A string of aubergine emojis

Well that didn’t last long did it. There was Nick Robinson of the BBC and OOooooh Thattalicsammin doesn’t answer questions fame telling us all how the Chequers agreement meant that there would be no more excuses for the EU in the Brexit negotiations, and now we find that the only excuse is the British government itself. And a pretty sorry one at that. Not 48 hours after peace broke out in the warring Conservative cabinet, David Davis went and resigned in a Brexitty huff. David Davis is ex-SAS. He’s been trained to take people out. Mostly, it seems, himself. Not so much Brexit as Dickshit. He is the UK government minister for exiting, but he was only able to exit himself. It’s like a really crap episode of Love Island.

It is wrong to remark on people’s appearances, but you can help but look at David and wonder if he’s the bastard offspring of Benny Hill and some street furniture, only without the political nous. What makes it all the more farcical is that Davey has only gone and resigned from a job that he wasn’t doing over a deal that the EU is going to reject anyway. He had two years and an entire department of hand picked civil servants to figure out something workable. But all that is exiting are the clowns responsible for getting us into this mess. They’ve been agitating for an exit from the EU ever since the UK joined it. They’ve had forty years to come up with an exit plan, and yet here we are, the clock is ticking, Brexit day is months away, and they haven’t even been able to do a deal with one another. There’s as much clarity from the Conservatives on Brexit as you will find in closed coffins in a windowless crypt buried deep underground. Which not coincidentally is where the Conservative cabinet sleeps during the day.

Still, he did write a resignation letter, which is the first document on Brexit that he’s actually managed to produce. It wasn’t a very long letter, but it’s still considerably more detailed than anything that he’s managed to negotiate with the EU. The letter was petulant and snarky, so exactly like the attitude of Brexiteers to the EU then. David helped to trigger Article 50, created utter chaos, has no position on Brexit beyond stamping his foot and demanding that Germany will keep importing cars, negotiated absolutely nothing workable or coherent, and now he’s off in a huff as though he’s the victim here. And now he can pretend that the disaster that’s about to befall us all isn’t his fault. This is all about covering his own arse within the Tory party.

Boris Johnson was pure beelin that someone else in the Tory party was putting their career before the good of the rest of us, because that’s supposed to be his job. So the very next day he resigned as well. It’s a sign of just how bad relations have got within the Conservatives that Theresa May’s office announced his resignation before Boris even had time to write his resignation letter. That’s because Tories devote more time to writing about their own career plans than they do writing proposals that the EU is actually going to accept.

Donald Trump is arriving for a visit on Friday, and at this rate there will be no one left to meet him at the airport. This is quite possibly the only positive to come out of this entire sorry debacle. Can Ross Thomson resign too now please? Pretty please. There’s that old saying, would the last person to leave please turn out the lights, but in Ross’s case the lights were turned out a very long time ago.

There are three months to go until the UK needs to put its final and acceptable proposals to the EU, and the Conservatives would prefer to force a leadership contest within the Conservative party, a contest which takes three months. Meanwhile a woman in Wiltshire has died after being exposed to a nerve agent, and the government is blaming the Russians. So according to our government, there’s a foreign power killing innocent British citizens in quiet English towns, the entire UK is staring at the precipice of a calamitous no-deal exit from the EU, the devolution settlement is in ruins and the Irish Peace Process is threatened like never before. That same Donald Trump who is arriving for a visit on Friday is tearing up world trade settlements and sparking off a global trade war at the very time that the UK is faced with leaving the EU without a deal. And what’s the priority for the Conservatives? Spending the next three months arguing about the party leadership.

Meanwhile the Labour party is equally divided and equally clueless on the subject of Brexit, and the only reason that no one is demanding that they be held to account for it is because everyone is transfixed by the Tory pantomime. Labour are naturally calling for a General Election, presumably so that they can abstain on that as well. Their own leadership is sadly lacking. At PMQ’s on a day when the Prime Minister had lost her Foreign Secretary and her Brexit Secretary, Jeremy Corbyn was still unable to make an impression on a Prime Minister whose operating system was stuck in a nothing has changed, nothing has changed, loop.

On Monday there were reports that representatives of Theresa May were “reaching out” to the SNP for support. So that will go well. Perhaps before realising that she was going to require the support of the SNP she shouldn’t have trashed the devolution settlement and took it upon herself to unilaterally rule out a future independence referendum. Mind you, Ruth Davidson did take time out of her busy schedule of avoiding questions on the Dark Money scandal in order to release a statement supporting the PM, and blaming the SNP for wanting another independence referendum.

The truth is that neither a Conservative leadership election nor a general election will solve anything at all. Despite everything, in the rest of the UK the Tories are still ahead of the opposition in the polls. The problem with British politics is too deep rooted. It’s a problem of British nationalism’s unrealistic and fantastical view of its place in the world, a view based in nostalgia for an empire and great power status that has long gone. It was the Prime Minister of Denmark who said that there are only two kinds of European country, those which realise that they are small countries, and those which don’t realise that they are small countries. Scotland is the first, the UK is the latter. They say that politics is the art of the possible, but what’s possible depends on what is realistic.

The only way that this problem can be solved is either by the cancellation of Brexit and the acceptance by British nationalists of reality, which is hardly likely to happen, or with a Scottish independence referendum which will allow Scotland to forge its own path, a path based on a realistic and accurate understanding of the world and our place in it. The independence movement needs to stop talking about the best time for an independence referendum, and start talking about the dire necessity for one. The British government isn’t going to get us out of this mess, we need to get out of it ourselves.

In the history books of the future, this period of British politics will be described quite simply as, “Oh my God. What the actual … !?” Followed by string of emojis of aubergines and crying faces.


Mapa Gàidhlig na h-Alba / Gaelic Map of Scotland

albarevisedThe Gaelic map of Scotland is now available, the cost is £15 plus £7 P&P within the UK. Please note P&P outwith the UK is more expensive. P&P to Europe is £10, P&P to the rest of the world is £15. If you require multiple copies of the map, you only need pay once for P&P, up to 3 copies of the map which is the maximum that can fit in one postal tube.

You can purchase a copy of the map by Paypal by clicking the donate button at the end of this page and entering the requisite amount. Please also include the address to which the map should be posted. If you prefer another payment method, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for alternatives. Please note that copies of my books are also still available.


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. Please log into Paypal.com and send a payment to the email address weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Or alternatively click the donate button.
Donate Button

If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a map by making a payment directly into my 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.

Coming next door to home

So apparently there’s a fitba competition on. It’s not like it’s important or anything. It’s hardly RuPaul’s Drag Race, but it’s being foisted upon us all. English fitba commentators on the telly keep saying “we”, which comes as something of a surprise to those of us of a Caledonian, Cymric, or Hibernian persuasion, who were not aware that “we” were playing. Now because Engurland have got through to the semifinals, the telly is full of English sports pundits telling everyone that “we” are bringing fitba home.

There is a common misconception that those of us in Scotland don’t want England to win at the fitba because we hate the English. This is not true. The real reason that so many people in Scotland don’t want England to win at the fitba is because when England does win the British media, which people in Scotland also pay for, is, to use a technical term, unfuckingbearable.

It’s not that Scotland doesn’t want England to win because Scots hate the English. It’s that we don’t want England to win because English sports commentators on that telly that we have to pay a licence fee for too are poor losers and even worse winners. Sports commentators are Brexit writ large. They have an unshakeable conviction that the English team is special and that the world owes it. They are the Donald Trumps of sport. It’s their arrogance which sticks in the craw of so many people in Scotland, and so when the English team loses the reaction of a great many people north of the border is precisely the same as the reaction that you get when you’re watching a Youtube video of some smart arse attempting a show off bicycle trick only they fall badly and smash their testicles on a railing. This has nothing to do with being anti-English, and everything to do with the satisfaction of seeing a self-assured balloon being burst.

Lest anyone claim that I am merely saying this because I am a Scottish person who is jealous because the Scottish team is rubbish, I’d just like to point out that I give precisely the square root of hee-haw about the fortunes of the Scottish team. I’m an equal opportunities bigot when it comes to fitba. A plague on all your houses, and teams. I find a never ending sense of amusement at the emotional energy my compatriots put into a sport which we as a nation are spectacularly shite at. Scottish fitba is the very definition of the triumph of hope over experience. I care a great deal that Shangela was robbed on Drag Race All Stars 3. Caring about a fitba team being robbed, not so much.

However I do care about historical accuracy. Can we just get one thing straight please. If England does manage to win the World Cup, football will not be coming home. It will be coming to next door to home, because England didn’t invent the fitba. It would be Scotland which invented the game the world now calls football, except America. But then Americans don’t play any sport that any other country plays because that way the American team always gets to win. That’s how they can have a national baseball competition and call it the World Series. Bless.

While we’re at it, Scotland also invented golf, curling, and the word fuck.  I don’t pay enough attention to golf to know whether we’re any good at it or not, because golf is possibly the only sport on the planet which is more boring than cricket, and that’s quite some achievement. That’s like saying that there’s a politician who’s even more boring and lacking in charisma than the monotone and grey James Kelly MSP. I present you Richard Leonard, the golf of politics.

Apparently Scotland is quite good at curling, but no one really gives a shit about curling so that’s not much of a claim. It’s just lawn bowling for freezing people and it only manages to surface in the public consciousness once every four years when the winter Olympics are on and the sports commentators on the telly are desperately in search of a sport that Team GB doesn’t suck at. Usually Team GB does as well at the Winter Olympics as it does at Brexit. The British curling team is of course made up of Scottish people, but you’re not allowed to say that on TV in case you upset Clare Balding. Scottish is not “we”, apparently.

We, but not in the sense that Clare Balding understands it, so Scottish people then, are however world champions at the swerry wurds. The word fuck was first attested in literature in the poetry of the Scottish writer Dunbar, and according to the Oxford English Dictionary the word most likely has a “northern” origin. Which means Scotland. Just ask Gordie Broon. So that’s a fucking result. Unfortunately the world swerry championship isn’t broadcast by the BBC, even though it’s very much in evidence in every home in Scotland that’s tuned into BBC Question Time of a Thursday. Or to give it its proper title, Fucking BBC Tory Panel Question Time With That Spunkmuppet Wankgob Farage Who Can Fuck Right Off And Then Come Back So He Can Fuck Off Again And Where The Fuck Did They Find All Those Fucking Tories in Dundee.

But back to the fitba, which Scotland invented. The world’s oldest surviving football was discovered behind some panelling in Stirling Castle, and is thought to date to 1540. Coincidentally, this was also the last time that the local fitba team won anything. There are documents showing that King James IV paid two Scots shillings for a bag of “fut ballis” in 1497. The forerunners of the modern rules of the game were emerging in Scotland during the 15th and 16th centuries, hundreds of years before anything similar occurred in England.

What the English FA came up with when it was founded in 1863 was a rather different game, something of a cross between rugby and a bar-room brawl. It was in fact considerably more lethal than tablet, which is pretty dangerous indeed and which likewise quite often results in the loss of teeth. The game that was first standardised by the early Football Association in England had rather more in common with what we now know as Australian Rules Football, a contact sport allowing handling the ball and running with it. It was this early form of proto-football that the first colonists took to Australia and played when they were having a wee break from committing genocide on Native Australians.

It took Scottish people to refine the raw and violent game being played in England with the sophistication of hundreds of years of Scottish grace. The modern form of the game was devised in 1867 in Glasgow, with the invention of passing. The lads who gathered to play at Queens Park had obtained a copy of the English FA’s rules, and amended it to create the game that’s played all around the world today. The average Scot was physically smaller because of malnutrition, which was widely considered to be a Union benefit back in Victorian times. And indeed still is according to Iain Duncan Smith. The reason they changed the rules was to give the physically smaller Scots a level playing field against the physically larger English players. Football wasn’t a game invented by the English. Quite the reverse, it was a game invented so that the English could be taken on. Those early Scottish exponents of what was now the beautiful game went south to teach it to England, and became known as the Scotch Professors.

So in the unlikely event that England does win in Russia, we will at least be spared all those pundits on the telly greetin like weans about how they were robbed. Instead we’ll just have the triumphalism and they’ll be going on about it ad nauseum for the next 100 years. I’m kinda hoping that they do win because it’s quite likely to make a lot of people in Scotland vote for independence as that will be the only way that we can get it off the pissin’ TV. But the England team won’t be “bringing football home”. They’ll be bringing it next door. Close, but no cigar.


 

Mapa Gàidhlig na h-Alba / Gaelic Map of Scotland

albarevisedThe Gaelic map of Scotland is now available, the cost is £15 plus £7 P&P within the UK. Please note P&P outwith the UK is more expensive. P&P to Europe is £10, P&P to the rest of the world is £15. If you require multiple copies of the map, you only need pay once for P&P, up to 3 copies of the map which is the maximum that can fit in one postal tube.

You can purchase a copy of the map by Paypal by clicking the donate button at the end of this page and entering the requisite amount. Please also include the address to which the map should be posted. If you prefer another payment method, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for alternatives. Please not that copies of my books are also still available.


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

If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a map by making a payment directly into my 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.

Theresa’s Brexit fudge makes independence sweeter

The UK cabinet has finally, after two long gruelling years of fighting, back-stabbing, briefing against one another, and flying off to Afghanistan in order to avoid the war zone that is the parliamentary Conservative party, agreed to agree with one another about a Brexit proposal that it can put to Brussels. That’s how bad things have got within the British cabinet. Boris Johnson would rather go and face the Taliban than face his colleagues. But a deal has been agreed now. Well, I say “agreed”, what that really means is that they have agreed that they are in a meeting to reach an agreement and no one is going to resign over it, at least not this weekend.

Outside the cabinet, Jacob Rees Mogg isn’t happy about it, but he’s never been happy with anything that isn’t written in Ancient Greek or which doesn’t involve sending children up chimneys, so like, meh. Who cares.  He’ll be all over your TV talking about betrayal in five, four, three …  The Brexit saga has been the biggest load of crap ever on the telly, with the possible exception of Love Island, although both involve narcissists who don’t have a clue how they appear to other people.

Meanwhile over at the Herald, the newspaper that really has its finger on the pulse of what counts in Scottish politics and how this deal affects us, they’re going to run a story about how an SNP MSP once bought some Edinburgh rock for a group of eight year olds on a school trip to Holyrood.

The entire British cabinet has been sequestered in Chequers in order to reach this breakthrough. Usually when a group of middle class people are stuck in a country mansion for the weekend and their phones are confiscated and they are cut off from the outside world, at least one of them gets murdered. We know this because we’ve all seen Midsomer Murders. But the only thing that has been killed off this time are the hopes and dreams of an entire generation, so that’s OK then.

Theresa’s deal is being widely hailed in the British press as the greatest breakthrough in the Brexit negotiations since the EU referendum, or at least in the only part of the Brexit negotiations with which the British Conservative party has concerned itself, which would be negotiating with other British Conservatives and coming up with a solution that can avoid another general election and the risk that Jeremy Corbyn might get elected. Hating Jeremy Corbyn is the only thing that they can really agree on. Well that and jeering at any suggestion from the SNP that Scotland’s needs ought to be taken into account. The important thing is that a deal has been struck. It’s just a pity that Brussels has already ruled the deal out as a non-starter.

According to one senior Tory, if this was the plan that Theresa May had come up with when she’d first become Prime Minister, she’d have been gone within two weeks. Time is running out, and faced with an impending doom that not even Gordie Broon would dare forecast, the cabinet has been forced to sign up to a proposal that the hard line Brexiteers in the party are going to loathe. The only reason that the hard line Brexiteers in the cabinet have accepted it, or at least aren’t openly opposing it for the time being, is because they have precisely the square root of hee-haw to offer in its place. They have no plan. They have no vision. All they have is an atavistic hatred of all things EU. They dream of a magical land of favourable trade deals, at the very time that their idol Donald Trump is sparking off a global trade war.

The problem however is that this deal, with its plan to end free movement but at the same time for the UK to continue to enjoy access to the single market is precisely the kind of cherry picking that the EU has always said it will not accept. From the very beginning the EU has said that the four freedoms, freedom of movement of capital, services, goods, and labour cannot and will not be divided. If you want one, you must accept the other three. It’s taken the shower of malign incompetents in the cabinet two years to come up with this. If you want free trade, you must accept free movement of people. That’s the bitter pill for the Tories that no amount of fudge can sweeten.

What’s likely to happen now is that the UK’s position will soften even further after more negotiations with the EU. That’s why the Brexiteers are beelin. The EU has seen the door open to a soft Brexit, and it’s going to push. The EU has been very clear since the beginning. On day one after the Brexit vote the EU told the UK what options the UK had, and on day 750 after the Brexit vote the EU is still telling the UK that the options remain the same.

The UK’s new position leaves open the possibility that freedom of movement will remain and signals that there will be further concessions from Downing Street. We all know who has the weak hand in this game of poker, and it’s not the EU. The press release published by Number 10 speaks of the possibility of a “mobility framework so that UK and EU citizens can continue to travel to each other’s countries to study and work”. It looks as though the British government is preparing to retain freedom of movement but simply to rename it and pretend that it’s something entirely different and new. Theresa’s red lines are already a pale pink, and getting paler.

For us in Scotland Theresa May’s panicking realisation that a soft Brexit is the only realistic option means that it’s going to be easier for the Scottish independence movement to kill off the current argument most favoured by opponents of independence. That would be the argument that most of Scotland’s trade is with the rest of the UK and not with the EU, the so-called UK single market argument.

Since May is now seeking frictionless borders with the EU then an independent Scotland that is a member of the customs union and the EU single market will also enjoy frictionless borders with the rest of the UK. There will be a single market for goods, services, agriculture, and no perceptible border between Gretna and Berwick. The last great anti-independence argument has just bitten the dust, killed off by the Tories who’ve touted it. Theresa’s fudge means that the case for independence just got sweeter.


Mapa Gàidhlig na h-Alba / Gaelic Map of Scotland

albarevisedThe Gaelic map of Scotland is now available, the cost is £15 plus £7 P&P within the UK. Please note P&P outwith the UK is more expensive. P&P to Europe is £10, P&P to the rest of the world is £15. If you require multiple copies of the map, you only need pay once for P&P, up to 3 copies of the map which is the maximum that can fit in one postal tube.

You can purchase a copy of the map by Paypal by clicking the donate button at the end of this page and entering the requisite amount. Please also include the address to which the map should be posted. If you prefer another payment method, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for alternatives. Please not that copies of my books are also still available.


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

If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a map by making a payment directly into my 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.

Nemo meam tabletam impune lacessit

You may take our Scottish Parliament. You may take our devolution settlement. You may take our membership of the European Union. But so long as 100 of us remain alive we will never consent to you taking our tablet. I think that you will find that although politics are rarified and boring for the majority, Scottish people get very exercised about our favourite sugary snacks. Nemo meam tabletam impune lacessit. Wha daur meddle wi ma tablet. That’s an indyref trigger all by itself.

Personally I am devastated. My mother used to make tablet for us kids when I was a wean. Amongst other things she’d make tablet, blackcurrant jam from the berries we picked from the bushes that grew beside the burn at the end of our wee back garden, and pies from the rhubarb my dad grew in a wee patch. All of which involved industrial quantities of sugar. There was me thinking that it was a labour of love, and now it turns out that she was just trying to kill us. She votes SNP. It all makes sense now.

Compare and contrast, Ruth Davidson goes on a telly show and puts large quantities of sugar and other unhealthy ingredients into cakes and the Scottish media blows smoke up her self-regarding arse. The Scottish Tory leaderene could drown kittens live on national TV and the Scottish press would only go and publish a story about how Ruth Davidson is so talented and resourceful that she can make a nourishing and protein filled soup out of the most surprising ingredients. But SNP childrens’ minister Maree Todd makes a traditional Scottish sweetie for kids in care and all of a sudden it’s the worst SNPbad scandal since the last one. Which was only the day before yesterday. There was me, writing in this blog just the other day about the blatant and obvious double standards of the British nationalist media in Scotland, and then within the week they helpfully illustrate their mendacity through the medium of confectionary.

Sometimes you read the Scottish press and weep. Sometimes you wonder why it is that people are losing faith and trust in the traditional media. Sometimes you worry that the world is going to hell in a handbasket held by the tiny little hands of Donald Trump and egged on by swivel eyed Brexiteers. Then you open a Scottish newspaper and read an article about complaining about tablet written, without any obvious sense of irony, by a paper’s head politics honcho about Scottish Tory deputy leader Jackson Carlaw criticising Maree Todd because of a tablet recipe, and go, “Oh … Right. Well that explains a lot.”

Maybe it’s all just some sort of joke. Perhaps the press hacks in the British nationalist press in Scotland are really engaging in some sort of competition to find the most ridiculous and trivial subject to turn into an attack on the SNP, and by proxy the campaign for independence, and are trying to see how schtupit they can get before getting slapped down by common sense. But they destroyed any semblance of common sense a very long time ago. And now we’ve got tabletgate. This is how civilisation ends. It ends because our political masters in Westminster are engaged in an epic act of self-destruction, but the Scottish press is more concerned about recipes for tablet.

Oh my god! Thatessempee! They’re giving weans tablet! Never mind Brexit. Never mind the destruction of the devolution settlement. Never mind the constitutional crisis. Never mind the harm that’s going to be wrought on the economy and the UK’s standing in the world because of the Conservative government’s infighting and confusion. Never mind that the Tories are hell bent on taking the UK out of the EU at the very time that Donald Trump is sparking off a global trade war. An SNP politician has been giving weans sweeties! That’s the real story of the day. Will no one think of the children! Tablet, it’s the Scottish nationalist chemical weapon. Over the weekend the UK government will put out a press release saying that they are testing the Salisbury area for traces of tablet.

It was Napoleon who reputedly said that you shouldn’t interrupt your enemies when they’re making a mistake, but I’d just like to say to the wee bubble of the Scottish press, take a wee step back lads (and they are, overwhelmingly lads) and take a good hard look at yourselves. Because you appear to have lost the ability to see yourselves as others see you. Here’s a wee hint to help you out. See when you repeat petty and pettit lipped Scottish Tory attack lines without any apparent sense of self-awareness, it’s you who are left looking ridiculous. We know that Jackson Carlaw is ridiculous. Any man who apparently believes that Gaelic road signs cause potholes lost any right to be taken seriously a very long time ago, but it’s your job as reporters to put politicians into perspective. In the case of Jackson, that perspective is somewhere in the very far distance, underneath a Gaelic road sign looking for potholes while the rest of us look on with tablet, ju-jubes, soor plums, and Highland toffee.

It’s a pity that the Scottish press hasn’t been capable of finding the same energy and enthusiasm about investigating and publicising the Scottish Conservatives’ dark money scandal as they have investigating and publicising Jackson Carlaw’s childish attack on a Scottish children’s favourite. Incidentally, that’s the same Jackson Carlaw who once promoted a tablet company which was run by a Tory friend of his. Tory tablet good. SNP tablet bad. All you’ve got to do with Scottish tablet is to stick a union fleg on the packaging and call it British, and all of a sudden sugary stuff is good for you. That’s the Conservatives for you, drowning Scotland in a vat of Brexit treacle and telling us that they’re doing it for our own good.

To be fair, some representatives of the press in Scotland are at least trying. The National has been banging on about the Scottish Conservatives’ donations scandal all week. On Friday, Gary Roberston of the BBC tweeted that in the entire UK, there is not one single representative available in the Conservative party to speak about the Scottish Tory donations scandal, that’s because their representatives are far too busy speaking about tablet. Maybe if the Scottish press should tell the Tories that they want to ask them about tablet and then slip in some questions about the Electoral Commission’s investigation of the dark money affair.

Now we’ve got a new symbol for the independence movement, faced with a choice between traditional sweet Scottish tablet or the unpalatable Brexit fudge being served up by Theresa May, it’s an easy choice.


Mapa Gàidhlig na h-Alba / Gaelic Map of Scotland

albarevisedThe Gaelic map of Scotland is now available, the cost is £15 plus £7 P&P within the UK. Please note P&P outwith the UK is more expensive. P&P to Europe is £10, P&P to the rest of the world is £15. If you require multiple copies of the map, you only need pay once for P&P, up to 3 copies of the map which is the maximum that can fit in one postal tube.

You can purchase a copy of the map by Paypal by clicking the donate button at the end of this page and entering the requisite amount. Please also include the address to which the map should be posted. If you prefer another payment method, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for alternatives. Please not that copies of my books are also still available.


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

If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a map by making a payment directly into my 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.

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We are the people, and we can say yes

It is a fundamental principle of the Scottish constitutional debate that the people of Scotland constitute the sovereign body in this land, not the Westminster Parliament, not Theresa May or any other British Prime Minister. The people of Scotland have asserted their sovereign rights ever since the Declaration of Arbroath of 6 April 1320. According to many it was one of the first ever declarations of popular sovereignty, presaging modern democratic understanding by many centuries. The Declaration asserted that the independence of Scotland, and by implication the choice of the form of Scottish government, was the prerogative of the Scottish people, one which no monarch could usurp.

The modern incarnation of the Declaration of Arbroath is the Scottish Claim of Right of 1989. The Claim of right asserts that the people of Scotland possess the sovereign right to determine the form of government best suited to their needs. Despite the Treaty of Union, this is a right which is inalienable. It is a right which cannot be usurped by any monarch, nor by implication by any Prime Minister who sees their authority deriving from the sovereignty of the Crown in the Westminster parliament. The principle asserted in the Scottish Claim of Right in 1989 remains the principle underpinning not just the Scottish independence movement, but underpinning the entire edifice of Scottish governance, encompassing both the Holyrood and Westminster parliaments.

That right was reasserted yesterday in the House of Commons, amidst the jeers, boos, and catcalls of Conservative MPs. David Cameron’s respect agenda is working out really well, isn’t it. It died when that Tory MP shouted out “suicide” when Ian Blackford asked what options were open to Scotland within the UK.

The debate was called at the insistence of the SNP, in order to express in the chamber of the House of Commons that the Scottish Parliament has rejected those parts of the EU Exit bill which impact upon the devolution settlement. It was a reminder to the Conservative government that it does not have the right to use Brexit to usurp the will of the Scottish people as expressed during the referendum of 1997, and reinforced by the promises and commitments made to the people of Scotland by the anti-independence parties in 2014.

The significance of the Claim of Right is that Westminster only governs Scotland because the people of Scotland consent for it to do so. If that is to have any meaning at all, then the people of Scotland have the absolute right to withdraw that consent. The people of Scotland do not need to ask Westminster’s permission in order to consider whether we wish to withdraw our consent. If you have to ask permission in order to consider whether you wish to withdraw consent, then you have no right to withdraw consent. That would mean that absolute sovereignty in Scotland rests with the Westminster Parliament, and not with the people of Scotland. It means we’re not a partner, not a constituent part of a union, it means that in the eyes of the Westminster government there is no substantive difference between Scotland and an English county council. We already know that that is precisely how they see is. That is why the union is as good as dead.

For the entire period of the existence of this so-called Union, Westminster has acted as though that was the case, as though it possesses absolute sovereignty in Scotland. But that’s only because the people of Scotland have tacitly permitted it to do so. For most of the existence of the UK the Westminster Parliament was the only elected forum through which Scotland could express its democratic will. That was why Margaret Thatcher said back in the 1980s that if the people of Scotland wanted independence, all that they had to do was to vote for an SNP majority amongst Scottish representatives to the Commons.

We can withdraw that permission at any time we choose, and we can do so through the means of another elected body which represents the whole of the people of this country. We have such a body in the form of the Scottish Parliament. The Westminster Parliament might have drawn up the Scotland Act with the express intention of reserving all sovereignty to itself, but the point of the Claim of Right and the long tradition of Scottish constitutionalism upon which it rests is that no parliament can abrogate the sovereignty of the people of Scotland to itself.

The significance of the Claim of Right is that if another body representing the collective will of the people of Scotland possesses a mandate for an independence referendum, no UK government has the right to prevent it. What the Claim of Right means is that the people of Scotland do not require anyone’s permission for an independence referendum. It is a reminder to Westminster that the UK is a multinational state, founded by the union of two sovereign nations. Sovereignty in the Kingdom of England is founded upon the sovereignty of the crown in parliament. Sovereignty in Scotland is founded upon the collective will of the people of Scotland.

Scottish popular sovereignty didn’t end with the Treaty of Union in no small measure because the Treaty of Union itself specified that the institutions of the Scottish state, other than Scotland’s old parliament, were to continue unaffected. Scots Law was not subsumed into English Law. Scottish sovereignty was to be exercised by the Westminster Parliament, but it was not abolished by it, nor was it subservient to it. That remained the case as long as there was no other elected body possessing a mandate from the people of Scotland as a whole.

Any body elected by the people of Scotland as a whole, and accountable to the people of Scotland as a whole, can bring such a referendum about if it possesses a mandate from the people of Scotland to do so, because it’s the people of Scotland who are sovereign. Sovereignty means we don’t need to ask or to beg, we require no one’s blessing. It means that Westminster’s permission is not required. Theresa May can say no, but we are the people and we can say yes. It would be fitting indeed if we were to have reasserted the sovereign right of the people of this country by the week of 6 April 2020, the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath.


Mapa Gàidhlig na h-Alba / Gaelic Map of Scotland

albarevisedThe Gaelic map of Scotland is now available, the cost is £15 plus £7 P&P within the UK. Please note P&P outwith the UK is more expensive. P&P to Europe is £10, P&P to the rest of the world is £15. If you require multiple copies of the map, you only need pay once for P&P, up to 3 copies of the map which is the maximum that can fit in one postal tube.

You can purchase a copy of the map by Paypal by clicking the donate button at the end of this page and entering the requisite amount. Please also include the address to which the map should be posted. If you prefer another payment method, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for alternatives.


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.

Dark money and double standards

Whenever there’s the slightest whiff of a scandal involving an SNP politician, the Scottish media is all over it like Gordie Broon at a doomsaying convention. The business dealings of the former Edinburgh West MP Michelle Thomson were constantly chewed over by a Scottish media that worried at her like a zombie dug with a bone for months. There were telly interviews with concerned faces who expressed how sad they were. Glenn Campbell was about to fly off to America to do a TV special about how appalled people across the Atlantic were by it all. Yet after months and months of constant snide implications and overt SNPbaddery, it turned out in the end that Michelle had done absolutely nothing wrong.  There was a pipsqueak blink and you’d miss it acknowledgement buried away somewhere.

This week the Scottish media has worked itself into a lather over some unpleasant and nasty comments made by the SNP MSP Gillian Martin about trans people in a blog that she wrote many years ago before she was elected. Her promotion to the Scottish cabinet was overturned the moment that the comments came to light. It was quite right that Gillian’s promotion was overturned, but the point here is that she wasn’t even allowed to take up her position. No harm was therefore done, at least at the level of the Scottish Government. That hasn’t stopped the Scottish media ruminating on the entire episode at inordinate length, because, you know, SNPbad. Glenn Campbell might still be off to do a TV special across the Atlantic if he can secure an interview with Caitlyn Jenner.

This is not to excuse poor behaviour by individuals in the SNP. But that’s not the point. The point is that all poor behaviour by political parties should be investigated with equal rigour.  Right now the entire Scottish Conservative party is enmeshed in a scandal which is systematic and which potentially goes to the very highest levels of the party. Naturally the bold and brave Scottish media is reacting to the Scottish Conservative dark money scandal with equal aclarity and zeal as they do when an individual SNP politician messes up. Ha! Suuuure it is. The only time that the British nationalist media in Scotland is interested in the Scottish Conservatives is when Ruth Davidson does a cheeky photo-op with a dead fish which mouths the words Scotland doesn’t want another referendum. That dead fish possesses more independence of thought.

Thanks to investigations carried out by the online newspaper The Ferret, we discovered that prior to the General Election, the Scottish Conservatives received some £319,000 in donations from a shady organisation calling itself the Scottish Unionist Association Trust, an organisation which has apparently been bankrolling the Conservatives in Scotland for years. The SUAT has not responded to requests to reveal the source of the donations, and the Scottish media isn’t exactly hounding them on the matter. After all, who really cares about the fact that the Scottish Tories might be using dark money to influence the results of Scottish elections when you can hound an SNP politician who’s already resigned for comments she made in a blog years and years ago.

Over the course of the past few years, election spending by the Scottish Conservatives has soared from the £275,000 that they spent in the 2011 election, to the £978,921 that they spent in 2016. According to Open Democracy, a large part of this money was funnelled through Conservative Central Office in London, much of the rest came through unincorporated organisations and obscure trusts. We don’t actually know who is behind the money, and the great majority of the Scottish media has no apparent interest in finding out.

It’s not coincidental that the electoral gains made by Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives™ came on the back of Scottish households being flooded by Tory propaganda which is being paid for by murky figures who have not been identified. Who are these people, and what influence are they exerting behind the scenes in Ruth’s party? What do they expect in return for their donations of large amounts of money? We cannot have any confidence that they expect nothing if they can’t or won’t be identified. This is an issue that strikes at the very heart of democracy in Scotland. Not that you’d know that from reading the papers or watching the TV.

The former Vice-Chair of SUAT, a certain Richard Cook, was the same individual who in his capacity as chair of the equally murky Constitutional Research Council, donated £435,000 to the DUP before the EU referendum. This money was used to take out a pro-Brexit advert in the Metro newspaper, a newspaper which isn’t published in Northern Ireland. This came to light thanks to an investigation by BBC Northern Ireland. BBC Scotland, not so much.

Today we discovered that the electoral commission has ruled that the Vote Leave campaign broke electoral rules during the EU referendum because it funnelled a large amount of money to another organisation called BeLeave. There is no transparency in electoral donations in the UK, and that’s a serious problem in a country where there is no written constitution and no effective constitutional separation between the various arms of government.

It’s even worse in a country like Scotland where the overwhelming bulk of the media is not prepared or willing to investigate suspicious goings on within the British establishment in Scotland for fear of stirring up support for independence. The role of the Scottish media isn’t to speak truth unto power, it’s to keep a lid on the independence movement.

I’ve said this before but it bears repeating, even on their own terms pro-British institutions are failing Scotland.  They will not defend Scotland’s interests within the UK because they are more concerned about not giving succour to the independence movement.  Their failure only underlines the need for Scotland to get out of this dysfunctional state. There’s a lot of discussion about the best time to have another independence referendum, perhaps instead we ought to be talking about the necessary time.

There is serious and credible evidence that the Tories may be buying Scottish elections, but with a few honourable exceptions the overwhelmingly anti-independence Scottish media doesn’t care. The Herald is far more interested in telling us what Jim Sillars thinks about Nicola Sturgeon’s judgement. Which is what it did last week, and the week before, and the week before that. It splashed a story on the front page of its website about an independent councillor from the Western Isles who was reprimanded for failing to declare he held a stake in a family company. Thank the gods he wasn’t an SNP councillor, or it would have been the lead story and would also have occupied most of Reporting Scotland’s time and energy for the next few months. The actual amount of broadcasting time that BBC Scotland has devoted to the Scottish Conservative dark money scandal is approximately the same that they’ve devoted to publicising this blog.

Meanwhile over at the Scotsman, the truly pressing issue of the day is that the SNP forced the Commons to a vote during the England v Colombia fitba match. Boo, and indeed, hoo. Aware that public sympathy for the entertainment opportunities of Conservative MPs is likely to be limited to people who have no functioning conscience, so other Conservative MPs then, the Scotsman mewed that it was really concerned about the staff in the House of Commons who missed the game. Which is the first time in history that anyone has said that they wanted Black Rod to erupt when the guys stuck one in but now he’s been rubbed up the wrong way, at least outside a gay porn movie.

Apparently Tory MPs missing the fitba is far more important than the fate of Scottish democracy. If you wanted an illustration of the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the British nationalist media in Scotland, there you have it. They don’t shoot. They fail to score. It’s all of Scotland which loses.


Mapa Gàidhlig na h-Alba / Gaelic Map of Scotland

albarevisedThe Gaelic map of Scotland is now available, the cost is £15 plus £7 P&P within the UK. Please note P&P outwith the UK is more expensive. P&P to Europe is £10, P&P to the rest of the world is £15. If you require multiple copies of the map, you only need pay once for P&P, up to 3 copies of the map which is the maximum that can fit in one postal tube.

You can purchase a copy of the map by Paypal by clicking the donate button at the end of this page and entering the requisite amount. Please also include the address to which the map should be posted. If you prefer another payment method, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for alternatives.


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.

Broontervening for beginners

Gordie Broon has been at it again, broontervening. You log onto the website of a Scottish newspaper, cos you’ll not pay for the print copy, and there he is. Looming in the dooming, which is the North British version of roaming in the gloaming. Normal countries look to their media outlets for a reflection of themselves. Scotland looks to its media and sees Gordie Broon lurking in the darkness, the Titanic iceberg with a creepy grin. This time its the NHS which is going to be sunk if Scotland dares to imagine that it could make a better fist of running its own affairs than Westminster.

Gordie is like the grumpy auld man from Up, only he never goes away and his idea of paradise is pacing up and down a carpet in front of an invited audience of adoring Labour hacks followed by an equally adoring interview on BBC Scotland. Which means that at least he’s still surrounded by balloons and that ridiculous bird brained creature. Which isn’t a nice thing to say about James Kelly MSP, but neither is common sense being pecked to death by a chicken, which pretty much sums up James’s entire contribution to Scottish politics.

We should be grateful to Gordon Brown for at least one thing. He’s gifted the English language, or at least the Scottish variety thereof, with a new verb : to broontervene. Broontervening is when you interject in a conversation or discussion to say how utterly rubbish Scotland is going to be after independence and how we’re all dooooomed. The extra o’s are compulsory in broontervening. It conjugates as follows – I broontervene, you broontervene, Gordon Brown makes a new intervention in the Scottish constitutional debate. Broontervening is the surest way possible to get the attention of the British nationalist press in Scotland. They can’t resist picking at the scabs of the Scottish Cringe. They’ve been doing it forever and it’s all that they know. It’s as old as the dirt that they sleep in.

The more unhinged the broontervening is from reality, the better. After all, we’ve already been informed in all seriousness by people masquerading as grown ups that after independence England would be forced to bomb our airports, that Magrit Curran’s weans would be foreign, that Scottish independence will result in a global calamity, and – worst of all – that Doctor Who will be prohibited entry into any part of the space-time continuum that contains a Scottish person. He/she can’t be stopped by Daleks, Cybermen, the Master, or the Autons, but confront the Doctor with a granny from Methil wearing a 45 badge and the universe implodes.

Whatever the details, all broontervening results in the same outcome. Dooooom. The only thing that an independent Scotland will possess in abundance is extra letter o’s for the word dooooooom. Scotland will possess so many doooooom laden letter o’s that they will rip through the fabric of space-time, which explains the inability of Doctor Who to be seen in an independent Scotland, and will also create potholes in the roads. That latter effect will at least have the benefit of stopping Jackson Carlaw from blaming them all on Gaelic roadsigns. When you’re a victim of broontervening you have to take what small comfort you can find.

We have the stellar broontervening of the Gordie himself, the Jar Jar Binks of politics. Even the people who foist him on us can’t abide him but they won’t say so to his face. More mundane broontervening happens all the time whenever anyone raises the topic of Scottish independence in the company of someone who says that they only buy the Daily Record for the sports pages. Or even says something about Scotland that doesn’t imply that all things Caledonian are not entirely rubbish. It’s the Daily Record sports pages contagion effect. Just because Scotland has a national fitba team that hasn’t qualified for anything since the last time anyone other than a Scottish journalist took Gordie seriously, then everything else about Scotland must be shite too.

So for example my neighbour was broontervening when he claimed that Scottish independence would result in the loss of 200,000 jobs in the oil industry in Aberdeen. Since the population of Aberdeen is only 200,000, this would mean that every single person in the city would lose their job, including those people who don’t actually have a proper job. Like small children, the elderly, and that person in the Aberdeen Labour party who makes excuses for doing a deal on the cooncil with the Tories. They’d all lose the jobs they don’t have, along with schoolteachers, the guys on the bin lorry, the people who work in Greggs, and the people in the local anti-independence parties who design and print broontervening leaflets. That last of which might not be such a tragedy.

These days, broontervening is all that counts as a case for Scotland remaining a part of the United Kingdom. There’s no positive case, except appeals to a romanticised past and to links between Scotland and England. Links which Scotland also shares with Ireland, but no one is suggesting that means we need to have our parliament in Dublin. There’s only a succession of increasingly hysterical scare stories about all the misfortunes which will befall Scotland should it dare to step outside the door without being constrained by Westminster’s reins. Broontervening is the 21st century version of the cringe. We see it every day in the deluge of stories in the media about how everything in Scotland is rubbish.

That daily dump of dross is why the broonterventions of a man who was, before Theresa May appeared on the scene, regarded as the worst Prime Minister in memory receive such prominence in the Scottish media. He says things that reinforce their core beliefs and their core strategy for avoiding the necessary change that Scotland needs in order to tackle its real problems, changes which can only be brought about with independence. Gordon Brown and the British nationalist media in Scotland focus on problems as a reason for not changing. It’s a fundamentally contradictory strategy, one which has no recourse but to seek refuge in increasingly over the top and ridiculous scares in order draw attention to itself and to draw attention away from stories which might threaten it – like the Tory dirty money scandal.

When all the drivel is stripped away, what broontervening is really saying is, “Things are awful, so everything must remain the same.” That’s the nonsense that lies at the very heart of British nationalism in Scotland. No wonder it only deals in scare stories, it’s terrified of being found out. Too late, we’ve sussed you. When you look behind the bluster and bravado of British nationalism in Scotland, hiding there is a scared child. British nationalism in Scotland is the fear of growing up. And its got its very own creepy uncle in the shape of Gordon Brown to warn Scotland against ever doing so.

I got excused from jury service, so we’re back to blogging as usual.


Mapa Gàidhlig na h-Alba / Gaelic Map of Scotland

albarevisedThe Gaelic map of Scotland is now available, the cost is £15 plus £7 P&P within the UK. Please note P&P outwith the UK is more expensive. P&P to Europe is £10, P&P to the rest of the world is £15. If you require multiple copies of the map, you only need pay once for P&P, up to 3 copies of the map which is the maximum that can fit in one postal tube.

You can purchase a copy of the map by Paypal by clicking the donate button at the end of this page and entering the requisite amount. Please also include the address to which the map should be posted. If you prefer another payment method, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for alternatives.


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.