The real lesson from interference in the Scottish debate

Sometimes people really don’t appreciate the consequences of what they wish for. Such is the case with the Scottish Conservatives and Ian Murray who have been calling for an enquiry into interference in the Scottish referendum of 2014. Or more specifically, they want an enquiry into Russian interference, not any of the British state sanctioned interference that involved putting pressure on foreign governments in order to get them to weigh in on the Scottish debate. And they don’t want an enquiry into any other Russian interference, because the British Government has already ruled that out as it’s afraid of calling the result of the 2016 EU referendum into question.

It’s very odd on a day when the British state has been exposed doing its utmost to hide from the extent of Russian influence on the Conservative party and exposed just how weak British democratic standards and safeguards are and how wilfully negligent the British Government is that the Scotsman newspaper leads with a call for an enquiry into the Scottish referendum. Bring it on. Please. Even if the Scottish Tories and their pal Ian Murray got their wish and managed to restrict the enquiry to looking only at Russian meddling, the strongest evidence that we have for Russian meddling is the report that David Cameron pleaded with Vladimir Putin to get involved in the referendum campaign on the No side.

There is no solid evidence that the yes vote was boosted by Russian interference. Indeed the only reports of Russian bot activity point to efforts to discredit the result of the referendum after the fact of the vote. And as Nicola Sturgeon pointed out yesterday, the ethos and aims of the Scottish independence movement is diametrically opposed to everything that Vladimir Putin stands for. Russia has its own issues with minority nationalities who would prefer to escape from Russian rule, most prominently among them the Chechens, yet British nationalists want us to believe that Russia is a big supporter of Scottish independence while for the exact same set of reasons Spain is going to oppose it.

Then there’s the vast amount of other meddling, such as Cameron pleading with Obama to make an intervention in the debate. Or there’s that time that Cameron got the Queen to intervene. Or that time that the British Government via its embassy in Madrid asked Spanish newspapers to print stories that were helpful to the no campaign, or the meetings that the Conservatives had with representatives of the Spanish Partido Popular in order to discuss the creation of a European wide anti-independence front. Then there’s the suspiciously well funded popping up of, ahem, ‘grassroots’ organisations on the no side which managed to garner the kind of publicity from the BBC that long established grass roots organisations on the yes side never came remotely close to. So yeah, if we want to talk about meddling, let’s talk about all the meddling. There was considerably more meddling that was beneficial to the Better Together campaign than anything that was helpful to the Yes movement.

But even if the British nationalists were successful with their ploy and managed to get an enquiry which looked solely at the meddling that they want us to consider – alleged online activity from Russian bots and trolls which they claim was helpful to the yes movement – all that they are succeeding in doing is to undermine the credibilty of the result of the vote. That’s the exact reason why the Tories in London are so desperate to avoid any investigation into Russian meddling in the EU referendum and the large amount of donations that the Conservatives receive from Russian oligarchs. If the vote is to be called into question because of alleged Russian interference, then that means that there is no need to ‘respect the result of the referendum’. Yet it would appear that the British nationalists want us to believe simultaneously that the result of the Scottish referendum was affected by Russian interference and that we must also continue to respect the outcome. Those are mutually contradictory positions.

The real issue here is the weakness of British democracy, that’s what British nationalists in Scotland are trying to hide behind a convenient smokescreen of outrage about the Scottish referendum. The Conservatives regularly rake in hundreds of thousands of pounds in donations from Russian oligarchs, some of whom are close to Putin, and it’s no coincidence that London has become the global laundromat for Russian dirty money and the proceeds of corruption. The British Government took a deliberate decision that it didn’t want to know whether there was interference from Russia in the EU referendum, because it is terrified that the outcome of that vote might be called into question. So instead of ensuring that British democratic processes are robust and safe from external interference, the Conservative Government decided to close its eyes and ears, meaning that such interference becomes more likely in future.

That same Conservative government then sat on a report on Russian involvement carried out by the House of Commons Intelligence and Security Committee and refused to allow it to be published because it was afraid that the report might damage the election prospects of the Conservatives in the December 2019 General Election. The report found that the threat of Russian meddling in British democracy is “immediate and urgent” and yet Boris Johnson did nothing about it for ten months. He’d still be doing nothing about it if he had succeeded in getting his placeman Chris Grayling elected as the chair of the Commons committee. Indeed Johnson went so far as to expel from the party the Conservative MP Julian Lewis who was elected as the chair of the committee and who authorised the report’s publication, ensuring that Lewis cannot stand for reelection as a Conservative in the next General Election. When it comes to protecting and defending his own position Johnson takes swift and decisive action. When it comes to protecting and defending democracy in the UK, not so much.

So yes, let’s have a proper enquiry into meddling in the Scottish referendum. Because if that enquiry ever does take place, it’s not the yes movement that will be found to have benefited from external interference. Let’s have an enquiry into how the British state attempted to undermine and pervert Scottish democracy by doing its utmost to get foreign powers involved in the debate. Let’s have an enquiry into the suspicious amount of pro-British propaganda that was pumped out by a supposedly impartial state broadcaster that both yes and no voters pay for equally while the yes movement struggled to be heard. Let’s have an enquiry into how the British Government and Better Together cobbled together the infamous Vow in the last week of the campaign, after many postal votes had already been cast, making a substantial change in what they were promising the electorate – promises which they later broke.

What the Scottish independence movement promises is a Scotland where democratic standards are robust, transparent, and the public can trust in them. What the Scottish independence movement promises is a Scotland where politicians are accountable and can be held to account. What we’ve seen from the fall out from the Russian report is that we can’t be certain of any of those things in the UK.

Please note that there appears to be a bug affecting comments. Some comments that ought to show up immediately are instead ending up in the trash folder. I believe that this issue is connected with the fact that WordPress is currently rolling out a new post and comments editor. If your post doesn’t show up, it’s not being censored, however it may take me a wee while to fish out the missing posts from the trash folder and authorise them manually. Please be patient.


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newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

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https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2019

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The moral bankruptcy of the British Conservatives

There’s news management, and then there’s a transparently desperate attempt at distraction. The headline in the Daily Telegraph on the day that the long delayed report into Russian interference in British politics is an example of the latter. According to the in-house newspaper of the Conservatives’ Boris Johnson fan-club, the big take away from the Russian meddling report is that Vladimir Putin tried to influence the result of the Scottish referendum. This is a bit like claiming that when you got your take away order of lamb bhuna, chicken korma, pilau rice, chicken pakora, onion bhajis, two peshwari nan, and some fried chicken and chips for your cousin who’s not that keen on Indian food that the really, *really*, important bit is the onion relish that came with the poppadums that always goes into the bin uneaten.

Of course we all know that the Russians attempted to meddle in the Scottish referendum. We’ve known that for years, and we’ve known it because during the campaign David Cameron himself asked Vladimir Putin to get involved. In January 2014 the Russian news agency Itar-Tass revealed that Cameron’s office had contacted Putin in order to inform the Russian leader that the British were “extremely interested” in getting support from Russia in the referendum. https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/13140055.camerons-plea-to-putin-help-me-stop-salmond/

Downing Street denied the claims, but their denials would have had more credibility were it for for the fact that the British state had also appealed to many other governments for their help in defeating Scottish independence. Just a month after the Russian news agency revealed that Cameron had asked Putin for help, a newspaper in Tenerife in Spain published a letter from the British Embassy asking the press in Spain to publish reports critical of Scottish independence. It was a part of a concerted campaign by the British foreign office to whip up opposition to Scottish independence around the world. https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/13144836.foreign-office-caught-asking-spanish-press-to-undermine-scottish-independence/

Then there was the incident back in 2012 when representatives of the Spanish Partido Popular met with the Conservatives, including Ruth Davidson, at their conference in Birmingham in order to hammer out an anti-independence European alliance of centre right parties. https://www.thenational.scot/politics/15211795.wee-ginger-dug-no-secret-anti-independence-eu-support-for-the-tories-this-time/ There was a concerted campaign from European figures on the centre right, associated with the British Conservatives, to undermine the Scottish independence campaign. This foreign interference came with the connivance and encouragement of the Conservatives and the British nationalist parties.

Despite Scotland being assured by Westminster that ours was a Scottish election which would be decided by the people of Scotland, there was massive interference in the referendum campaign by the British state, the British media, and the BBC. To pick just one example, there was the huge publicity given to the suspiciously well funded, ahem, ‘grassroots’ anti-independence organisation Vote No Borders. This campaign vehicle was given headline news on the BBC, yet that same BBC failed throughout the entire campaign to report on any genuine grassroots intiative from the Yes side. There was meddling aplenty in the Scottish referendum. It’s just that the vast majority of it came from supporters of the No campaign.

Of course if the sole content of the report into Russian meddling in British politics was that Vladimir Putin had tried to influence the outcome of the Scottish referendum, the report would have been published the week after it was completed. The Johnson government would not have made such strenuous efforts to try and prevent it ever seeing the light of day.

The report does contain some mention of the Scottish referendum campaign, but what it says is so heavily redacted that it doesn’t tell us anything useful. There’s just one paragraph in the 50 page report about the Scottish referendum and it refers solely to information which is already in the public domain. This would appear to be an article by David Leask which was published in the Herald which claimed to identify a number of Scottish Twitter accounts as belonging to pro-Russian bots and trolls. This article was based on a single report by a certain Ben Nimmo, whom Craig Murray identifies as being associated with Integrity Initiative The Herald story would appear to be the full extent of claims of Russian meddling in a pro-indy direction in the independence referendum. https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/16601798.meet-the-mcbots-how-scottish-cyber-activists-try-to-game-twitter/

It’s the rest of the report and what it has to say about the British Government’s reaction to alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 EU referendum that is so damning. There is considerable evidence that Russia tried to influence the EU referendum in order to produce a pro-Brexit result. The Intelligence and Security Committee notes that academic and other studies have pointed to the preponderance of pro-Brexit stories on Russian news outlets, and reports of the use of bots and trolls on social media attempting to influence the debate in a pro-Brexit direction. It is widely believed that Brexit serves the wider interests of the Russian state by creating uncertainty and instability in Europe. Despite this, the British Government has refused to investigate and still refuses to investigate any allegation of Russian interference.

Last night on Sky News the arch-Brexiteer Clare Fox said how pleased she was that the report had not found evidence of Russian interference in the EU referendum, but what she either didn’t know or didn’t say was that the only reason there’s no evidence of Russian interference is because the British Government has refused to look for any. Today we have learned that the British Government’s refusal to publish the report before last December’s election was based on a lie. The only reason that the report was witheld was because it was politically damaging to the Conservatives.

The British state wants us to believe that the Russians tried to influence the outcome of the Scottish referendum but there’s no reason to worry our pretty little heads about Kremlin involvement in the EU referendum. We now learn that the British Government has refused to investigate Russian meddling in the EU referendum, and that it continues to reject calls for a proper enquiry.

According to Stewart Hosie, the SNP MP who is one of the committee members on the Intelligence and Security Committee responsible for the report, the UK Government has actively avoided looking for evidence of Russian involvement. He said that the British Government didn’t know if the Russians had meddled in the EU referendum, because it didn’t want to know. The British Government has refused to carry out any assessment into Russian meddling in 2016’s EU referendum. The report notes “[Committee members] have not been provided with any post-referendum assessment of Russian attempts at interference … This situation is in stark contrast to the US handling of allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, where an intelligence community assessment was produced within two months of the vote, with an unclassified summary being made public.”

This is of course giving the Kremlin carte-blanche to do it again. We can only come to the conclusion that this is because when Russian meddling results in an outcome that’s favourable to Johnson and the Brextremist Conservatives, he’s actually rather keen on it. Just as he’s rather keen on the Conservative party accepting large donations from shady Russian oligarchs who have links to Vladimir Putin. London has become a laundromat for dirty Russian money. Naturally the Conservatives don’t want any investigations into that. It’s what they plan basing the British economy on post-Brexit.

A government which refuses to investigate serious and credible allegations of foreign interference in the exercise of democracy is a government which has abandoned any pretence of accountability. The British Government stands unmasked as a band of shameless opportunists who have no respect for democracy. This report has revealed the moral bankruptcy of the British Conservatives. We now know that it’s only with independence that Scotland can enjoy democracy and accountable governance. Far from undermining the reasons for Scottish independence, this report has only reinforced them.  The British Conservative Party, made in England, bought by Russia, telling Scotland what to do.


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GINGER2croppedGaelic maps of Scotland are available for £15 each, plus £7 P&P within the UK for up to three maps. T-shirts are £12 each, and are available in small, medium, large, XL and XXL sizes. P&P is £5 for up to three t-shirts. My books, the Collected Yaps Vols 1 to 4 are available for £11 each. P&P is £4 for up to two books. Payment can be made via Paypal.


newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free. You can order here –
https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2019

You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to weegingerbook@yahoo.com, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email weegingerbook@yahoo.com


The determination that’s needed

There have been a number of credible reports recently about panic and despair amongst senior figures in the campaign to oppose Scottish independence. While it is of course distasteful to take pleasure from the misfortunes of others, the sole response of any independence supporter to these developments ought to be ha ha. Instead what we’re seeing from certain quarters is the deeply Scottish ‘Woe woe and thrice woe, it’s aw gaun wrang.’ So it’s perhaps useful to take a step back from what independence supporters consider our chances of wresting a referendum from a reluctant Westminster to be and instead to look at what is going on in the British Government.

We learned yesterday from the Sunday Times, a publication close to the highest levels of the Conservative party, that Michael Gove is in ‘panic mode’ about the consistent majorities for independence which opinion polls have been showing for some months. The same paper told us that his boss, part time Prime Minister and full time dilettante Boris Johnson is deeply irritated by the same question. Meanwhile we discovered from another publication close to the Conservative party, the Spectator, that someone who was prominent in the Better Together campaign in 2014 now believes that it’s already too late and the independence horse has already bolted. And just a short while ago in a podcast on this very blog, the legal commentator Andrew Tickell mentioned that a confirmed opponent of independence of his acquaintance who had likewise been prominent in the 2014 Better Together campaign had summarised the current position of British nationalism in Scotland as, “We’re fucked.”

These are not the reactions of people who are supremely confident in the ability of Downing Street to keep saying no to Scottish independence forever. They are the reactions of people who see that they have lost the argument and who have no real idea how they can regain the initiative. They are the reactions of people who know that they cannot prevent the inevitable, they cannot resist forever the demand of the people of Scotland for another referendum and who know that when that referendum takes place the people of Scotland will vote for independence.

If you truly believed that you could simply refuse to play ball, keep denying a Section 30 order, and that this situation could continue forever and a day then you wouldn’t be panicking like Michael Gove is. And he is, after all, a man who is best known for his oleaginous smugness. If Gove was convinced that there was no issue because Downing Street held all the cards and Scotland was entirely powerless he’d be smugly and calmly ignoring the rise in support for independence in the polls because it would be meaningless. But he’s not. He is, according to the Sunday Times, in a panic. If you are one of those independence supporters who believes that the Conservatives can continue to deny Scotland a referendum forever, ask yourself why that is. Michael Gove would clearly love to benefit from some of your confidence.

It’s because of Gove’s panic and Johnson’s anger that the Prime Minister is coming to Scotland, although he apparently won’t be crossing any border. His wee tour of fridges in Conservative owned businesses is aimed at telling us rebellious Caledonians that we need the UK in order to be able to keep ourselves in toilet paper and pasta when the British Government’s incompetence leads to a second wave of coronavirus. Oh, sorry, not incompetence, its [checks notes] world beating response. That’ll be the world beating response that has given the UK the highest death toll in Europe. We need the UK in order to deliver the economic stimulus that we need in order to ensure that the Scottish economy recovers. That’ll be the extra £21 million from Rishi Sunak then and not the extra £6 billion that the Scottish Government’s own economic recovery plan was calling for.

Johnson’s wee tour will of course achieve hee, and when it’s not doing that it will deliver haw. He’ll keep out of the way of real live Scottish voters in carefully stage managed events and will only take a couple of questions from the press. Then he’ll wheech back to London in a flying fridge painted in the colours of the union flag and declare the job done.

However the point is that he’s only embarking upon this entirely cosmetic exercise because the Conservatives are deeply concerned that Scotland will not remain one of their playthings for much longer. They don’t have a clear idea how to stop us leaving. They have no case for the UK, other than insisting that Scotland is an economic basketcase which is dependent upon handouts from the Treasury. However they also know that this response is damaging support for the UK in England. People in England hear the constant refrain that Scotland is too poor and needs bailouts from the British Government and ask themselves why they should keep paying for those ungrateful Scots who keep complaining about Brexit and generally insist on doing things differently. That’s why there is now majority support for getting rid of Scotland, along with Wales and Northern Ireland, amongst Conservative voters in England.

The Conservatives know that they will be unable to resist a concerted push from a Scottish Government which was reelected with a majority and a mandate to seek another independence referendum. They have successfully resisted until now, but the Scottish Government has not pressed insistently so it’s been easy for the Tories to resist. The reason that the Scottish Government has not pressed for another referendum with the insistence that many in the independence movement would like is because it’s only this year that we’ve started to see consistent majorities for yes in opinion polling. That will change after the next Holyrood elections if the SNP are reelected with a majority and there is still a consistent majority for yes in polls.

It’s not enough for the SNP to have a mandate for another independence referendum, it also needs a strong enough mandate to be certain that the people of Scotland will continue to back it if it needs to seek an alternative route to a recognised vote on independence. It needs to be certain that a majority of people in Scotland will vote yes to independence.  It needs to be certain that it has a solid enough mandate that the people of Scotland will continue to support it during the constitutional and political crisis that will ensue if Johnson defies the clear result of a Scottish election.  It needs a mandate that is strong enough to resist any attempt from the Conservatives to defy Scottish democracy.

The Tories know that the people of Scotland are now, and only now, in a place where they are prepared to give the Scottish Government that strengthened mandate. The Tories can resist the SNP, but they cannot resist the determination of the people of Scotland.

This is not now and has never been about the determination of the SNP to achieve independence, it’s about the determination of the people of Scotland. That is what has been lacking until very recently. You can’t achieve independence based solely on the minority who happen to have supported it for years. You need majority support. You need majority resolution. You need majority determination. It’s only now that the people of Scotland are coming to the determination that Scotland needs to forge its own path. That’s why the Tories are panicking. They know that the people of Scotland are now in a place where they are no longer willing to be passive observers of their own history.


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If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information.

Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

GINGER2croppedGaelic maps of Scotland are available for £15 each, plus £7 P&P within the UK for up to three maps. T-shirts are £12 each, and are available in small, medium, large, XL and XXL sizes. P&P is £5 for up to three t-shirts. My books, the Collected Yaps Vols 1 to 4 are available for £11 each. P&P is £4 for up to two books. Payment can be made via Paypal.


newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free. You can order here –
https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2019

You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to weegingerbook@yahoo.com, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email weegingerbook@yahoo.com


Take part in the Independence Cavalcade

simlogo

A guest post by the Scottish Independence Movement

During this epidemic it’s impossible to campaign in our traditional ways. We can’t safely organise mass gatherings to show support for independence. Yet it’s more important than ever to demonstrate to this country that there is substantial and rising support for independence. We need to capitalise on the recent run of positive opinion polls showing clear majorities in favour of independence in order to maintain the momentum and further build support in a country where the media remains overwhelmingly opposed to independence and continually seeks to downplay its support.

It’s even more important that we continue to demostrate our determination that it’s the people of Scotland who have the sole right to decide the form of government that is best suited to our needs as the Conservatives in London mount an undemocratic assault on the devolution settlement.

The Scottish Independence Movement (SIM) has come up with a solution, a form of demonstration where it will be possible to maintain social distancing, because no one will need to get out of their car. They are organising pro-independence convoys all over Scotland. The SIM Convoy for Independence will take place on 1 August 2020, and participants will be able to take part in different areas around Scotland at the same time. So far events have been planned for Glasgow, Dundee, Inverness, and Dumfries.

Please see below the guidelines for all participants to safely take part within the confines of your own vehicles so that social distancing is adhered to and we all keep safe in this Covid age.

Participants are being asked to please follow these strict guidelines.  Drive in a safe manner, adhering to the Highway Code, whilst complying with Scottish Government Covid-19 Guidelines, announced at the date of the convoy.

You are asked to meet at the designated start points ‪at 12.30 pm‬, where you will be aligned, by the local organiser, into formation for the convoy. The convoy will leave ‪at 1.00 pm‬ sharp.

All participants are to remain in their vehicles pre 1pm. The named organiser will approach, wearing PPE, and give relevant and current instruction regarding the route. Remember, please use your own facilities before leaving your house. There will be no comfort breaks during the convoy.

Bring face coverings, any relevant PPE or exemptions, in the event of an emergency, which you may be required to wear if you have to leave your vehicle.

Dress your vehicle carefully in saltires and yes banners. Please make sure that everything is safely and securely attached. Leave a safe distance between each vehicle in your convoy.

Be mindful of other road users. Ensure you keep sufficient distance between you and the vehicles in front. Allow for driver error, which may be elevated in stressful situations, also allow for safe braking distances in case any hazards occur unexpectedly.

Clean your headlights, indicators, and taillights. Check the tyres on your vehicle before starting your journey. The Convoy will set off with the “lead car”. Please follow the lead car and not overtake it. Do not exceed the speed limit set by law, ensuring, at all times, you are observing the highway code. Please at all times stay in your “bubble” as set by the Scottish government regarding COVID-19.

You all know your own health limitations. SIM will not take any responsibility for your personal health. We are recommending people at high risk stay home. If you are uncertain, please follow the link below to the NHS website for detailed information

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/people-at-higher-risk/whos-at-higher-risk-from-coronavirus/

We will be driving back to our designated endpoint where everyone will safely disperse and travel safely home. We call on every YES group, independence supporter and activist in your area, to collectively organise a convoy to your Route for Independence.

Contact our Facebook page (details below) to let us know if you can organise and participate in this Nationwide initiative for and on behalf of your area. SIM will then add your area to the nationwide participating list.

This is the SAFEST way to get Independence back at the forefront with the Scottish Elections not far away.

You will find more details about the event in your area by following the links below.

DUMFRIES: https://www.facebook.com/events/990167351444911/

GLASGOW: https://www.facebook.com/events/1061120684345766/

DUNDEE: https://www.facebook.com/events/975938936184555/

INVERNESS: https://www.facebook.com/events/2673529216299430/

Scotland has an alternative. We have an alternative. Let’s show the Westminster establishment that Scotland is no longer their plaything. Our voices will be heard.

Follow us on Twitter @SIM_SCOT
Follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/sim.scottish/

We are currently seeking an organiser for a convoy in Edinburgh. If you are interested please contact us via Twitter or Facebook.

Jackson Carlaw’s existential crisis

While the Scottish independence movement gets on with its favourite activity of accusing other independence supporters of pursuing the wrong tactics to get us independence, the Conservatives are quietly getting on with the meltdown that will eventually take us to independence. In an article in the Conservative house magazine The Spectator this week, (https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/the-union-is-in-graver-danger-than-ever) the publication’s political editor James Forsyth spells out Number 10’s plan to save the Precioussssss Union™.

Johnson is going to say no to another referendum.  That’s it. That is the totality of the plan. This is a plan in the exact same way that a toddler having a tantrum has a plan to avoid time for beddy-byes. It’s not a plan, it’s a delaying tactic.  Yet all it’s going to do is to make independence inevitable in the longer term.

Forsyth naturally dismisses the idea of a Scottish independence without Downing Street’s agreement. “No legal referendum can take place without Westminster’s consent,” he writes. But as this blog has written many times before, anyone who tells you that a referendum without a Section 30 order would be unlawful is giving you a political opinion, not citing a legal fact. Until the matter is clarified by the courts all we know is that there are plausible legal arguments both for for and against holding a consultative referendum without a Section 30 order. There is a very good argument that a consultative referendum without a Section 30 order would indeed be perfectly lawful.

Meanwhile Forsyth doesn’t even acknowledge the possibility of other routes to independence such as a plebiscite election in which the pro-independence parties stand asking for a mandate for independence itself, or a Scottish National Convention and the withdrawal of Scottish representatives from the insitutions of British government in order to provoke a constitutional crisis that would be impossible to ignore.

Neither does Forsyth consider the effect on Scottish public opinion of an unpopular Prime Minister who enjoys little support in Scotland vetoing the outcome of a Scottish election where the SNP has been elected with a majority to bring about another referendum. Although there are many in Scotland who look upon the prospect of a refusal from Downing Street to a Section 30 order with horror, even after a landslide majority for the SNP in the next Holyrood elections standing on a clear mandate for a referendum, it will ultimately play into our hands.

All that a refusal from Downing Street to concede that Scotland has the right to self-determination will achieve will be to form an equation in the minds of Scotland’s electorate between independence and democracy. It will tell the people of Scotland that the only way in which our democratic wishes can ever be respected is through independence. That will only serve to boost the desire for independence, and make what the Conservatives fear the most more likely to happen rather than less. It will boost support immeasurably for the Scottish Government to seek an alternative strategy to a referendum. In other words, what many in the independence movement regard as the trump card of the Conservatives will, if played, only make it more likely that Johnson will lose the game. Johnson will be seen by many in Scotland, even many people who do not support independence themselves, as directly blocking the exercise of democracy in Scotland.

Speaking as a campaigner, I relish the prospect of Boris Johnson saying no to a Section 30 order after the SNP has won a majority in Holyrood next year. It means that Better Together Mk II will no longer be able to maintain the fiction that the UK is a union of equal partners. It will have to defend a British Government which has vetoed – in the words of the Scottish Claim of Right – “the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of Government best suited to their needs”. At one stroke this destroys one of the strongest remaining arguments of our opponents, the argument that Scotland is a voluntary member of a union. And if Scotland doesn’t have the right to decide for itself whether this “union” is in its best interests, then it is no union at all.

Yet saying no to another Section 30 order is all that the Conservatives have got. As Forsyth admits, those who campaigned most fervently in 2014 for a No vote are now in despair. He writes, “When I asked one of the most impressive figures from 2014 how things were going, the answer came simply: ‘It’s over. The horse has bolted.’” The Tories and their British nationalist allies in other parties know that they have no long term solution to Scotland’s dissatisfaction with Brexit Britain. All they have is saying no, and hoping that the independence movement will self-implode in the meantime. And of late the independence movement has been giving the British nationalists reason for some hope in that respect.

Although there are many in the independence movement who are worried and frustrated, our concerns are those of a movement which is trying to find the quickest and easiest path to victory. The worries and frustrations of the Conservatives are those of a British nationalism which doesn’t know how to prevent its ultimate defeat. All it has is a tactic for delaying the inevitable in the hope that something else might come along, some black swan event that could derail the independence movement for good. Yet nothing that they’ve pinned their hopes on so far has done the trick for them. Brexit didn’t do it. The Salmond trial didn’t do it. The coronavirus epidemic didn’t do it. And I firmly believe that the forthcoming parliamentary investigation into the Salmond affair won’t make a serious dent in support for independence either.

Forsyth notes that a Conservative party in Scotland which has fought the next Holyrood election on a campaign aimed squarely at preventing another referendum will find it far harder to resist demands for a referendum if the SNP wins a majority. The Tories will have gone down to a bad defeat on the policy which they’ll be hoping Number 10 implements for them. That makes a mockery of Scottish democracy, and that’s how it will be perceived by the Scottish electorate. Yet preventing another referendum is pretty much the sole policy that the Scottish Conservatives have got which is capable of giving them traction beyond that minority of the Scottish electorate which is in favour of Brexit and is also in favour of the Conservatives’ economic policies. Trying to avoid the constitutional issue in the next election is only likely to make the defeat of the Scottish Conservatives even greater than it otherwise might be, especially now that they’re led by the deeply uncharismatic and unappealing Jackson Carlaw.

The Scottish Conservatives are in a serious bind, and they know it. They can either campaign against a referendum and then find they have no basis to resist calls for one after they lose the election, or they can try to avoid constitutional issues only to find that they suffer an even heavier defeat. They have only one tactic for preventing a referendum and that is saying no to a Section 30 order. Yet if their boss in Number 10 plays that card it only makes independence even more likely. No matter which way they turn, they’re staring at ultimate defeat.

You think the independence movement has problems? It’s nothing compared to the existential crisis facing the British nationalists in Scotland. We’re debating how to get to victory. They don’t know how to avoid defeat.


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GINGER2croppedGaelic maps of Scotland are available for £15 each, plus £7 P&P within the UK for up to three maps. T-shirts are £12 each, and are available in small, medium, large, XL and XXL sizes. P&P is £5 for up to three t-shirts. My books, the Collected Yaps Vols 1 to 4 are available for £11 each. P&P is £4 for up to two books. Payment can be made via Paypal.


newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free. You can order here –
https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2019

You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to weegingerbook@yahoo.com, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email weegingerbook@yahoo.com


Dugcast fae the dughoose – with Graham Campbell

In this week’s dugcast I am joined online by the SNP councillor and Black Lives Matter activist Graham Campbell. You may remember Graham from the documentary he wrote and presented for BBC Scotland about Scotland’s role in the slave trade. We chat about that and about how so much of Scotland’s wealth derived from slavery, how Graham became a supporter of Scottish independence, our chances for another independence referendum and how Graham is confident that we are on the path to independence, and much more besides.

If the embedding doesn’t work for you, the direct link to the podcast is here : https://soundcloud.com/user-291670852/dugcast-17-07-2020-with-graham-campbell


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GINGER2croppedGaelic maps of Scotland are available for £15 each, plus £7 P&P within the UK for up to three maps. T-shirts are £12 each, and are available in small, medium, large, XL and XXL sizes. P&P is £5 for up to three t-shirts. My books, the Collected Yaps Vols 1 to 4 are available for £11 each. P&P is £4 for up to two books. Payment can be made via Paypal.


newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free. You can order here –
https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2019

You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to weegingerbook@yahoo.com, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email weegingerbook@yahoo.com


Disagreeing without being disagreeable

There appears to be a misconception circulating in certain quarters that I am advocating that the Scottish Government keeps on asking for a Section 30 order, and then magically at some point Boris Johnson will agree out of the goodness of his heart. Sorry, but if that’s what you think you’ve not been paying attention.

What I am arguing for, and what I believe the Scottish Government ultimately intends, is to maneouvre the Johnson regime into a situation where the consequences of the Prime Minister continuing to refuse a Section 30 order become more serious for him than the consequences of saying no. At the moment there is very little downside to Johnson saying no, but that situation does not necessarily have to continue indefinitely. It ought to be the job of the independence movement and the SNP to ensure that this situation does not continue indefinitely. And there is indeed a way in which we can make it happen. It’s a way that involves holding our nerve and not panicking. It’s a way that involves seeing the true weakness of the British government instead of succumbing to British propaganda about the monolithic nature of the Conservatives’ commitment to the Union and throwing up our hands in despair because of a false belief that we’ll never get a referendum.

As has been much rehearsed and argued, there are several ways in which Scotland could have a vote on independence without the cooperation of the British Government. There’s a referendum without a Section 30 order. There’s a plebiscite election. There’s a national convention and the withdrawal of Scottish representatives from Westminster. There’s a concerted national campaign of civil disobedience. These are strategies which are not necessarily mutually exclusive. However, and this is the important bit, for any of them to work there has to be a solid and unarguable majority opinion in Scotland lending them its support. Despite the fond imaginings of sections of our movement, who bewail the repeated mandates for a referendum that the SNP has already accumulated, that majority support for an alternative strategy has been lacking. It certainly exists within the online bubble of committed independence support – but that bubble is not reflective of Scottish opinion as a whole. If it were we’d be seeing support for independence in the high 80s in the polls.

For years I have said that if Scotland had a fair and balanced media which accurately reflected the range of constitutional opinion in this country we would be independent already. But that’s not the Scotland that we live in. We live in a country where all our newspapers except The National and its Sunday edition oppose independence. We live in a country where our broadcast media is controlled outwith Scotland. Given that reality, imagine what would happen should the Scottish Government embark upon moves to independence without a Section 30 order and without first securing the support of a substantial majority of the Scottish population for that alternative strategy. The BBC would be telling one and all that it doesn’t matter if you do support independence, there’s no point in voting because it’s a “wildcat” referendum. We would be slaughtered in the media, and the very people whom we need to support the alternative strategy would be scared off by what they read in the press or see on the BBC. Those are not people who are already committed to independence. We would lose even before we got out of the starting blocks.

As I keep banging on about in this blog – committed independence supporters are not the people who need to be persuaded of the viability of an alternative strategy. There is not a sufficient majority within Scotland to support an alternative strategy unless we carefully lay the groundwork first. The Scottish Twittersphere is not enough. Bloggers and their followers aren’t enough. (And that’s not a dig at anyone in particular.) We have to ensure that people who do not currently share our enthusiasm for the independence project are on board with an alternative strategy otherwise it has no chance of succeeding. Much as some people in the movement would like to believe otherwise, we’re not quite there yet.

So it follows that if we wish to use the threat of an alternative strategy to leverage a Section 30 order out of the British Government, we must first ensure that it’s a strategy which is going to have majority support and a strategy which has a very good chance of success on its own merits.  And here’s the key which so many independence supporters seem to miss, it’s not you or me who needs to see that the alternative strategy is likely to be successful and to enjoy widespread support in Scotland – it’s the British nationalists.

This can only happen following a formal request for a Section 30 order being refused, and that in turn is only going to happen following the reelection of a majority SNP government in the next Scottish elections standing on an explicit mandate for another referendum. It’s their reelection as a majority government in a Scotland where there are consistent majorities in polls for independence which will provide the Scottish Government with the moral and political capital that it requires in order to make a success of a credible threat to embark upon an alternative route if Boris Johnson says no. If he does not think that the threat is credible, he’s going to continue to refuse to play ball.

However if Johnson does believe that the threat is credible then he is likely to U-turn and to concede to a Section 30 order in order to maintain some semblance of being in control of events. He needs to do so in order to preserve the British nationalist fiction that Scotland’s membership of the UK is voluntary. It would be an immensely powerful argument in our favour to be able to campaign in a vote for independence which our opponents have done their utmost to prevent from happening.

Of course the obvious reply is that the SNP have already got a mandate which they haven’t used. However it’s one thing to have a mandate for another referendum, it’s quite a different thing to believe that you’re going to win that referendum. We only have one shot at this, because if we lose the next referendum then the question of independence really is off the table for a generation. We are where we are now because of Brexit. Brexit was not foreseen in 2014, and it’s Brexit, compounded by the Coronavirus epidemic, which has provided the rationale for a second referendum. However although Brexit gave us the reason for another referendum, we couldn’t have that referendum until Brexit had actually happened and its consequences felt by a public which is largely not engaged with politics the way that pro-indepedence activists are. It’s only this year that Brexit has happened. Yet even if we had by some miracle wangled a referendum earlier, it’s also only this year that we’ve started to see consistent majorities for yes in the polls. And then the virus struck.

Then there are those who say that Johnson would never agree to a Section 30 order because he would end up being the British PM who lost Scotland and would have to resign. To which one can only retort that a British PM is also supposed to resign if he’s caught lying to the Queen and prorogating Parliament based on a lie. A Prime Minister is also supposed to resign if he lies to Parliament, something which Johnson has done on repeated occasions But here we are, and there Johnson still is. He’s only going to resign if he possesses a modicum of shame and a sense of responsibility, two things in which he has been singularly lacking throughout his entire career. Johnson is quite likely to paint the loss of Scotland as him being England’s champion. That’s why it’s significant that recent polls have found that a majority of Conservative voters in England are in favour of English independence. It means that Johnson’s voter base is unlikely to punish him for the loss of Scotland. Indeed a large part of it is likely to reward him for it. Keeping your voters on board is all that counts in politics.

None of this implies that I’m an enthusiastic cheerleader for everything that Nicola Sturgeon has done. She could be doing a lot more to ensure that her previously committed supporters are on board. We are where we are now because many in the independence movement feel adrift and rudderless, and the responsibility for that lies with the leadership of the SNP. Nicola Sturgeon could and should have been a lot more forceful in pressing the case for independence. Her much touted speech in January was an error which she really didn’t need to make. The Alex Salmond trial speaks poorly of a party which is riven with egos and careerists – it tells us that certain people really need to get a firm grip of themselves. There is currently considerable disquiet in the wider independence movement, which is precisely what is causing all the talk of the need for a second party on the list, and the SNP leadership could and should be taking a far more active role in calming nerves and providing reassurance to those nervous and frustrated independence supporters.

However as we have these debates, let’s always remember two things. Two extremely important things. First – we’re all on the same side. What we disagree about is tactics and not the fundamentals. Our opponents are not one another, it’s the Conservative Goverment and its British nationalist helpers. There is a regretable tendency in some quarters of this movement to forget that it’s not the people with whom you disagree over tactics who are your real opponents, it’s the British nationalists who profit from us falling out amongst ourselves. Yes by all means we can disagree, but always try and remember what yer mammy told you about how you can disagree without being disagreeable. (Unless of course you’re one of the Scotland in Union trolls who periodically attempt to infest the comments section of this blog. In which case you can piss right off.)

And secondly, and perhaps even more importantly – we are winning. We are now in a Scotland where a clear majority support independence.


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If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information.

Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

GINGER2croppedGaelic maps of Scotland are available for £15 each, plus £7 P&P within the UK for up to three maps. T-shirts are £12 each, and are available in small, medium, large, XL and XXL sizes. P&P is £5 for up to three t-shirts. My books, the Collected Yaps Vols 1 to 4 are available for £11 each. P&P is £4 for up to two books. Payment can be made via Paypal.


newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free. You can order here –
https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2019

You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to weegingerbook@yahoo.com, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email weegingerbook@yahoo.com


The biggest risk to indy is our own impatience

Support for independence within Scotland has never been stronger. Support for the so-called Union has never been weaker. Yes is now regularly in a majority in opinion polls, and the SNP looks set to achieve a majority in the Scottish Parliament next year. Yet despite this there’s a significant body of pro-indy opinion, especially online, which is determined to split the pro-independence vote into a myriad of minor parties, each of which claims that it’s their brand spanking new party which is the one which is most deserving of list votes from independence supporters. The news that Yes is at 54% in the polls is received with moans, complaints, and despair – from independence supporters who complain that there has not been sufficient progress to our goal.

This week has seen the launch of a second new pro-independence party to contest for seats in the regional list vote in next year’s Scottish elections. The Alliance for Independence now joins the Independence for Scotland Party as a contender for pro-indy voters who have become frustrated at what they see as a lack of progress from the SNP in getting us to a referendum. There are credible reports that there could be yet other new pro-indy parties which will launch before the Holyrood elections next year. I am told that there is at least one other proposal for a new party which hopes to launch later this year. That would take us to three, and there may be more. The fact that there are multiple pro-indy parties on the list means that the plan mooted by certain independence supporters to maximise the number of pro-indy list MSPs has already failed.

The strategy for a new party which could theoretically hoover up the list votes of disenchanted independence supporters could only ever have worked under a very narrow and strictly defined set of conditions. Those conditions have not been met. Firstly, and most importantly, for the plan to work there could only be one new pro-indy party on the list which would then be in a position to benefit from the votes of all those independence supporters who are frustrated with the SNP. Yet we already have two such parties, and could yet see more popping up before the elections are due in May next year.

Which of these new parties are independence supporters supposed to lend their votes to? With multiple new pro-indy parties all that’s going to happen is that the votes of independence supporters who are frustrated at what they see as a lack of progress are going to be split between these different new parties, ensuring that none of them reach the threshold necessary to get an MSP elected and allowing a British nationalist candidate to come in through the middle. That’s a British nationalist MSP who would not otherwise have been elected.

The second important condition that has not been met is that any new party – and it could only be one new party for the reasons already given – would have to be led by a figure of national importance. Only someone with the stature of Alex Salmond would have any chance at all of launching a new party from a standing start and taking it to the position of electability. Yet he has shown no indication that he’s interested in doing so.

Alex Salmond is deeply unhappy with certain individuals within the SNP, but he has spent his life working for the party and he knows that the SNP is about a whole lot more than just him or Nicola Sturgeon. He’s not going to betray all those people within the SNP that have never lost faith in him just in order to stick the knife into the current leadership. Were he to do so he’d be placing his own personal grievances above the good of the party and what’s good for the independence movement as a whole. That’s precisely what Nicola Sturgeon’s critics have accused her of doing, yet some of them apparently want Alex Salmond to do exactly the same thing. That’s hardly the route to the moral high ground, and Alex knows that too.

For Alex Salmond to turn on the SNP would be an exercise in ego that many of his supporters would never forgive him for. It would spark off media reports of ‘war’ within the independence movement, and we’d be seen as being divided amongst ourselves. The British nationalist press in Scotland would have a field day. That’s not the way to attract the undecided voters and soft noes and yesses that we need in order to win our independence. Alex Salmond is a great political strategist, and he understands the message that a divided independence movement would send out. That’s why I don’t believe it’s a step he’d be willing to take. He is more principled than that.

Those who most loudly call for a new party for the list do so because they assert that the British Government will never agree to a Section 30 order. Which raises the question why they think a different pro-indy party would be any more successful. Boris Johnson is just as likely to say no to the ISP or the Alliance for Independence as he is to the SNP. However this assumes that the British Government is a monolithic bloc which is utterly opposed to the exercise of Scottish democracy for now and forever. That is not true. The Tories want you to believe that they’ll never concede to Scottish independence, and by taking them at their word you are both giving in to them and conceding that a British Government does indeed have the right to veto Scottish self-determination.

We have now seen two opinion polls which show that a majority of Conservative supporters in England would prefer English independence. They want to see the back of Scotland – along with Wales and Northern Ireland – because they regard us as a drain on their resources and a roadblock on the way to their mythical bunting bedecked sunny uplands of Brexit. That means that there is a large and significant bloc of opinion within the Conservatives in England which is not in love with the preciousssss union. It means that opposition to Scottish independence within the English Conservatives is hollow and fragile.

The Conservative party is not led by formibile political giants, but rather by cheap and shallow opportunists. Faced with a Scottish Government newly elected with a strong majority on a mandate for another referendum, a Scottish Government which is determined to use every legal and lawful means at its disposal to be a thorn in his Brexit side, Boris Johnson is quite likely to consider a gamble on another independence referendum. Either the independence movement loses, in which case Johnson can pose as the Saviour of the Union, or we win, in which case Johnson knows that he has secured his position as the champion of England. From his perspective it’s a win win. That’s why a concerted and determined push for another referendum from Scotland has a very good chance in succeeding.

However it can only succeed if the Scottish Government has the moral and political capital to imply that independence can be pursued by other means than a Section 30 order. Despite the complaints of parts of the independence movement, it doesn’t have that political and moral capital just now and it won’t do until after it wins a large majority at the next Scottish elections. The likes of you and I are not the people who need to be persuaded of the legitimacy of an alternative strategy to a Section 30 order. It’s the likes of my dad – an 83 year old lifelong Labour voter. It’s the likes of someone who is currently undecided about independence. It’s the likes of a soft yes supporter who is concerned that independence must be obtained constitutionally and lawfully. It’s not people like me who would crawl over broken glass to vote yes in a consultative referendum organised without a Section 30 order.

There is genuine despair in Scottish politics. It’s on the part of British nationalists who have no idea how to prevent the rising tide of support for independence and the growing disenchantment with the British state. Their despair is existential, the despair among independence supporters is frustration that things have not moved sufficiently quickly for their liking. That’s what we need to watch out for, because right now the biggest threat to independence is not anything that the British nationalists or the British state is doing – it’s what is going on within the independence movement itself. We risk being undone by our own impatience.

Right now we are all trusting Nicola Sturgeon with our lives as Scotland faces a global epidemic. We can trust her with our political future as well.


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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If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information.

Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

GINGER2croppedGaelic maps of Scotland are available for £15 each, plus £7 P&P within the UK for up to three maps. T-shirts are £12 each, and are available in small, medium, large, XL and XXL sizes. P&P is £5 for up to three t-shirts. My books, the Collected Yaps Vols 1 to 4 are available for £11 each. P&P is £4 for up to two books. Payment can be made via Paypal.


newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free. You can order here –
https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2019

You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to weegingerbook@yahoo.com, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email weegingerbook@yahoo.com


Let’s get going Scotland

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The British Government has launched a new slogan to prepare for Brexit : Let’s Get Going. Who’d have thought that the slime bag in chief for the YooKay Michael Gove would have come up with a slogan so ideally suited to Scottish independence. Let’s get going Scotland, let’s get going from this dysfunctional incoherent mess of a Conservative Government. Let’s get going Scotland, let’s get going from this British state that has ignored and sidelined Scotland at every step along the way of its Brexit obsession. Let’s get going Scotland, let’s get going from a British state that can’t succeed even at the most basic duty of a government, to keep its citizens safe during an epidemic. Let’s get going Scotland, let’s get going to a better country where the views of the Scottish people actually count for something.

The ironies of a let’s get going campaign for Brexit abound, because Brexit means the opposite of going. Brexit means that UK citizens will be stuck in the slow lane, stripped of the freedom of movement and settlement throughout Europe that we enjoyed until so very recently. It means that British citizens will now need travel insurance to cover their health needs when they go to the EU. A couple in their 70s will now have to spend around £165 in order to replicate what they previously enjoyed for free thanks to the European health card scheme. It means that British citizens no longer enjoy the legal right of entry to other European countries, we’ll now be subject to whatever checks or visa measures that the EU deems fit. It means that you will no longer be able to take your pet on holiday with you unless you go through additional vetinary checks as the pet passport scheme will no longer operate. And make sure that you can afford to pay your mobile phone bill because now you’ll be subjected to increased charges for data roaming. A British passport is now a second class passport that gives British citizens fewer rights and weaker rights than it did before. More expense. Longer queues. Fewer rights. And they want us to think that this means that we’re getting going. We’re getting gone over.

For the British economy what the Conservatives have planned is the opposite of getting going. It means border checks, paperwork, customs duties and import taxes. It means regulatory borders and queues of lorries. Let’s get going to sit in a long line of lorries along a motorway in Kent that’s been turned into a car park is not a snappy slogan, but it’s a lot more accurate than the one that the British Government has unveiled.

It’s a long time ago that the UK passed through the mirror into a world where words from the British Government mean the opposite of what’s actually happening. Part time Prime Minister told us that the UK’s response to the coronavirus epidemic was world beating, but the only way it’s world beating is by being having one of the highest death tolls and worst affected economies. Now we’re exhorted to let’s get going for Brexit when what the slogan really heralds is a warning of all the ways in which the UK, its economy, and its citizens will be hampered in getting going because of Brexit. It’s essentially a listing of all the downsides of Brexit with nary a mention of all those Brexit benefits that the likes of Michael Gove once promised us. But then Michael Gove is one of those people who think that it’s perfectly acceptable to lie through your teeth as long as you remember to say please and thank you.

Due to the swivel eyed ideological fixation of the Conservatives on a “pure Brexit”, the UK appears set to exit the transitional period at the end of this year without a deal. According to the UK Government’s own assessment from HMRC, the static total ongoing administrative burden on UK-EU trade due to a no deal Brexit is £15 bn a year. That works out at £290 million a week. Additionally the UK loses the economic benefits of membership of the single market and customs union, which are estimated at £1.6 billion a week. You probably missed the bus that these figures were painted on the side of. (Source here)

The UK is not getting going to a new start, it’s regressing to the 1970s with mass unemployment, economic and social crises, and no right to go and live and work in another European country. Some British nationalists tell us that if we don’t like Brexit and what the Conservatives are doing then we should go and live in some other country. Well that would be nice except the Conservatives have stripped us of the right to do so. Let’s get going backwards. Let’s get going but don’t forget your health insurance, visa application, and make sure that you’ve four months left on your passport otherwise you might be denied admission at the border of the country you hoped to visit.

The UK Government tells us that the UK will start a new relationship with the EU after the end of December. Well doesn’t that all sound terribly cosy. But what it really means is that the new relationship will entail the UK turning its back on Europe, crossing its arms and sitting in a huff until it can lower standards sufficiently in order to get some sort of a deal with the USA that will flood the UK with low quality food. Which the Tories will hail as a great victory. The new relationship will involve stripping the Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Irish Parliaments of devolved powers without any consultation. Scotland decided that it wanted a devolved parliament with the powers that it possesses after a referendum, the same Tories who are always banging on about the importance of respecting the results of referendums propose to take powers away from the Scottish Parliament without asking the Scottish people. Of course they’re not going to ask the Scottish people, because they already know what answer they’d get. They’d be told to get going in two syllables which begin and end with F.

Let’s get going Scotland. Let’s get going to a more confident and better Scotland where we have a government which is answerable to the people of Scotland. Let’s get going Scotland. Let’s get going to a Scotland where we make the decisions that are in the best interests of Scotland. Let’s get going Scotland, to independence.

(Many thanks to whoever it was who designed the graphic which I have used for this piece. It has been circulating on social media.  Someone credited it to Chris Cairns, but I  have since found out that it’s not his work.)


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newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free. You can order here –
https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2019

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Oliver Mundell’s gum bumping disease

basicduty
Oliver Mundell doesn’t have a job in politics because of who his da is, he got it entirely on his own merits. No. Really. And that speaks volumes about the utter dearth of talent or ability in the Scottish Conservatives. If Oliver Mundell didn’t exist, no one would feel the need to invent him.

On Sunday Oliver was straining to produce a coherent sentence again, and tweeted in response to reports that the First Minister was willing to consider imposing quarantine restrictions on people crossing into Scotland from England if the advice from public health experts was that the measure was warranted. The tweet from STV which he was replying to said quarantine might be considered for “English visitors to Scotland”, however what the First Minister had actually said was “visitors from England” – a small but semantically important distinction which went straight over Oliver’s head. Although since like the rest of the Tories he operates in the political gutter that’s not saying a great deal. Oliver just saw the phrase “English visitors” and stamped his lickle footsy wootsy and scweamed and scweamed, “Nationalism at work. Spreading lies, whipping up fear and stoking division. We are one United Kingdom. It is not in our interest to pull up the drawbridge.” There’s Thatessempee hating on the poor defenceless English again.

Oliver has clearly missed that whole Brexit thing that’s going on. Easy to miss, what with the apocalypse and everything, but the whole of Europe – and a large majority in Scotland – agrees that Brexit came about because of nationalism at work, spreading lies, whipping up fear and stoking division. Although it would be easy to miss were it not for the fact that Oliver was one of those Scottish Tories who actively campaigned for Brexit. It’s not in our interest to pull up the drawbridge to Europe, but the Tories are doing it anyway, because Spitfires, two world wars and one world cup, Vera Lynn, bunting, and not being nationalist at all because they’re British. All to show how Britain is separate. Seems pretty nationalist to me, but it’s not to Oliver, because he’s British and that makes him better than petty nationalists.

It is entirely normal in other parts of the world for quarantine restrictions to be put on visitors travelling from an area – even within the same country – where there is a high incidence of coronavirus infections to an area with a lower rate. If you travel into the US states of Connecticut, New Jersey, or New York from a range of states mostly in the south and west of the USA, you have to go into quarantine for two weeks. If you travel into the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island from another Canadian province you have to quarantine. Similar regulations apply within certain other independent states all over the globe. Nowhere are they politicised as “racism” against people from other regions or constituent countries the way that the Scottish Tories are desperately trying to make out that public health measures in Scotland are motivated by anti-English racism. No one in Prince Edward Island is claiming that their quarantine regulations are motivated by bigotry against Francophone Canadians.

It’s only in Scotland that there’s a major political party which is determined to put the public at risk of infection and death in order to prove a political point. That would be the Tories. Moreover they have the utter gall to insist that it’s other people who are politicising the epidemic, not them. Oh no. There’s one disease which the Tories have for which there is no cure, and that’s the instinctive reflex to accuse everyone else of the Tories’ own sins. There is no victimhood like British nationalist victimhood. It’s the victimhood which allows them to risk the health and lives of thousands of people in Scotland in pursuit of a political point, and yet to claim at the very same time that they’re the ones who are the real victims here. Oliver and his pals would prefer Scots to die rather than upset Westminster. You could call this shameful behaviour, if it were not for the fact that the Scottish Tories are genetically immune to shame.

It is pathetic in the extreme for anyone to assert that quarantine is a political issue rather than a matter of public health. England has a far higher prevalence of coronavirus than Scotland, thanks to the better management of the epidemic in Scotland and the woeful mishandling of it in England by the Conservatives. There have been six deaths in Scotland over the past week from the virus. There have been 632 in England over the same period. On 11 July there were again zero deaths reported in Scotland, but 147 deaths in England. Scotland reported 7 new cases of infection, England reported 806. Despite there being a higher prevalence of the virus in England, it is coming out of lockdown more quickly than Scotland is, leading to very real fears that there may be a second wave of infections. Susan Michie, professor of health psychology at University College London, warned that Johnson’s decision to allow pubs to reopen in England was a “disaster waiting to happen” and added that it was “exactly what we should not be doing”. She went on to praise the Scottish policy of a more careful and gradual reopening. (Source Here) Yet Oliver and his cronies want Scotland to exactly what the Conservative Government is doing in England. The Scottish Tories are perfectly happy to put your life in danger in order to save their preciousssssss union.

The Scottish Government has not decided to impose quarantine measures on people crossing into Scotland from England, but it reserves the right to should public health experts advise that it’s necessary. This is what Oliver is bumping his gums about. Public health measures become “divisive nationalism” when they’re about protecting Scotland from the incompetence of a Conservative government in England.

What Nicola Sturgeon actually said on the Marr Show on BBC1 was very different from how it was being portrayed by an Oliver Mundell complaining about lies. What the First Minister actually said was that there are no current plans to quarantine visitors from England, but she stressed the importance of the Scottish and British Governments working together to manage the epidemic. Scotland is pursuing a strategy which aims to eliminate the virus, and she wants the British Government to be more explicit in pursuing that strategy too. It’s clear from those remarks who the divisive scare mongering nationalists really are, and they would be the ones in the Conservative party.

There are several reasons why the Scottish Tories are so fearful of border restrictions. The only reason why imposing quarantine on visitors from England might prove necessary is because the Johnson administration of which Oliver is such a big fan has royally screwed up in its efforts to deal with the virus in England. If public health experts advise that quarantine is needed, it means that Oliver and his pals can’t so easily lie about how the virus is just as bad in Scotland. It means that the British Government is failing in its basic duty to keep British citizens safe, but the Scottish Government is not. It means that people in Scotland will see checks on the Scottish-English border and realise that the sky has not fallen in. And all those things may make people more likely to support independence. That’s what Oliver is really afraid of. He’s seeing his precious UK dissolving before his eyes, and it’s all the fault of his own miserable party. Covid 19 is a lethal disease, and it’s proving politically lethal for the Conservatives and the British state.


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If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com and I will send the necessary information.

Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

GINGER2croppedGaelic maps of Scotland are available for £15 each, plus £7 P&P within the UK for up to three maps. T-shirts are £12 each, and are available in small, medium, large, XL and XXL sizes. P&P is £5 for up to three t-shirts. My books, the Collected Yaps Vols 1 to 4 are available for £11 each. P&P is £4 for up to two books. Payment can be made via Paypal.


newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free. You can order here –
https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2019

You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to weegingerbook@yahoo.com, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email weegingerbook@yahoo.com