The trouble with Corbyn

Playwright and writer Alan Bisset exclusively speaks to Phantom Power about his issues with the Corbyn phenomenon.

As UK Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn states his intention to target SNP seats in the next general election, acclaimed writer Alan Bissett considers the implications for Scottish independence and particularly those on the left who also support self-determination for Scotland. While Corbyn has taken Labour back to its socialist roots, Scottish Labour is a very different beast and have deliberately interpreted their modest gains and SNP reduction in seats as a rejection of independence. Alan discusses Corbyn’s election prospects as well as his contradictory positions on a progressive SNP alliance, Brexit, Trident, internationalism and British nationalism. Corbyn and his pro-independence supporters can’t have it both ways.
https://alanbissett.com/

If the dictator’s cap fits

Wonder of wonders, let the band play. There was actually a news story about Scottish politics in the Unionist media that managed to get from beginning to end without asserting how terrible the SNP are, how screwed the independence movement is, or how Alex Salmond has never read anything apart from the Ladybird Book of Independence Declarations.  No, really. I almost fainted too.  Has the Unionist media passed peak-Ruth? Probably not, but sometimes her actions are so egregious that even her fanboys can’t ignore them.

Tory activist Belinda Don is very different from the Scottish Unionist press in that she’s not a big fan of Ruth Davidson. She most likely doesn’t have a photie of Ruth on her mantlepiece posing in a jolly manner with a gutted fish. She’s immune to the dubious charms of Tank Girl. Belinda is so annoyed with Ruth that she’s breaking the Tory omertà against speaking out in public against the Supreme Leaderene and is not only speaking out, she’s taking legal action too. This is a story with far more political consequences than the decision of a blogger to sue Kezia Dugdale. This is a story that goes right to the very heart of how the Conservative party, or rather Ruth Davidson’s Conservatives™, operate. What makes it even more delicious from a pro-independence Schadenfreude viewpoint is that the entire affair is entirely of the Tories’ own manufacture. If they hadn’t decided that democracy in Scotland was merely a serving suggestion, they wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place.

Belinda Don was second on the Conservative list for the EU election in 2014. The sole Conservative who was elected in that ballot was Ian Duncan. However the Tories wanted to get Ian into the Scottish Office, some rumours had it that they wanted him as the new Secretary of State for Speaking for the UK Cabinet in Scotland, seeing as how David Mundell has less authority and gravitas than a failed contestant on a Saturday evening game show who’s just been dunked in a gunge tank to the accompaniment of the Birdie Song by someone dressed as a chicken.

So Ian stood as the Tory candidate for Perth, and even though this was a seat that the Tories were very confident of winning, Ian lost. This may have something to do with the fact that Ian bears an alarming resemblance to Herman Munster. Although the Tories threw everything into the fight, the SNP’s Pete Wishart narrowly retained the seat, much to the relief of Labour MSP Neil Findlay, who’ll now still be able to keep playing his favourite game on Twitter of making up anagrams of Pete’s name. Although someone whose own name is an anagram of I’ll die fanny really ought to think twice before going down the anagram name route. Och silly me. A Labour MSP? Thinking twice? Thinking once would be nice. But I digress.

Despite the fact that the good voters of Perth had looked upon the Tory choice and said “Naa, we don’t want this guy in our parliament”, the Tories decided that mere democracy shouldn’t get in the way of their absolute right to decide who gets into government. Ian was suddenly and rapidly offered a peerage, resigned as an MEP, and was off to the House of Lords and a post in the Scottish Office anyway. Voting eh? Voting is for democrats.

According to the normal rules, when an MEP resigns, the next person on that MEP’s party list should automatically get the gig as that party’s MEP for the rest of the term of the EU Parliament. Or in this case until March 2019, when the UK crashes out of the EU and is left with only Donald Trump as a friend. If he hasn’t caused WW3 by that point. Although if he does you can be sure that the British government will be the only European government not to criticise him. Ian resigned, and there was Belinda waiting for the phone call to tell her she’s the last Tory MEP for Scotland. Only the call never came.  The party has refused to confirm her.

The distinct lack of a call is not unrelated to the fact that Belinda and Ruth are not exactly besties. Belinda may have a photie of Ruth in her hoose, but if she does it’s on a dartboard. She was one of those who prominently opposed Ruth’s candicacy for party leader back in 2012, and if there’s one thing that Ruth is good at apart from posing for photo-opportunities with her pals in the press, it’s holding a grudge.

Sources in the party are saying that Ruth’s leadership style is authoritarian and unforgiving. A woman who likes to dress up in military uniforms has dictatorial tendencies. Who could have seen that one coming? Ruth Davidson is running the Scottish Conservatives as her personal vehicle for advancement. It’s the tank that she’s planning to use to further her career. Scratch beneath the cheery photo opportunities and there’s something very ugly.

Belinda is now taking legal action to prevent the Tories from offering the MEP seat to anyone else. Her supporters claim that unless you’re a part of Ruth’s clique, you get nowhere in the Scottish Tories. This says rather a lot about the recent revelations that the Tories had been appointing as candidates a whole slew of people with some very worrying connections to the far right and the Orange Order. Just as long as you’re a supporter of Ruth Davidson, the party doesn’t care if you’re a bit of a fascist with a sideline in sectarianism. It doesn’t do the due diligence on candidates, just as long as they support Ruth. That says a lot about Ruth’s leadership, a lot that doesn’t paint the Tories in a very flattering light.

Painting the Tories in a flattering light has been the single minded job of much of the Scottish Unionist media for the past few years. And that’s not been easy, what with the rape clause, the soaring gap between rich and poor, the housing crisis, Ruth’s rapid conversion from Remainer to Brexiteer, the dirty deal with the DUP, the utter lack of coherence and planning for Brexit, Ruth’s propensity for tweeting photos of actresses in underwear (can you imagine the outrage if a male politician had done that?), etc and depressingly more etcs.  But it won’t stop them.

Ruth likes to dress like a dictator, it’s no surprise she acts like one too. The vain, self-regarding and deeply flawed Ruth Davidson is the Unionist establishment’s only remaining hope of saving the UK, and they’re going to protect her. This latest dispute is far more serious than a Twitter dispute between non-party Yes supporters, this goes to the very heart of how the Scottish Conservatives are led and run. It goes to the very heart of democratic accountability in Scotland. Yet you can bet that it won’t receive a fraction of the coverage received by a Twitter dispute within the Yes campaign.


weegingerdug.scot

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


gingercartoonWee Ginger Fundraiser

I’m doing a fundraiser this year to keep this blog going for another twelve month and to allow the dug and me to continue visiting local groups all across Scotland. You can donate via my crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo –

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/wee-ginger-crowdfunder-independent-blog

Alternatively you can donate by Paypal by clicking the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special bank account I’ve set up for the purposes of this fundraiser, 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.

Many thanks.

Scottish democracy would be a good idea

There are many reasons for Scottish independence. We each have our own individual reasons for wanting to see Scotland regain its place amongst the independent states of this world. One of my reasons is to remove the obscenity of weapons of mass destruction from the Clyde. I’ve wanted to see the back of them ever since I was a child and decades later they’re still there. Trident missiles only exist in order to boost the flaccid penis of a post-imperial state, and only independence will see Scotland free from the radioactive stain that the leave on our landscape. At least suspicious stains on bed sheets don’t have the ability to wipe out half the planet.

I want independence because it’s only with independence that Scotland can have a referendum on whether we should become a republic or remain a monarchy. The chances that the Westminster parliament will ever permit a referendum on the future of the monarchy are approximately the same as the chances that Ruth Davidson can say or do something that doesn’t involve her own self-promotion. So that’s as close to zero as makes no difference. She makes Kanye West seem modest and self-effacing, and he’s actually got a modicum of talent. Apart from ruthless self-promotion, Ruth’s only talent lies in finding new ways of saying she doesn’t want another independence referendum. And truth be told she’s not even very good at that.

Another, and far more personal, reason for wanting Scottish independence became clear to me when I did a talk with the dug in Forres last year. During the Q&A session afterwards, a man put up his hand and made the observation that when Scotland becomes independent, we’ll have our stamps. It will be great for Scotland to have its own stamps, but even those of us who were interested in stamp collecting when we were young lose all interest in it just as soon as we discover sex and drugs and rock and roll, so I wasn’t really sure where the man was going with this observation. Independent countries have their own stamps.

Although probably according to the Unionists Scotland will be uniquely incapable of having its own stamps, just like its apparently and uniquely incapable of having its own currency. I do seem to recall that during the independence campaign of 2014 Unionists did actually cite the inability of independence campaigners to say how much a first class stamp would cost after independence as an example of the horrendous uncertainty that independence would create. They’re quite relaxed about the horrendous uncertainty of Brexit, because after all, you’ll still know how much a first class stamp costs even though you won’t have a job, you’ll need a visa to travel to France, Northern Ireland will have descended into civil war, the devolution settlement will be in ruins, the economy will be tanking and the pound will be on a par with the cowrie shell. But we’ll still know how much a first class stamp costs. Unless the post office raises the price, which they’re quite likely to do. So we won’t know how much a first class stamp costs after all. But it will still have the Queen’s head on it, and it won’t be polluted by the words “Scotland – Alba”, so that makes it all worthwhile.

And then the man continued, pointing to Ginger, who was at that moment lying on the floor of the hall licking his bollocks, “See that dug? When Scotland is independent that dug will be on a stamp.” And that is now my favourite personal reason for wanting Scottish independence, because after Scottish independence Ruth Davidson will have to lick my dog’s behind.

Irrespective of what our own personal reasons are for wanting independence, there’s one reason for independence that’s more important than all the others. It’s a reason that affects all of us, involves all of us. That reason is democracy. We currently live in a state which is not democratically accountable to the people of Scotland, and because the mistresses and masters of that state are not democratically accountable to the people of Scotland, they can lie to us, cheat us, and treat us with open contempt. They can do so without fear of any consequences, because they know that there is nothing we can do about it.

So we end up with every single promise that the Unionists made to Scotland during the referendum of 2014 being broken with impunity. 13 frigates built on the Clyde? Not happening. Jobs in the tax offices safe? Not happening. Scotland’s place in the European Union secured? Not happening. The permanence of the Scottish parliament and the Sewel Convention being given the force of law? A worthless piece of cant. Scotland a valued and equal member of a family of nations? Now you’re just taking the piss.

We live in a country which has been crapped on from above for so long and with such frequency that many of our compatriots think it’s normal. You turn on the TV news, you look in the newspaper and you see seven shades of shite and think it’s normal. We are habituated to crap. It *is* normal, in the UK. But just because something has happened so often that it’s considered normal doesn’t mean that it is desirable. The tragedy of Scotland is that we’ve been living amongst the jobbies for so long that too many in this country believe that mediocrity is the best we can aspire to. Even worse, they revel in Scotland’s mediocrity because it allows them to believe that the crumbs that we receive from Westminster’s table are a feast and not a famine. Meanwhile Scotland’s democracy starves to death.

This week there have been talks between Westminster and the Scottish government about the devolved Scottish powers that are currently exercised by Brussels. Westminster is proposing that after Brexit all these devolved Scottish powers will be taken over by Westminster, and then Westminster and Westminster alone will decide which if any will be returned to Holyrood. Only in the UK could the stripping bare of existing devolved powers be described as “giving extra power to Holyrood”. It’s a naked power grab by the Westminster government. Even the Labour First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, called it that. He’s outraged. Scotland’s Labour leader? Not so much. Kezia only gets outraged by pro-independence bloggers. But it’s going to happen anyway. There’s not much Scotland can do about it.

Only independence can allow the people of Scotland to live in a country where our political masters can be held to account. Where we can vote them out of office if they displease us. Where they suffer the consequences of their lies and deceit. What happens right now is that we vote them out of office, and then they get a seat in the House of Lords and continue to make our laws and influence our public life anyway. Scotland voted twice to remain a part of the EU, but is being taken out anyway. Scotland voted for the powers of its partliament to be enshrined in law, but was lied to and there’s nothing we can do about it. That’s not democracy. The best reason for Scottish independence is because it is the radical notion that democracy in Scotland would be a good idea.


weegingerdug.scot

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


gingercartoonWee Ginger Fundraiser

I’m doing a fundraiser this year to keep this blog going for another twelve month and to allow the dug and me to continue visiting local groups all across Scotland. You can donate via my crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo –

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/wee-ginger-crowdfunder-independent-blog

Alternatively you can donate by Paypal by clicking the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special bank account I’ve set up for the purposes of this fundraiser, 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.

Many thanks.

A substandard democracy

What exactly is the point of a newspaper if all it does is to regurgitate press releases? It ceases to become a newspaper, it becomes a propaganda sheet. There’s a place for opinion, polemic, and bias in newspapers, that place is in the opinion columns. That’s why they’re called the opinion columns, the clue is in the name. What I write for The National is shamelessly biased. I wear my bias on my sleeve. I write an opinion column. I don’t pretend that what I produce is unbiased and balanced news. Primarily I am a polemicist. That’s my job, that’s what I do.  When your open and honest about your bias it’s not a problem, because then readers are able to apply their own filters.  The problem arises when you present your bias as balanced and unbiased.  That’s dishonest.

Fact checking is the job of a news reporter. That’s what they do. Only in Scotland they don’t. In Scotland the Unionist press prints press releases from the Labour and Conservative parties and calls it balanced news. That would be bad enough. What makes it utterly unforgivable is that in Scotland our newspaper landscape is itself heavily unbalanced. In a country where approximately half the population support independence, only one daily newspaper and one Sunday do. Every other newspaper in this country is Unionist. So when the Unionist media decides, en masse, to run a Labour press release and call it news without properly checking the facts, news reporting in Scotland is sacrificed on the altar of Union.

Yesterday the majority of the Scottish press were caught out by Wings Over Scotland. They printed a Labour press release containing an elementary error. The story was the allegation from Labour in Scotland that over half of all trains arrive late at Scotland’s busiest train stations. The error was to confuse the punctuality figures for the entire year, a year which was characterised by major closures of routes due to electrification works, with the figures for last month. All the newspapers who carried the story repeated the same simple error. In fact, the figures for last month show that over 93% of trains arrive on time in Scotland.

That doesn’t mean that there is some great Unionist conspiracy. It doesn’t mean that Unionist journalists sit down with Labour press officers in a dark and smoke filled room and plot evil ways to do down the cause of independence. What it does mean is that when Unionist newspapers receive stories from Unionist sources which enable them to indulge themselves in their favourite sport of SNP bashing, they’ll print the story as it is because it happens to confirm their own pre-existing bias. They can no longer pretend this doesn’t happen, because if it didn’t they would not all have repeated the same simple error in the Labour press release. Memo to the Scottish press, never trust anything that comes from a party that maintains that the entire purpose of weapons of mass destruction on the Clyde is to keep open a medium sized Tesco Express in the greater Helensburgh area.

One of the reasons they do so is because in the small and incestuous world of the Scottish media, journalists from Scotland’s Unionist press move seamlessly on into positions as communications officers for Unionist politicians. The Daily Mail’s Alan Roden now works for the Labour party, the Herald’s Magnus Gardham is now in his spiritual home as press guy for David Mundell. It says a lot about the Labour party in Scotland that they’re comfortable with someone from the Daily Mail as their press guy. It doesn’t say much that’s flattering. However the real point here is that when the Unionist press receives a press briefing from Labour or the Tories, they’re getting a story from one of their own. So they don’t check it with the same degree of suspicion and diligence that they apply to stories from other sources. That’s compounded by the cuts and pressures under which newsroom staff operate.

The outcome is that Scotland gets poorly served by its press, trust in the media plummets even lower, and it’s already the lowest in Europe.  Then the press dies a little bit more. A large and significant proportion of Scotland’s population no longer has any faith in the press or in our state broadcaster. That isn’t the fault of the public. It’s the fault of the press. It’s easy for the press to sling mud at its critics and claim that we are conspiracy theorists. That’s just a way of avoiding the issue, avoiding responsibility. It avoids the simple truth that you don’t need a conspiracy for bias to flourish. Most bias flourishes without any awareness that it is in fact bias, and we see that in the Scottish press every day.

This is a very serious issue for Scotland. In this country we have a traditional media which is overwhelmingly supportive of the Unionist status quo and which gives short shrift to a constitutional position favoured by almost half the population. We have a new media which is weak, lacking in secure funding, marginalised, and prone to fits of self-destructive in-fighting.

Stu Campbell of Wings Over Scotland is a controversial figure and a controversialist, but we need his fact checking services. He’s the one who highlighted this issue and he’s the only one who does this kind of work. We don’t get that kind of fact checking from the traditional media, nor indeed from his critics in the new media. If the new media critics of WOS want to remove his blog from Scottish life, then start doing the same job of media critique, start doing it as effectively, and start doing it as accessibly in a language and format that the vast majority of people can understand without making them feel patronised. Until that happens, there’s always going to be an appetite and an audience for Wings Over Scotland.

The bias of the traditional media and the weakness of the new media are compounded by the fact that Scotland has no public service broadcaster of its own. A country which is incapable of reflecting itself in its media, of providing its public with a forum in which all opinions found in that country can be aired, discussed, and debated, is a country which cannot function properly as a democracy. That’s Scotland in the Union, a substandard democracy in a substandard state.

Oops. For some peculiar reason WordPress decided to publish this blog post without comments being enabled. I have no idea why that happened. It’s fixed now, comments are open as usual.


weegingerdug.scot

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


gingercartoonWee Ginger Fundraiser

I’m doing a fundraiser this year to keep this blog going for another twelve month and to allow the dug and me to continue visiting local groups all across Scotland. You can donate via my crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo –

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/wee-ginger-crowdfunder-independent-blog

Alternatively you can donate by Paypal by clicking the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special bank account I’ve set up for the purposes of this fundraiser, 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.

Many thanks.

Reports of our death have been greatly exaggerated

According to David Torrance writing in Monday’s Herald newspaper, it’s all over for a Yes movement that has now fallen apart. Well he would say that, wouldn’t he. Reports of the Yes movement’s death have been greatly exaggerated. What has happened is that during the summer silly season when there’s relatively little in the way of proper politics going on, certain people in the Yes movement have been indulging in a round of mutual arguments on Twitter.  Having arguments is one of the few things that Twitter is any good for.

Torrance makes the fundamental error of confusing what happens on Twitter with the independence movement as a whole. The truth is that the great majority of Yes supporters neither use Twitter nor give a toss about who has been falling out with whom on a social media platform which is incapable of expressing nuance. You don’t get rational debate in 140 characters. You get snark, cat gifs, one liners, arguing about the fitba, and updates on the latest goings on in the Big Brother house.

There are no reliable figures for the number of Twitter users in Scotland. Twitter is, perhaps understandably, reluctant to publish figures – after all their advertising revenues depend on it. Even so, it is possible to come up with an estimate, and that estimate turns out to be considerably fewer than the number of people who reported themselves as Scots speakers in the last census.

This page https://www.thelasthurdle.co.uk/demographics-of-uk-social-media-users/ gives an estimate of 15 million registered Twitter accounts in the UK. A percentage of those will be bots. This page https://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/10/nearly-48-million-twitter-accounts-could-be-bots-says-study.html estimates that around 15% of accounts are bots. We can use those two estimates as a starting point. These pages also inform us that 43% of accounts haven’t been active for over a year, and only 29% use Twitter daily. That gives 4,364,000 daily Twitter users in the UK. Removing the 15% which are bots leaves 3,709,000. It seems plausible that the percentage of daily users who are bots will be higher than the overall percentage of all users who are bots – but I don’t have any figures for that.

8.25% of the population of the UK is in Scotland, so that gives a figure of 306,000 daily users of Twitter in Scotland. This is considerably fewer than the 1.54 million who recorded themselves as Scots speakers in the 2011 census. A considerable, but unknown, number of Twitter users don’t use Twitter for engaging in Scottish political debate. I’d stick my neck out and say that it’s the great majority of Twitter users. Obsessing over politics is very much a minority pursuit. It’s the kind of thing indulged in by people who struggle to get laid. They don’t call politics the only shot at celebrity for ugly people for nothing you know.

Most of the Scottish Twitterati make use of the platform for the aforementioned snark, cat gifs, one liners, arguing about the fitba, and updates on the latest goings on in the Big Brother house. The number of people in Scotland who use Twitter for engaging in the independence debate is going to be much smaller. That means that in terms of seeking an impact on the wider debate on Scottish independence, ye’ll hae a damn sicht mair effeck oan whit fowk think bi screivin in Scots nor ye wid bi yuisin Twitter. In fact you’ll probably have more influence on the cause of neo-eisimeileachd na h-Alba le sgrìobhadh sa’ Ghàidhlig. And that will still hold true even if you are quite a bit more mature than Ross Greer. Which to be strictly factual about it, is the great majority of us.

Twitter is a wee bubble. It’s a much weer bubble than Scots language users and we’re always being told that the Scots language is a tiny and insignificant niche. Reporting on a Twitter spat between certain independence supporters and then claiming that it’s all over for the Yes movement is a bit like claiming that just because your uncle got drunk at your cousin’s wedding and threw up all over your other uncle’s best suit that the entire concept of family is now dead for everyone. It might be the end for your uncle’s suit, but only if your uncle has never heard of dry cleaning.

If you really want to witness poisonous interpersonal disputes, you only have to look at the Conservative party. David Davis hates everyone, everyone hates Michael Gove, Boris Johnson is incapable of getting though a week without pissing off the entire population of some important EU state, and the only reason that Theresa May is still in her job is because no one wants to take the blame when the chlorinated chickens of Brexit come home to roost. Yet no one, least of all David Torrance, claims that it’s all over for the Tory party.

Doubtless much the dismay of David and his Tory wishful thinking, the Yes movement is very much alive and kicking. If you lift your eyes beyond the Twitter bubble, and go and meet people involved in the grassroots movement, as I do, you’ll find a vibrant, enthused and committed campaign. For the past year and more I’ve been travelling the length and breadth of this country, talking to people in local Yes Groups, SNP branches, and Commonweal groups. I’ve covered the country from Orkney and Thurso to Stranraer and Duns and all points in between. There is no sign that anyone’s appetite for Scottish independence is diminished any. Invitations to come and speak to local groups keep coming in.

Despite the occasional fall out due to interpersonal issues, the independence movement is stronger than it ever was. There is now a growing consensus within the Yes movement that this is no longer a debate about whether Scotland should become an independent country, it’s now a debate about when Scotland should become an independent country. The real impending doom is for a United Kingdom that has lost its way, is lurching towards a Brexit without a plan, without a clue, and without any UK political party that is prepared to put the interests of the country before its own narrow sectional interests. It’s not the independence movement which is destroying itself, it’s the United Kingdom. Scotland needs the independence movement now more than it ever did, and those of us involved in it are not going away. Sorry David.

Support iScot Magazine. iScot are running a fundraiser in order to raise the money they need to keep going. Producing a high quality glossy magazine is not cheap. You can donate to their fundraiser here – https://iscot.scot/appeal/


gingercartoonWee Ginger Fundraiser

I’m doing a fundraiser this year to keep this blog going for another twelve month and to allow the dug and me to continue visiting local groups all across Scotland. You can donate via my crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo –

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/wee-ginger-crowdfunder-independent-blog

Alternatively you can donate by Paypal by clicking the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special bank account I’ve set up for the purposes of this fundraiser, 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.

Many thanks.

Being exceptional

If you want a bomb proof career, if you want to sail through life without being negatively affected by the consequences of your professional choices, then get a job in Conservative politics. For a bunch of people who are always banging on about how the market rewards success and penalises failure, they’re very good at ensuring that precept doesn’t apply to themselves. This is precisely why the Benighted Kingdom is in such a mess, because the British establishment has rewarded itself with immunity.

George Osborne and David Cameron ruin the country by putting their party interests before the nation’s, and they walk off into lucrative positions. Theresa May’s advisor Nick Timothy, who advised her disastrously poorly, spends a fortnight in the political wilderness nursing his wounds with a compensation payout of £35,000 then bounces back with a very paid column in the Telegraph. That stickler for correct titles The Disgraced Former Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox got the boot for confusing his job with a promotional scheme for his pal Adam, and a short time later he’s back negotiating with Donald Trump on behalf of some chlorinated chickens. Ian Duncan lost the campaign for the Perth seat in the general election, but within a couple of weeks he’s given a peerage and the job in government that he was going to get had he been elected. Why bother with democracy when you’re a Tory. The list goes on and on. This is what happens when you operate your country on the basis of a national myth of privileged exceptionalism. It means that some people get to be more exceptionally privileged than everyone else. And it sure as hell isn’t going to be anyone on the number 60 bus to Easterhouse.

Exceptionalism runs through Unionism like the lettering in a stalk of rock, and the lettering says “know your place peasant”. Britishness is the stiff upper lip that stiffs us. Britishness is the comfortable lie that tells you you’re special, but the only thing that’s special is the way it rips you off. Britishness is that impossibly handsome guy on the internet who chats you up and tells you he loves you, but it turns out that the photo is fake and he’s really a toothless horror with body odour who wants you to have a threesome with him and Donald Trump while you whisper strong and stable in his ear because that gets him off.

British exceptionalism is what brought about Brexit, because Britain’s so special that it can have all of the advantages of EU membership without being bound by the rules or contributing to the costs. British exceptionalism is why foreigners who live in the UK are migrants, but British citizens who live in a foreign country are expats. British exceptionalism is the belief that nothing bad happens to the rich and the comfortable in Britain, and that much at least is true. The bad stuff happens to the people on the number 60 bus to Easterhouse, and the rich and the comfortable don’t care. British exceptionalism means they don’t need to.

Britain is so special that it doesn’t need to plan for Brexit. Planning is for little people. British exceptionalism means the expectation that it’s the Irish who will design and implement a new border regime between the Republic and the North so that Britain can continue to escape the consequences of its own actions. British exceptionalism means anger and disbelief when the Irish tell Westminster that it can sort out its own problems.

It’s exceptionalism that leads the Westminster government to believe that it can walk away from the EU without any deal being done at all. It’s the insane belief that no deal isn’t the worst deal of all, and that Britain can continue to avoid the fallout from its own nuclear implosion. Britain wants to take back control by having no control at all.

There are ways in which Britain truly is exceptional. It’s exceptional in its inability to house its population, exceptional in the way in which homes are treated as investments and stand empty while citizens sleep in cardboard boxes in the streets. Councils design street furniture with barbs and spikes to prevent people sleeping on it, while we are doing nothing about the causes that force so many people onto our streets. Britain is exceptional in the way in which we train ourselves to walk past the evidence of poverty and deprivation that is sleeping on our high streets and blame the poor for their poverty while giving a free pass to those who enrich themselves at the public’s expense.

We’re exceptional in our PFI schemes that force schools to pay thousands to replace a leaking tap while not providing buildings that are fit for purpose. We’re exceptional in the way in which our train services are run by nationalised companies, it’s just that they’re nationalised companies belonging to other countries and the profits that they make here are used to subsidise railways for Dutch commuters. The only way in which Britain is truly exceptional is the way in which its citizens are systematically ripped off.

British exceptionalism is what leads Unionists on social media to howl in outrage that EU citizens might be allowed a vote in a Scottish independence referendum, while they accuse independence supporters of xenophobic nationalism. But then their exceptionalism means that British nationalism isn’t nationalist at all, not even when it’s demonising foreigners and actively seeking a country that’s isolated and inward looking.

Unlike British nationalists who are so special that they’re not nationalist at all, the campaign for Scottish independence doesn’t seek a Scotland that’s special. Scottish independence supporters don’t demand a country that’s exceptional, a country to which the normal international rules of cooperation do not apply. The desire for Scottish independence is the desire to live in a Scotland that’s a normal country. It’s a determination to build a better country than the exceptionalists of Britain – and that doesn’t require any exceptionalism at all, mere adequacy will do it. If we aspire to exceptionalism, let it be an exceptional care for all our citizens, let it be an exceptional welcome to all those who do us the honour of choosing Scotland as their home, let it be an exceptional effort to be a force for peace, justice and equality in this world.

Support iScot Magazine. iScot are running a fundraiser in order to raise the money they need to keep going. Producing a high quality glossy magazine is not cheap. You can donate to their fundraiser here – https://iscot.scot/appeal/


gingercartoonWee Ginger Fundraiser

I’m doing a fundraiser this year to keep this blog going for another twelve month and to allow the dug and me to continue visiting local groups all across Scotland. You can donate via my crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo –

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/wee-ginger-crowdfunder-independent-blog

Alternatively you can donate by Paypal by clicking the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special bank account I’ve set up for the purposes of this fundraiser, 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.

Many thanks.

Blood’s A Rover

bloodsarover

The Wee Ginger Fundraiser has exceeded its target by an amazing amount, so it’s only right that I give some space to some other projects which are worthy of consideration and support. We all know that the Scottish film industry is struggling, movies made in Scotland, about Scotland, and starring Scottish actors, are few and far between. But that doesn’t mean there is a lack of talent and ambition in this country, far from it. Tim Fraser-Granados is an Edinburgh based independent film maker. He’s currently working on a feature film, a Scottish neo-noir thriller, but as Scotland doesn’t have the same support for its film makers as is found in other countries, finding the financial backing to get the film off the ground is proving difficult.

Over to Tim …

Hello everyone!
I’m Tim Fraser-Granados, an indie filmmaker in Edinburgh who’s been hugely inspired by film noirs and Raymond Chandler and James Ellroy (this is not an adaptation of Ellroy’s novel; this film is its own thing). My team and I are going to be making a Scottish Neo Noir this autumn in Edinburgh. It’s a dark and gritty crime story that blends fiction with historical facts and figures:

David Boyd, a Detective Chief Inspector, is haunted by the unsolved murder of his father in 2012. 5 years later, a woman asks Police Scotland to find her missing husband. Boyd is drawn into a labyrinthine plot of grisly murders, blackmail and political conspiracy.

We have a crowdfunding campaign for Blood’s A Rover and we are hoping that you decide to become part of our team! You can contribute to the campaign, and share the indiegogo page, and the links to the various teasers and interviews we’ll release every weekend between now and 1 September with your family and friends at home and abroad. In exchange for your contribution, you receive a perk that can be anything from a postcard to a dual format edition of the film on Blu-Ray and DVD to a day on set to an invite to the cast & crew screening. We aim to take the film to local and international film festivals and hope to secure a cinema release at home and in markets abroad, and a home video release on Blu-Ray and DVD. Join us and be part of what we believe is going to be an extraordinary and memorable film!

We are going to release new teasers and interviews every weekend so do subscribe to the Youtube channel, like our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/blood-s-a-rover-scottish-neo-noir-feature-film-drama#/

Official website: https://www.bloodsarover.com/

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bloodsarover/

Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHt…EGhzQhTHvj2osA

Vimeo channel: https://vimeo.com/user65550992

Campaign pitch:

Teaser 1 (the leading characters):

Gordie Holliday’s interview:

Teaser 2 (the phone call):

Composer Jeff Bernstein’s interview: