This week’s episode of There’s Been a Murdo

Murdo Fraser is a national treasure, by which I mean that he gives every appearance that some geeky person with a metal detector dug him up from under a rock. In his head Murdo is an incisive and cutting politician, giving us sharp insights into the politics of the day. Outside his own head the only things that prevent him from being the cringiest and most embarrassing Conservative ever to harrumph their way into Scottish public life are firstly the fact that Stephen Kerr exists in this reality and isn’t merely the fever dream invention of a writer of horror fiction who dabbles in hallucinogenic drugs, and secondly that Michael Gove was recently filmed attempting to dance in a night club in Aberdeen in a video that once seen can never be unseen. Well, I say “dance”, but the truth is that the movements being performed by the mid life crisis that is Michael Gove bore an uncomfortable resemblance to the contortions my body made when I was experiencing a major epileptic seizure because I was having a stroke.

In this week’s episode of “Oh God, there’s been a Murdo.” The Perthshire list MSP has continued his mission to bring gaiety to the nation by taking to Twitter to herald the finalisation of the co-operation deal between the SNP and the Scottish Greens, saying: “Looks like we just got the government we didn’t vote for”.

Well quite, Murdo. We’re glad to see that you’ve finally woken up to the unfairness of Scotland getting governments it didn’t vote for. Scotland has been getting governments it didn’t vote for for decades. It’s never bothered Murdo before because all those governments have been Conservative ones. There is currently one such government ensconced in Westminster headed by a serial liar who is currently lying about not being on holiday even though he’s buggered off with that part of his family that he admits to to a rural location in the South West of England for a break of several days from pretending that he’s actually doing his job. However to be fair to Boris Johnson, in his eyes it only counts as a proper holiday when he’s buggered off to a luxury villa in the Caribbean paid for by some Tory donor.

It’s not even accurate to say that Scotland didn’t vote for this government, but Murdo has never been one to allow factual accuracy to get between him and an SNP bad harrumphment. Between them the SNP and the Scottish Greens won 72 seats in a Parliament with 129 seats. They didn’t get those seats in a raffle, they didn’t buy them on eBay, they got them because the voters of Scotland elected them, giving a clear and unambiguous majority to parties promising to hold another independence referendum despite a well organised and well funded British nationalist tactical voting campaign trying to prevent that outcome. But what would Murdo know? He doesn’t even have the confidence of his own constituents.

The voting system for the Scottish Parliament was designed to make a majority for a single party almost impossible. The first two Scottish governments in the devolved parliament were composed of Labour supported by the Lib Dems, in a formal coalition. The present arrangement between the SNP and the Greens falls short of a formal coalition, but it very much represents the Scottish Parliament working as it was intended to work. It’s just too bad for the Labour and Lib Dem politicians who thought that they were designing a system which guaranteed their parties power in perpetuity that the people of Scotland had other ideas. Now they are minor parties shut out of power for the foreseeable future and in the case of the Lib Dems reduced to a four MSP rump which isn’t even big enough to be recognised as a parliamentary group. Karma has no menu, but it has served Alex Cole Hamilton what he deserves. Whenever the Lib Dems’ new leader gets to his feet you find yourself missing Willie Rennie.

This new SNP/Green government, Murdo, is what “getting the Government we voted for” looks like in an electoral system designed to favour coalition or collaborative government. Murdo and his Conservative pals think it’s far better for Scotland to get the government that England voted for under the blatantly unfair first past the post system favoured by Westminster. Perhaps Murdo thinks that deals between parties only count when the Conservatives spaff over £1 billion of public money to bribe the homophobes and bigots of the DUP.

Then Stephen Kerr, the Snide of Frankenstein, who was quite happy to back Theresa May’s tawdry deal with the DUP which kept the Tories in power even after they lost their majority in the 2017 General Election, took to his feet to complain about the “bloated government” created by the deal. It’s very true that Scotland suffers from bloated government, there are few things more bloated in Scottish politics than Stephen Kerr’s estimation of himself. However there is also the bloat of Westminster, imposing policies on Scotland that Scotland didn’t vote for, and there is the bloat of the House of Lords, which allows superannuated losers like Ruth Davidson and Michael Forsyth to continue to exert their malign influence on our public life and our legislation even though no one voted for them.

The Scottish Government is now not a minority government, it commands a substantial majority which allows it to easily defeat all the anti-independence parties combined. After the Parliament approved a motion by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to appoint Green co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater as junior ministers, she told MSPs that the Scottish Government has an “undeniable” mandate for a second Scottish independence referendum saying that between them the SNP and the Greens hold 72 of the 129 seats in Parliament and each one of their MSPs was elected on a clear commitment to an independence referendum. This is the strongest pro-independence government Scotland has ever had.

Next week the First Minister will unveil the Scottish Government’s programme for government. This will include a commitment to another referendum as soon as the crisis phase of the pandemic has passed. No wonder Murdo and Stephen are so unhappy.

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Campaigning not Complaining

According to The National, later this week the First Minister is expected to announce her plans for a second independence referendum when she unveils her programme for government to the Scottish Parliament next week. The programme should have been revealed this week, but was postponed to September 7 pending the finalisation of the cooperation deal between the SNP and the Scottish Greens.

A commitment to hold an independence referendum within the first half of the current Parliamentary term of five years was front and foremost in the co-operation agreement between the SNP and the Greens.

The deal states: that the Scottish Government will secure a referendum on Scottish independence after the Covid crisis. This would be within the current parliamentary session on a specific date to be determined by the Scottish Parliament. If the Covid crisis has passed, our intention is for the referendum to be within the first half of the five-year parliamentary session.

Note that this specifies “after the covid crisis” and not “after the recovery from the covid crisis”. That means that the referendum will be held once case numbers have been brought under control and there is no threat of the NHS collapsing under the strain. Both the SNP and the Greens believe that independence is necessary in order for Scotland to make a recovery from the pandemic. Right now case numbers are rising at an alarming rate and there is also a rise in hospitalisations. Clearly we are not yet out of the crisis phase. As we approach winter the strain on the NHS will only increase.

However the vaccination programme continues to be successful and there are hopes that next spring or summer could see Scotland definitively exit the crisis. There is every reason to believe that the referendum can indeed be held within the first half of this Parliament’s five year term.

There are those who claim that we were able to have an election in May and therefore there’s no reason why we can’t have a referendum right now. However there’s a significant difference between the election and a referendum. The election was a legal obligation, the referendum is a political obligation on the part of the SNP and the Scottish Greens, it is not a legal obligation on the part of all participating parties. Should the referendum campaign be linked to any increase in covid infections or deaths, the anti-independence parties and the media in which they predominate would ceaselessly push the narrative that Nicola Sturgeon’s “obsession” with an independence referendum was costing lives. That’s a narrative that they could not promote during the Holyrood election because Labour, the Tories, and the Lib Dems had an equal interest to the pro-independence parties in ensuring that the election went ahead.

Perhaps more importantly, winning the referendum will entail far more face to face contact, local “town hall” style events and in person canvassing than we saw during the recent election. Although I live in a constituency where the outcome was very far from being a foregone conclusion, not a single representative from any party knocked on my door during the campaign in order to canvass my vote. However in person and face to face campaigning will be vital during the referendum campaign in order to counteract the massive advantage that opponents of independence have in the traditional media. The London based media in particular will not approach the next referendum with the same arrogant complacency which characterised their coverage during the early phases of the 2014 referendum campaign when it lazily assumed that a victory for No was a foregone conclusion. They will start the next campaign in the knowledge that a Yes victory is a very real prospect and will subject Scotland to a barrage of scaremongering and threats similar to those which we saw in the last fevered week of the 2014 when a single poll gave the Yes campaign the narrowest of leads.

It should never be forgotten that the point of the exercise here is not to get a referendum, the point is to win it. It’s going to be a lot harder to win it if we rush into a referendum which forces us to campaign without the tactics and strategies which were so successful at boosting Yes support in 2014. You don’t win when you insist on fighting with one hand tied behind your back.

Equally we are not going to win it if the wider Yes movement concentrates its energies on sitting on social media and snarking at other parts of the independence movement over strategy and tactics or about issues which are not themselves directly related to independence. That’s not going to persuade anyone to vote yes.

Thankfully there are welcome signs that the grassroots movement is once again starting to develop the campaign to persuade soft noes and undecided voters of the necessity for independence and taking steps to re-energise a campaign that has exhausted itself on internal wrangling and has beendemotivated by the stresses and strains of lockdown.

On 18 September this year Believe in Scotland together with The National, the Scottish Independence Foundation and the National Yes Network, are organising a national Day of Action for Independence. The day will see see a series of events being staged throughout the country, including street stalls and coffee mornings as well as food bank drives and musical events. More than 80 local Yes groups across Scotland have already signed up to participate and have committed to delivering over 150,000 leaflets through doors on the day. Every Yes group that registers to participate in the Day of Action will receive a free campaign and fundraising pack worth between £125 and £250, depending on the size of the group.

The Day of Action will not be a single one-off event, the idea is that it will “fire the starting gun on a major co-ordinated grassroots independence campaign” that is to run until the second independence referendum takes place. As organiser and founder of Believe in Scotland Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp says, “It’s time to stop complaining and start campaigning.

Local Yes groups can still join the grassroots-supporting organisation by emailing Believe in Scotland, or getting in touch via their representative to the National Yes Network.

Individuals can pledge their support for the organisation at www.believeinscotland.org/pledge

This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.

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Alister Jack’s amazing mobile goalposts

It’s pretty certain that the governor general of the Northern colony Alister Jack doesn’t sully his hands with manual labour, he has staff for that sort of thing. Today those staff members will be extremely busy shifting goalposts on Alister’s orders. In an interview with Politico, the Secretary of State for keeping the uppity Brexit rejecting Jocks in line has conceded that there are conditions under which the Conservative Government in Westminster could support a second independence referendum going ahead. These are of course conditions which are at the moment unlikely to occur, which is precisely why Alister has conceded them. Jack says that if support for another independence referendum, although not necessarily support for independence, is consistently over 60% “for a reasonably long period” then he would acknowledge that the people of Scotland wanted one.

This is our colonial overlord’s interpretation of the weasel words of his cabinet superior Michael Gove who suggested recently that the UK Government would not stand in the way of a second referendum if it was the “settled will” of the Scottish people. Naturally it’s the Tories who will take it on themselves to decide how and when the “settled will” of the people of Scotland is to be determined. It’s certainly not for the Scottish people to decide what their settled will is for themselves, perhaps, you know, by going along to a polling station during an election and marking their choice on a ballot paper and resoundingly rejecting the Conservative party. For Alister and Michael that doesn’t seem to count.

Alister Jack’s pronouncement is another example of the Conservatives being unreasonable but trying (and in this case failing dismally) to give the appearance of being reasonable. There’s probably a word for it in German. However we all know that if Jack’s condition was ever to be met, he would simply insist that this ” reasonably long period” was not actually reasonably long enough, or he would point to the level of support for independence if that was significantly lower and claim that this “proved” that there was not sufficient support in order to justify another referendum.

This is because the new conditions that Jack has set out are not conditions that are ever intended to be met, they are just conditions that are not met at the moment, and if ever there is a chance of them being met, he’ll just shift the goalposts somewhere else. As far as conditions for another referendum are concerned the Conservatives’ goalposts are not just on wheels, they’re being towed behind that HS2 railway train that’s never going to reach Scotland. That’s the main, though far from the only, reason that the only appropriate political response to Jack’s new set of conditions is “Gaun dook fur chips ya muppet”.

It was only a few years ago that Ruth Davidson spelled out the conditions necessary for Scotland to have an independence referendum. Back in 2007 she said “If the Greens and the SNP… can get the votes in the Parliament, they’ll get a referendum. That’s what democracy is.”

Apparently that’s no longer what democracy is, because of course that democratic condition for holding a referendum was handsomely fulfilled in May’s Holyrood election when not only did the SNP and the Greens stand with explicit and unequivocal manifesto commitments to another independence referendum and by a substantial margin won those votes in the Parliament that Ruth Davidson spoke about, but the Labour party, the Tories and the Lib Dems all stood on explicit platforms of opposition to another referendum and between them failed to come close to holding a majority of seats in the Scottish Parliament despite a suspiciously well funded tactical voting campaign which aimed at depriving the pro-independence parties of victory.

According to the Conservatives, democracy in Scotland is no longer to be determined by the outcome of Scottish elections, it is to be determined by the Conservatives’ interpretation of opinion polls over an indefinite and open ended time scale to be decided by whatever happens to suit their interests at a given moment.

Frankly who cares whether Alister Jack supports holding another referendum or not. He yet again reminded Scotland that we’ve already had a referendum and in his view the matter was decided, however he seems a whole lot less keen to remember the promises and commitments that his party and the other British nationalists made to the people of Scotland in order to secure a no vote. The uncomfortable truth that Jack and his Tory friends refuse to acknowledge or accept is that if he and his party had been sincere in those promises and had actually ensured that they had been kept, then he wouldn’t currently be having to fend off questions from journalists about whether Scotland should have another referendum and to come up with excuses in an attempt to disguise his and his party’s fundamental contempt for the will of the people of Scotland as expressed by the only recognised and accepted means we have for assessing such things, the result of a democratic election. We do not have government by opinion poll in this country.

Scotland has already decided that it wants another referendum. That’s what the May election for the Scottish Parliament was all about. Whether or not to have another referendum was by far and away the most important issue in that election. For the Scottish Conservatives opposing another referendum was the only issue. For that they won a mere 21.9% of the constituency vote and just 23.5% of the regional list vote. That’s a loss in any democrat’s book, but not apparently Alister Jack’s.

Ever since May’s election the Conservatives and their British nationalist allies have done their utmost to delegitimise the result, trying to gaslight the people of Scotland that they hadn’t actually been voting about whether or not to hold another independence referendum when the question of another independence referendum was the sole campaigning issue for the Scottish Conservatives. Alister Jack’s appeal to opinion polling is merely another attempt to undermine and attack Scottish democracy, a desperate attempt to pretend that the victory for the SNP and the Greens in May doesn’t give Holyrood a mandate to hold another referendum.

The Conservatives and their allies don’t have anything like enough support in Holyrood to prevent a referendum. Whether Alister Jack supports another referendum or not is irrelevant. Whatever spurious conditions he comes up with are irrelevant. The people of Scotland have spoken, there is going to be another referendum.

This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.

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Trading away Scotland’s dignity

It has taken over five years, but Scotland has finally received a Brexit benefit. David Mundell, for whom the word hapless was invented, has been appointed as a UK trade envoy to New Zealand, which with any luck means that he will be dispatched to the other side of the planet and Scotland will get to see a whole lot less of him.

For Conservative and Brexity types there’s more good news this week, although not so good for the rest of us. Supply chain problems caused by Brexit and the pandemic have meant that the burger chain McDonalds have run out of milkshakes, which in turn means that it’s now safer for Nigel Farage to venture into Scotland where he can inform the Scottish media that people here hate him because he’s English, and not just because he’s Nigel Farage.

What the perpetually victimhood seeking Nigel can’t seem to grasp is that hatred of him has nothing to do with anti-English prejudice. People in Scotland would despise him just as much – or possibly even more – if he were Scottish.

Mundell has plenty of relevant experience for his new job as a trade envoy to New Zealand, where his main duty will be reaching an agreement with the New Zealand government which will allow New Zealand lamb and dairy products into the UK, undercutting Scottish producers. As the Secretary of State for Scotland who traduced the promises made in the infamous Vow, he’s been selling out Scotland’s interests for years.

Mundell joins the cricketer Ian Botham as a new UK trade envoy, Botham has just been appointed as a trade envoy to Australia. This is the Botham who, when given a peerage in return for his support for Brexit, said that he felt he would be able to make a useful contribution to debates when something he knew about, like sport, was being discussed, but not when the topic was something he knew nothing about, like a trade deal.

Botham’s real qualification for his new job is that he’s an English nationalist who has a knee jerk commitment to putting the needs of England first and foremost, so very much like David Mundell then. A recording of Botham has surfaced in which he asserts that England is an island and that this is something to be proud of. The fact that England shares an island with Scotland and Wales clearly doesn’t count, because when you are an English nationalist you view Scotland and Wales as mere adjuncts to a glorious England which will follow along meekly in England’s dust. So again, very much like David Mundell and his Scottish Conservative colleagues. Botham’s grasp of geography is so poor he probably thinks that Australia is just off the coast of France.

But even if England was an island and Scotland and Wales didn’t exist, a circumstance which would certainly make the political lives of Conservative politicians a whole lot easier, it’s hard to understand why an accident of geography should be something to be proud of. It’s not like it’s even a boundary between major tectonic plates, which can at least be described as someone’s fault. It’s not as if the supposed island status of England is due to generations of proud Englishmen excavating out the English Channel with shovels in order to keep out the French and Afghan refugees who have been abandoned by the Foreign Office because Dominic Raab couldn’t be arsed to get off his pedalo. Being proud of an accident of geography is setting the pride bar so low that even Michael Gove could slither under it, which is pretty much Brexit in a nutshell.

So there you go Scotland, that respect agenda that the Tories promised Scotland in return for a No vote in the 2014 independence referendum has given us Brexit, the slow destruction of the devolution settlement, and Scotland’s trading relations with the rest of the world being negotiated by an English sportsman who doesn’t seem to know that Scotland is a country. This must be that best of both worlds that the Better Together campaign was telling us about.

Also appointed as a trade envoy this week is the DUP’s Westminster leader Jeffrey Donaldson, who has been appointed as a trade envoy to the African state of Cameroon in addition to his existing role as the Prime Minister’s trade envoy to Egypt. In both those countries it’s illegal to be gay, and a woman’s right to an abortion is severely restricted, so a member of the DUP is going to feel right at home.

By giving David Mundell the exact same job as a sportsman who has freely admitted he knows nothing about what is required from a trade deal, the Conservatives are unwittingly telling us that they share the exact same confidence in David Mundell’s abilities as those of us who have long known that he is a useless waste of space who couldn’t negotiate a fun sized Mars Bar if he turned up on your doorstep at Halloween dressed as CoCo the clown. Although to be fair that might be difficult to distinguish from how he normally looks.

There are empty supermarket shelves across the UK thanks to a combination of the disruption to supply chains caused by Brexit and a shortage of delivery drivers due to the pandemic and people being forced to self isolate. The British government’s response to this is to appoint sportsmen to negotiate trade deals and to undercut the Scottish farmers whose interests the Scottish Conservatives swore to protect and defend. It’s a fundamentally unserious response from a fundamentally unserious British government which has as much intention of acting in Scotland’s best interests as Ian Botham has awareness of the basic facts of the geography he claims to be so proud of.

As part of the UK Scotland is stuck with the mendacious and corrupt clowns in Downing Street even though we didn’t vote for them, and there’s nothing Scotland can do to vote Johnson and his allies out of office. That right there is the only argument for independence that anyone should need. Whatever the shortcomings and failures of a Scottish Government, the people of Scotland have the power to vote it out of office. We are helpless before the English nationalists of Downing Street. Being part of the UK involves Scotland in a trade deal. We get to trade away our dignity in return for David Mundell selling out Scottish farmers to New Zealand.

There will not be a blog update tomorrow as I have a physiotherapy session in the morning and am likely to be wiped out afterwards.

This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.

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Back at the Keyboard

A whole lot happened in the indysphere during the week I took off because family were visiting from England – loved ones I’d not seen since before lockdown started. Most significant for prospects for independence perhaps was the news that the SNP and the Scottish Greens have reached an agreement on formal cooperation in government. For the Greens its a historic development, being the first time anywhere in the UK that the Greens have been represented in government. The deal is not a coalition, the closest parallel is possibly the pact between Harold Wilson’s minority Labour government in 1977 and the Liberal party then led by David Steel. The Pact saw the Labour government adopt a number of Liberal policies and in return the Liberals supported the Labour party during any vote of no-confidence.

Unlike the Lib-Lab Pact, which gave the Liberals no cabinet representation, the SNP-Green deal, if approved by Green party members, will see two Green MSPs, most likely co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater, taking up ministerial positions. If it goes through, the deal reinforces the pro-independence majority in Holyrood by effectively giving the Scottish Government a substantial majority and guarantees the Scottish Government’s survival should the anti-independence parties call for a vote of no confidence.

The deal effectively destroys the – always spurious – attack line of the anti-independence parties who claim that because the SNP fell just short of winning an outright majority in May, there is no mandate for another independence referendum. The British nationalist parties now have no chance of voting down any measures that the Scottish Government introduces to facilitate another referendum, and the Scottish Government will be able to negotiate with its UK ministerial counterparts from a position of unassailable strength at Holyrood.

The inclusion of the Greens in the Scottish Government will also help tilt the Scottish Government in a decidedly more environmentally friendly direction, which will be invaluable for attracting the support of younger voters for whom the environment and climate change are key issues. This cohort of voters will also be attracted to the socially progressive policies backed by the Greens, policies which are anathema to the socially conservative wing of the independence movement. However the key to victory in the referendum that’s coming is to ensure that as many young voters as possible turn out to vote. This deal helps to achieve that goal and so should be welcomed. There is now a solid “supermajority” for independence in the Scottish Parliament.

British nationalists were happy last week because it was GERSmas, the annual publication of the GERS figures which purport to demonstrate that Scotland is an irredeemable basket case, hopelessly dependent on the largesse of a benevolent Westminster. Every year it’s the same ritual. Of course even those who gleefully leap on the GERS statistics as “proof” that Scotland should not become independent are reluctantly forced to concede that the GERS figures tell us nothing about the financial position of an independent Scotland.

All that the GERS figures tell us is how Scotland’s finances are managed by the Westminster Government, and even that isn’t done with any degree of accuracy that can inspire confidence. Most of the figures are based on guesstimates. According to the economist Richard Murphy, GERS is a mechanism for artificially inflating Scottish expenditure and artificially decreasing Scottish revenues.

However if they were indeed accurate, all that the GERS figures would tell us is that the Scottish economy is being hopelessly mismanaged by Westminster. The anti -independence parties, aided and abetted by an overwhelmingly anti-independence media, like to propagate the myth that it’s the Scottish Government which is responsible for the state of Scotland’s finances as told by the GERS figures. This is a barefaced lie. It’s Westminster which has control of the macro-economic levers which steer the Scottish economy, and it’s Westminster which jealously guards its control over them. The Scottish Government operates within the financial constraints of a fixed budget and has very limited borrowing powers. Under the terms of the devolution settlement, Holyrood is simply not able to create the deficit which the anti-independence parties are so eager to weaponise every year.

There is little doubt that Scotland does have an annual deficit in its finances. Deficits are normal. Equally there is little doubt that the GERS figures tell us nothing about what the real deficit of an independent Scotland would be.

The GERS figures were first introduced in the 1990s by the Conservative Scottish Secretary Ian Lang, who wanted a political tool to deploy against those who were campaigning for the creation of a Scottish Parliament. Three decades later the GERS statistics are still being used as a political weapon against those who argue for greater Scottish self-government.

Meanwhile a new study of the Scottish media has revealed the extent of the anti-independence bias in the Scottish press. The study, by South African academic David Patrick, a senior researcher in the International Studies Group at the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa, examined around 7000 newspaper articles written during the 2014 campaign and afterwards for a new book. due to be published at the end of the month.

The study found that there was a distinct anti-independence bias in newspaper front pages, which comes as no surprise to anyone familiar with the Scottish media. Patrick also found that Ruth Davidson’s reputation as the supposed “saviour of the Union” was entirely the creation of a sympathetic media long after the referendum campaign was over and was not borne out by reporting of her activities during the campaign itself. Equally the study found that Gordon Brown was built up into a supposed “political titan” by a right wing media which had spent the previous years trashing the former Labour PM’s time in office. The media only changed its tune because the anti-independence campaign was in need of a figure who could sell a promise of greater devolution to Scotland in return for a no vote. This was a promise which as we all know, was later reneged on by a Westminster which has used the Brexit which Scotland didn’t vote for as an excuse to undo key aspects of the devolution settlement.

However perhaps the most interesting finding is that the London based media paid little attention to the referendum campaign until the final week when a YouGov poll gave Yes a narrow lead. Until then the London-centric media had lazily and arrogantly taken a No victory for granted. They won’t make the same mistake the next time, which is why it is all the more important that we focus on making positive arguments for independence and persuading undecideds and soft noes. That’s what this blog is going to get back to now that I’ve had a wee break to spend time with some much missed loved ones.

NEW MODERATION POLICY

In the wake of recent events I am determined that this site will not become a home for bigots and conspiracy theorists. They will not be welcome here. Moderation is the most stressful part of running a blog, but this site is going to continue to make the positive case for independence. With this in mind as of today a new moderation policy is in force.

Anyone who attempts to use this site to post hatred, bigotry, or conspiracy theories will be banned. If you attempt to insult and abuse anyone you will be banned. This site has a zero-toleration policy for homophobia, transphobia, racism, and misogyny. Failure to respect this will result in a ban.

If you intend to spend the next four years undermining the SNP, the Scottish Government and the pro-independence parties that the great majority of independence supporters voted for, you can do so somewhere else, because you’re not going to do it here. The reminder that has regularly appeared on this site is not a serving suggestion. It will be rigorously enforced. If you don’t like this rule – there is a small x at the top right of your screen. Click it, close this page and go elsewhere.

This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.

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Quantifying the anti-indy bias of the BBC

Anyone who has followed media coverage of the Scottish independence movement is aware that there is as much chance of the BBC being impartial and unbiased about Scottish independence and the politicians and parties which support it as there is of Royal Sook-up in chief Nicholas Witchell appearing on an edition of the News at Six and saying, “See that Prince Andrew, he’s a pompous lying creepy sleazebag who needs to be kept as far away as possible from teenage girls, and whose official engagements ought to be restricted to an appearance in court, in the dock.”

We all know that’s never going to happen. As far as the royals are concerned the BBC sees its job as being to gush on interminably about how marvellous they are, even when, quite spectacularly and nauseatingly as in the case of Prince Andrew, they aren’t. Equally the BBC will forever be wedded to the idea that when dealing with those pesky Scottish independence supporters and the topic of Scottish self-determination, balance consists of having a studio discussion with three politicians from the parties opposed to independence and a second independence referendum and an SNP person appearing by dodgy video link from a cupboard in Dundee.

Of course none of this comes as a surprise. After all the BBC has British in its very name. After the Conservative privatisation programme and their evisceration of public services, the establishment and entrenchment of devolution, the BBC, along with the armed forces and the royal family, is the only truly British institution left, apart from a Westminster government which is British in name only, having been successfully occupied by a party which responds solely to the interests of a right wing, isolationist and exceptionalist English nationalism.

The BBC has responded to the hollowing out of Britishness by pandering to British exceptionalism, promoting a slew of programmes with Great British in their titles, as though there was something peculiarly British about baking a cake or sewing a frock. When it’s not trying to imply that foreigners don’t also make baked goods or thread needles, the BBC is force feeding us a diet of British sporting triumphs as a proxy for lost British political, cultural and economic clout. Either that or it’s giving us wall to wall and inescapable sycophantic coverage of the latest goings on in the Windsor family soap opera.

Given this, the BBC naturally sees its job as being to attack any perceived threat to the crumbling edifice of Britishness. That was very noticeable during the early months of this year when the First Minister was being investigated for an alleged breach of the ministerial code relating to the mishandling of the investigation into accusations of sexual impropriety made against her predecessor.

Of course absolutely no one is saying that the BBC should not have covered this story, it was a big news story by any reckoning and merited significant coverage in the news programmes of the national broadcaster. However it was evident at the time that the BBC was almost gleeful in the way it covered a story that represented all its SNPbad Christmases come at once and which had the potential to bring down the First Minister. As it turned out, Nicola Sturgeon was cleared by an independent inquiry, and there was found to be no breach of the ministerial code, likewise there was found to be no substance to the conspiracy theories being aired about the issue on social media.

The actual amount of public money which was wasted on the botched investigation was in the order of several hundred thousand pounds. While this is a huge sum for any ordinary individual, it’s a fairly trivial amount when it comes to government expenditure. It is dwarfed by the amount of public cash wasted by the Conservatives in Westminster on public contracts inappropriately awarded to friends, associates and family members.

During the same period when the First Minister was being investigated and ultimately cleared of breaching the ministerial code, no less than six Conservative ministers were also investigated for potential breaches of the ministerial code, Boris Johnson, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Kemi Badenoch, former Health Secretary Matt Hancock, and Home Secretary Priti Patel. In the cases of Matt Hancock and Priti Patel, they were found by a court to have acted unlawfully.

So you might think that the BBC would have given an equivalent amount of coverage to the potential and proven breaches of the ministerial code by Conservative ministers which involved billions of pounds of public money or, in the case of Priti Patel, putting people at risk of losing their lives. You are not going to be surprised to discover that you’re wrong. What is gob-smacking however is the extent of the imbalance. An investigation by The National has found that BBC News reported on Nicola Sturgeon’s now discredited “breaches” of the ministerial code more than it did for all the other politicians in the UK put together, and by quite a considerable margin. There were twice as many BBC news stories linking Nicola Sturgeon to a potential breach of the ministerial code than there were about all other politicians combined. In BBC news stories in 2021 linking politicians to potential breaches of the ministerial code, 83 were about Nicola Sturgeon. There were just 43 about all other politicians.

The fact that none of this is surprising doesn’t mean that we should not be angry about it. The BBC is supposed to be a public service and ought to represent the interests of everyone and not push a particular political agenda, all the more so since anyone who possesses a TV set is legally obliged to fund the BBC whether they watch the channel or not.

However the evidence is now overwhelming that when it comes to holding power to account the BBC is only interested in the accountability of power held by Holyrood. The Conservatives at Westminster get a free pass. There can now be no doubt whatsoever that when it comes to dealing with Scotland’s constitutional question, the BBC is not an impartial reporter with a duty to educate and inform. It is an active participant in the debate, intervening frequently and blatantly on the side of those opposed to independence, which means that as far as being a Scottish public service broadcaster is concerned, the BBC is not fit for purpose. If there was a ministerial code for public broadcasting, the BBC would have trashed it.

Fundraiser update.

A huge thank you to everyone who supported this blog’s annual crowdfunder. Since my health means that my productivity has been severely reduced, this year the target was £5000 instead of the £10,000 of previous years. £4140 has been raised on the crowdfunder on gofundme – here https://www.gofundme.com/f/weeginger-annual-crowdfunder However people have also kindly donated by other means and I’m delighted to say that not only has the target of £5000 been reached, it has been smashed. The total raised from all sources now stands at £9,674.

Once again many thanks. It is very heartening that so many people continue to value my work, especially after the events of the previous year. I shall continue to use this blog to make the case for independence and to expose the shortcomings of the British nationalists and their allies.

I  have family visiting from England next week.  I’ve not seen them since before lockdown started and want to spend some quality time with them, so I’ll be taking next week off.  Normal service will be resumed after the 20th of August.

NEW MODERATION POLICY

In the wake of recent events I am determined that this site will not become a home for bigots and conspiracy theorists. They will not be welcome here. Moderation is the most stressful part of running a blog, but this site is going to continue to make the positive case for independence. With this in mind as of today a new moderation policy is in force.

Anyone who attempts to use this site to post hatred, bigotry, or conspiracy theories will be banned. If you attempt to insult and abuse anyone you will be banned. This site has a zero-toleration policy for homophobia, transphobia, racism, and misogyny. Failure to respect this will result in a ban.

If you intend to spend the next four years undermining the SNP, the Scottish Government and the pro-independence parties that the great majority of independence supporters voted for, you can do so somewhere else, because you’re not going to do it here. The reminder that has regularly appeared on this site is not a serving suggestion. It will be rigorously enforced. If you don’t like this rule – there is a small x at the top right of your screen. Click it, close this page and go elsewhere.

This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.

You can help to support this blog with a PayPal donation. Please log into Paypal.com and send a payment to the email address weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Or alternatively click the donate button. If you don’t have a PayPal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.

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Murdo’s Twitterhoea

Scottish Conservative list MSP Murdo Fraser has achieved a minor level of infamy thanks to an unfortunate medical condition whose symptoms he possesses in full, although it’s the rest of us who suffer. Murdo has Twitterrhoea, the uncontrollable urge to spray offensive keech all over social media. It’s his only real political achievement, he’s never come close to winning his constituency and only sneaks into Holyrood on the list. He has also suffered the ignominy of having failed to persuade his fellow Scottish Tories that he’s good enough to lead that little band of apologists for the Westminster Conservatives’ chaos, incompetence, lies and corruption. But to be fair,you’d probably take your frustrations out on social media too if you had been told that you were outclassed by Jackson Carlaw, a man who can’t quite come to terms with the concept of a surname, and the permanently enraged Douglas Ross, who always wears a shirt that’s one size too small in the collar because he’s always afraid that his head is about to explode due to a bad case of chronic SNPbaddery.

The latest episode of “Oh God, there’s been a Murdo,” has made regular Murdo-watchers, who are permanently ensconced behind the sofa from where they can observe the proceedings through their fingers, realise that the most appropriate response to his social media colonic splatter blast is not to shake their heads, raise their eyes to the heavens and sigh “Are you OK, hun?” It’s not even to yell “What is wrong with you?” in a mixture of anger, frustration and semi-amusement, but rather it’s to immediately head over to Google in order to find to most appropriate organisation which can deal with what is clearly a cry for help.

This time, the bold Murdo wasn’t tweeting dog whistle sectarian messages about his favourite fitba team. Seemingly spectacularly failing to get the joke, Murdo responded to a tweet from a parody account about a remote controlled battery powered “environmentally friendly tank”. A pause for even a second’s thought would have made any normal person realise that an “environmentally friendly tank” is a joke. The very concept is a ludicrous contradiction like an orgy for virginity, thanking God that you’re an atheist, or a balanced and unbiased BBC news report about Scottish independence. The entire point of a tank is to destroy things and kill or hurt people, environmental damages which somewhat outweigh the supposed environmental friendliness of powering the destruction with a battery you can recharge with electricity produced from a wind farm.

Murdo however, didn’t appear to pause for thought, merely confirming the suspicions of those who believe he’s not capable of it.  The sad fact for Murdo is that most Scottish Twitter users really do have a low enough opinion of him for their default position to be that he was being serious.  Not even the fact that the tweet claimed that the tank was powered by 142 AA batteries and could be remotely driven using an X-Box controller made Murdo give us some nudge nudge wink wink to let us know that he realised it was a joke. Perhaps the Rangers obsessed Murdo had misread the tweet and thought that it had said that the tank could be controlled using an Ibrox. He enthusiastically retweeted the tweet and added the comment: ” Great to see this, hopefully we will see it deployed on Glasgow streets to deal with protesters during COP26. Really good that it’s eco-friendly.”

There are two possibilities here. Either Murdo took the tweet seriously as it appears at first glance, in which case we have a Tory politician who honestly wants to see a tank used against people using their democratic rights of assembly and freedom of speech in order to raise awareness about climate change, the single most important issue facing the planet.

Or secondly and more plausibly he meant it as a joke, in which case we have a Conservative politician who thinks that threatening protesting Glaswegians with military hardware is a laughing matter. That’s a very bold move since the use of the British army to suppress left wing protests in Glasgow after WW1 has become entrenched in Scottish mythology. The use of tanks in George Square may have been debunked, but there is no doubt whatsoever that the British state deployed soldiers and military weaponry against its own citizens protesting in Scotland’s largest city.

In either case we have an alarming confirmation of the Conservative party’s willingness to destroy civil liberties and curtail of the right to protest, as seen by their proposal to introduce a law in England that would ban peaceful protests that are noisy or which cause “annoyance”.

The Conservative government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts Bill which is currently winding its way through the House of Commons will give police officers significantly greater powers to crack down on protests in England. The bill proposes to make it illegal for protests to cause “serious unease” and would introduce criminal penalties for people who cause “serious annoyance.”

The new law will also create new restrictions limiting the right to protest outside the UK Parliament, while introducing penalties of up to 10 years imprisonment for defacing public monuments, so Tory MPs can vote to strip us of our civil rights without being troubled by the noise of protesters in the street outside. Meanwhile if you spray a statue of Winston Churchill with paint, pointing out that he amongst other crimes he was responsible for the Bengal Famine in which millions of Indian British subjects lost their lives, you will no longer merely be arrested for vandalism, you could face this new charge of defacing a public monument and potentially get sent to jail for ten years.

This is the same Murdo Fraser who consistently downplays the public disorder which followers of Murdo’s “Queen’s eleven” are all too frequently responsible for. Likewise he rarely has much to say in the way of criticism for the annual displays of aggressive British nationalist triumphalism and naked anti-Irish racism which annually blight the streets of Glasgow. When Rangers fans recently rioted in George Square Murdo dismissed this as the work of a “small minority” even though the march and rally took place in flagrant breach of the covid lockdown measures then in place. Back in 2008, when Rangers fans rioted in Manchester and went on s destructive and violent rampage, Murdo questioned whether the decision to deploy riot police against them was a proportionate response. No jokes about sending tanks in then, eh Murdo.

What we see from Murdo and the Tories are double standards and hypocrisy. Any threat to the Conservatives and the British state must be ruthlessly quashed, but if you are a right wing British nationalist thug, even an out and out bigot and racist, your violence and public disorder will be indulged, downplayed, and excused.  It’s only the fact that justice is still devolved and the Tories aren’t even close to a majority in Holyrood that prevents Murdo and his pals from destroying our right to protest here in Scotland too.

NEW MODERATION POLICY

In the wake of recent events I am determined that this site will not become a home for bigots and conspiracy theorists. They will not be welcome here. Moderation is the most stressful part of running a blog, but this site is going to continue to make the positive case for independence. With this in mind as of today a new moderation policy is in force.

Anyone who attempts to use this site to post hatred, bigotry, or conspiracy theories will be banned. If you attempt to insult and abuse anyone you will be banned. This site has a zero-toleration policy for homophobia, transphobia, racism, and misogyny. Failure to respect this will result in a ban.

If you intend to spend the next four years undermining the SNP, the Scottish Government and the pro-independence parties that the great majority of independence supporters voted for, you can do so somewhere else, because you’re not going to do it here. The reminder that has regularly appeared on this site is not a serving suggestion. It will be rigorously enforced. If you don’t like this rule – there is a small x at the top right of your screen. Click it, close this page and go elsewhere.

This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.

Annual crowdfunder:

Scotland will have another independence referendum at some point in the next couple of years. Until then, this blog will continue to publish articles which – I hope – are amusing, entertaining, and which help to educate Scotland on the need for independence. However in order to do so I need to eat and pay my bills. Due to my reduced productivity and the limitations imposed on me by my health, this year I am asking for half the amount I’ve requested in previous fundraisers. I hope to raise £5000 which will go towards supporting myself for the next year.

You can support the fundraiser by donating on my gofundme page: Click here : https://www.gofundme.com/f/weeginger-annual-crowdfunder
Many thanks.

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. Please also use this email address to contact me if you would prefer to donate by some other method. Or alternatively click the donate button below. If you don’t have a PayPal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.

Johnson’s interests are his own, not Scotland’s

Boris Johnson, as you may have realised if you’ve seen Glenn Campbell getting extremely animated on Reporting Scotlandshire, is currently on a wee tour of the northern colony. His visit has been most notable so far for his refusal to meet with the Scottish First Minister while he’s here and then for him lying through his teeth about it, insisting that he had not in fact turned down the offer of the meeting that he had turned down. However it has to be said that Boris Johnson telling a self-serving and blatant lie is not in fact that notable an occurrence, seeing as how it’s something that he does on pretty much a daily basis.

Today (Thursday), the newspapers tell us that Johnson has loftily informed the people of Scotland that a second independence referendum is not in their interest. This requires us to believe two inherently implausible things. Firstly we are to believe that Johnson, a man whose experience of Scotland begins and ends with a handful of short visits which have been carefully arranged in order to minimise his exposure to any actual Scottish people who are not Conservative loyalists, really knows better than the people of Scotland what their best interests are. Secondly we are supposed to believe that Johnson cares about anyone’s interests other than his own, a notion of which you will quickly be disabused with even the most cursory look at his life and career. The only interests Johnson has ever cared about are his own.

The people of Scotland have already spoken, and said what they believe to be their best interests. They did so clearly and unequivocally. That’s what they did in May’s election when they returned a Scottish Parliament with a solid majority of pro-independence MSPs elected with an explicit and unconditional mandate to bring about another independence referendum during this parliamentary term. The anti-independence parties,especially the Conservatives, fought that election campaign on the single issue of opposition to another independence referendum and despite a well organised and suspiciously well funded tactical voting campaign aimed at maximising anti-independence representation in Holyrood, they still lost and we ended up with a Scottish Parliament with the largest pro-independence majority in its history.

Irrespective of whether you are in favour of Scottish independence or opposed to it, there has to be another independence referendum. The constitutional question is not going to go away all by itself, no matter how much or how often the Scottish Conservatives, the Labour party, and the Alexander Cole-Hamilton shaped void fan club stamp their feet and wish it were so. The only way the constitutional question can be resolved is through another democratic event, and that means another referendum. Otherwise the constitutional issue will continue to be the fault line that defines Scottish politics.

Johnson offers as supposed proof of his claim that another referendum isn’t in Scotland’s interests the fact that the “people he has been talking to” in Scotland don’t want one. Well colour us all surprised. All that proves is that when Johnson talks to people in Scotland he and his staff go to great lengths to ensure that he is only ever exposed to the opinions of those who agree with him. That’s what happens when your experience of Scottish public opinion is limited to the opinions of Scottish Tories and your minders make sure that you are kept very far away from any Caledonians in the wild who might inform you in colourful Scottish language precisely what they think of you, your clownish and entitled behaviour, and your cabinet of shysters and charlatans.

However the people of Scotland had every chance to hear the opinions of the Scottish Tories in May’s election and were not hugely impressed by what they heard. That’s why Douglas Ross only managed to win 23% of the regional vote and – despite the aforementioned tactical voting campaign and is currently the leader of a minority faction of MSPs who don’t have a hope in hell of blocking any legislation put forward by the Scottish Government.

Boris Johnson is a narcissist. Altruism is an alien concept to him. He inhabits a mental universe which places him in the centre of everything. It’s not even clear whether he would be psychologically capable of distinguishing between what was in his own interests and what’s in the interests of other people. His support for Brexit eventually came down to his estimation of what was best for him and for his ambition to lead the Conservative party and become Prime Minister, The negative effects of Brexit on the UK and on ordinary citizens, both British and European, scarcely registered in his selfish and supremely self-centred thinking.

Likewise when Johnson says that another Scottish independence referendum is not in Scotland’s interests what he really means is that it’s not in his own interests. He’s neither capable of nor interested in considering anything else. Johnson does not want to go down in the history books as the man who “lost Scotland”, a country which he views as a possession and a fiefdom. The loss of a third of the UK’s landmass, much of its natural resources and potential, not to mention the loss of the UK’s nuclear submarine bases would represent a massive blow to the prestige and standing of the UK and by extension of Johnson himself.

Just as when British nationalists preach that an independent Scotland would be too small what they are really doing is revealing their fear that stripped of Scotland, England would be too small – too small to continue successfully with the grandiose delusions of English exceptionalism, Johnson is really revealing his own fears and inadequacies and projecting them on to Scotland.

The people of Scotland are more than capable of deciding for themselves where their interests lie. And those interests lie in getting Scotland as far away as possible from the influence of the corrupt, incompetent, and anti-democratic government of Boris Johnson and his Conservative cronies. Scotland’s interests lie in undoing the damage of Johnson’s disastrous Brexit which Scotland never wanted. Democracy is in Scotland’s interests. The Scottish Parliament hasbeen given a clear instruction from the people of Scotland to hold a referendum and so there will be one.

NEW MODERATION POLICY

In the wake of recent events I am determined that this site will not become a home for bigots and conspiracy theorists. They will not be welcome here. Moderation is the most stressful part of running a blog, but this site is going to continue to make the positive case for independence. With this in mind as of today a new moderation policy is in force.

Anyone who attempts to use this site to post hatred, bigotry, or conspiracy theories will be banned. If you attempt to insult and abuse anyone you will be banned. This site has a zero-toleration policy for homophobia, transphobia, racism, and misogyny. Failure to respect this will result in a ban.

If you intend to spend the next four years undermining the SNP, the Scottish Government and the pro-independence parties that the great majority of independence supporters voted for, you can do so somewhere else, because you’re not going to do it here. The reminder that has regularly appeared on this site is not a serving suggestion. It will be rigorously enforced. If you don’t like this rule – there is a small x at the top right of your screen. Click it, close this page and go elsewhere.

This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.

Annual crowdfunder:

Scotland will have another independence referendum at some point in the next couple of years. Until then, this blog will continue to publish articles which – I hope – are amusing, entertaining, and which help to educate Scotland on the need for independence. However in order to do so I need to eat and pay my bills. Due to my reduced productivity and the limitations imposed on me by my health, this year I am asking for half the amount I’ve requested in previous fundraisers. I hope to raise £5000 which will go towards supporting myself for the next year.

You can support the fundraiser by donating on my gofundme page: Click here : https://www.gofundme.com/f/weeginger-annual-crowdfunder
Many thanks.

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. Please also use this email address to contact me if you would prefer to donate by some other method. Or alternatively click the donate button below. If you don’t have a PayPal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.

Donate Button

Putting lipstick on the pig of the “Union”

Boris Johnson is coming to Scotland this week as part of his efforts to save the “Union”, a word which always needs to be put in scare quotes since it’s not actually a properly functioning union at all, in which respect it’s very like the title “Prime Minister” when it refers to Boris Johnson.

This “Union” comprises the government elected by the largest country of the UK, using a seriously dodgy electoral system which produces governments with crushing majorities in the Commons, but with a minority of votes cast, lording it over the smaller nations of the UK.

Saving this “Union” seems to consist of Johnson making a flying visit to Scotland, snubbing the elected representatives of the people of Scotland, and descending in secret on a factory or business owned by a Conservative sympathiser where he can pose for a photo op and make a few fnaugh fnaughing rambling non sequiturs and unfunny jokes in front of a predominantly anti-independence press pack, safely guarded from any contact with untamed Scottish people who might relish the opportunity to tell him that they think he is a bloviating bloated liar.

This “saving the Union trip” bears the exact same relationship to the political and constitutional reforms which might actually have a chance of taking some of the steam out of the demand in Scotland for another independence referendum as a photoshop filter on Instagram does to life saving surgery. Although even the most powerful photoshop filter in the world is still going to struggle to make Baw Jaws attractive to the people of Scotland.

In the Conservative understanding of this supposed partnership of nations, Johnson is the commanding officer and the rest of us are just so much cannon fodder. Well we’d kind of worked that out by his willingness to sacrifice the lives and safety of countless thousands in order to placate the right wing zoomers on his back benches and the whiny entitled attention seekers who inhabit the studios of GBeebies.

Despite an offer from the First Minister to meet with Johnson while he’s in Scotland on his cosmetic exercise, putting lipstick on this pig of a “Union”, the porcine lipsticker in chief has snubbed the offer of a meeting. This is despite the fact that the First Minister had offered to meet him in order to discuss efforts to recover from the pandemic, you know, that topic that the Tories keep insisting that Nicola Sturgeon focus on to the exclusion of everything else.

Johnson has not given a reason for refusing to meet with the First Minister. However it’s highly likely that he’s refusing to meet her because his fragile ego cannot cope with the optics of the First Minister of Scotland being perceived as his equal. UK officials have previously admitted to the right wing press that Johnson has been reluctant to engage directly with the First Minister because he does not want to give her an equivalent status to his own. In his eyes he’s the leader and she’s merely the head of a glorified county council. Describing Johnson’s superiority complex to the press one “Westminster insider” said that Johnson “outranks the First Minister, adding revealingly, ” He has the pips on the collar.”

Still, Johnson need not worry about anyone in Scotland thinking that he’s Nicola Sturgeon’s equal. She is widely regarded as one of the most competent politicians in the UK and is held in high regard across the whole of Europe. Boris Johnson … isn’t.

It’s quite likely that on some level the charlatan and serial liar who sits in Number 10 Downing Street knows that too. He knows that when it comes to Nicola Sturgeon he is hopelessly out-classed. Rather than risk his manifest inadequacies being exposed in a face to face meeting, he’d rather run away and hide. Of course he’s willing to hold a meeting with all the First Ministers, he says. But that’s a meeting that he would chair, where he sets the agenda, and which panders to his idea of himself as being the superior.

Naturally Douglas Ross thinks that Johnson was quite right to reject the offer of a face to face meeting with Nicola Sturgeon to discuss efforts to recover from the pandemic. This is the same Douglas Ross who huffs and puffs in outrage if Nicola Sturgeon takes fifteen minutes off from dealing with the pandemic in order to sit down and have a ready meal from Tesco for her tea – even one that’s plastered with Union flag branding. But now all of a sudden he’s happy that she will not after all be having a meeting in order to discuss joint measures for recovering from the pandemic. It would be nice to say that it was surprising that Douglas would display such rank and opportunistic hypocrisy, but sadly it’s as surprising as the sun coming up in the morning or Murdo Fraser being a bit of an eejit on social media. Rank hypocrisy is what Douglas does.

General Johnson will be meeting with the Scottish Tory corporal on both days of his visit though, because wee Dougie revels in the position of being a supplicant and a subordinate at the court of the World King and he expects the rest of Scotland to do the same, to take its orders from its betters in Westminster and obey. This isn’t a partnership it’s a hierarchy, and Scotland is to be kept firmly on the lower rungs.

Nicola Sturgeon is dangerously uppity and if she were to have a one to one meeting with Johnson that might lead people in Scotland to imagine that she was the national leader and that Scotland is equal in status to any other nation. That will never do. The message from Johnson is loud and clear. Know your place, Jocks. Don’t dare get ideas above your station. It’s Upstairs Downstairs, masters and servants. That’s what this so-called “Union” really is. Johnson’s cowardly refusal to meet with the First Minister has unwittingly exposed the truth.

NEW MODERATION POLICY

In the wake of recent events I am determined that this site will not become a home for bigots and conspiracy theorists. They will not be welcome here. Moderation is the most stressful part of running a blog, but this site is going to continue to make the positive case for independence. With this in mind as of today a new moderation policy is in force.

Anyone who attempts to use this site to post hatred, bigotry, or conspiracy theories will be banned. If you attempt to insult and abuse anyone you will be banned. This site has a zero-toleration policy for homophobia, transphobia, racism, and misogyny. Failure to respect this will result in a ban.

If you intend to spend the next four years undermining the SNP, the Scottish Government and the pro-independence parties that the great majority of independence supporters voted for, you can do so somewhere else, because you’re not going to do it here. The reminder that has regularly appeared on this site is not a serving suggestion. It will be rigorously enforced. If you don’t like this rule – there is a small x at the top right of your screen. Click it, close this page and go elsewhere.

This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.

Annual crowdfunder:

Scotland will have another independence referendum at some point in the next couple of years. Until then, this blog will continue to publish articles which – I hope – are amusing, entertaining, and which help to educate Scotland on the need for independence. However in order to do so I need to eat and pay my bills. Due to my reduced productivity and the limitations imposed on me by my health, this year I am asking for half the amount I’ve requested in previous fundraisers. I hope to raise £5000 which will go towards supporting myself for the next year.

You can support the fundraiser by donating on my gofundme page: Click here : https://www.gofundme.com/f/weeginger-annual-crowdfunder
Many thanks.

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. Please also use this email address to contact me if you would prefer to donate by some other method. Or alternatively click the donate button below. If you don’t have a PayPal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.

Donate Button

The Windsors: Graceless and favoured

It’s come to light that representatives of the royal household have vetted 67 new Scottish laws before they were signed by the monarch and became a part of the body of Scots Law. The monarchy has the ability to lobby for changes to any legislation which it deemed to infringe upon the property, wealth, and privileges of the royal family. It’s a power they exercise regularly.

The Royals lobbied to ensure that their Scottish properties are exempt from a law requiring landowners to sell portions of their land in order to facilitate the construction of pipelines for heating using renewable energy, rather than fossil fuels. The measure was a part of a recent law aimed at ensuring Scotland meets its carbon reduction targets. The royals will be in attendance at the COP 26 Climate Change talks in Glasgow in a few months time, pontificating about the need to prevent climate change and protect the environment, at least as long as their own financial and property interests are not impacted in any way. You can be sure that Nicholas Witchell and the other BBC professional sook ups won’t mention that when they’re wittering on about how much the royals care about the environment.

The royal household also secured an exemption from laws aimed at rooting out discrimination on the grounds of sex or race. It recently came to light that the royal household banned black or Asian people from serving in clerical roles in the royal household until at least the late 1960s.

The Windsors already enjoy enormous personal wealth, they are notoriously guarded about the true extent of their wealth, a task which is made easier because the family have ensured that the normal laws relating to financial transparency do not apply to them. According to an investigation by the Guardian, in the 1970s the Queen secured an exemption from a financial transparency law, allowing the Windsors to keep the true extent of their vast personal wealth a secret.

What’s not in doubt is that the Windsors enjoy a personal wealth far beyond the imaginings of ordinary people, the only question is the exact figure. In 2017 Forbes magazine estimated that the family as a whole is worth $88 billion, and in 2019 reported that the Queen alone had a personal fortune of an estimated $500 million.

This amount does not include the Crown Estate, which is a portfolio of land and property which belongs to the Crown as a state institution and not to the Queen personally. The revenues from the Crown estate go to the maintenance and upkeep of the royal family.

One of the ways in which the family maintains this wealth is through exemptions to tax laws and other laws which have a financial impact. Additionally the royal family are by far and away the biggest benefits claimants in the UK, receiving £86.3 million from the state in the Sovereign Grant in the financial year 2020-2021. The Sovereign Grant replaced the Civil list in 2011. £36.8 million of this is set aside for the refurbishment of Buckingham Palace. The Sovereign grant is calculated as a proportion of the annual income of the Crown Estate, the remainder going to the Treasury.

However the Act which introduced the Sovereign Grant includes a provision – put in at the insistence of the royal household – that prevents any fall in the value of the Sovereign Grant. It was put into force this year when the Crown Estate portfolio fell by more than £500 million in value, after land and property investments decreased sharply during the pandemic. Instead of absorbing the loss like every other business owner who has seen their assets hit due to covid-19, the taxpayer has bailed the royals out – ensuring that the Sovereign Grant will not fall in value for the next financial year. So much for “We’re all in this together.” Public money that could have been spent on vital public services during a time of global emergency was instead diverted into the bank accounts of an already obscenely wealthy family.

The Sovereign Grant is in theory supposed to reimburse the Windsors for the costs incurred in performing their public duties. The royals have a very self-indulgent definition of what counts as costs incurred in public duties, duties which in any event amount to waving occasionally at us peasants. Prince Andrew was reimbursed £16,000 for the cost of chartering a private jet so he could go and play golf in Northern Ireland, It would have cost under £100 to fly with a commercial carrier, but possibly private jets have more facilities for any female teenage travelling companions you might want to take along for the trip.

Another £1 million was billed to the public purse for the refurbishment of the home of Prince Richard, the Duke of Gloucester. No, I’d never heard of him either, and I suspect that even Nicholas Witchell would struggle to identify him from a photo in order to ooze sycophantically about him.

The cost of maintaining the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the monarch’s official residence in Scotland and a handy venue for the second in line to the throne to have secret meetings with Gordon Brown to discuss opposing Scottish independence, is met by Historic Environment Scotland. The cost of maintaining Windsor Castle is likewise footed by the state.

In total the royal household has intervened to demand changes to or exemptions from, over 1000 pieces of legislation since the Queen ascended to the throne. They have intervened 67 times in Scottish legislation since the establishment of devolution. The exercise of the Royal prerogative, which permits the monarch to intervene in legislation, is a regular occurrence. The monarch is supposed not to get involved in politics, but it seems that the Windsors are very keen to get involved in politics in order to defend their immense wealth and property holdings.

The true cost of this hideously wealthy and pampered family is kept from the public, as is the true extent of their meddling in the political process in order to protect their wealth and privilege. You can be sure that the BBC won’t tell us any of that despite the vast amount of airtime they devote to the Windsors. There is zero prospect of them being cut down to size by a British state for which the worship of the Windsors is a vital element in the cult of British exceptionalism. No wonder the royals are opposed to Scottish independence, it represents a direct threat to their wealth, power, and political influence. Royal apologists like to talk about the grace and favours of the monarch. The truth is that the Windors profit from the grace and favours of the public.

NEW MODERATION POLICY

In the wake of recent events I am determined that this site will not become a home for bigots and conspiracy theorists. They will not be welcome here. Moderation is the most stressful part of running a blog, but this site is going to continue to make the positive case for independence. With this in mind as of today a new moderation policy is in force.

Anyone who attempts to use this site to post hatred, bigotry, or conspiracy theories will be banned. If you attempt to insult and abuse anyone you will be banned. This site has a zero-toleration policy for homophobia, transphobia, racism, and misogyny. Failure to respect this will result in a ban.

If you intend to spend the next four years undermining the SNP, the Scottish Government and the pro-independence parties that the great majority of independence supporters voted for, you can do so somewhere else, because you’re not going to do it here. The reminder that has regularly appeared on this site is not a serving suggestion. It will be rigorously enforced. If you don’t like this rule – there is a small x at the top right of your screen. Click it, close this page and go elsewhere.

This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.

Annual crowdfunder:

Scotland will have another independence referendum at some point in the next couple of years. Until then, this blog will continue to publish articles which – I hope – are amusing, entertaining, and which help to educate Scotland on the need for independence. However in order to do so I need to eat and pay my bills. Due to my reduced productivity and the limitations imposed on me by my health, this year I am asking for half the amount I’ve requested in previous fundraisers. I hope to raise £5000 which will go towards supporting myself for the next year.

You can support the fundraiser by donating on my gofundme page: Click here : https://www.gofundme.com/f/weeginger-annual-crowdfunder
Many thanks.

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