas and nice weather. The UK can’t even manage that much.

But never mind about any of that. The federalism fairy is flapping again! And this time she comes waving the red flag. This is because the latest set of fanciful federalism proposals which will never see the light of day are being developed by Baroness Bryan of Partick, who is apparently a Marxist peer. A Marxist peer is a real thing in the UK, like a vegan butcher, a minimalist hoarder, or an atheist pope, and all by itself the existence of such a concept in this universe tells you just how dysfunctional the British state has become. The proposals, from the left wing Corbynista group Red Paper, got a glowing write up in that bastion of the British establishment, The Times newspaper. So they must be really worried about the impending reality of Scottish independence.

These days it’s hard to read any new proposals for a federal UK without either laughing, crying, or thinking it’s a typo for feral. I am quite sure that their advocates sincerely believe in their shiny new plans for a better Britain, but that is no guide to the likelihood of them ever seeing the light of day. You’d be as well proposing that we could solve poverty by making sure that everyone in the UK wins the lottery. It’s a nice idea, but it’s not going to happen.

The truth is, at it always was and shall always remain, that proposals for a federal UK appear and are consumed despite possessing zero calorific content. Then they pass through the body politic as quickly as a dose of prune juice and with similar intent. Effectively, the sole purpose of proposals for federalism is to crap on the Scottish independence movement.

In the real world, there is zero prospect of a federal UK ever coming into being, for the simple reason that there is no demand for it in England and no motivation there to solve a problem which isn’t England’s. There’s less chance of a federal UK than there is of Theresa May saying, “You know, quite a lot of things have changed really,” and admitting that the Brexmess is largely the fault of her own intransigence. It’s just a bauble to distract us from the truth that Scottish independence is the only realistic escape route from the constitutional collapse of the British state. It’s a bauble which is tattered, battered, and has long since lost any shine it may once have possessed.

Those who believe that there’s a federal fairy at the bottom of the British constitutional garden are correct in their understanding that British politics and the British constitution are fundamentally unfit for purpose. Brexit has illustrated that. We’re in this mess because British politics grants all power to the victor, no matter how narrow the victory, no matter how many are disengaged from the entire process.

The tragedy for those who believe in the federalism fairy is that the UK is incapable of reform. No matter how hard they wish, no matter how strongly they believe, the bottom of the garden of British politics is going to remain federalism free. Not even the existential crisis of the independence referendum, so hard fought, so narrowly won, made the British state change its ways. Once this Brexit crisis is resolved, one way or another, Britain’s political parties and political establishment will go back to business as usual. For Scotland, and for anyone in the UK with a modicum of sense and maturity, all that stretches before us is decades of aching embarrassment, humiliation, and ignominy.

These latest proposals from allies of Jeremy Corbyn combine the federalism fairy with the equally fantastical belief in the British Parliamentary road to socialism. Labour has had over 100 years, and despite decades of majority Labour governments during that time, it still hasn’t managed to abolish the House of Lords. Instead it’s given us Marxist peers. Electorally speaking, the British Parliamentary road to socialism and the federalism fairy are just two delusions in search of the deluded.

Back in the real world, if Scotland expects reform, we have to do it for ourselves. No one else 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.

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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.

The Father Dougals of British nationalism

equalpartner
Sometimes when you are an advocate of Scottish independence and you are constantly confronted with the same specious arguments from British nationalists, you feel like you’re Father Ted, trying to explain a very simple concept to Father Dougal. No matter how often you go over it, it fails to penetrate, even when you use very simple words. And. Speak. Very Slowly. This is because whereas Father Dougal is merely dense, British nationalists have a vested interest in refusing to understand the point you’re making.

There are several such concepts. There’s the concept that Spain will not in fact veto an application from an independent Scotland to join the EU. That one has been done to death, shot in the head, and buried in a ditch off the side of a back road in the hills above Benidorm by no less a person than the Spanish Foreign Minister, but it still pops up like the undead Michael Forsyth.

Then there’s the concept that an independent Scotland would not and could not be forced to join the euro. You can explain until you are as blue in the face as the cookie monster with his head in a plastic bag that joining the ERM-2 is a necessary precondition for joining the eurozone, and the EU imposes no timetable on member states to do so, and anyway it has no mechanisms for compelling them even if it did. But generally to no avail.

And finally, there’s the concept that membership of the EU for an independent Scotland is not remotely comparable with Scotland’s current position within the UK. If I had a euro cent for every time some opponent of independence has claimed that membership of the EU for an independent Scotland isn’t “real” independence, and that we’d have less influence within the EU than we currently do as a subordinate and ignored part of the UK, I’d have enough money to buy a couple of espressos and some coffee ice cream in one of the nicer cafés along the Malaga seafront, as well as the airfare to get there. Which might just provide the caffeine shot necessary to deal with the tedium of dealing with obtuse British nationalists.

Comparing the position of an independent Scotland within the EU with that of Scotland’s current status within the UK is rather like comparing the position of an animal in a zoo with one which roams in a fenced off national park the size of the Cairngorms. Both of them have restrictions on their absolute freedom of movement, but one of them is considerably more restricted than the other. And it’s not the one in the EU national park.

The EU is far from perfect. Its response to the situation in Catalonia was disappointing, to put it mildly. However it has demonstrated that it is a member club of states, it looks after the interests of its member states. Catalonia is not a member, Spain is.

We’re constantly told that the UK is a family of nations, a partnership of nations, but Scotland has had zero input into determining the course of Brexit. The concerns and interests of Scotland have at every turn been ignored and marginalised by a British government which is only interested in what’s good for the Conservative party. However we have seen from the response of the EU to the Brexit crisis that there is indeed a nation in these islands which really is a valued partner in a family of nations, which has its concerns listened to, and its needs taken into account. That nation is Ireland. It’s not Scotland. The so-called partnership of nations of the UK has been shown to be meaningless cant designed to allow British nationalists in Scotland to resign themselves to Scotland’s inferior position.

The inferiority of Scotland within the UK is illustrated time and time again. If the EU imposed as many restrictions on its member states as are imposed upon Scotland by the UK government, there would have been no EU referendum unless the EU had consented to it. That’s where Scotland is within the UK. Theresa May insists that she has the absolute right to decide whether Scotland is allowed to even ask itself about its own future.

Then take the words of arch-Brextremist Jacob Rees-Mogg. Jacob threatened recently that if the UK has to remain a member of the EU for some time to come, that it should wield its veto and prevent the passage of the EU budget. All EU member states have a veto on the budget, which is arrived at after negotiations between all the EU member states. Scotland not only has no veto on the UK budget, it has no say or input into determining it.

Right now, far from taking back control, the UK has no option but to hope and pray that the EU decides to permit an extension to Article 50, otherwise we face the chaos and trauma of a no-deal exit. Every EU member state has a say, and every EU member state has a veto. Right now, the 1.3 million people of Estonia and the 475,000 inhabitants of Malta have more of a say over the future of Scotland than Scotland does itself.

The EU doesn’t set our taxes and prioritise the enrichment of the wealthy. It doesn’t decide our social security policies and force humiliation on disabled people and make children rely on foodbanks. It doesn’t determine a housing policy that puts affordable homes out of reach of working people. It doesn’t enforce a hostile environment on those who do us the honour of choosing to make their lives in our country. The EU doesn’t take us into foreign wars in countries where we have no business being. It doesn’t site weapons of mass destruction within a few miles of our largest city.

The UK does all those things, and it does so whether Scotland wants it to or not. It does so without Scotland having any representation at the highest level of British government except David Mundell who hasn’t resigned yet. He has never seen his job as being Scotland’s voice in the British government, he’s the British government’s voice in Scotland.

So don’t try and pretend that an independent Scotland which chooses to join the EU would have less control over its own destiny than Scotland does right now. That’s an arrogant nonsense of British nationalism, the very sort of arrogant nonsense that has brought about this sorry state of Brexit affairs to begin with. Even Father Dougal could grasp that truth.


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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.

The time to decide is coming

definition
So how’s that security and stability of the United Kingdom working out for everyone? The UK is a state which makes a mass temper tantrum at a toddler’s party seem like a plan for order and calm. Actually, anything at all that could pass for a plan would be a vast improvement on what’s happening in the UK right now. When the UK narrowly voted for Brexit in 2016, everyone in Scotland who isn’t one of those spittle flecked anti-indy posters in the comments sections of Scottish newspapers knew that this was going to end badly. But no one expected that it would go as spectacularly badly as it has done.

What is happening now is worse than even the direst expectations of 2016. Brexit was expected to be bad, but no one seriously expected the prospect of crashing out without a deal, the alienation and exasperation of the entire EU, the potential collapse of the Irish peace process, the undermining of the devolution settlement, the total paralysis of British government, and the reduction of the UK to the laughing stock of the world.

It is so bad that the idiotic Andrea Leadsom, who – heaven help us – is a senior figure in government, was twittering on the Andrew Marr Show on the BBC on Sunday that a no-deal crash out of the EU would not be “so grim”. It would just be a bit grim then. It would only be grim for poor people and people who aren’t hedge fund managers, disaster capitalists, and members of the British establishment. So that’s OK then. Andrea thinks that moving to WTO rules would be just fine, however Pascal Lamy, a former director general of the World Trade Organisation described leaving membership of the EU single market and moving to WTO rules as being like leaving the first division in order to play in the fourth. WTO rules, he said, are the lowest common denominator between Bangladesh and Canada.

British government has descended to a place where one of its senior figures is promoting a policy which she knows and everyone else knows would be bad for everyone, and has descended to a place where such an intellectually inadequate person is a senior figure in government in the first place, and moreover fancies her chances at a shot for party leadership. That’s not rain outside your window. That’s the gods weeping.

On Sunday afternoon, Theresa May released a video statement on social media. It was filmed as she sat on a sofa beside a large glass of gin. A large glass of gin that most people in the UK were wishing they could down in one in order to numb the utter futility of whatever it was that Theresa was about to say.

The video was entitled “Let me explain what’s happening with Brexit” as though we didn’t already know what’s happening with Brexit. We know it’s a disaster. We know that the government has taken a poor decision founded in a campaign of lies and deceit and has made it infinitely worse. We know that we’re in this mess because of the inflexibility, instransigence, and obstinacy of a Prime Minister who at every turn has prioritised the needs of her own party, and who now wants to preach to us about the national interest.

The video was shaky, amateurish, and more badly produced than a twelve year old’s upload to YouTube. So it was very much a metaphor for the entire Brexit process then. The Prime Minister warned that the UK needs a deal or Brexit might never happen. She said that like it was a bad thing. Her wee speech was accompanied by grimaces, twitches, ughs, and smiles that looked as though she had learned about smiling from a book. This was a woman trying to look comfortable and relaxed while perched on a hotplate studded with drawing pins. Panic? Oh no. No panic here. Apart from in her eyes. It was like watching a hostage video, only without the same production values.

The Prime Minister appeared to acknowledge that she has no chance of getting her deal through Parliament. She also acknowledged that the only thing that the Commons can agree on is that it doesn’t want the no-deal that Andrea Leadsom doesn’t think would be so grim. She clearly doesn’t want to say outright that we’re heading for a long extension to Article 50, because that would destroy what’s left of her government, but that seemed to be the gist of it.

Since she’s obviously incapable of reaching an agreement with her own party, she spoke about the need to reach an agreement with the other parties. Something that she ought to have tried almost three years ago. That was the purpose of this video, her justification for holding talks with the Labour party and her attempt to excuse herself from blame for the failure of her strategy since she became Prime Minister and decided to ignore remainers, to ignore the narrowness of the vote, to ignore the illegality surrounding the leave campaign, and to focus on achieving a hard Brexit that might appeal to the Brextremists of the ERG.

She said that both she and the Labour party had some common ground on Brexit, and the first thing she mentioned was that both agreed on the need to end freedom of movement. This will come as news to the large number of Labour voters who want to remain. There was however, no indication from her about what compromises she was prepared to make. Crucially, there was no mention of a customs union. Clearly, her fetish for ending freedom of movement remains as bright a red line as ever, her xenophobia remains central to her politics. As does the principle that compromises are for other people.

It remains possible that the UK will crash out of the EU on Friday without a deal. It only takes one EU member state to have so lost patience with this dysfunction that passes for a British government to make that happen. However it’s more likely that a much longer extension to Article 50 will be agreed, the so-called flextension mentioned by Donald Tusk last week. This would extend Article 50 for a year but would allow the UK to leave earlier as and when our chaotic and unfit for purpose political system manages to agree to some deal or other.

That means that the Scottish government now has a chance to press for another independence referendum while we still remain a part of the EU. It has reignited the hope that Scotland can achieve independence while we are still an EU member, and so ensure continuity of the benefits of EU membership for Scotland. The only political guarantee in the UK is the continuation of uncertainty and chaos. The chances are very high that the government will collapse as a result of a lengthy extension to Article 50, and so we are heading for an early UK general election. We are almost certainly facing European elections within a few weeks.

The question of the right of Scotland to choose its own path must be front and foremost in any election campaign. The SNP cannot and must not try to shy away from the independence issue. It needs to own it. It needs to scream from the rooftops that Brexit has taught us that British governments have zero interest in what is good for Scotland, for what Scotland wants, or what Scotland needs. Brexit has taught us that the precious union is a lie, that there is no partnership, no family of nations, within the UK. The failure of the Brexit process has taught us that the UK that Scotland was told it could be a part of in 2014 was a fiction.

These elections need to be fought on the basis of highlighting the shortcomings and inadequacies of the UK, of the threat that the British political system represents to our civil rights, our employment rights, and our futures. They need to be fought on the basis of establishing the right of Scotland to determine its own place in the British Isles, in Europe, and the world. These will be the elections which pose the question to Scotland, are we a country, are we a nation, or are we a subordinate region of a unitary British state. We either define ourselves, or we will be defined by Conservative PMs and governments which know little about us and which care even less. The time to decide is approaching.


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Wee Ginger Dugcast – 5 April 2019

This week, Callum Baird and I discuss the on-going mess that is Brexit and how fed up everyone is with it, Theresa May’s trap for Jeremy Corbyn, and sectarianism in Scottish football.

 


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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.

The tyranny of the rejects

thereject
The government, and I use that term loosely, has belatedly realised that people whose sole reason for getting up in the morning is to insist that the EU is the Antichrist are never going to agree to anything. So the Brexiters are furious again, he wrote as though that was somehow surprising or novel. Fury is the base state for Brexcrementalists, so much so that this week they’ve managed to work themselves up into an apoplexy of rage because they’re worried that they might not get the Theresa May Brexit deal that they’d already decided that they didn’t want.

The immediate cause of the outrage is because Theresa May is asking Jeremy Corbyn if he can agree to a customs union which isn’t the customs union, but not the customs union which is Jeremy’s not the customs union, and then agree not to call it a customs union. What a time to be alive.

The session in the Commons was suspended today because of a water leak.  That’s what happens when you tell all the Polish plumbers that they’re not welcome any more.  Even the building is unfit for purpose.  Just as well there’s nothing important happening … Oh.

Talks between Jeremy and Theresa are continuing, but no one really expects much to come out of them. Neither leader is trusted by their own party, never mind anyone else. Jeremy Corbyn is coming under increasing pressure to ensure that any deal which is struck is put to the electorate in a confirmatory referendum. His own shadow foreign secretary was reduced to making a direct appeal to Labour MPs above Jeremy’s head. However Jezza apparently believes that the Labour conference resolution for a referendum only applies in the event of a bad Tory Brexit deal, not a bad Labour Brexit deal that he manages to get Theresa May to agree to.

However the biggest obstacle to reaching a deal between the two party leaders is that compromise is something which Theresa May expects other people to do. Following her meeting with Nicola Sturgeon yesterday, the First Minister remarked that she was still unclear on what compromises the Prime Minister was prepared to make. Suspicions are growing that the offer to meet with Jeremy Corbyn is merely yet another attempt to reduce the possible choices to Theresa May’s deal or no-deal. So really, we’re all screwed.

The Commons is aware of this, and has decided that Theresa May is as trustworthy as a five year old with a tin of chocolate biscuits. It has narrowly passed a private member’s bill, the so-called Cooper-Letwin bill, which would impose a legal obligation on the Prime Minister to seek a long extension to Article 50 if she can’t get a deal through the Commons. The effect of this bill is to prevent a no-deal Brexit. The long extension would require the UK taking part in the EU elections, something Theresa May is determined to avoid.

Now you might think that the Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives™, who we were told were going to vote as a bloc in order to protect Scotland’s interests, would be in favour of any measure that would prevent a no-deal Brexit. Yet every single Scottish Tory voted along with the government against the bill. Every single one of them put the interests of the Conservative party before the interests of Scotland. They don’t want a long extension because it would split their party and bring about an early General Election which would see most of them lose their seats. They would prefer to risk a no-deal Brexit rather than risk the unity of the Conservatives, the unity of a party that already has more splits in it than the Spice Girls. The Scottish Conservatives can’t even defend the interests of Scotland within this supposed union. They are failures even on their own terms.

The timetable for this bill is extremely tight. It’s a last ditch measure which is only necessary because Theresa May has spent the last three years running down the clock and negotiating with her own Brextremist backbenchers. It’s important that this bill comes into legal effect by next week, before the Prime Minister is due to meet with EU heads of state in Brussels on Wednesday. Following its success in the Commons, the bill has now gone to the Lords.

A small group of Conservatives in the Lords are now trying to talk the bill out in order to ensure it runs out of time. They’re led by Michael Forsyth, the failure’s failure who was so overwhelmingly rejected by the electorate in 1997 when he led the Scottish Conservatives. Michael spent the EU referendum stomping about the TV debating shows demanding an exit from the EU because it’s terribly unfair it was that our laws are made by unelected placepersons that we can’t vote out of office. Michael doesn’t do irony.

Michael suffered an absolute and utter defeat at the hands of the voters of Scotland, a defeat so all-encompassing that Michael didn’t just lose his own seat, he lost every single seat his party had held. Rejections do not come more absolute in a democracy. If he had failed so comprehensively in any other profession, he would have been struck off and banned from working in the field again. Yet here he is all these years later, influencing our laws and trying to ensure that a no-deal Brexit happens even though a substantial majority of voters in Scotland voted to reject Brexit. All by himself, Michael Forsyth is a demonstration that the British political system is unfit for purpose.

Michael thinks that the Irish border issue isn’t an issue at all, and it’s all been made up by the BBC and people who don’t want Brexit to happen. He doesn’t care about the effects a no-deal Brexit would have on ordinary Scottish people. He doesn’t need to worry about job losses. He’s got a job for life as an unelected placeperson that we can’t vote out of office, and a back up career as a body double for Dracula. He railed in the Lords today about how suspending the House’s usual standing orders to make time for this bill would lead to tyranny. But tyranny is already here in the shape of an unelected Michael Forsyth doing his damnedness to impose a no-deal Brexit on a country which rejected Brexit, and which rejected him.

Tyranny is already here in the form of a Prime Minister who doesn’t listen to anyone, whose sole strategy is to run down the clock in order to force MPs to change their minds on a deal which they have repeatedly rejected while she denies that the electorate might have changed theirs. Tyranny is already here in the shape of an EU referendum in which the winning campaign lied and cheated in order to get their narrow victory and a government which rejects that the result was unsafe. Tyranny is already here in a Scotland which voted against independence on the basis of promises and commitments made by the British state, promises and commitments that the British state has traduced and broken. Tyranny is already here in the form of a British Prime Minister whose party was rejected by voters in Scotland yet who insists that Scotland must seek her permission before it is even allowed to ask itself a question about its own future.

The only way to protect us all from tyranny is for the people to have their say, for a UK wide vote on any Brexit deal that two discredited party leaders might manage to cobble together, and for a vote in Scotland on whether we want to remain a part of this dysfunction which imposes the tyranny of the rejects upon us.


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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.