The state we are in 2022

The other day while in the High Street, there was a disabled man begging. I gave him the few coins had in my pocket, then not even a hundred metres further on there was another cold and forlorn person, young man looking far older than his years, sitting on the wet street outside a shop, with only a tattered scrap of cardboard to protect him from the elements. It’s a scene that has become commonplace these days – I was about to write has sadly become commonplace – but that’s the wrong word. ‘Sadly’ implies that there is a tragic inevitability to destitute people, begging for a few coins from passers by to help them get through the day, but there is nothing inevitable about it. These scenes are a product of descisions taken by politicians, decisions which have put decent and affordable housing beyond the reach of many, decisions which have shredded what was once the safety net of the social security system and left it so tattered and threadbare that falling through the net is now the norm rather than the exception.

So the correct phrase is not ‘sadly comonplace’, the correct phrase is ‘criminally commonplace’. Homelessness on such an appalling scale exists because the Conservatives in Westminster have systematically destroyed the stock of social housing by allowing it to be sold off. Many former local authority properties are now in the hands of private landlords who charge rents far higher than the local authorities or housing associations once did, meanwhile the Conservatives have encouraged home owners to view their homes more as an investment than as a place to live, and house prices have soared, meaning that getting onto the property ladder is now impossible for many young people unless they are fortunate enough to have parents who are wealthy enough to give them considerable financial assistance, and the social inequalities which blight Britain, already amongst the greatest in Europe, are perpetuated for another generation.

It’s not just an epidemic of homelessness, food banks have sprung up all over the UK. I am old enough to remember when they were unheard of. The first time I became aware of the existence of such a thing was on my first trip to the USA in 1981, before Thatcher’s malignities had truly started to bite back home. I heard of a food back in the part of America where I was staying and was appalled that in such a wealthy country people should have to resort to charity in order to put food on the table. In my youthful naivety I was thankful that I came from a country where such a thing was unnecessary, where the needs of fellow citizens were valued enough that they could be certain that they’d have a roof over their heads and food on the table.

That was then, this is now, food banks crept in to the UK too, first as an extra top up, then as a vital part of a system that the Conservatives have rebranded from social security – a right – to welfare – a privilege, and moreover a privilege that can easily be taken away. Just like young people and disabled people begging on the streets, what was once unthinkable in its awfulness has now been normalised. Now we are talking about warmth banks, places where people who cannot afford to heat their homes can go in order to keep warm, and this in a country like Scotland, with an embarrassing abundance of energy resources that by rights belong to all of us. This descent into public cruelty and callousness combined with a worship of private greed has been achieved by successive Conservative governments, none of which Scotland voted for, indeed which were not voted for by a majority of people in the UK either. The current unelected Prime Minister enjoys his power on the back of nn eighty seat majority in the Commons won by his party on less than a third of the available vote. This majority doesn’t mean the Conservatives have won the argument, it just means they’ve just rigged the system.

It’s a system which the Labour party will not change, even if the polls are correct and it wins its own unfairly large majority the next time around, Labour is as much in thrall to the drug of absolute power as the Conservatives are. Yet in order to attain that majority they must ape the Tories, promising the same vile policies, just with a sad face emoji. And then the electorate in England will eventually tire of the Labour party and turn once again to the anglo-exceptionalist posturing of a Tory party that now occupies the same political space as Ukip did, and which by the election after the next could very well have moved even further to the right and the whole miserable cycle descends another turn into hellscape.

The Conservatives may currently be facing electoral defeat, but they will do all they can to claw back support. They are likely to do so by doubling down on their talk of a “refugee crisis” and by further demonising those desperate souls who brave the dangerous waters of the English Channel.

The UK does not have a refugee crisis. There is no such thing as an ‘illegal’ or ‘bogus’ asylum seeker. Under international law, anyone has the right to apply for asylum in any country that has signed the 1951 Convention and to remain there until the authorities have assessed their claim. The UK wants to breach the Convention by sending them on a one way ticket to Rwanda. Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Poland, and several other European countries all host more refugees per capita than the UK.

What the UK has is not a refugee crisis, it’s a crisis of scaremongering right wing politicians who are enabled by a right wing press, the same right wing press and politicians who brought us Brexit. Things in Britain don’t look like they are going to become any kinder or gentler any time soon. The UK is very firmly on a trajectory to more cruelty, more demonisation of the poor, the weak, and the vulnerable. Scotland needs to get out.

 My other half is home now, unfortunately he came home with covid. Thankfully he had only mild symptoms and after a couple of days was testing negative and feeling much better.  We self-isolated.  I had no symptoms at all and tested negative, but it was my turn to look after him for a change.

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albarevisedMy Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to weegingerbook@yahoo.com (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).

I am now writing the daily newsletter for The National, published every day from Monday to Friday in the late afternoon.  So if you’d like a daily dose of dug you can subscribe to The National, Scotland’s only pro-independence newspaper, here: Subscriptions from The National

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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Permacrisis

The Collins dictionary has announced its word for the year, the word that sums up the past year. 2022 is defined by the word permacrisis, that’s what the UK has become now, a failing state led by the failing government of an unfit party that lurches from one crisis to another, forever putting the blame on the pandemic, on Putin, on Europe, on criminal gangs of people smugglers, on thae bad boys that done it and ran away, everyone, anyone except Brexit and the selfish and short sighted decisions of a Conservative party whose idea of governance is to lie and cheat and to do whatever it takes to get it through the immediate crisis in front of it, and hell mend any longer term consequences.

Today, Tuesday, the Speaker of the Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle has ruled that there is no evidence that MPs were bullied during the chaotic and ill-tempered vote on Fracking which proved to be the final nail in Liz Truss’s political coffin. This is despite the fact that the altercations were reported by a number of people, the outcome of this farce of an investigation shows nothing except that the Tories have closed ranks and that Hoyle is as useless and ineffectual at carrying out an investigation as he is at ensuring that the Prime Minister actually answers questions asked at Prime Minister’s Questions. For good measure Hoyle used the report to take a swipe at Labour MP Chris Bryant, who had first raised the allegations of bullying and MPs being manhandled into the lobby to support the government and presented the Speaker with photographs which he claimed supported the allegations. But the only criticism in the report is directed at Chris Bryant for taking photos on his mobile phone outside the voting lobbies.

This is a Speaker who is either unwilling or unable to hold the Conservatives to account, under Hoyle PMQs has become a pantomime farce during which the Prime Minister makes no attempt to answer any questions and treats the event as an opportunity to make cheap jibes at the opposition, yet this is supposed to be the Parliamentary set piece event in which the Prime Minister is held to account.

Bryant is an old rival of Hoyle’s, Bryant stood against Hoyle in the election for a new Speaker in September 2019 and forced the voting to go through four rounds before all the other candidates were eliminated, leaving just Hoyle and Bryant as the final two. In December 2020 Bryant and Hoyle had a heated argument with one another in the Chamber. There is clearly no love lost between the pair and this report has a strong whiff of score settling about it. Triumphant Tories are now demanding that it’s Bryant who should be censured, while they get away with no consequences for their lies, boorishness and traducing of the democratic process.

There have undoubtedly been external factors such as the pandemic and the war in Ukraine but the UK should have been uniquely well placed amongst European states to weather these challenges. It is due to Conservative mismanagement that these challenges turned into full blown crises and threaten to become catastrophic. The UK is almost self-sufficient in energy, and so on paper ought to have been relatively unscathed by the shocks to the international energy market. However as we all know that’s not what has happened. Thanks to privatisation and the decision of the Conservatives to structure energy policy to protect the energy companies and not the consumers, which was compounded by the refusal of the government to levy a windfall tax on the big energy companies who have seen their profits soar and the government’s decision to allow the energy companies to run down gas storage facilities. The upshot is that domestic consumers in the UK were left facing some of the largest rises in energy prices in Europe.

During her brief and disastrous time as unelected Prime Minister, Liz Truss introduced an energy price cap designed to protect the profits of the energy companies. The cap is to be paid for by consumers through higher energy costs for years to come. However what Truss will be remembered for is taking a wrecking ball to the economy in order to introduce unfunded tax cuts which would disproportionately benefit the wealthiest. The result was a tanking pound and rising interest rates which will result in higher prices in the shops and soaring mortgage and rent costs at a time when many are already struggling financially.

We now have a third Prime Minister this year, this one has been elected by no one and was rejected by his own party just a few weeks ago. The Tories devote their time and energies to their internal party political fighting. The rest of us are just so much collateral damage. Sunak is now expected to introduce swingeing cuts to public services and tax rises in order to rescue public finances from a mess of the Tories’ own making. Even Truss’s energy price cap has not survived, expiring in April instead of after two years, no one knows what, if anything will replace it. Thanks to Westminster, thousands of families in Scotland, an energy exporting country, risk freezing this winter, all in order to protect the bloated profits of the energy companies.

It is Westminster’s disgrace that this is happening in Scotland, one of the energy richest countries in Europe, a country which should have no difficulty ensuring that the homes of all its residents have affordable heat and light.

Then there is of course the Brexit elephant in the room, a self-inflicted wound which only occurred because David Cameron wanted to placate the xenophobic right wing of the Tory party. The narrow leave vote was secured on the basis of lies and scaremongering and then Theresa May pressed for a hard Brexit, taking the UK out of the Single Market and Customs Union because for her too the sole concern was placating the far right of the Conservative party, no matter the cost to the rest of us.

Since then we have been governed by lies and greed as the Conservatives have sought to undermine all democratic safeguards and have trashed standards of decency in public office, and all the while the UK lurches from one crisis to another as the Tories cling to power. The highlight of British government is now watching Matt Hancock eat ostrich anus on I’m a Celebrity. Hancock has been suspended as a Conservative MP for buggering off to the tropics while Parliament is sitting, although they had no problem when Boris Johnson did it. The Tories are concerned that Hancock is bringing the party into disrepute. Oh, now they’re concerned about being brought into disrepute? A bit late for that.

It was fine when Hancock was health secretary and presided over hundreds of millions of pounds lost in dodgy PPE contracts. It was fine when he introduced a policy of discharging elderly patients from hospitals into care homes during the pandemic that resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands. It was fine when a judge ruled he had acted unlawfully by refusing to publish details of details of contracts his department had signed during the Covid pandemic. But being egged on by Ant and Dec to eat kangaroo dick in a bush tucker trial, *that’s* where we are drawing the line.

So much for the broad shoulders of the UK. All those shoulders are doing is carrying us from one needless crisis to another. Brexit Britain is a permacrisis that cannot be fixed, only escaped from.

 

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albarevisedMy Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to weegingerbook@yahoo.com (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).

I am now writing the daily newsletter for The National, published every day from Monday to Friday in the late afternoon.  So if you’d like a daily dose of dug you can subscribe to The National, Scotland’s only pro-independence newspaper, here: Subscriptions from The National

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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Braverman’s brutal Britain

Dear God, what a nasty, miserable, brutal, and cold hearted island we live on under this detestable Conservative regime. If you are a whiny bleating Tory snowflake who still supports this government when evidence of its institutional cruelty is so apparent and abundant you should not just be upset at being called detestable. It’s your lucky day, now you can also get upset about being called a fool and and an enabler as well.

Today there was a truly shameful performance by this week’s Home Secretary in the House of Commons. Suella Braverman did not just, as we had all expected, refuse to take any personal responsibility for the failure of the UK’s asylum system, and waved away her repeated security breaches.

When questioned by Labour Shadow Secretary Yvette Cooper about her repeated security breaches, Braverman accused Labour of playing ‘political parlour games’ in order to prevent her cracking down on the ‘scourge’ of illegal immigration, and claimed she was the victim of a ‘political witch hunt.’ In Braverman’s eyes she is the real victim here, and anyone who has the temerity to point out her wrongdoing and short comings is playing into the hands of criminal gangs of people traffickers. She singularly failed to clear up questions about whether she had ignored legal advice saying migrants could not be detained unlawfully, insisting she did not ignore the advice as multiple sources have claimed, but also admitting that she did not release the unlawfully detained migrants, claiming there was nowhere to send them – that, Suella – would be a you problem, you made it a problem for the unlawfully detained migrants.

That was all bad enough, but Braverman also doubled down on her brazen victim blaming and for good measure threw in some appallingly incendiary language. On the day after a white pensioner threw petrol bombs at a migrant centre in Kent, Braverman chose to refer to the refugee crisis as an ‘invasion’. Let’s be very clear here, if you throw petrol bombs at people because of their race, their religion, or their immigration status, you are a terrorist. You don’t get a free pass because you are a 66 year old white British pensioner from southern England. You are a terrorist, and you have been radicalised by the Daily Mail, the Express, by BBC favourite Nigel Farage, and by right wing Conservative politicians like Suella Braverman. Attacks on refugees don’t come out of nowhere; they are the end result of hate and xenophobia whipped up by politicians and media outlets.

Radio 4 had Nigel Farage on at lunchtime on Monday calling asylum seekers criminals, Natalie Elphicke MP was on BBC yesterday saying much the same thing. Such an inappropriate, reactionary response from politicians and the British media to the petrol bombing of a centre for refugees. Perhaps if the BBC didn’t keep platforming Nigel Farage there might not be such widespread hysteria about refugees and asylum seekers in a country which takes in proportionately far fewer refugees and asylum seekers than many other European countries. What the hell is wrong with the BBC that it thinks that the appropriate person to go to for comment on a terrorist attack on migrants was the man who has spent the past decade and a half normalising the demonisation of immigrants. Naturally Farage used it as an opportunity to tell us that he is the real victim here and he won’t let ‘lefties’ prevent him from ‘speaking out’ – read scaremongering – about immigration.

It’s a damning indictment of the UK and its ruling Conservative party that it has given us a Home Secretary and a media which are openly fanning the flames of bigotry and contributing to a growing climate of hate against people fleeing war and persecution. Yet that same party whines like a baby when its detestable abuse of its power is called detestable.

The performance that we witnessed in the House of Commons on Monday from the Home Secretary was, and this is not a word to be used at all lightly, genuine fascism. Language like that Braverman used, calling migrants “invaders” and referring to migration as a ‘scourge’ whips-up hatred and spreads fear and division. That is precisely the purpose of that kind of speech. It’s not shameful, Braverman has no shame. It’s deliberate fearmongering straight out of the fascist playbook. The Tories are basically reheating National Front and BNP rhetoric and making it their own policy when it comes to immigration.

What is beyond belief and comprehension is that Braverman is using the same vile and incendiary language, the same dehumanising and fear mongering terms to describe immigrants and refugees as were used by Enoch Powell in the 1960s to describe Braverman’s own parents. Powell was disowned by his party for his fascist hate mongering against migrants, Braverman is embraced by the Conservatives and occupies one of the great offices of state. That is how far to the right the Conservatives have pushed the envelope of what is deemed to be ‘mainstream’ political discourse. Fascism doesn’t march up to us wearing jackboots and wielding clubs, it comes up to us in smart suits and sober dresses, telling us that it’s our friend and that it is the voice of ordinary people, people in whose interests it claims to be acting, exactly as Braverman did on Monday.

Braverman went on to describe the immigration system as ‘broken’, without the slightest flicker of recognition that it’s her party which has been in charge for the past twelve years and it’s the Conservatives that broke it.

Braverman is weaponising hate in order to bolster her political position. All she did was to illustrate yet another reason why she’s totally unfit to be Home Secretary, and by refusing to take action again her, Sunak merely tells us all that he is not the leader of his party but rather is a weak and ineffectual hostage of its warring factions.

Sunak knows that if he sacks Braverman, he immediately faces the wrath of the far right European Research Group which was only placated by him offering Braverman one of the top posts in government. So Sunak has to keep her there, despite the mountain of evidence that she is unfit for office. But Braverman’s bravado did nothing to put to rest the questions about her competence and her honesty. She will continue to poison Sunak’s tenuous grasp on power and on the Conservative party, and when she does crash, as she most assuredly will, she will take what is left of Sunak’s reputation with her and will prove once and for all that the Conservatives cannot become a credible party of government by changing their leader again. It’s not May, Johnson, Truss, or Sunak that is the problem, it’s the entire detestable lot of them.

 

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albarevisedMy Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to weegingerbook@yahoo.com (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).

I am now writing the daily newsletter for The National, published every day from Monday to Friday in the late afternoon.  So if you’d like a daily dose of dug you can subscribe to The National, Scotland’s only pro-independence newspaper, here: Subscriptions from The National

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 below. If you don’t have a PayPal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.

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Sunak’s political honeymoon is already over

The Conservatives continue to provide evidence of their unfitness for office despite the coronation of a new unelected Prime Minister who unlike the previous unelected Prime Minister looks as though he will enjoy a honeymoon period in office albeit one which is likely to be short lived and which will not succeed in overturning Labour’s large lead over the Tories in the polls. The most recent poll has seen the Conservatives claw back 5% of Labour’s huge lead, but Starmer’s Tory Lite party remains well ahead.

Sunak is reportedly considering the implementation of a package of spending cuts and tax hikes worth up to £50 billion in what would amount to a return to 2010-style austerity, in the model of David Cameron’s government. However this time round the austerity will be being introduced in order to rescue the economy from the devastation wrought on it by the Conservatives themselves, not least their ideologically driven hard Brexit. Once the effects of Sunak’s austerity 2.0 start to be felt his polling honeymoon will be well and truly over.

However it has only been a week and the cracks are already showing in Sunak’s administration. Within days of taking office Sunak faced a barrage of entirely justified criticism for his unconscionable decision to reappoint the truly appalling Suella Braverman as Home Secretary just six days after she was forced to resign for what has transpired to be serial breaches of security. Her reappointment was part of a cheap and shoddy political deal as Sunak tried to prevent the various warring factions of his deeply divided party from plotting against him.

The Braverman story refuses to go away, it has now become apparent that Braverman is notorious amongst her colleagues for her willingness to leak sensitive information in order to secure a political advantage over members of her own party. It is a sign of Sunak’s weakness that he did a deal with Braverman, bringing her back into the job she was so recently sacked from in order to shore up his support on the frothing far right extremist wing of the Conservative party. This is despite the fact that it was widely known in government circles that Braverman could not be trusted with sensitive information. On Sunday we had the ludicrous sight of Michael Gove trying to defend Braverman by claiming that she accidentally sent a sensitive document to someone who was not permitted to see it it while she was deliberately trying to send it to someone else who was not permitted to see it either.

There is now also serious doubt about Braverman’s claim that she quickly took action as soon as she realised she had sent sensitive information to the wrong person. In an email seen by the BBC, Braverman told the recipient of the information to delete it and ignore it, rather than, as she had insisted, rapidly reporting the breach to the relevant government officials, saying, “as soon as I realised my mistake I rapidly reported this on official channels.” However it now appears that Braverman tried to cover it up and only came clean after being confronted with indisputable evidence of her breach of the ministerial code. Goodness, you don’t say that Braverman is dishonest as well as cruel and incompetent.

On Sunday we also had a report in the Sunday Times that Braverman ignored legal advice that the government is illegally detaining thousands of asylum seekers in an overcrowded and unsanitary detention centre which is experiencing outbreaks of diphtheria and scabies. The move could result in an expensive court action, if as seems likely, the detentions are challenged in court. The paper also reported that said Braverman was warned by officials that the Home Office had no chance of defending a legal challenge and the matter could also result in a public inquiry if exposed. Despite this, Braverman has done nothing to resolve the matter because she had refused to authorise spending on hotel rooms that would have allowed the migrants to be moved out of the detention centre.

This is a Home Secretary who is not just incompetent but is also deeply nasty and who revels in her inhumane unpleasantness. But never mind the institutional cruelty, Nicola Sturgeon called the Tories detestable, and that’s far far worse than illegally detaining people in disease ridden conditions and repeatedly leaking sensitive government information to your pals.

The laxity with which this Conservative government treats national security was further exposed the revelation that while she was Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss’s phone was hacked by spies believed to be working for Vladimir Putin, but the story was hushed up by Boris Johnson and cabinet secretary Simon Case in order not to damage Truss’s chances of becoming Tory party leader. The spies reportedly gained access to sensitive information, including discussions about the Ukraine war with foreign officials, as well as hundreds of photos of Truss posing in different hats, cosplaying Margaret Thatcher, and a letter to the editor of Vogue begging for a photo shoot.

At this juncture it’s worth pointing out that If the Tories wanted to keep their phones (and British interests) secure, they easily could. But in their immense arrogance and stupidity they chose not to, either that or they are bought and paid for by Russian money. Not that there is anything suspicious at all in the millionaire son of a KGB operative getting a peerage, oh no, and how dare you even suspect otherwise.

On Monday Sunak is due to meet with Scottish Conservative U-turner in chief Douglas Ross to discuss a strategy to ‘save the Union’. You might think that they could start with a rapid and whole hearted implementation of all the commitments made in Gordon Brown’s Vow, commitments which the Conservative party also signed up to, but we all know that there is as much chance of that happening as there is of Suella Braverman turning into a competent lawyer and politician who actually understands that illegal detentions and sacrificing human rights for short term political advantage are the kind of thing done by actual fascists.

You might also think that if Ross and Sunak really wanted to save the Union they might prevent their party from acting like fascists, and respect the results of those democratic events in Scotland which did not produce an outcome to their liking, but we all know that’s not going to happen either.

Instead it is reported that we are going to be in for a UK Government ‘charm offensive’ which is risible given the charmlessness of Douglas Ross and the Conservative party. Scotland’s democratic deficit will only deepen, but the Tories will score themselves some headlines in the anti-independence press, and that’s all that they are really interested in. Douglas Ross gets his hapless and petulant arse handed to him on a plate every FMQs, Ross is in no position to save the Union, he can’t even save his own credibility.

It looks like we are going to be in for a news-packed week, unfortunately I might not be able to blog every day as my other half is going to the USA to visit his family, the first time he has seen them since the pandemic and since his sister passed away from covid. I will be staying at home as I am not really fit enough for a transatlantic trip. It’s the first time sine the stroke that he has gone away, some friends are coming to stay to help me as I’d struggle to manage by myself. I will blog when I can.

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albarevisedMy Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to weegingerbook@yahoo.com (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).

I am now writing the daily newsletter for The National, published every day from Monday to Friday in the late afternoon.  So if you’d like a daily dose of dug you can subscribe to The National, Scotland’s only pro-independence newspaper, here: Subscriptions from The National

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 below. If you don’t have a PayPal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.

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The Liz Truss of political prose

It’s not a joke, well, it is a joke, but in a different way entirely. The right wing Spectator magazine must have had some sort of nervous breakdown because it has seen fit to publish the turgid musings of “I’m not a nationalist because I’m British” blogger Effie Deans, writing under what may or may not be his or her real name of Irena Skuba. I am guessing that this too is a pseudonym as “Irena Skuba” has a suspiciously limited internet presence and there have been persistent rumours that Irena/Effie is really a male academic at Aberdeen Uni or perhaps even a joint creation of more than one person. I have yet to be convinced that Effie is not actually a performance art piece created by an independence supporter trying to see just how unhinged the writings of an anti-independence British nationalist can get without being rumbled as a parody. The answer to that is, very unhinged indeed.

The Spectator tells its readership of golf club bores that it is the “best written” weekly in the English language and that its writers’ only allegiance is to “clarity of thought, elegance of expression and independence of opinion”. But they decided to have a week off for Effie.

For those of you with the immense good fortune never to have come across the semi-literate witterings of Effie/Irena, she/he or possibly they, is a Conservative supporting anti-independence troll whose prose does to the English language what a bowl of cement powder does to the digestive tract. As a writer, Effie has the same sensitivity to language as one of those random name generators on the Internet. Effie believes that sentences are not to be lovingly crafted on the page, but rather beaten into submission by the sheer weight of the syllables that are squeezed into them.

But it’s not just the frequency of Effie-isms, sentences which you have to read four times before concluding that they make no sense whatsoever, that elevates Effie into the hallowed halls of truly appalling writers, it is also the sentences that are, sadly, comprehensible, because all too often these contain opinions which are not just ungrounded, but which have flown off the planet altogether and are currently orbiting a distant planet like a black hole which crushes all sense and meaning out of existence. Effie truly is the Liz Truss of political prose.

In one memorable piece, Effie suggested that Scottish nationalism could be killed off for good by flooding Scotland with patriotic migrants from England so that the pesky natives were everywhere outnumbered by monarchy supporting true blue yeomen and women from the leafy shires. Cultural genocide doesn’t count when it’s committed by Brits.

In another article, Effie wrote of her horror of bilingual road signs in the Highlands, which she claimed got her hopelessly lost on her way to Fort William. This is because two lines of text is apparently far too confusing, although if you’ve ever tried to read one of Effie’s blogs, one line of text is confusing enough. Effie is one of those poor Brits who are confused and defeated by the Gaelic language, and still suffers night terrors about that time she went up to a big green and yellow square van with flashing blue lights and AIMBEALANS written on the side and tried to order a double vanilla and chocolate ice cream cone with sprinkles.

Now that Effie has broken into the mainstream media, she is a definite contender for a future episode of BBC Question Time, which needs a replacement for orange jaiket man now that we all know who he is and now has to bus in Tories from the North of England in order to make up a properly BBC balanced studio audience. As long as it isn’t filmed in Fort William she might actually make it to the studio.

It certainly will not be long before the BBC Scotland is doing the paper review and quoting Effie, next up is Brian Spanner presenting Debate Night Scotland.

The main thrust of her Spectator piece is that Nicola Sturgeon will find it harder to challenge Rishi Sunak because he is British Asian and his recent ancestors did not stride across the fields of Culloden slaughtering Jacobites. Effie, like many right wing British nationalists who are blind to their own nationalism is convinced that : ” Scottish nationalism depends on people who dislike Britain for a variety of historical reasons. The typical SNP supporter opposes Britain because of various historical grievances which it associates with the Tories. Mixed in with this is typically a West of Scotland sectarianism that blames Britain for everything that has gone wrong in Ireland.”

Nowhere in Effie’s world view is there any recognition of the reality of the modern Scottish independence campaign, that it is rooted in dissatisfaction with a semi-democratic Westminster system of government which perpetuates inequality and privilege and not at all about the past or ethnic nationalism. That is not a conceptual leap that Effie is willing or able to make because to do so would entail accepting that the rise to political prominence of the modern Scottish desire for independence is rooted in the shortcomings and failures of a British state which proclaims itself to be a union of the nations of these islands while simultaneously acting like a highly centralised unitary nation state. The modern Scottish independence movement is not primarily concerned with ancient history, rather it is motivated by finding workable solutions to the problems of modern Scotland, solutions which can only be implemented if Scotland possesses the full powers of an independent European state because these solutions are blocked by a sclerotic and undemocratic Westminster which runs the entire UK for the benefit of the wealthy and the interests of the financial sector in the City of London.

It is far easier and far more comfortable for Effie and her fellow Conservative Anglo-British nationalists to deny that they are in any way the problem, and that if they really want Scottish independence to go away it’s them and the British state that need to change, so instead they assert that it’s all the fault of Scottish nationalists, their hatred of the English and their obsession with the events of past centuries and historical grievances. No wonder the Spectator has published her, she provides a soothing balm to its Conservative readership in the rest of the UK, which has no understanding of just how unmoored her ideas are from the realities of modern Scottish politics. The fact that a prominent Conservative magazine has seen fit to publish Effie merely tells us how intellectually bankrupt British nationalism in Scotland has become.

It looks like we are going to be in for a news-packed week, unfortunately I might not be able to blog every day as my other half is going to the USA to visit his family, the first time he has seen them since the pandemic and since his sister passed away from covid. I will be staying at home as I am not really fit enough for a transatlantic trip. It’s the first time sine the stroke that he has gone away, some friends are coming to stay to help me as I’d struggle to manage by myself. I will blog when I can.

_____________________________________________________

albarevisedMy Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to weegingerbook@yahoo.com (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).

I am now writing the daily newsletter for The National, published every day from Monday to Friday in the late afternoon.  So if you’d like a daily dose of dug you can subscribe to The National, Scotland’s only pro-independence newspaper, here: Subscriptions from The National

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 below. If you don’t have a PayPal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.

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Sunak : Zero to Nero in six hours

Well that didn’t take long, did it? It took a couple of weeks for the sheer useless awfulness of Liz Truss’s government to become apparent, although admittedly that was in large part because all of politics came to a halt due to the compulsory British nationalist commournathon. However Rish! Sunak’s exclamation mark is certainly nothing if not efficient. Normally an incoming Prime Minister can count on a honeymoon period of goodwill during which the floating voter public and their own party are willing to give them the benefit of any doubt that is going. It took Liz Truss until the unveiling of her gob-smackingly bad mini-budget to destroy that goodwill. Rish! has managed it in a mere six hours.

Anyone who wasn’t a fully paid up member of the Conservative party had low expectations of Sunak to begin with, after all, this is the guy who spent the last two and a half years enabling Boris Johnson, got fined by the police for breaking lockdown, kept his US Green card and his wife’s non-dom status so the couple could avoid paying British taxes on their immense fortune, and then like the thin skinned man child that he is, acted like he was the victim when it became public knowledge. Even so, what little credibility he had left was blown completely out of the water with the announcement of his cabinet of Brexit liars, fools, people whose hobby is pulling the wings off flies, and retreads from the Johnson premiership. Sunak managed to go from zero to Nero in just six hours.

At midday Sunak was promising to restore ‘integrity, professionalism and accountability’ to government. By tea time he had put Suella Braverman back into the post of Home Secretary, just a few days after she had been forced to resign for what turned out to be gross and repeated breaches of the ministerial code and then lying to the Prime Minister about it.

Braverman is, and I do not say this lightly, a truly repugnant politician, even by the appallingly low standards we have come to expect of the detestable party. In her brief tenure in office under Liz Truss she managed to deliver a frankly infantile and petulant blast at her opposition counterpart, characterising those who still have a functioning moral compass and who oppose her institutionalised cruelty as ‘the tofu-eating wokerati’. Before entering Parliament her licence to practise law in New York state was suspended. According to human rights lawyer Shoaib Khan, “Can honestly say I have not met a single person who knows Suella Braverman, has worked with her or met her who has had anything positive to say. She’s just incompetent. He added, ” She’ll say things about law, which are plainly wrong and stick to it.”

The rise of Suella Braverman is one of the genuine mysteries of modern politics. She has no discernible charm, intellect or talent and projects cruelty like toxic radiation. She has lied about her experience, falsely claiming on her CV to have contributed to an important legal text book, a book whose authors assert that Braverman made no more contribution to than doing a spot of photocopying. The truth is that Braverman would be out of her depth as under secretary for photocopying.

Braverman also said that her ‘dream’ was to see a plane packed with desperate asylum seekers taking off on a one way trip to an oppressive central African dictatorship. There’s a word for people like Braverman who delight in their own cruelty and take pleasure from the suffering and misery of others, that word is sadist, and no one who claims that his government will be characterised by ‘integrity, professionalism, and accountability’ should put someone who clearly displays sadistic personality traits in a position of power over vulnerable people, and certainly not when that sadist was sacked from the same job just last week for committing a gross breach of the professional standards demanded of those in such a position. Putting her back in charge of the Home Office is an atrocity, It displays neither integrity, professionalism nor accountability on the part of Sunak, what it really displays is his political weakness and that is priority is to placate the warring factions of his deeply divided party in the vain hope that it will prevent them from plotting his downfall.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, we now also have the gurning mug of Michael Gove back in the cabinet, a man who thinks that it is perfectly acceptable to tell the most blatant and intelligence insulting lies as long as he’s terribly terribly polite while doing so.

We also have the return of Dominic Raab and his angrily throbbing temple vein, and just to pour caustic soda on the open wound, Gavin Williamson is back, the bastard offspring of Private Pike from Dad’s army and Joseph Goebbels. Even Tory commentator, founder of Conservative Home and G Beebies News presenter Tim Montgomerie was appalled by Williamson’s return to cabinet, tweeting : “A PM committed to integrity does not appoint Gavin Williamson to government.”

Williamson is a man who, let us not forget was previously sacked from the government for leaking national security information. It’s a mark of just how appalling the re-appointment of Braverman is that no one is talking about Williamson.

This is a cabinet which illustrates how tired and lacking in talent the Tories have become after Johnson’s purge of Conservative remainers. It’s a cabinet cobbled together in an attempt to buy Sunak some time.

We now have Robert Jenrick, Suella Braverman and Gavin Williamson back in the cabinet, all of whom were sacked for breaches of the ministerial code. This, apparently, is what passes for integrity, professionalism and accountability, in case you were wondering.

On Wednesday it was Sunak’s first PMQs, and what we got was truly dire. It was the exact same shtick we have come to know and loathe from Boris Johnson, a copy of all Johnson’s worst lines, but delivered by a low energy nerd, even down to the tired old Corbyn and Brexit jibes. It was not just poor, it was also dishonest.

It’s only Sunak’s first full day in the job and he is already coming under pressure to sack his Home Secretary and his judgement is being seriously questioned. Suella Braverman failed to turn up to the House of Commons to answer the Urgent Question on her resignation and reappointment as Home Secretary. Waste of space Speaker Lindsay Hoyle conveniently waite until Braverman had scuttled out the chamber before announcing the Urgent Question on her reappointment six days after resigning for misconduct over a security breach. Accountability much?

This, and Sunak’s lacklustre performance at PMQs will have done little to reassure jittery Tory nerves that he is the guy who can pull their failing party back from the electoral abyss.

It looks like we are going to be in for a news-packed week, unfortunately I might not be able to blog every day as my other half is going to the USA to visit his family, the first time he has seen them since the pandemic and since his sister passed away from covid. I will be staying at home as I am not really fit enough for a transatlantic trip. It’s the first time sine the stroke that he has gone away, some friends are coming to stay to help me as I’d struggle to manage by myself. I will blog when I can.

_____________________________________________________

albarevisedMy Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to weegingerbook@yahoo.com (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).

I am now writing the daily newsletter for The National, published every day from Monday to Friday in the late afternoon.  So if you’d like a daily dose of dug you can subscribe to The National, Scotland’s only pro-independence newspaper, here: Subscriptions from The National

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 below. If you don’t have a PayPal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.

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An elected dictatorship without the election

We are in for the fifth Prime minister in six years, and the tenth Tory Prime Minister that Scotland hasn’t voted for. They say that bad luck comes in threes and right on cue along comes the third Conservative Prime Minister this year. This time the Conservatives aren’t even pretending that there’s anything democratic about it, Rish! Sunak with his exclamation mark of ambition becomes Prime Minister despite having been rejected by his own party just six weeks ago. He does so without facing a single hustings, a single interview, or even the most cursory questioning, never mind facing any sort of vote, not from his party members, and certainly not from the wider public. He didn’t even make any public statements during the truncated leadership contest. Sunak become Prime Minister after party elders stitched it up by themselves behind closed doors, the kind of process you more normally associate with a tinpot dictatorship.

It was traditionally said that the Westminster system, which hands almost unlimited power to the Prime Minister, is an elected dictatorship, now the Conservatives have dispensed with the elected part, we are just left with the dictator.

Sunak is the guy who, during his failed leadership campaign a few weeks ago boasted about taking public money away from the most deprived areas in order to give it to leafy and well-heeled Conservative constituencies. We now have an unelected multi-millionaire imposing austerity and spending cuts on the poorest and the most vulnerable, making them pay for the economic havoc caused by his own party. You can bet it won’t be Sunak, who together with his wife has an estimated fortune of £730 million, or his rich cronies who will suffer financially due to the Conservative created economic crisis assailing Britain. It will be benefits claimants, the low paid, and ordinary struggling households.

During his previous failed leadership bid, Sunak vowed to extend ‘vilification of the UK’ to the definition of extremism and people deemed to be guilty of vilification of Britain would be referred to the anti-extremist Prevent programme. Sunak vowed to “root out those who are vocal in their hatred of our country”. Peter Fahy, a former senior police chief denounced Sunak’s plan, saying it strayed into thought crime. With Scottish Tories constantly loudly proclaiming that Scottish independence is predicated on a hatred of the English, no one in Scotland who values democracy and Scotland’s right to self-determination can afford to be complacent as this Prime Minister who was elected by no one attempts to block the Scottish Parliament from implementing the mandate for another independence referendum given to it by the electorate of Scotland at the Holyrood elections of May 2021.

The Tories are now trying to tell us that Sunak is a ‘safe pair of hands’ who can be trusted to make the right decisions on the economy, but Sunak told us in 2016 that Brexit would be good for the economy, an assertion which was obviously wrong then and is even more painfully wrong now. The questionable nature of Sunak’s judgement was also evident from his ‘eat out to help out scheme during the pandemic which at great cost to the public purse was estimated by researchers to have been responsible for one sixth of covid cases during the late summer of 2020. Then he handed over £37bn to his Tory cronies for dodgy PPE contracts which were never delivered. Sunak is no one’s saviour, certainly not ours, and not the Tory party’s either.

Now, as he introduces a new round of austerity his new scheme will be eat nowt to help out the rich.

Unburdened by any public mandate as he is, Sunak has, entirely unsurprisingly, ruled out an early general election. This is for the exact same reason that the Conservatives also rule out a second Scottish independence referendum, because they are terrified of the verdict of the people. If there was to be a general election within the next few weeks, the Tories would be facing electoral oblivion.

After accepting the crown, sorry, job, Sunak addressed the public with a brief acceptance speech that made Liz Truss seem like an animated and engaging public speaker, Sunak gave us heavy vibes of the area manager for a car part distribution company. It was like someone had deep-faked an android mash up of Truss and Sunak, the Trussunak Mk 1, complete with a long and very awkward pause at the end. He had all the presence of a sex robot which had just been told that no one fancied it. Then he left without taking questions. Why should he take questions, it’s not like he’s accountable to anyone. We shouldn’t be surprised that Sunak struggled with the auto-cue, and both looked and didn’t look at the camera at the same time, after all, he can’t fuel up a car properly or work a contactless card machine. He has staff for that sort of thing.

The fact that a British Indian and practising Hindu has become Prime Minister has been hailed as a victory for diversity and inclusivity, Sunak’s policies are very much a defeat for diversity and inclusivity. However It is genuinely moving we have a Prime Minister whose wife is a billionaire who doesn’t pay her taxes, and we can all be proud that someone has finally climbed their way up from private school to Oxbridge to merchant banker to Prime Minister, taking in immense wealth and privilege along the way.

Sunak’s coronation represents the final collapse of the democratic pretensions of the Westminster Parliament. We have an appointed Prime Minister who was rejected by his own party just a few weeks ago, who does not have the support of Conservative members or the wider electorate , and who is about to embark on a damaging new round of austerity for which the Conservatives have no mandate, an austerity which is only necessary because of Conservative lies about Brexit and their criminal mismanagement of the economy. The Tories will try to avoid a General Election as long as they can in an effort to stave off the damning verdict that will be passed on them by the electorate, but the very best that they can hope for now is that the Rishbot can salvage a few seats from the political wreckage that calls itself the Conservative and Unionist party.

The Tories have broken democracy, they have broken the economy, they have broken Britain and they have broken the union, it is some comfort that among the damage that they have wrought, the Conservatives have also broken themselves. Here’s hoping it finishes the detestable party off for good.

It looks like we are going to be in for a news-packed week, unfortunately I might not be able to blog every day as my other half is going to the USA to visit his family, the first time he has seen them since the pandemic and since his sister passed away from covid. I will be staying at home as I am not really fit enough for a transatlantic trip. It’s the first time sine the stroke that he has gone away, some friends are coming to stay to help me as I’d struggle to manage by myself. I will blog when I can.

_____________________________________________________

albarevisedMy Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to weegingerbook@yahoo.com (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).

I am now writing the daily newsletter for The National, published every day from Monday to Friday in the late afternoon.  So if you’d like a daily dose of dug you can subscribe to The National, Scotland’s only pro-independence newspaper, here: Subscriptions from The National

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 below. If you don’t have a PayPal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.

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The Tory lettuceship contest

The lettuce wins hands down. The Star newspaper had set up a live feed of a photo of Truss beside a lettuce and a caption asking which would last longer, well now we know, the lettuce wins hands down. This may mean that the lettuce will be the next Prime Minister, and it would certainly make a better job of it than Truss did.

As Mhairi Black MP tweeted, this feels like the Tories had signed up for a month’s free trial and have only just remembered to cancel it. Truss’s six week reign as PM also included 10 days off for national mourning and two weeks off for the conference season. She worked just 12 days as PM during her time in office.

Truss did not apologise in her brief resignation speech, none of it is apparently her fault. Shockingly, but not surprisingly, the Tories do not want a General Election but are planning an internal party lettuceship election to stitch things up amongst themselves. According to the Times, Boris Johnson plans to stand. May all the gods help us.

This is of course most likely what Johnson had in mind all the time when he backed Truss for PM, it stuck the knife into Sunak, which would have been reason enough, but by backing a weak candidate he knew was unsuitable for the job he could position himself for a return to power once Truss failed. Although it’s unlikely that even Johnson realised just how quickly Truss’s administration would implode.

Since being forced out of office Johnson has been in the USA giving speeches at £150K a pop. He missed last night’s vote because he is on holiday in the Caribbean, but he’d probably have missed it anyway because he has missed every vote since July. He hasn’t stopped claiming his £84K salary though. People briefing on behalf of Boris Johnson say he is expected to stand in the Tory leadership contest because, ahem, he believes it is a matter of national interest and for the good of the nation that he does so. Give me strength. He’s getting his lying in early this time.

So there’s the Tories this week, wittering on about the need for calm and stability in government, and how next week they can give the country a sober and sensible head, and along comes that lying corrupt balloon and the Brexit circus of grotesques that he brings along in his wake.

There were reports on Thursday afternoon that the head of the 1922 Committee said on Thursday that the membership would get a vote. These are the clowns who inflicted Truss on us, if there was any justice, the Tory membership should be banned from having any say on who becomes the new Prime Minister and should collectively be sent to the naughty step to sit in darkness and reflect on just how out of touch and outright nasty they are. The Tories are now going to choose a new Prime Minister just six weeks after they chose the last one. The Conservatives are allowed to change their minds, but they insist that the voters of Scotland are not.

I cannot stress enough just how few fucks I give about the opinions or feelings of a Conservative party membership which was entrusted with steering the ship of state and steered it straight into an iceberg, and now it seems that the Westminster system is going to let them do it all over again – and you know that they will give us back Boris Johnson, who was forced from office in disgrace just a few weeks ago. This is beyond absurd. At this rate the next Prime Minister will be Murdo Fraser.

We need a General Election now if democracy is to have any meaning. As Nicola Sturgeon pointed out, Liz Truss is merely a symptom of a fundamentally dysfunctional Westminster system. Are there any Better Together types who still want to argue that Scotland could not possibly do better than this complete and utter shitshow, because if they are still intent on arguing that – and you can bet that they are, they now have even less credibility and self-awareness than an ex Prime Minister who went head to head with a lettuce and lost. Do any of them have any nuggets of wisdom about those ‘broad shoulders’ of the UK to share with us. A written constitution does not seem like a bad idea at all at this juncture.

And right on cue up pops the perma-smug Andrew Bowie who tweeted : “Let’s get this done and get on delivering on the manifesto that we got elected on. That must be our focus after all this.” Your party has had twelve years to ‘get this done’ Twelve years, twelve years in which you have wrought economic and political havoc, and now you want to ‘get this done’ It’s your miserable party which is done, and along with it your career. We are sick of the Conservatives, sick of careerists and the revolving Tory door of talentless hacks competing to out Daily Mail one another – look where that has got us.

Even now after all that has happened it is striking that so many conservative MPs are still talking about what is “ best for the party”. Party still comes before country and constituents and democracy. It’s not a General Election that is needed, it’s a revolution, and every single sitting Tory MP should be disbarred from standing for re-election.

But we know that the Conservatives are determined to avoid a General Election as they know that they would be annihilated. Johnson said that the last General Election was the most important in a generation, that’s how long it would take for the Conservative party to recover. But whoever takes over will inherit a divided and broken party which is unable to govern. The instability, the plotting, the sheer self-interested selfishness, the corruption and the traducing of democracy and standards of decency in government. None of it will stop. And on top of it all we will have a government led by a Prime Minister who is implementing policies that no one has voted for, not even their own party. The infighting and navel gazing will only continue while people freeze, food prices soar, and trade with Europe continues to fall off a cliff.

There’s a lot to be said for having the independence referendum next week.

It looks like we are going to be in for a news-packed week, unfortunately I might not be able to blog every day as my other half is going to the USA to visit his family, the first time he has seen them since the pandemic and since his sister passed away from covid. I will be staying at home as I am not really fit enough for a transatlantic trip. It’s the first time sine the stroke that he has gone away, some friends are coming to stay to help me as I’d struggle to manage by myself. I will blog when I can.

_____________________________________________________

albarevisedMy Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to weegingerbook@yahoo.com (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).

I am now writing the daily newsletter for The National, published every day from Monday to Friday in the late afternoon.  So if you’d like a daily dose of dug you can subscribe to The National, Scotland’s only pro-independence newspaper, here: Subscriptions from The National

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 below. If you don’t have a PayPal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.

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Building a winning case

On Saturday, a full 48 hours before the publication of the Scottish government’s paper setting out the economic case for independence and its plans for the currency and the border with England, Blair Mcdougall, the former chief of Better Together was tweeting the imminent release of a video which he claimed was going to comprehensively debunk the paper. Since the paper had yet to be published and Blair cannot possibly have seen it, much less digested and considered its contents, that leaves only two possibilities.

The first possibility is that the video he mentioned must have been produced with the assistance of Blair’s time machine, although you might think that he really ought to have have loaned it to his Better Together buddies in the Tory party and then they would have seen just how much of a disaster Liz Truss was going to be for the claim that Scotland needs the economic stability of the UK. Mind you, he could also have used it to see the abject failure of the Better Together parties to ‘kill nationalism stone dead’, so he might have had a wee word in their ear about the need to ensure that all the fine promises that they made in 2014 actually got kept, and then in 2022 he wouldn’t be desperately tweeting that he had already debunked an economic paper that hadn’t yet been published.

The only other alternative is that Blair is a dyed in the wool British nationalist who would still argue against Scottish independence even if presented with unarguable evidence that in an independent Scotland every sheep would shit solid gold turds. But no, that can’t be right, because Blair is a Labour man and that means his British nationalism can’t possibly be nationalist.

I would not be remotely surprised if this debunking video features the stylings of man who happens to share a name with a fast food burger clown, who is very much the go-to guy for warnings that whatever economic policies are adopted by an independent Scotland, we will be without a fixed abode, sitting in the dark, and unable to put food on the table of the home we have just been evicted from. Oh, wait, that’s the UK.

Meanwhile the heid bummer, with the accent on bummer, of anti-independence graph manufacturers These Islands tweeted in reply to an independence supporter who wanted to know if his anti-independence think tank had anything to say about the political and economic crisis engulfing the UK other than to suggest that all will be well with a General election and to tell Scotland that things will always be worse in an independent Scotland

“Think of it this way. Scottish nationalism is a virus. I’m in the vaccine business. And you’re a vaccine sceptic: demanding to know why the vaccine doesn’t cure every known disease.”

We can take that as a no then.

Presumably British nationalism is an even more virulent and debilitating virus, because one of its prime symptoms is deluding those infected by it into believing it doesn’t exist and to deny that there are any structural or systemic issues with the British state that cannot be solved with a change of governing parties after a General Election. This delusion then leads them to do mad things like voting Tory or setting up patronising ‘think tanks’ with the likes of Neil Oliver, British nationalism’s Propagandalf.

Just about every mainstream commentator is wondering whether the current self inflicted Anglo- British nationalist malaise of the British state is worse than Suez or not, we have had four chancellors in as many months and a Prime Minister who has only been in office for just over a month might not survive in post beyond next week. The pound is tanking, interest rates are soaring, and even the Telegraph has been forced to concede that Brexit has been an unmitigated disaster. Yet the response from These Islands is Nothing to see here, look over there, Scottish independence would be infinitely worse because it’s nationalist, and that’s bad.

Unlike Blair, I’m not going to pass much comment on a paper which I’ve not read. However I do want to talk about the fascinating opinion poll published on Sunday in The National, you know, because you can actually meaningfully discuss things which have already been published. (Wee hint for you there Blair.)

The poll gives a baseline support for independence of 50% when the standard question is asked, however the really interesting finding is that support for independence soars to 61% when respondents were asked about an independent Scotland in which the happiness and well-being of citizens and respect for the environment are prioritised and where state pensions are boosted from £141.85 to £225 per week.

You might think, “Oh big deal, offer a land of milk and honey and people will vote for it.” However the real point here is that this poll tells us that the 50% who say that they’d vote No to independence are not in fact all hard core British nationalists, sorry ‘anti-nationalist unionists’, à la Blair McDougall and his pal Ronald, many of them are open to persuasion if the independence movement makes an attractive and plausible case to them. The magic figure of a 60% yes vote is attainable if the independence movement makes the right case and fights an effective campaign.

This is all the more reason to stop obsessing about process, we won’t win independence by arguing amongst ourselves. Instead we need to concentrate on making that positive case for independence which can build overwhelming support for independence amongst the wider public in Scotland. This poll tells us that unarguable majority support really is possible, ad that is what has got Blair an These Islands Mr Patronising so rattled.

Hopefully tomorrow with the publication of the Scottish Government’s paper we will have a firm basis upon which to build that case. It comes as pressure mounts within the Conservative party to ditch Liz Truss in a last ditch effort to minimise the scale of the defeat which the Tories are staring at.

It looks like we are going to be in for a news-packed week, unfortunately I might not be able to blog every day as my other half is going to the USA to visit his family, the first time he has seen them since the pandemic and since his sister passed away from covid. I will be staying at home as I am not really fit enough for a transatlantic trip. It’s the first time sine the stroke that he has gone away, some friends are coming to stay to help me as I’d struggle to manage by myself. I will blog when I can.

_____________________________________________________

albarevisedMy Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to weegingerbook@yahoo.com (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).

I am now writing the daily newsletter for The National, published every day from Monday to Friday in the late afternoon.  So if you’d like a daily dose of dug you can subscribe to The National, Scotland’s only pro-independence newspaper, here: Subscriptions from The National

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 below. If you don’t have a PayPal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.

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The new Tory magazine: Chancellor Monthly

Liz Truss has attempted to save her political career by throwing her Chancellor under the bus and sacking him for doing what she wanted him to do and making a screeching U-turn on her flagship policy, announcing that she will not after all be cutting Corporation Tax but will instead be going forward with the increase planned by Sunak and Johnson. Truss has just ripped up the policy which Tory party members elected her to deliver just a few weeks ago. This is a government in free fall. Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies thinktank, noted that reversing the decision not to raise corporation tax will not by itself fill the gap in the public finances created by the unfunded tax cuts in the mini-budget.

Truss’s press conference on Friday was only a few minutes long but still managed to be awkward and excruciating. Truss’s press team had clearly taken the decision that the less time she was exposed to the media the less damage she could do. There were no apologies, no explanations, no acknowledgement that anything that has happened over the past few weeks was in any way her fault. However in those brief few minutes she showed that she has no clue how to fund the tax cuts that she insists are necessary. Truss delivered a brief stilted statement,and looking like a terrified rabbit caught in the headlights with long and uncomfortable pauses as she scanned the journalists in attendance desperately looking for a friendly face. Unfortunately for her Vogue was not there.

She was asked why she wasn’t quitting as Prime Minister, and the prime architect of the economic chaos of the past couple of weeks said that she was staying to ensure ‘economic stability. Truss took just four questions, two from right-wing newspapers, one from the BBC and one from ITV, no follow up questions were allowed. And then she fled the room. Even those supposedly friendly faces asked difficult questions, Truss is not just brazenly incompetent – she’s a coward – she had lost the room, she has lost the country, and she has lost her party.

If you do a press conference at a time of crisis in your leadership like this, you stay and answer all the questions. Even Boris Johnson knew that. There was no opportunity to ask her what she meant about a controlling the size of the state and does this mean that there will be a return to spending cuts despite her assurance to the Commons on Wednesday that there would be none. In her brief time in office she has already made a number of major U-turns, no one should have any confidence that her promise not to cut public spending should be any different.

Kwarteng has been replaced by Jeremy Hunt, the fourth Chancellor in as many months, a decision that Hunt will certainly come to regret. Chancellor monthly, it’s the Tory party’s new magazine. Kwarteng is the second shortest serving Chancellor on record with just eight days longer in office than Conservative MP Iain Macleod who served only 30 days as Chancellor in 1970 before dying of a heart attack.

It’s not just Truss and Kwarteng who have ruined what little was left of their political credibility. It was only yesterday that Douglas Ross insisted that he had every confidence in the Prime Minister and the Chancellor and just a couple of weeks ago that he and the Scottish Conservatives were hailing the tax cutting mini budget and demanding that the Scottish Government copy it in full. You can be sure that BBC Scotland will be hounding him for a statement. Yeah. Right.

If Truss thought that blaming Kwarteng for a disaster she shares responsibility for was going to restore confidence in her leadership she is going to be sadly disappointed. Truss needed to deliver a reassuring performance at that press conference, but she did worse than anyone expected even given the low expectations we have come to have of her. Truss has no political authority left. She has no support amongst her own MPs, who are now happily leaking the private conversations in Conservative MP WhatsApp groups in which they plot the quickest way to get rid of her.

Even the staunch Truss backer Christopher Chope is in dismay after Truss’s abysmal performance, telling Times Radio the Tory party is a ‘laughing stock’ and the Conservative economic agenda is ‘trashed’, adding: ‘I don’t know where to go from here frankly.’

Truss needed her press conference to reassure three constituencies, the markets, Conservative MPs and the public. She failed to reassure the markets, she failed to reassure Tory MPs, and it’s highly unlikely that she will have reassured the public. This is a Prime Minister whose remaining time in office is numbered at most in terms of a couple of weeks. According to reports it is widely believed among Tory MPs that her press conference has only made things worse with one telling Beth Rigby of Sky News, the question is no longer should Truss go, but when should she go.

The odds on Truss surviving the next few weeks have now shortened dramatically. Even her own supporters are in open despair with some plotting to replace her with a caretaker administration headed by Penny Mordaunt and Rishi Sunak.

We have had four chancellors in four months and five prime ministers in five years – the way things are going we might be in for a sixth prime minister very soon, but in the meantime we are certainly in for more uncertainty and instability from a Conservative government that has crashed the economy, adding to the misery of hundreds of thousands of households who are already struggling to make ends meet due to the economic mismanagement of the Conservative party. So how is that ‘strong and stable UK’ that Better Together promised us working out for everyone?

To paraphrase what one of the few sensible audience members on BBC Question Time said, a woman who unaccountably got through the BBC’s anti-independence vetting : “There will never be a perfect time for a referendum, there is never a perfect time for any major life decision, but let’s get real here if this isn’t it, I really don’t know when is.”

Meanwhile, on social media a screen shot allegedly taken from Neil Oliver’s GBeebies show was circulating of British nationalism’s and the anti-maskers’ very own Propagandalf apparently railing about how “woke-a-nauts” are using “death spaniels”.

Everyone I sent the photo of the screenshot to asked if it was real. I can only say Oliver and GBeebies’ attempts to stir up hysteria about the culture wars are so far gone down a spiral of crazy, and the right wing in the UK is so detached from reality, that I find it impossible to tell.

It’s probably a fake but the scary thing is that it could all too easily be genuine. We are living in a satirical nightmare, I have no idea what “woke-a-naut death spaniels” means, unless it’s a post-punk band featured on the John Peel Show in the 1980s, but two years on from my stroke, if I am ever able to get another dog it’s definitely going to be a wee ginger woke-a-naut death spaniel. It would be the perfect dug for this unhinged age.

 

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