A singular dishonesty

Here we go again. It’s always groundhog day with British nationalism in Scotland. I blogged some months ago about the important distinction between the unitary market of the British state, and the single market of the EU. British nationalists in Scotland are however determined to conflate those two very different political and economic beasts under the rubric “single market”, and they’re doing so for nakedly political reasons.

I’m not going to repeat all the arguments I made back in November last year, you can read the piece for yourself here – https://weegingerdug.wordpress.com/2017/11/21/marketing-a-lie/ But it seems that opponents of independence are hell bent on demonising anyone who dares to assert what ought to be a self-evident truth – that the so-called UK single market is not a single market in the same sense that the term is understood in relation to the EU single market. That’s precisely what this attempt to hijack the term single market is all about. It’s about trying to draw a false equivalence between the countries making up the unitary state of a UK where sovereignty rests entirely with Westminster, and the sovereign states comprising the EU.

No one in the anti-independence camp ever brought up this all-important UK single market during the referendum campaign of 2014, and yet now it’s all that they bang on about. You’d think that if it was indeed so vital to the well being of Scotland that someone in the Better Together campaign might have thought to mention it. You can do a Google search on trends which provides a handy wee graph of when certain terms are used, and surprise surprise what you discover that with the exception of a couple of isolated instances, the phrase “UK single market” only starts to be used in the immediate run up to the EU referendum in June 2016 and afterwards.

googletrendsuksinglemarket

Isn’t that odd? Something that’s allegedly so existentially vital to the security and future of the Scottish economy, at least according to opponents of independence, and yet all the way through the independence referendum of 2014 none of them thought to mention it. You can have a look for yourself here – https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=today%205-y&q=%22UK%20Single%20Market%22

The phrase is used most commonly in the context of Scottish independence, or more exactly in the context of opposition to Scottish independence. Nowadays British nationalists in Scotland scarcely shut up about the so called UK single market, and are desperate to ridicule and dismiss anyone who takes them to task for it. Oooh, they go, like Les Dawson’s drag act in one of his less funny sketches, get him/her saying there’s no such thing as a single market. Of course there’s a single market. It’s the UK. It’s only got the one market. That’s a single market innit. And in doing so they deliberately conflate two very different phenomena, and do so for the purposes of misleading people in Scotland about what Scotland’s rights and powers are within the UK.

The hijacking of the term single market by British nationalism is all about the creation of a false narrative, the implication that Scotland within the UK has the same degree of economic and political freedom as an independent Scotland would have within the EU. That is arrant nonsense.

The question for British nationalists in Scotland who are determined to use the phrase “UK single market” is, if they are so insistent that the UK is the proud possessor of a single market as opposed to the unitary market of a unitary state, then what precisely do they call the very different economic and political creature that is the EU single market? If you’re going to insist that the unitary market of the UK is the “UK single market”, then what terminology do you propose using for the mutual collaboration and cooperation of the unitary markets of the different EU member states which together form the EU single market? You can’t call both “single markets” by the same term because the two “single markets” are not the same thing. They are fundamentally different in their conception and construction.

So what’s the EU “single market” to be called if the UK has a “single market” all by itself? I’ve yet to find any answer to that, because British nationalists have no answer. The reason for that is because there isn’t supposed to be an answer. The use of the phrase UK single market is a deliberate attempt to mislead. There are 27 voices which have the right to speak and make rules for the EU single market. There’s only one voice which has the right to speak and make rules for the “UK single market”, that would be the British government. It sure as hell isn’t Scotland.

Neither have I seen in the British nationalist media any explanation of how this so-called UK single market differs from the EU single market in its basic construction and in the all-important political and economic rights possessed by its constituent parts.  Since we’re currently in the middle of a discussion about the lack of trust that many in Scotland feel towards the media, it’s important to highlight the kind of thing that is causing people to lose trust.

The papers are happy to publish statements from Tory politicians decrying the likes of Mike Russell for stating the obvious, but nowhere do they explain to their readers what the differences are between the two markets which they insist must both be described as “single markets”. We already know that the two things are not the same political and economic creatures, so surely you’d think that given the supposed importance of the “UK single market” to the well-being of Scotland, that our press would be keen to explain the organisational and political differences between the “UK single market” and the “EU single market”. Instead they just repeat the claims of Tory politicians and finger point.

The truth is that the entire purpose of the phrase “UK single market” is to co-opt the language of European collaboration and mutual benefit for the aggrandisement of British nationalism. It’s an attempt to mislead the people of Scotland that we get the same deal from the UK as we would get from the EU as an independent state. It’s an attempt to imply that the partial, limited, and negotiated pooling of sovereignty involved in becoming an EU member is the same as the total loss of sovereignty experienced by Scotland within the UK. Conflating the two markets under the same term “single market” is deliberately misleading. It’s a singular dishonesty. Mike Russell is quite right to call them out for it.


weegingerdug.scot

The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.


gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Just click the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special 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.

Many thanks.

Losing trust and building bridges

The first rule of digging yourself into a hole, is that when you’re in one, you should stop digging. The Sunday Herald had dug itself into a hole with its front page the day after the biggest pro-independence rally in Scottish history. Newspapers know the power of a front page, and the Sunday Herald’s front page that day gave the misleading impression that a tiny demonstration of two dozen angry people from the Union fleg bedecked far right was the same in size and influence as a march and rally of tens of thousands of perfectly peaceful independence protesters. From Scotland’s only independence supporting Sunday newspaper, it was a misjudgement.

First off, I need to point out that I am a columnist for The National. The National is published by the same company which publishes the Herald, the Sunday Herald, and the Glasgow Evening Times amongst other publications. However The National is an entirely separate newspaper. Do not throw The National baby out with the bathwater. What goes on in the Sunday Herald has nothing to do with The National, and vice versa.

The indy community feels beseiged and beleaguered by a Scottish media which is overwhelmingly opposed to independence, and which will stoop as low as it takes in order to find some way of attacking it. It’s not a conspiracy theory to point out that Scotland’s media is overwhelmingly biased against independence, it’s a simple statement of fact. The media is supposed to hold up a mirror to the society it serves. Scotland’s media doesn’t do that. In Scotland we look to our media and we see a distorted painting, a landscape of a country that we don’t recognise. That creates a suspicious and defensive public which is not disposed to trust in the media or to give it the benefit of any doubt that is going. We expect better, we demand better, from our only independence supporting Sunday. Sadly that’s not what we got on this occasion.

Of course there is absolutely no justification for anyone to threaten violence against journalists. There is never any excuse for abuse, threats, or personal insults. However it’s also unjustified to use the appalling behaviour of a fringe minority to characterise the behaviour of the independence movement as a whole. The three pages in the Sunday Herald this weekend came across as the paper trying to justify its error by pointing to the errors of others. It was a further miscalculation which has only inflamed an already bad situation. What we need here is conciliation, attempts at mutual understanding, and trust building.  That’s not what we got.

Unfortunately all this upset and breakdown of trust comes shortly after the Sunday Herald appointed Angela Haggerty as its news editor. I know Angela. I first met her long before the referendum when we were both writing for Newsnet Scotland. She is a talented journalist. However as her career has progressed Angela has left a lot of angry people in her wake. She has accumulated many enemies, and there are plenty of people within the independence movement who are suspicious of her and her motives.

I’ve defended Angela in the past, but I can’t defend her decision to out the partner of Mhairi Black during a Twitter disagreement about the Sunday Herald’s coverage of the indy rally and its aftermath, an error which was compounded by the hauf-airsed apology that Angela made later. Mhairi’s partner is also a friend of mine, and getting outed by the media was always her worst and biggest fear. Now the two issues, the coverage of the indy rally by the Sunday Herald and the perception amongst some that it was drifting away from support for independence, and Angela’s outing of Mhairi’s partner on Twitter, have become conflated.

The appointment of Angela as news editor of the Sunday Herald was always going to raise hackles amongst sections of the independence movement, and it’s the independence movement which is the core of the Sunday Herald’s readership. The paper ought to have redoubled its efforts to reassure its readers that it remains committed to the beautiful dream that we all share, the dream of making a better Scotland through independence. Instead what we have seen are a series of missteps from a great newspaper, which have sadly only confirmed the prejudices and suspicions that many people already had. Over the weekend what was left of the trust and goodwill broke down.

What we need here is bridge building, the reestablishment of trust. What isn’t going to help is for a newspaper to throw around blame, to draw the wagons into a defensive circle, and to demand that the SNP condemns the bad behaviour of people who for the most part have absolutely nothing to do with the SNP. For many readers and subscribers of the Sunday Herald, myself amongst them, it comes across as a retreat from the newspaper’s fine principles and its fearless decision to stand alone for a better Scotland when no other newspaper would, and a turn back to the safety of the British nationalist consensus which so utterly dominates the Scottish media landscape.

Perhaps as a first step the Sunday Herald ought to reconsider the behaviour on Twitter of some of its own journalists, behaviour which doesn’t help the newspaper. Journalists who use Twitter to call people cybernats and to mutter dark theories that certain prominent people in the indy campaign are really agents of the Kremlin don’t do a newspaper any favours.

I don’t do Twitter any more. It’s utterly toxic. Most of the disputes, fall-outs, controversies, and arguments which beset the independence movement originate on Twitter. All I do now is to use Twitter to publish links to blog articles, a function which WordPress (the platform hosting this blog) carries out automatically. I don’t even need to log into Twitter to do so. I can still see what’s going on on Twitter when I choose to. I can still search for hashtags that are relevant to the day’s news. I’m just not logged in so am not tempted to reply or respond and don’t get sucked into disputes or fights. I can even see the Tweets of people who have blocked me. It means I’m using Twitter, Twitter isn’t using me. Unlike certain people however, I didn’t make a big song and dance out of flouncing out of Twitter, and write anguished articles about it and pick up a nice fee from the Sunday Times only to come back a few days later. I just quietly left. The world of Scottish politics would be a better place if more Scottish journalists did the same.

I will finish off with a final observation. It’s an observation which ought to lie in the realms of the bleedin’ obvious, but yet which seems to have passed the bulk of the Scottish media by. It’s this, when the public loses faith in the media, that’s the fault of the media, not the fault of the public. In turn that means that the remedy lies with the behaviour of the media, not the behaviour of the public. If newspapers want respect from the people, they have to be seen to be giving the people respect. If things are going to change, it’s the media which has to make the first move. It’s over to you now. Let’s see some bridges.


weegingerdug.scot

The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.


gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Just click the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special 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.

Many thanks.

Scottish Unionism’s new Irish problem

There are those amongst the British nationalist apologists in Scotland who accuse independence supporters of romanticism, of dealing in distortions of fact, but it’s a fact that there is no proponent of Scottish independence who would ever come out with something as ludicrously batshit as an article which was published this week in a site which is a new digital magazine for right wing British nationalism in Scotland, “Think Scotland”. Because what Scotland is really short on are outlets for British nationalist Conservatives.

The batshit crazy article in question would be a piece by a certain Jonathan Stanley, who describes himself as a free market libertarian, and who retweets Katie Hopkins.  Jonathan calls on the Republic of Ireland to, ahem, come home to Britain. This is a call which Jonathan makes on the very day that an Irish opinion poll showed that support for EU membership in the Republic has risen to 92%. And all this magical thinking, dear readers, is on a site which aspires to be the intellectual home of Scottish Unionism. This may be the intellectualism of Scottish Unionism, but Unionist populism is demonstrated by Orange parades and Nazi saluting fascists, so we’re dealing with a pretty low bar here.

You might not always agree with the pieces published in pro-independence multi-author sites like Bella Caledonia or Common Space. But none of them would ever consider publishing something as gob smackingly crazy and deluded as Jonathan’s proposal for the Republic of Ireland to surrender its sovereignty in return for the right to send MPs to Westminster, just in order to make post-Brexit Britain’s life a bit easier. It’s not often that I read something which is purportedly serious which makes me guffaw out loud. Thanks for the laugh if nothing else Jonathan.

It’s Britain’s Brexiteer mania which has created the problem with the Irish border, but in Jonathan’s world it’s Ireland which needs to change to accommodate the problems that the UK has caused.

Someone who fancies himself as a serious thinker is seriously proposing that the Irish Republic should give up its independence in return for 50 MPs in Westminster who can be sidelined, ignored, and marginalised just like Scotland’s. Then it can participate in all the great trade deals that Liam Fox is going to negotiate for us. Whoop. And indeed, de doo.

There hasn’t been a less attractive offer since the Roman general Lucius Gellius Publicola generously told Spartacus that if he gave up all this liberty carry on and went back to being a slave he’d be guaranteed at least one bowl of gruel a day and only the occasional light flogging. Admittedly there’s a certain type of public schoolboy in the Conservative party who is rather drawn to the idea of the occasional light flogging, but you can’t really impute personal kinks to an entire country. Although that would be a reasonable explanation for the otherwise inexplicable popularity of Jacob Rees Mogg amongst certain sections of the British public.

The existence of the Irish Republic puts a lie to the myth that there is something essentially British shared by the peoples of this archipelago which unites us all and justifies the existence of a single parliament in Westminster ruling over us all. The links between Scotland and England are long and deep, this is true. But so are the links between Scotland and Ireland. Labour preaches that working people in Leith have more in common with working people in Liverpool. But the problem is that whatever it is that is shared between Leith and Liverpool is also shared with Limerick.

British nationalists in Scotland have always had a bit of a problem with Ireland. Historically that manifested itself in the form of naked and rampant sectarianism, in the denial of jobs and housing to Scots of Irish Catholic descent. These days, at least on the respectable wing of staunch opposition to Scottish independence, the problem that British nationalists in Scotland have with Ireland manifests itself in the form of harrumphy blog articles denying that Ireland should really exist at all. So for example there was the recent effort from the reliably amusing Effie Deans who argued that everything good about Ireland comes from Britain, except possibly hurling and Tayto crisps. She was prepared to concede that the Táin Bó Cúailnge is authentically Irish, but it’s not a good thing because apparently Iron Age epic poetry doesn’t reflect modern democratic values. Well who knew?

Ireland threatens to derail the Brexit process, and because Ireland can count on the support of the rest of the EU it has inverted the traditional power dynamic of Britain telling Ireland what to do, and Ireland putting up with it on the pain of colonialisation and famine. Now it’s Ireland dictating terms to the UK. That’s a bitter pill to swallow for British nationalism, all the more so because Brexit was predicated on the mistaken belief that it would allow the UK to take back control. The Union fleg wavers were told they’re going to take back control, only then they end up being told what to do by Dublin. As generations of Irish and Scottish mothers have said, Hell slap it into them.

However for British nationalists in Scotland, the real issue with the Irish border isn’t just that it threatens to derail Brexit. It’s that the Irish border issue threatens to destroy one of the key arguments against Scottish independence, the oft-repeated claim that we heard in 2014 that Scottish independence would result in barbed wire and control posts being imposed all the way along the border from Gretna to Berwick. After all, the UK cannot credibly threaten an independent Scotland that’s a member of the customs union, the single market, and the common travel area with an Iron Curtain style border after it has committed to ensuring that there’s no perceptible border between the UK and another state that’s a member of the customs union, the single market, and the common travel area.

The power and strength of Ireland in negotiations with the UK also demonstrates the power and influence that an independent Scotland could wield. It’s hard to tell Scotland that we’ll be powerless and ineffectual when the almighty British government is being told what to do by Dublin.

That’s what’s really exercising British nationalists in Scotland about Ireland these days. Ireland shows up the weakness of the British state, the strength that comes from independence, and destroys some of Better Together’s favourite arguments. And British nationalists have no answer, no come back, other than fanciful articles wishing for the impossible. There is more chance of Murdo Fraser coming out as an independence supporting Celtic fan who votes socialist than there is of the Irish Republic deciding to return to British rule.

And pretty soon, Ireland will be joined in its independence by Scotland.


weegingerdug.scot

The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.


gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Just click the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special 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.

Many thanks.

The difference between poor and impoverished

Usually when that Scottish economics think tank with a name that sounds like a knitwear college in Pitlochry, the Fraser of Allander Institute, publishes one of its papers, the British nationalist media in Scotland is all over it like flies at a dug’s arse, looking for the crap. There is absolutely nothing in this universe that the media in Scotland likes more than new ways of telling Scotland just how rubbish it is at everything and how mince we are. It’s what they live for.

Economic statistics are a favourite for this sort of thing. They tend to be reassuringly complicated, and couched in arcane jargon that only people who enjoy accountancy understand. This is how opponents of independence have managed to persuade themselves, and many other people in Scotland, that one of the richest countries in the world, a country with an embarrassment of natural resources which few other European nations enjoy, would be too poor to maintain current living standards if it became independent. It’s a lie that’s been repeated so often that it has become an article of faith amongst British nationalists.

However a recent paper from the Fraser of Allander Institute didn’t make headline news on Reporting You’re Too Wee, Too Poor, and Too Stupid. That might just be because the message of this particular paper was deficient in ways of making Scotland look bad. Instead it suggested that Scotland isn’t doing as well out of being a part of the UK as British nationalists would have us believe. The figures show that Scotland’s Gross National Income (GNI), the calculation of the wealth Scotland keeps, was just 94% of Scotland’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the calculation of the wealth produces. In other words, a significant proportion of the wealth that Scotland produces flows out of this country and benefits people elsewhere.

You can read the paper yourself by clicking on the following link. https://fraserofallander.org/scottish-economy/gross-national-income-statistics-for-scotland-a-net-outflow-of-scottish-income/ The paper is titled “Gross national income statistics for Scotland: a net outflow of Scottish income?” With a title like that, you can see why the Scottish press didn’t give it the publicity that they give to any study or survey that claims Scotland is an economic basket case.

The study from the Fraser of Allander Institute confirms a study done by Business for Scotland some years ago, enquiring where Scotland’s wealth goes. http://www.businessforscotland.com/where-does-scotlands-wealth-go/ Despite the fact that in terms of wealth created per head of population, Scotland’s Central Belt generates as much as the South East of England, and the North East of Scotland regularly comes at the top of the economic league table as one of the best performing regions in the UK, Scotland has the lowest proportion of wealthy households in the entire UK. Scotland’s wealth is being sooked out of Scotland. It’s the Union drain.

The same picture is confirmed by a study carried out by the Jimmy Reid Foundation in 2013. A link to this paper is here. http://reidfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Dysfunction1.pdf This study showed that during the period between 1963 and 2011, if Scotland’s economy was unhindered by the systematic drain imposed upon it by UK government macroeconomic policies and priorities, it would be 25% larger that it actually was. The UK is putting a brake on Scotland’s growth, and then opponents of independence sneer that we can’t go fast enough.

For the latest figures available, Scotland’s GDP is calculated at £159.9bn, whereas Scotland’s GNI for the same period is calculated at £150.8bn. That means that during 2016, a time when opponents of independence were insistent that the collapse in oil prices meant that Scotland couldn’t possibly afford to support itself financially, the country was in fact exporting £9.1bn worth of the wealth produced in Scotland. Apparently Scotland is too poor to maintain current levels of public services as an independent nation, but not so poor that it can’t make people outside Scotland extremely wealthy indeed.  Just think about that for a second.

Scotland possesses resources which most European countries of an equivalent size can only envy. Denmark is somewhat smaller in surface area than Scotland, and has a population slightly larger. Denmark doesn’t possess anything like Scotland’s natural resources, but somehow it manages to provide a very high standard of living for its citizens. It does so by ensuring that the wealth that Denmark creates is used to benefit the people of Denmark. Scotland has a GNI which is 6% lower than its GDP, Danish GNI is higher than its GDP. That means that all the wealth that Denmark produces stays in Denmark, and on top of that Danish companies import earnings that they have made abroad.

We have more natural resources than Denmark. The people of Scotland are every bit as capable and as well educated as the people of Denmark. Scotland is a country which has invented much of the modern world, despite the fact that according to the British media in Scotland we are a nation of morons. We could only invent stuff like television, or discover penicillin, because of the glorious Union, allegedly. Left to our own devices we do stupid stuff like produce baby boxes that can double up as weapons of mass destruction. Who knew that cardboard would go on fire if you put a blow torch to it? It’s a national scandal. The press would have been much happier if the Scottish government had made sure that the baby boxes were made out of asbestos. Oh. Wait.

There is a significant difference between Scotland and Denmark, and it’s not that Danes are intelligent and capable in a way that Scots are not. The difference is that Scotland’s natural resources and the products of our people’s talent and ingenuity are, under the current constitutional settlement, largely owned and controlled outwith Scotland. The difference is that the wealth that Scottish talent and resources produce flows out of Scotland. The difference is that Scotland’s taxes are collected by a UK government which spends them on things that Scotland doesn’t want or need. The UK government borrows to spend on things that Scotland doesn’t want or need, and then it sends us the bill and tells us we’re too poor.

Scotland’s wealth doesn’t benefit the people of Scotland. It is drained out of Scotland to benefit wealthy shareholders in the South East of England and abroad. Yet we are constantly told that if Scotland takes control of its own political destiny and thus gives itself the capability to take steps to ensure that Scotland’s wealth is used to benefit the people of Scotland instead of flowing out of the country, that we’d be worse off than we are just now. We’d be worse off if we ensured that companies which operate in Scotland pay all the taxes due on wealth generated in Scotland to a Scottish treasury. We’d be worse off if we keep more of our own money rather than see it drain away. We’d be worse off if we stop spending money on things we don’t need.  It’s illogical. British nationalism in Scotland is founded in making the people of Scotland believe in magic. By keeping more of our own money, we’re magically supposed to become poorer.  The UK makes Scotland’s wealth vanish, and it calls it a Union benefit.

The difference between poverty and impoverishment is the difference between not being able to pay your bills because you’re incapable of earning a living, and not being able to pay your bills because your pay packet is being docked. Scotland isn’t poor, it’s being impoverished. British nationalism depends on making sure that people in Scotland don’t understand the difference.


 

weegingerdug.scot

The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.


gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Just click the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special 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.

Many thanks.

A grown up parliament for a grown up country

They’re clearly rattled. There have been a number of articles in the British nationalist press about Saturday’s march and rally. None of which, you won’t be surprised to hear, are remotely positive. A mass demonstration of a minimum of 35,000 people in the streets of Glasgow, the largest pro-independence demo this country has ever seen, puts a lie to the comforting myth so beloved of opponents of independence that no one wants another referendum. Last Saturday, Glasgow wasn’t just full of people who do want another referendum, it was full of people who are going to be actively campaigning in it.

There are many thousands more who are equally committed to independence who didn’t attend, but even if we discount those, and even if we accept the police estimate of 35,000 and not the organisers’ estimate of upwards of 80,000, that’s still a massive body of Yes campaigners who vastly outnumber the number of door chappers, poster makers, and canvassers that British nationalists can put on the ground. No wonder they’re afraid of us. A people in motion is an awesome sight.

Ever since, we’ve had nothing but sniffery and snidery from the usual British nationalist suspects who are desperate to discredit the event. Much of their harrumphage is couched in supposed advice to the independence movement that if we want to win next time then we shouldn’t be holding events with mass participation. Because obviously the real way to win a campaign is to base your strategy on what people who don’t want you to win it tell you to do.

No really, they assure us, all these people who fill the pages of the press with paeans to Britainry and new ways of blaming the SNP for things, they really are persuadable about the merits of Scottish independence. They’re just trying to be helpful. I was musing on the democratic deficit, they tell us, and how Scotland doesn’t get what it votes for. There I was witnessing the contempt with which this Conservative government treats Scotland and silences us and refuses even to consult Scotland. I’m disgusted by the way in which Theresa May is using a referendum result which Scotland voted against in order to undermine a referendum result which Scotland voted for. I was struck by the recent paper from the Fraser of Allander Institute which explains how Scotland’s income flows out of the country, and now realise that independence is the only way to ensure that Scotland’s wealth is used to benefit Scotland.  I’m appalled by the way in which we’re being ripped out of the EU into an inward looking right wing nostalgia where xenophobia is official policy. I was struck by the paradox that the only way to preserve the values of tolerance and openness that I once associated with the British state is through Scotland leaving that state. So I was totally teetering on the verge of considering a yes vote next time round. But then someone on social media mentioned that they were sitting on a number 61 bus stuck behind someone pushing a big model unicorn down Renfield Street, and that was me put right off.

They’re not lying. All those people who spend their time and energy looking for myriad ways to tell us how bad the SNP is, and how much of a disaster Scotland would be without those nice people in Westminster to look after us, and how great it is to be British, they really are persuadable about the merits of independence. Honest. It’s churlish to doubt them. In the exact same way Nicholas Witchell is persuadable about the merits of republicanism, and Jacob Rees Mogg is secretly considering coming out as a supporter of radical lesbian feminists. Only in Scotland do we get concern trolls plastered all over the pages of our newspapers.

It must be terrifying to a staunch supporter of all that is red white and blue. There you are, telling yourself that we’ve passed peak Nat, that Ruth Davidson and her cheeky photo ops are saviours of the Union, that the window of opportunity for the independence movement is narrow and is closing fast, and then all of a sudden tens of thousands of people appear in the streets of Glasgow and put a big stick in it, wedging that windae wide open. Worst of all, you didn’t see it coming, because the press you rely on didn’t prepare you for it.

When you’re doing something that has provoked such a strong reaction in opponents who usually do their best to ignore and marginalise you, that’s an argument for doing more of it. What we’ve learned from the British nationalist response to a massive manifestion of faith in Scottish self-determination is that when enough of us take to a public place, in a peaceful and open display of our belief in ourselves and belief in our country, that we cannot and will not be ignored.

This year, Scotland sees a significant anniversary. On 11 September this year, it will be 21 years to the day since the referendum of 1997 when Scotland voted by a very large margin to introduce the devolution settlement that we have today, a settlement which is under threat by a Conservative government hypocritically preaching about the importance of respecting referendum results. Devolution is 21, but Scotland is being infantilised by a British state that has taken it upon itself to decide which of Scotland’s powers it will take back to itelf. We need to tell them that we’re fed up being treated like Westminster’s rebellious children and we will stand in defence of the rights of self-government that Scotland campaigned so long and hard to achieve.

The Scottish Parliament will be 21, but Scotland’s legislature is still being treated like a child by Westminster. Perhaps this year, on Saturday 15 September, the Saturday that falls between the anniversaries of Scotland’s two referendums, we should organise a massive march and rally demanding that it’s time that Scotland’s 21 year old self-government becomes a grown up, fully capable and able to make all the decisions about the direction Scotland takes. The time for childish things is past. We’re adults, and we want a grown up parliament in our country.


 

weegingerdug.scot

The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.


gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Just click the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special 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.

Many thanks.

Choosing the Scottish path

I managed to get to the end of the rally in Glasgow Green on Saturday afternoon, and met up with some friends for a little while. I’d have got there much earlier, but I couldn’t get out of the house because my street was closed off and there were polis, fire engines, ambulances, the bomb squad, and security cordons everywhere. A wummin along the road had just received a baby box. Ye cannae be too careful.

The real reason was because I had a previous commitment, and knew I was going to be busy in the evening as well, but I wanted to get to Glasgow Green just as a punter, to sample the fantastic atmosphere produced by this great movement, to participate without speechifying. I’m glad I did. There was an amazing turnout. Estimates of the crowd ranged from 35,000 according to the polis, up to 80,000 or more according to the organisers. Whatever the exact figure, this was certainly the largest demonstration in favour of independence that Scotland has ever seen. It even made the news in Catalonia, where pro-independence newspapers were delighted to report the large number of estelades, Catalan republican flags, on display.

There are those within the independence movement who are sniffy about marches and rallies. No one is converted from a no vote to a yes vote because a bunch of people parade down a Glasgow street waving saltires and playing bagpipes, they point out. And this would be true. But it misses the point. There is a great deal more to a successful campaign than converting no voters. Obviously it’s vitally important that we convert no voters, but in order to do so we must have an energetic, engaged, and enthused body of yes voters who are willing to give up their time and energy to the campaign. The purpose of a march and rally isn’t to convert no voters, it’s to give existing yes campaigners a morale boost in a country where the media is overwhelmingly opposed to independence and where independence supporters feel besieged and beleaguered, because that’s exactly what we are. Rallies are a way of allowing yes voters and campaigners to be visible in a country where the media conspires to keep us invisible. It’s a way of allowing people who support a yes vote to spend time in the company of others who feel the same way and feel the buzz and the energy that it creates. That’s the point of a rally, and yesterday’s rally was the biggest pro-independence rally that Scotland has ever seen. That fact alone should have been the news.

Mind you there’s something wrong when a supposedly pro-independence newspaper was put to shame in its coverage of an independence rally by yer actual BBC Scotland. Today’s front page of the Sunday Herald produced a genuine WTF moment. It takes a special kind of talent to make a photie of a wee group of 20 British nationalist far right haemorantoids look the same size as a march of upwards of 50,000 people – and in a newspaper which ostensibly supports independence no less.

The front page of the only Sunday pro-independence newspaper in Scotland managed to give the impression that a peaceful and joyful expression of belief in Scottish independence was equal in size to a display of British nationalist hate and anger. We have the Express, the Mail, the Sunday Mail, the Scotsman, the Telegraph and all the rest for that sort of thing, we don’t need it from our only pro-independence Sunday paper. All it did was to perpetuate the British nationalist myth that the independence debate is divisive and exclusionary, and to top it all the photie was accompanied by yet another story about supposed divisions within the Yes movement because some guy that no one has heard of shared something on social media with his 79 followers. So thanks a bunch Sunday Herald. Get a grip would you? Thanks. With friends like this, etc etc.

There were two types of nationalism on show in Glasgow on Saturday. There was the civic kind led by bagpipers and Sikh drummers campaigning for an independent Scotland, and there was the far right wing exclusionary kind waving Union flegs and making Nazi salutes in order to prop up existing inequalities and a status quo that works for the few not the many. Guess which one Ruth Davidson complained about?

Funny how the Conservative politicians who rushed to condemn the march for inconveniencing drivers never utter a word against the inconvenience and disruption caused by Orange Walks, and unlike Orange Walks you don’t actually risk physical assault if you try to cross the road in the middle of an indy march. Then there’s the dreadful inconvenience caused to all of us with the loss of our European citizenship and losing the right to travel and settle freely throughout the EU. There’s the inconvenience caused to all those people who are fearful that their jobs might be at risk once the UK falls of the EU and out of the customs union and single market. There’s the inconvenience caused to people in the island of Ireland who see the Peace Process at threat due to the intransigence of British nationalist Brexiteers. Oh no. These are as nothing compared to the disruption of an indy march. Nicola Sturgeon must condemn.

The real reason that British nationalists were pissed off about a march and rally of tens of thousands of Scottish independence supporters is that they couldn’t put on an equivalent rally of their own. Or rather they could, it’s just that it would be indistinguishable from an Orange Walk or a far right hate parade and would largely comprise the same people. All the sectarian exclusionary bigotry that underpins the Scottish Conservatives would be fully on display, and it would not be a pretty sight.

But the fact remains. The actual nazis, fascists, and extreme right wing bigots in this debate are overwhelmingly on one side, and it’s not the side that wants Scottish independence. Scotland in Union was pure miffed when people pointed out to them that it’s British nationalists who are the actual fascists and Nazis. “How very dare you imply that people who don’t want independence are vile,” said a spokesfleg who exists in my imagination. “It’s cybernats that are vile. Everyone knows that. It says so in the Daily Express.”

There are two paths facing Scotland, and we must choose which path to take, do we want the British path, of exclusion, of Brexit, of Tory misrule, of suspicion of foreigners and all that is different. Or do we want the path of joyful inclusion, of peaceful participation – the Scottish path, a path that leads to a better country. The marchers in Glasgow yesterday have chosen which path is best for them, for their families, for this country. Let’s choose the path of peace and inclusion, not the path of hate. Let’s choose the Scottish path, and not have a path chosen for us by Theresa May, by Ruth Davidson, and by far right extremists.

Video thanks to Phantom Power


weegingerdug.scot

The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.


gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Just click the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special 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.

Many thanks.

Aspiring to normality

The UK has a government whose model for building a new relationship with Europe is trashing a bar in Benidorm while on a week long drunken bender. In Tory Britain in the 21st century the only boom industry is the search to find new synonyms for screw up. You may be familiar with the cartoon series Rick and Morty, in which mad genius scientist Rick takes his grandson Morty on adventures through bizarre and disturbing parallel dimensions. This is the dimension where things are so messed up that Rick took one peek before deciding that the dimension in which pickled gherkins are sentient made a lot more sense. Pickled gherkins have more of a spine than anyone in the Conservative party, and you can pick them out of your burger and throw them away because they taste boggin. Scotland is stuck with a bad taste in its mouth from the Tories whatever we do.

This Conservative government is quite possibly the most inept and clueless bunch of chancers ever to occupy high office. Even the many faceted disasterama that was the Labour government during the 1970s contained some highly competent and talented individuals, people who knew what they were doing and who were prepared to take responsibility for their decisions. However saying that Theresa May’s government is composed of second rate chancers on the make is insulting to second rate chancers on the make. Second rate chancers on the make can at least be contracted to a fading end of the pier theatre in a dying seaside resort where their pantomine performances are produced on purpose. Theresa May’s cabinet remain unclear on the distinction between pantomime villains and the Home Office, although they’re quite certainly doing that much at least on purpose too.

You would imagine, in a normal functioning country with a healthy and diverse media and an effective opposition party, that the collection of serial incompetents, big mooths and nae troosers, and vacuous airheads filled with the squeaky helium of Empire would be bumping along the bottom of the opinion polls along with the Flat Earth Liberation Front – which like the Conservatives is seeking an entirely fictitious form of freedom. But no. This is Ukania, the country which makes Donald Trump seem like a beacon of statesmanlike reason. In Ukania the official opposition is almost, but not quite, as incompetent, but is up against a barrage of irrelevance from a Brexit supporting media which views any deviation from the true path to red white and blueness as treason. They should be trouncing the Tories in the opinion polls, but instead they’re slightly behind the pickle party.

Meanwhile in Scotland, we have a media which is far more interested in finding things to attack the devolved administration for than it is examining the disaster into which the British government is taking us. A disaster, moreover, which people in Scotland voted against by a very large margin. Who cares about the Tories being clueless on Brexit except for the opportunity it presents them to destroy the devolution settlement when you can criticise the SNP for the fact that a baby box can be put on fire if you use it to stub out your ciggies while the wean is sleeping in it.

Reading the papers in Scotland is like being trapped on a runaway train that’s headed for a catastrophic collision with the buffers while the guys in the seats next to you spend all their time and energy complaining about how the buffet car isn’t fit for purpose because someone could lose an eye if you stand really heavily on a bag of cheese and onion crisps and burst it. That’s something else for Humza Yousaf to resign for. Just be grateful that the crisp packet isn’t bilingual in Gaelic or there would be a four page special in the Daily Mail about how Thatessempee is politicising potato based snacks.

This week, when it hasn’t been trying to deport people who have lived legally in the UK for over fifty years, the British government has been getting itself in a fankle about customs unions. Almost two years after the EU referendum, the British government is no closer to deciding what sort of trading relationship it can realistically attain with the EU. And time is running out. Instead the British government is still mired in the kind of magical thinking that even the Unseen University wouldn’t consider credible.

On Wednesday, during a meeting of the important members of the cabinet – so not Fluffy Mundell then – Theresa May’s favoured option of a bespoke model “customs partnership” was voted down by the rabid eyed mob. Instead the Brexiteers favour a so called Max Fac model, which sounds like someone at the cosmetics counter at Boots who sprays unwanted scents in your face making you sneeze, and is every bit as irritating. Maximum Facilitation would rely on technology to minimise border checks. Only there’s no technology which can do the job so it would have to be developed from scratch, even if the technology did exist it would be ruinously expensive and complex to implement and the UK hasn’t even started the most basic of preparations, and the EU has already ruled the proposal out so it’s not going to happen. But other than that it’s a great idea.

Not that Theresa May’s customs partnership is any more of a goer, the EU has already ruled that one out too. The UK is either fully outside the customs union, or it accepts all the EU’s rules. Those are the only options on the table no matter how much the British government screws its eyes and tries to visualise something different. Unfortunately for the rest of us, we are caught between reality and the unshakeable belief in British exceptionalism of the British nationalists in the cabinet. It’s all about to come crashing down on top of us, and when it does the British press will be full of stories about how it’s all the fault of the Germans for beating England on penalties.

Today, Thursday, there are local elections in parts of England. It would be great if the good people of England took advantage of the opportunity to give the Tories the kicking that they so richly deserve, but I won’t go holding my breath. It’s not just members of the cabinet who have an unshakeable belief in British exceptionalism. This is why so many of us here in Scotland want independence, because we’d like to live in a country with a realistic view of itself in the world. A country that aspires to normality.

 


weegingerdug.scot

The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.


gingercartoonWee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements

You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Just click the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special 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.

Many thanks.