The sea change

There’s no podcast today because I got mixed up about dates and thought that last night I was supposed to be doing a Zoom conference with a local SNP group in the Lothians. However that’s not until the end of this month. Oops. Still, at least I haven’t missed it! Anyway, next week, all going well, there should be a very special guest on the podcast who I am sure that you will enjoy hearing from.

I don’t really want to harp on about Margaret Ferrier. What she did was unconscionable and cannot be defended at all. She really should resign. Even if we accept her excuse that it was a mistake, there are no excuses for such grossly stupid behaviour. It is however noticeable that there are plenty of voices from the yes side who are saying today that the Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP should resign. When Dominic Cummings did the same thing the Conservatives were noticeable only by their absence and silence. When Charles Windsor did the same thing the entire British establishment was noticeable only by its absence and silence.

Meanwhile it’s also in the news today that Donald Trump has tested positive for coronavirus. He refuses to wear a mask, he has no concern for anyone around him. When events like this occur it’s traditional to say that you don’t wish ill on any human being. But Trump pushes the limits of that tolerance past breaking point. Still, it does prove that he is actually a human being after all – and that news comes as a surprise to most of us who thought that he was the incarnation of one of the lesser demons of Mammon.

A couple of days ago there was a very interesting editorial in the Guardian newspaper, which seems to have been the only English based daily which has noticed that the UK Government’s Internal Market Bill represents a direct assault on the devolution settlement for Scotland and Wales. The proposal from the Tories that the UK can merrily trash international law has sucked up all the outrage oxygen south of the border. The link to the piece is here https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/30/the-guardian-view-on-johnson-and-devolution-another-reckless-gamble

Despite being in a newspaper which prides itself on being the voice of liberal opinion in the UK, some of the language used in the editorial could have come straight out of the Daily Mail. Those of us who support Scottish independence are “enemies of the Union”. People who support a Scottish state are “nationalists”, those who support a British state are “unionists”. This bill, intones the Guardian, “is too easily portrayed as a Westminster power grab”. Which is a bit like saying that deliberately running down a pedestrian on a zebra crossing is too easily portrayed as a driving offence. It “abets nationalists” it says, as though campaigning for Scottish independence was a morally reprehensible offence and as though the British Government was not itself the embodiment of a far less tolerant and far more xenophobic nationalism.

The piece goes on to say that “nationalists were always going to cry foul”, diminishing and trivialising the concerns of a Scotland that doesn’t get a tiny fraction of the respect that it was so solemnly promised in 2014 by that British establishment which the Guardian is so keen to defend. The pro-indy parties in Scotland were opposed to Brexit. They have every right to cry foul when the British Government uses Brexit as an excuse to unilaterally undermine the devolution settlement without any pretence of seeking the consent of the devolved parliaments.

What was missing was any attempt to make a case for the UK. The Guardian would appear to have no opinion on why Scotland, or Wales or Northern Ireland for that matter, should continue to be dominated and have major decisions made for them by a polity which so obviously has no interest in taking their needs into account and which equally obviously refuses to pay the slightest heed to their concerns. It’s all very well as some apologists for the British state do to say that Scotland should throw away “300 years of shared history” because of Boris Johnson – who is just one man. But the point here is that the UK is a political construct which allows a man like Boris Johnson to gain almost absolute power in a deeply flawed electoral system where he doesn’t even need to gain a majority votes, and then puts very few checks and balances on his exercise of that power.

So far so typical of what we’ve come to expect from a metropolitan commentariat which is determined to tell the people of Scotland what they think that we ought to think rather than trying to understand why we feel the way that we do. Because if they were actually to listen it would mean hearing some uncomfortable truths about the nature of Britishness. It would mean having to confront their own nationalism when they are deep in denial about its existence.

However what is really interesting about the editorial is not the patronising way in which the British liberal establishment deals with the desire for Scottish independence and the sclerotic demise of the British state. That’s all predictable enough. What’s really interesting are the comments left by readers.

Back in 2014 there was a small band of doughty indy supporters who faced up to a barrage of criticism and attacks in the comments section of the Guardian. However now the tone below the line has changed utterly. Most comments are either supportive of Scottish independence, or if they are not outright in favour of it they at least express an understanding and sympathy which is notably absent from the newspaper’s official line. The dominant mood is an acceptance that the UK as a political construct has had its day, and the end is fast approaching.

There are of course a few Better Together hangouts from 2014, tediously trotting out the same too wee too poor, you’ll be nothing without us arguments that prevailed back then in what now seems such a politically distant age. But where these voices were once dominant and set the tone, now they are isolated and friendless lost in the wilderness demanding that everyone listens to how special the UK is while the majority scoff at their lack of self-awareness Which is entirely appropriate because now they have become the perfect metaphor for post Brexit Britain.

There has been a sea change in opinion since 2014. When there becomes a dominant expectation in the UK that we are reaching the end, there will not be as much enthusiasm or support in the rest of the UK for a campaign to oppose Scottish independence. That’s not to say that there will be no Better Together MkII, of course there will, but it does mean that it’s hollowed out from within and lacking popular support in England. The only people who can’t see that it’s doomed are its own dwindling band of supporters.


The purpose of this blog is to  make a positive case for independence, to attack the pretensions of British nationalism, and to formulate arguments which will help to persuade no voters, undecideds, and soft yes voters to support independence.  It’s also to boost the morale of those of us who are already involved in this campaign.  I do not provide this platform to allow people to attack others in the movement with whom they disagree.  Other people might choose to use their platforms to do so, I don’t.

So if you want to share your favourite conspiracy theories about Nicola Sturgeon or anyone else in this movement – you can go elsewhere.  I am past caring whether you think that this means you are being censored.  You have no absolute right to use this blog and you most certainly don’t have the right to abuse my hospitality by insulting me personally. 


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

Cruel Britannia

The UK Government continues its descent into pariah-hood. Today it was announced that the EU is to take legal action against the British Government over the latter’s decision that international law is a particularly unhygienic pick and mix buffet where you can put oven ready pies back in a very specific and limited way after you’ve committed to it by putting it on your plate and Boris Johnson has stuck his fingers in it and used it as an electoral prop. Being sued by the people with whom you’re currently engaged in delicate trade talks is not a reassuring sign that there is sufficient trust to reach a deal. Reneging on a deal that was the cornerstone of the campaign you fought in order to win a General Election isn’t the sign of partner who negotiates in good faith.

It is of course entirely possible that some sort of barebones deal will be cobbled together at the last minute. Johnson and Gove and their cheerleaders in the Brextremist media will cheer this as a fantastic win for the UK. It will of course be nothing of the sort. It will still result in job losses and cutting us off from the rest of Europe. It will still leave the UK open to the predations of global companies who have their eyes on the NHS. It will still see a race to the bottom in the UK in terms of employment rights and consumer standards. But it will be presented with bunting, union flags, and great Britishness plastered all over it and the Daily Telegraph fanboys and girls will be telling us that we won the war you know. And that’s the best case scenario. No deal is still a very real possibility.

Meanwhile there are reports that the UK Government wants to adopt a similar policy to Australia in dealing with asylum seekers. This will consist of taking people who have fled to the UK from war zones and repressive regimes which are abundantly supplied by British arms manufacturers and sticking them on Ascension Island, which is essentially a barren rock in the South Atlantic. This is because being stuck on barren isolated island where nothing can flourish and where every aspect of your existence is controlled by right wing hypocritical zealots who are telling you that they’re doing it for your own good is the perfect life lesson for living in the UK after Brexit.

The British Government has refused to rule out reports that it might be considering some Scottish islands as the location of its detention centres for innocent people. That ought to tell you what they think of us. In the minds of the Conservatives in Westminster, Scotland is pretty much the same as one of the remaining British colonies. It’s far away, remote from power, and none of them care very much about what goes on there. Which is much the same reason why we have Trident.

Other places that the UK is reportedly considering for dentention centres for refugees and asylum seekers include Moldova, Morocco, and Papua New Guinea. This is what Australia has already done, to much international criticism. Australian detention camps in the south Pacific island nations of Nauru and Papua New Guinea have been widely criticised for their poor conditions and for fostering a culture of “deliberate cruelty and abuse” intended to deter others from seeking asylum in Australia.

A report from Amnesty International entitled Island of Despair found that conditions in the Australian camp in Nauru “amount to torture”. (See the full report here: https://www.amnesty.org.uk/files/2017-05/island-of-despair.pdf?ixQRwFFZA.DsEUHOwgrxwxTXQ029jASw) Yet this is what the British Government tells us we should aspire to – a policy of deliberate cruelty and inhumanity in order to reduce immigration statitistics and to pander to the Express, the Mail and the Telegraph. Britain under the Conservatives is an island of cruelty and despair.

Meanwhile in Scotland the British nationalist parties have decided that the real mistake that they’ve been making which has led to increasing support for independence is that they’ve been far too respectful of Scottish democracy. The manager of Labour’s branch office in Scotland, Ragnall Lamplighter, has said that his party’s “pro choice strategy” on another independence referendum is what is to blame for its poor performance. Because what a political party in a democracy really needs to do in order to win popular support is to deny the existence of democracy. He follows the Illiberal Undemocrats in deciding that democracy is too dangerous for Scotland. It risks people in Scotland making decisions that are not to the liking of British nationalist politicians, and that cannot be allowed.

Ronald Lunchpacker really has his finger on the pulse. In an interview with the New Statesman he claimed that people who want a second referendum or an independent Scotland will vote SNP, they won’t vote Labour. However opinion poll after opinion poll has shown that as many as 40% of Labour’s remaining voters in Scotland support independence. RuPaul Lookslesslikelier has pretty much just told those voters that he doesn’t want their support. This isn’t so much a political strategy as it is a suicide note. On the one hand he’s telling a massive chunk of the voters he’s got left that he thinks they ought to vote SNP, on the other he’s telling that majority of Scottish opinion that supports independence that his party will not respect the views of the majority. The lesson here is clear. Scotland can only have democracy as an independent state.

So there’s that UK that Scotland was told that the whole world looks up to and respects. It is world beating at trashing international law. It is a global leader in breaking its own commitments to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The whole world looks to it as an example of a state that treats those who have suffered the most from British foreign policy with cruelty and contempt, proposing to shut them away on an isolated island where no one can complain and no one can easily check if their rights and dignity are being respected. And the British nationalist parties in Scotland think that their biggest tactical error has been to concede the right of the people of Scotland to democracy. Cruel Britannia.


Comments – I’ve had enough.  Moderation has now become a full time job because people, supposedly adult people, just can’t behave.  If you think that the comments which appear are bad, you should see the stuff that doesn’t make it to publication.  I’ve been getting abuse, personal insults, and there have been posts which are grossly homophobic, racist, or misogynistic.  (Apparently this counts as standing up for women’s rights, who knew?) 

The purpose of this blog is to  make a positive case for independence, to attack the pretensions of British nationalism, and to formulate arguments which will help to persuade no voters, undecideds, and soft yes voters to support independence.  It’s also to boost the morale of those of us who are already involved in this campaign.  I do not provide this platform to allow people to attack others in the movement with whom they disagree.  Other people might choose to use their platforms to do so, I don’t.

So if you want to share your favourite conspiracy theories about Nicola Sturgeon or anyone else in this movement – you can go elsewhere.  I am past caring whether you think that this means you are being censored.  You have no absolute right to use this blog and you most certainly don’t have the right to abuse my hospitality by insulting me personally. 


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

The crossroads

Yesterday the House of Commons voted by 340 to 256 in favour of the Conservative government’s Internal Market Bill, which undermines the devolution settlement and threatens international law. No Scottish Conservative MP voted against the bill. Now there’s a surprise. This is a bill which is opposed by the Scottish Parliament, and despite the Conservatives themselves signing up to the proposition that no Westminster Government should ever be able to alter the devolution settlement without the express consent of Holyrood, that’s exactly what they’re doing.

The bill not only seizes certain devolved powers for Westminster, powers which have hitherto been exercised by the EU on Scotland’s behalf, it goes a lot further. It will see Scottish legislation being overseen by an unelected committee of Conservative appointees and struck down if they are deemed to be incompatible with the UK internal market. This bill also gives UK ministers the right to spend on devolved areas in Scotland like health or education.

This is what the Tories mean by strengthening the union. They mean imposing policies on Scotland that Scotland doesn’t want. They mean overruling Scotland’s own democratically elected bodies. They mean lecturing us about the meaning of democracy while they themselves traduce it. They mean telling us that we have to respect the result of the 2014 referendum while they trash all the promises that they made to win it.

This is a historic development in Scottish politics. A Westminster Conservative Government that Scotland did not vote for and which is pursuing policies which Scotland does not support has unilaterally decided to rewrite the devolution settlement. Naturally this is headline news in the Scottish media. Oh wait. Nope. It’s buried away under a ton of other stuff, and its impact is minimised to discussions about food standards instead of being exposed as the all out assault on the devolution settlement that it really is.

According to the Tories, this bill is necessary because of the SNP. Yes really. They’re blaming the SNP for Brexit now. Small Business Minister Paul Scully said on Good Morning Scotland that the bill was only necessary because the SNP had walked away from talks. Which isn’t actually true, but since when did the Tories ever allow the truth to get between themselves and some political point scoring. What the Tories are really complaining about is that the Scottish Parliament won’t just roll over and play dead. At every step along the way during the Brexit negotiations, and the pandemic, the Conservatives have sidelined and ignored not just the SNP, but the entire Scottish Government and Parliament, the Welsh Government and Parliament, and only paid attention to one faction in Northern Ireland when they needed the DUP’s votes. This is a Tory mess, put together to a Tory recipe, cooked in a Tory oven, and served up on a Tory plate.

Anyone who is paying attention can now see that the devolution settlement is not and cannot be safe within the UK. The safety net provided by the devolution settlement was a key factor in the Better Together campaign in the last independence referendum. Vote no for stronger and better devolution, they told us. They won’t be telling us that again. It is now clear that a devolution settlement which was introduced in order to protect Scotland from the effects of a Conservative government that it didn’t vote for cannot withstand a Conservative Government that is quite happy to ignore the self-denying ordinance that Westminster will refrain from meddling upon which the devolution settlement depends.

When devolution was introduced its opponents were reassured by a Labour government which told them that a power devolved was a power retained. Indeed that’s why we have the word devolution in the first place. It was intended to represent the delegation of some of Westminster’s power to a body that was always to be regarded as subordinate to the supremacy of a Westminster which has invested itself with absolute sovereignty. A power that is delegated remains with the body doing the delegating. It’s only since Brexit that Scotland has seen that devolution is incapable of performing as that bulwark of protection which it was sold to Scotland as being. What was sold to Scotland as a partnership can be unilaterally altered by one of the parties to the agreement. Scotland can’t make unilateral changes to the devolution settlement, but Westminster can and does.

There’s a couple of important points here. This bill is a travesty, it’s a disgrace to the devolution settlement, and is the embodiment of Tory bad faith. However despite the fears of some on social media, it does not prevent the Scottish Parliament from pursuing independence. It will not prevent the Scottish Government from holding a referendum under the terms of its Referendum Act and it won’t prevent the Scottish Government from taking legal action to clarify the lawfulness of an independence referendum without a Section 30 order. Neither does it have any impact on a future plebiscite election. (Yes, I know that the Scottish Government have stymied the attempt that is already before the courts to clarify the law. I don’t agree with this decision personally, but it is obviously because they believe that at this stage in the political process it is better to maintain ambiguity. Sometimes ambiguity is useful politically.)

It’s also certainly true that the Conservatives could abolish Holyrood entirely, or could significantly restrict its powers in ways beyond even the measures included in this dreadful bill, but they could always have done that. This bill doesn’t change things in that respect. However the Conservatives know how the polling land lies. They can see the surging support for independence and how the SNP are crushing them in the polls. They won’t make any real moves over and above what’s contained in this bill before the Scottish elections in May next year, because if they did so they know that what is already going to be a difficult election for them will turn into a rout. It is imperative that Scotland tells them at the next Scottish elections that we will not tolerate this any more.

However what will most certainly embolden the Conservatives in Westminster to take further steps to reduce the powers of Holyrood will be if pro-independence parties fail to do well in the next election. Don’t say you’ve not been warned. Scotland stands at a crossroads. One route takes us to independence, the other to infighting, mutual recriminations, Tory domination, and misery for decades to come. You choose.

Comments – I’ve had enough.  Moderation has now become a full time job because people, supposedly adult people, just can’t behave.  If you think that the comments which appear are bad, you should see the stuff that doesn’t make it to publication.  I’ve been getting abuse, personal insults, and there have been posts which are grossly homophobic, racist, or misogynistic.  (Apparently this counts as standing up for women’s rights, who knew?) 

The purpose of this blog is to  make a positive case for independence, to attack the pretensions of British nationalism, and to formulate arguments which will help to persuade no voters, undecideds, and soft yes voters to support independence.  It’s also to boost the morale of those of us who are already involved in this campaign.  I do not provide this platform to allow people to attack others in the movement with whom they disagree.  Other people might choose to use their platforms to do so, I don’t.

So if you want to share your favourite conspiracy theories about Nicola Sturgeon or anyone else in this movement – you can go elsewhere.  I am past caring whether you think that this means you are being censored.  You have no absolute right to use this blog and you most certainly don’t have the right to abuse my hospitality by insulting me personally. 


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.
Donate Button

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

Throwing it all away

If you really believe that the biggest enemy of the independence cause is the SNP leadership and a substantial chunk of the party, if you really believe that the only way to attain independence is to overthrow them and set up another party, then you have given up on any realistic chances of attaining independence for decades to come. That is the unarguable consequence of your own logic. You will have consigned Scotland to a Tory dystopia for the foreseeable future.

Your tactics are going to result in a much longer period of time before Scotland ever manages to win back its independence – if we ever do because by the time that (if ever) this new party is in a position to win support Scotland will have been gutted by the Conservatives.  You will have committed the errors that indy fundamentalists have constantly accused the Scottish left of – of putting other issues before the goal of achieving independence.

You might believe that the SNP has been taken over by careerists and opportunists and that’s why it’s not making progress toward our goal. There is indeed abundant evidence of careerism and opportunism among sections of the party. Sadly that’s inevitable in any political party which has been successful electorally. If you want to wipe out the SNP and start afresh with a new purist party purged of careerists, you will enjoy the best part of a decade in the electoral wilderness before your new party becomes established – if it ever does. In the meantime the Tories will continue to crush Scotland. Untold damage will be done, and Scotland will be without a strong voice to resist because you’ve been spending your time and energy attacking the one Scottish party that Westminster fears.

However as soon as your purist party starts to become successful, as it must do before it can achieve the aims you have for it, then it too will start to attract its share of careerists and opportunists whom you will accuse of being comfortable with the status quo. Then we’ll be back at square one having wasted a decade or more and a new generation of indy fundamentalists will be demanding a clear out of the opportunists and careerists in your no longer quite so purist party.

This is not Estonia in the dying days of the Soviet Union. What worked for the Baltic states is not going to succeed in the very different political and historical circumstances which prevail in Scotland. Proposals to “dissolve the union as soon as possible” are doomed to failure – unless, and this is an important caveat, we exhaust all other avenues first, and crucially are seen to have done so by both the Scottish public and the international community. If we cannot take both majority Scottish support and international opinion with us at every step of the way, we will lose.

It is a comforting straw man argument to claim that those of us who resist jumping the gun are saying that the only path to independence is to keep asking nicely for a referendum. However demanding a referendum with a Section 30 is a vital first step, one which cannot be skipped over no matter how convinced you might be that Johnson will never agree to it. I have consistently argued for years that there are alternative routes to independence, nevertheless it remains a political imperative that first we must demand a Section 30 order from Westminster following a Scottish election which has been convincingly won by pro-independence parties standing on a manifesto explicitly demanding a referendum. And that’s not a conditional manifesto commitment either, such as a we had in 2016 – a mandate which in any case was fatally holed below the water by the SNP’s huge losses in the 2017 Westminster General Election.

However the truth is that no “mandate for a referendum” is worth anything if there is not majority support in Scotland for independence.  It is only within the past few months that we’ve seen such support.  Pointing to previous SNP mandates and demanding to know why there has not been a referendum yet is merely to demand to know why we’ve not had a referendum that we were likely to lose.  The point of the exercise here is not to get a referendum, the point is to win it.

The only way, the ONLY way, that a unilateral declaration of independence would have any chance at all of success is if Scotland first pursues and does to death all other alternatives. The first of those steps is to achieve similar political conditions which resulted in the first referendum, and to dare the British Government to refuse. It’s their refusal which legitimises other courses of action. That is the point of a demand for a Section 30 order that the those who bewail that Johnson and the Tories will never agree to a Section 30 order are missing. The Conservatives’ refusal of a Section 30 order following the clear and unarguable demand for a referendum by the people of this country in a Scottish election is exactly what we need in order to legitimise other strategies.

We can best achieve this by refusing to concede that Johnson has any moral or political right to refuse, by insisting that he must agree if the UK wants to continue to call itself democratic. This is because we need to ensure that Scottish public opinion and international opinion are sufficiently angered that they will back subsequent action, action which may even have to include a mass campaign of civil disobedience. This is such a simple point, it’s really peculiar that so many people are so blind to it.

We cannot simply assert “Oh well Johnson will never agree to a Section 30 order”. We have to have the fact of his refusal of a Section 30 order. It’s only after that has happened – and not merely when we have asserted that it’s going to happen – that successive steps gain political legitimacy in the eyes of a majority of the Scottish electorate and the international community. To believe otherwise is wishful thinking. It’s to assume that all of Scotland is already as convinced of the need for independence as you are and as willing to support a route to independence other than the route mapped out in the Edinburgh Agreement. Well they’re not. We have to make sure that they become so. I’ve yet to hear anything from those who demand UDI or immediate action which is going to do that.

To believe that the international community would recognise Scottish independence if we do not first exhaust the Section 30 order route and go directly for a plebiscite election or UDI is frankly delusional. Because the very first thing that they’ll ask is – why did you not demand a referendum from Westminster like the last time? And then all that the Scottish government could reply would be “Well we didn’t think that they’d agree.” To which the obvious retort is “How can you know that if you didn’t ask?”

There are no short cuts here. Before any unilateral declaration of independence can succeed it MUST be preceded by a ballot in which we achieve a majority explicitly for independence. And that ballot in turn can only have legitimacy in the eyes of the Scottish public and the international community if we have first demanded a referendum from Westminster and Westminster has given a refusal. “Well we all know that they will refuse” just isn’t going to cut it.

This is all the more the case because the Conservatives are currently showing every sign of cracking. You don’t start to air discussions about gerrymandering the ballot if you are convinced that there will never be a vote. You don’t start to talk about the secession of parts of Scotland if you are convinced that independence can be resisted forever. These are not political giants we’re up against here. They are small men and women with limited visions and limited horizons. Yet there are people in the independence movement who are more convinced of the ability of the Conservatives to resist Scotland’s democratic rights than the Conservatives themselves are.

A macho fantasy of Scotland’s struggle for independence, skipping vital democratic steps, is not a path we need to take – far less is it the only path we need to take. Indeed it’s a path that we have a moral responsibility to avoid. Arguing that it’s the way we need to go is playing into the hands of the British state and British nationalists. It’s setting the independence movement up as an undemocratic force which it is legitimate to resist with British nationalist violence like that we saw so recently in George Square. It destroys our credibility amongst the very people whom we need on our side right now – that section of Scottish opinion which is neither convinced of the need for independence nor convinced of support for the UK. It is gob-smackingly stupid.

God knows I have mountains of disagreements with the SNP. The party has committed numerous errors in policy and in judgement. There are people who are more interested in briefing against their rivals within the party. There are rampant egos in the SNP that seriously need to get a grip of themselves. But the fact remains that Scotland’s only chance of independence remains through the ballot box and through the SNP.

Put it this way, if you are in despair your options are either to give the SNP one last chance, one more term in office in which it can deliver a referendum and deliver independence, or you really are throwing away any chance of independence for many years to come. You can either summon up any benefit of the doubt to give the SNP and allow them to prove you wrong, or you can have the certainty of knowing that we will not achieve independence until well into the 2030s if at all – a self-fulfilling prophecy that you will have helped to bring about.

To decide at this juncture that we must make it our priority to bring down the SNP, when we have majority support for independence and the SNP is on course to win a majority at the next Scottish elections on an explicit platform of demanding a referendum is to stare victory in the face and then throw it all away. When we start to attack the only party that can deliver a referendum, we are doing the Conservatives’ job for them and we are ensuring that there’s no chance at all of independence for a generation or more. Michael Gove will be loving it.


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.
Donate Button

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

Believe in Scotland, believe in yourself

It’s a significant week for the independence movement, although you wouldn’t know that judging by our overwhelmingly anti-independence media. In Scotland the job of most of the media is not to inform, but to keep us uninformed. Because if we were properly informed that 45% support that remains for the UK would probably be dropping even more rapidly than it is.

So with the predictable exception of The National there was no mention in Scotland’s media that over the weekend Business for Scotland hosted an online conference seeking to kick start the grassroots campaign. In this time of lockdowns and restrictions on social gatherings, it’s more important than ever that we have a visible and coordinated campaign – a grassroots campaign which is owned and controlled by local activists on the ground. This conference was a vital and important step towards restarting the campaign. Compare and contrast with what happened when Neil Oliver’s new best friends These Islands held a conference that wasn’t even in Scotland.

Meanwhile the Scottish Parliament is poised to reject the Conservative government’s UK internal market bill. The bill represents the most serious direct assault on the devolution settlement that we have ever seen. The Tories have no mandate at all for it in Scotland. “Hey Scotland we’re going to screw over the devolution settlement” did not figure anywhere in the manifesto of the Scottish Conservatives during the last Westminster General Election. And even if it had done the Tories lost over half their seats in that ballot, and were resoundingly rejected by the electorate in Scotland.

Undaunted, what they’re now doing runs directly counter to the promises that they and the other Better Together parties made in 2014 that the powers of Holyrood would never be altered without the express consent of the Scottish Parliament. They’re doing so without the permission or consent of Holyrood, and without having sought a mandate from the people of Scotland and are ramming through unilateral changes which will fundamentally undermine the devolution settlement that Scotland voted for – explicitly or implicitly – in not one but two referendums and are using their MPs elected from outwith Scotland in order to do so. This is a Tory bill which will break international law as well as trashing the devolution settlement. Even the Tories’ own senior legal representative in Scotland, the Advocate General Lord Keen resigned rather than have to defend this bill. How’s that respect agenda working out for everyone?

Today the Scottish Government published its memorandum on the UK Government bill, and recommends that the Scottish Parliament rejects it when it comes before Holyrood in October. This means that barring something entirely unforeseen, Holyrood will certainly vote against the UK government bill. The SNP and the Greens will vote it down, and they may yet be joined by some Labour and Lib Dem MSPs – or those MSPs may choose to abstain. Only the Tories can be counted on to vote against the recommendation of the Scottish Government, and Tory votes alone are not anywhere near enough.

Because it directly affects the powers of Holyrood, the UK Government’s internal market bill needs to be passed by the Scottish Parliament too. If we had a British Government which respected the promise and constitutional convention that Westminster does not legislate in devolved areas without Holyrood’s consent, the bill would fail if it were not passed by Holyrood. But these are not normal times, and we have a British Government which is prepared to break both international law and domestic law and to trash the conventions of the British Parliament.

Make no mistake, this is a defining moment for this so-called Union that the Tories and their allies keep telling Scotland that it’s a much loved and respected partner in. The British Government will directly overrule the will of the Scottish Parliament and will unilaterally and without Scotland’s consent impose changes to the devolution settlement on Scotland. What this means is that devolution will have failed Scotland when put to its first real test, and will be seen to have failed.

Those of us who are a bit longer in the tooth remember the long and bitter years of Thatcher and Major’s rule, and how devolution was seen as a bulwark which would act to protect Scotland from the malignities of Tory governments that Scotland didn’t vote for. Devolution was seen as means by which Scotland could reject damaging Conservative policies and follow an agenda of its own while remaining a part of the UK. We now see that devolution cannot protect Scotland when Westminster is occupied by a Westminster Government for whom principles means nothing more than the name of a high street clothing shop which closed down along with any pretence that the Conservatives cared about the wishes of the majority of Scottish opinion. Devolution can only work when the British Government respects it. This British Government respects nothing but the pursuit of wealth by a tiny minority and the careers of its senior members.

The Conservatives and their Better Together allies can no longer tell Scotland that this country is an equal partner in a family of nations. That claim is about as believable as Donald Trump’s assertions that he’s paid his fair share of taxes. It now ought to be obvious to everyone in Scotland that when what Scotland wants runs counter to what a British Government elected on English votes wants, Scotland will get what England votes for. Although it’s more accurate to say that Scotland will get what a minority of voters in England vote for due to the ridiculously unfair first past the post voting system that Westminster shows no sign of wanting to change. Scotland is getting what England’s Brexit minority wants. Devolution can’t protect us from it. It has failed to do what it was intended to do.

The dawning of a new future was represented by the Believe in Scotland conference. Despite lockdown, despite coronavirus, we are starting to grasp towards ways that the independence movement can successfully and safely campaign. Faced as we are with an overwhelmingly negative media environment, it is vital that we spread the message ourselves. Too many independence supporters sit passively on social media, bewailing Scotland’s lot. The cure for that is to do something. You can start by registering your support for Believe in Scotland. Find out more on their website here https://www.believeinscotland.org/

There will be a referendum on Scottish independence, no matter what Johnson or Gove might say. It’s up to us. It’s up to us to believe in Scotland, to believe in ourselves. We’re the people who will make it happen. You only become powerless when you consent to it, and we do not consent.


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

Forfexake News

Andrew Neil, the living embodiment of why hair transplants are a bad idea, has announced that he’s to leave the BBC and will head a new right wing broadcaster which is being touted as the British Fox News. The new channel is expected to give a home to the likes of that Waitrose Katie Hopkins, Julia Hartley-Brewer, and Nigel Farage – if he can get a visa to get out of his home in Kent now that the British Government is erecting a customs border around the county. I’m sure we’ll all love seeing how Nigel explains to the public how Kent, which voted 59% to leave the EU, is loving being turned into a French carpark.

Scotland is shocked, shocked and surprised to discover Andrew Neil’s true political leanings. We never noticed the Adam Smith Institute tie when Andrew was being impartial on the BBC. Who knew that Andrew was really a Tory eh? Well, just about everyone. Especially anyone who used to read the Scotsman before Andrew turned it into the Scottish Conservative fanzine that it is today as it struggles to survive. Andrew Neil is a representative and balanced BBC Question Time audience all by himself. It must be awful for right wing commentators only to have columns in the Spectator and the Telegraph and BBC Politics programmes to use to defend themselves from the mockery of left wing comedians.

We only have Brexit in the first place because the BBC decided to give Nigel Farage a platform. The BBC thought that “balance” meant giving equal time and credence to the batshit crazy claims of Brextremists. They stuffed their audiences with right wing Brexit supporters – which is how we got the ridiculous spectacle of Question Time from the left wing yes voting and overwhelmingly remain voting city of Dundee being, ahem, represented with an audience which was split 50-50 on the question of Brexit. None of us had ever realised that Dundee was so full of posh right wing Tories. A public broadcaster tells us that it’s its job to put the public right, by which they clearly mean to put the public right wing.

However even being given more than equal time isn’t enough for the right. So now they tell us that the UK is desperately in need of an even more right wing media outlet where they can zoom away unchallenged. This is because whereas the BBC and Sky News just chased after leaking inflatable boats stuffed full of desperate migrants trying to cross the Channel and shouted questions at them as they panicked as their inadequate vessels slowly filled with seawater, this new broadcaster’s reporters will shoot crossbow darts at them as well. If Sky News and the BBC aren’t right wing enough for you, this new channel is gong to be off the zoomer scale. It will be the channel for those guys in the supermarket who don’t wear a face mask and go around telling everyone in a loud voice that they don’t need to because of something that they read on Facebook. It won’t be so much Fox News as Forfuckssake News.

The UK media is already ridiculously skewed, this new channel will only skew it even further, and give yet more prominence to the kind of right wing voices who trashed any concept of honesty or decency in order to bring us Brexit. It will be the televisual equivalent of a right wing tabloid newspaper, and no doubt complete with the same fixation on WW2, bunting, military parades, and royal events. We’ll have right wing commentators going on about migrants. We’ll have Brextremists blaming the mess of Brexit on the EU and remainers. We’ll get James Delingpole on a maskless expedition to his local branch of Sainsburys. And we’ll have British nationalists slating Scottish independence and ranting about the evils of nationalism blissfully unaware of the nationalism that they represent themselves. Because they’ve stuck a union flag on it, which magically stops it from being nationalism.

What the new channel most certainly won’t do is to give a fair platform to those of us who seek an independent Scotland, struggling as we are with a media environment where despite there being a clear majority in all recent polling for yes, only one Scottish newspaper and its sunday edition supports the constitutional view backed by a majority of the population. Meanwhile the broadcasters are controlled and regulated from London, and we have a BBC which sees its job as being to bolster and boost Britishness, and a BBC Scotland which regards support for independence as an embarrassing aberration that has to be rooted out.

We now have the ludicrous spectacle of the Baroness’s sock puppet DRoss being given a right to reply after the First Minister has made a public health announcement. Opposition politicians are not given a right to reply to public health announcements in Wales where there is a Labour First Minister. It sure as hell doesn’t happen in London after the performance artiste with the stage name Boris – you can call me Al – Johnson has given an address to the UK. Can you imagine the outrage from the Tories if the BBC did? But BBC Scotland bowed to political pressure from the Conservatives and Labour who are terrified that Nicola Sturgeon’s competent and compassionate performance during her daily public health briefings are being compared favourably by the Scottish public with the shambling incompetence and confusion of the Conservatives. They can’t risk support for independence rising any more, so let’s confuse the health message instead.

Back in 2014 Scotland was told that it should stay in the UK in order to lead it from within. Instead what we’ve seen is a UK that is moving ever further away from Scottish sensibilities and the consensus of Scottish opinion. There is less and less representation of Scotland’s view in a media landscape which is growing ever more shrill, hostile, and right wing in its triumphalist British nationalism. When Andrew Neill announced the launch of this new right wing news channel saying that GB News would be aimed at the “vast number” who feel “underserved and unheard by their media” – it’s not the majority in Scotland that he had in mind.

If Scotland wants a media that represents it, we’ll only get one in an independent state. Meanwhile the media landscape of the UK is ranged against us. In order to achieve our independence we’re going to need every grassroots resource at our disposal. Meanwhile we’re at 55% support and rising.


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.
Donate Button

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

Dugcast fae the dughoose – with Lesley Riddoch

 

On this week’s dugcast I am delighted to be joined by the writer and broadcaster Lesley Riddoch. We chat about the hutting movement, Scotland’s relationship to the land, how our chances for independence have recently been boosted by public confidence in the handling of the pandemic in Scotland, and a whole lot more besides.

We had some sound issues with this dugcast.  I had to turn my microphone down quite a lot as otherwise there was a very distracting echo on the recording.  So my sound level is very quiet.  Apologies for that.

If the embedding doesn’t work for you, you can access the podcast by clicking on the following link : https://soundcloud.com/user-291670852/dugcast-24-09-2020-with-lesley-riddoch


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.
Donate Button

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 oozing mass of Tory lies

On Monday it was the liar in chief, on Tuesday it was the turn of the personification of smugness to let the UK realise just how big a lie the promises of Brexit had turned out to be. Brexit has proven to be an even bigger lie than the promises made to Scotland by the Better Together parties during the 2014 referendum, which is quite a remarkable achievement considering that there were horses which were donated to Joe Exotic’s tiger zoo on the understanding they’d live out the rest of their lives grazing peacefully only to end up as catfood which have been treated with more compassion and understanding.

So there we all were, wondering whether it would be Scotland or Northern Ireland which left the UK first. Who could have foreseen that it was going to be Kent? As Michael Gove slimed his way through a speech in the House of Commons on Wednesday, with occasional pauses to ooze and gloop, he confirmed that the UK Government plans to close Kent off to heavy goods vehicles unless the haulage company has first obtained a permit.

So if there are long queues of lorries in Kent it won’t be the government’s fault. Oh no. It will be the fault of haulage companies for not applying for a permit which they haven’t been told how to qualify for using an online system that will crash on its first day of usage as some well heeled Tory appointee admits that they didn’t foresee much demand for it. This was all announced to the Commons with his usual oleaginous politesse by a lying mucosal polyp who told the UK before the EU referendum that the UK would remain in a free trade zone with the EU. But then Michael Gove apparently believes that it’s just fine to lie through your teeth as long as you’re terribly polite as you do so.

Effectively Kent will have a customs border with the rest of the UK. Bet you Kent resident Nigel Farage never saw that one coming. And now we can expect George Galloway to pop up on social media daring Michael Gove to prevent him from crossing the Dartford bridge.

The insult to our collective intelligence continued when Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak decided to cancel the autumn budget statement and Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes and her Welsh and Northern Irish equivalents only found out about it on twitter, where it was buried at the bottom of a screen full of cat gifs. When he was challenged about this by Glasgow MP Alison Thewliss in an exchange in the House of Commons, the Chancellor replied that his lackey talks to “his counterparts” all the time. Although on this occasion he’d not been arsed enough, as he was taking his lead from his boss.

It was a clear illustration that just as the shambling abandoned carpet in Number 10 doesn’t want to have direct dealings with the First Minister because he wants to reinforce the message that, in his head at least, he’s her superior, his neighbour in Number 11 has the exact same attitude. As far as they are concerned Scotland’s government is little more than a glorified county council. You’ll have had your respect agenda Scotland. There is now a clear and repeated pattern of behaviour from UK Government ministers who don’t keep their Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Irish counterparts informed of UK Government decisions. This is no accident. It can only be as a result of a deliberate decision. The Conservatives are setting out to goad and taunt Scotland. And then they insist that there’s no demand for another referendum.

Today we learned that the Scottish First Minister has written to Johnson to ask for greater economic powers for the Scottish Government in order to tackle the pandemic. The news came out as sources in the Scottish Government admitted that they would have liked to have introduced far more wide ranging restrictions in order to suppress the spread of the virus if Scotland had the economic powers to mitigate the damage to jobs and the economy. However Scotland doesn’t have those powers. We are utterly dependent on decisions made in Westminster. As Nicola Sturgeon pointed out, what is holding Scotland back is not the public health analysis, but the financial constraints placed on Scotland by Westminster which deny the Scottish Government the ability to respond fully to the public health analysis.

Many scientists and experts believe that the measures introduced this week do not go anywhere near far enough to ensure success in preventing the further spread of coronavirus. This is the view of Professor John Edmunds, an epidemiologist and member of the UK Government’s SAGE committee. The Scottish Government wanted to introduce far stricter measures, but it can’t because it doesn’t have the powers necessary to protect jobs and incomes. And it won’t get them as a result of Nicola Sturgeon’s letter to Boris Johnson.

Of course we already know what the answer from Westminster will be. But that doesn’t mean that the formal request should not be made. It means that when questions are asked later the Scottish Government can say that it wanted the powers to take more effective action, but it was denied by an ignorant and vindictive Westminster. It helps to establish the narrative that Scotland is being held back by Westminster, a narrative which has already proven to have traction in Scotland during this pandemic.

You can bet however that the likes of Douglas Ross won’t acknowledge any of that when he criticises the Scottish Government’s handling of the crisis. It won’t be acknowledged by those British nationalist apologists who scoff at comparisons between Scotland and England when supporters of independence point out that Scotland is doing better than England under the Tories. But as long as the Scottish Government is hamstrung in its response to the pandemic by decisions which are made for it by a Conservative administration which refuses to allow Scotland to diverge too much from the decision that it is making for England, that is the only valid comparison to be made. When they try to cast aspersions on the Scottish Government by pointing to the fact that Scotland has performed far worse than other countries of a similar size, they want to compare independent nations with a government which they are refusing to allow the full powers of an independent state.

Westminster’s refusal to allow Scotland the full powers to tackle this crisis will only result in a few more people moving from no to yes, a few more people coming to realise that Scotland can do much better once it is freed from the liars and dissemblers who inhabit Westminster. The consequences of the oozing mass of Conservative lies have only just started to make themselves felt. Support for independence is only going to grow.


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.
Donate Button

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

Johnson’s smirk of the union address

In his Smirk to the Union address on the bunting channel last night, the performance artiste with the stage name Boris Johnson warned that the threat from the coronavirus was not over, and that “complacency could be our undoing.” That would be the complacency with which a certain Conservative government reacted in the early spring when the UK had advance warning of the pandemic and the British Government did nothing. It would be the complacency of a British government which just a few short weeks ago was urging people to get back on crowded trains and buses and back into the office in order to shore up the share price of Pret a Manger, despite England and Wales not having a track and trace app and the testing regime in those countries was in a state of collapse. Or perhaps he meant the complacency of a Prime Minister who was told in August by his chief medical adviser Chris Whitty that the UK had reached the limit of what could safely remain open and that to open schools without risk of a resurgence of the virus he may need to close the pubs.

But no. He meant none of that. This is a Prime Minister who has utterly and dismally failed to keep the public safe. But far from displaying even the barest smidgeon of contrition, the slightest glimmer of contrition, any awareness at all that he even grasps the concept of humility, or the faintest hint of remorse for the lethal catastrophe that his and his government’s incompetence, greed, arrogance, self-entitlement, and sloth have inflicted on us all, instead he smirked and chose to blame the public for failing him. It’s our fault, not his. Never his. It’s our fault for not obeying the rules that he fails to explain. It’s our fault for imagining that we can behave like Dominic Cummings. It’s our fault for expecting him to have at least the basic ability to do the job that he’s so single mindedly pursued for years – back-stabbing, lying, deceiving, and trampling over the bodies of all those who got in his way as he tried to get it.

“We are a freedom loving people,” said Johnson. He means that he’s free from accepting responsibility. He means that fellow smirker Dominic Cummings is free from any integrity. He means that smugness personified Michael Gove is free from the truth. He means freedom for people like them to break the rules that they impose on the rest of us. No state can possibly call itself freedom loving when it wallows in nostalgia for a war that was won 75 years ago because it was the last time, the only time, that the UK was actually the good guys – and even then it was only because it was up against your actual Nazis. Nowhere can call itself freedom loving while the rich get richer and the landed aristocracy get an exemption from the rules that prevent the rest of us from seeing our mothers and grandmothers so that the fnaugh fnaughers and the rich can shoot up wildlife. You can only have fifteen people present at your wedding or your granny’s funeral, but if you give everyone a shotgun and release a flock of pheasants you can have as many in attendance as you like.

It was a speech which sought to turn up the dial on the gaslight past breaking point as it turned the screws on ordinary people. “There is nothing more frustrating for the vast majority, the law-abiding majority that do comply than the sight of a few brazenly defying the rules,” said the shambling shaven shag carpet of a man who is the British Prime Minister, uttered with as straight a face as is possible when your mouth is permanently twisted into the rictus smirk of a walking moral vacuum.

And then he added, “As for that minority who continue to flaunt the rules, we will enforce those rules, with more police and the army if necessary.”  Is that what you told Dominic Cummings then before you rewrote the rules so that they no longer included him? Is that what you told your dad when he defied the lockdown to go on holiday abroad?

Leading by example isn’t exactly your strong suit, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. You’ve barely managed to turn up for work. So it’s a bit rich of him to demand discipline and resolve from the rest of us. Those are two things that he’s never come within spaffing distance of. He’s been working tirelessly, his apologists like Tory MP Lucy Allan say, on behalf of us all, they say, when he’s spent all summer pissing off on one holiday after another while he complains that he can’t make ends meet on £150,000 a year. When he’s had to be shamed and shouted at to show up at a Cobra meeting. When he says one thing one week and the opposite the next. Get back to work, he said. Get back to the pubs, he said. Get back on the crowded buses and trains. And now he tells us that the resurgence of the virus is our fault. This lying sasquatch dressed in a charity shop suit is good for one thing only, and that’s pursuing his own interests. He has no compunction at all about lying, cheating, and deceiving in order to fulfil them.

And now he’s threatening to bring in the army to keep order in Tesco as the panic buying hordes seek out the last roll of toilet paper.  Is this the world beating they promised us, the punching above our weight turns out to be a fist fight in a supermarket aisle over a tin of tomatoes.   Scotland deserves so much better than this.

You may disagree with the Scottish Government about certain things, even about many things, but the yawning chasm between Nicola Sturgeon and Boris Johnson in terms of leadership and communication, clarity and compassion, has never been more evident. You can see it from space. In tackling this health crisis public trust is vital. Johnson has squandered it, trashed it, traduced it. Nicola Sturgeon has done her utmost to reach out across political divides in order to nuture it.

Meanwhile the clock is ticking on his no deal Brexit just as furlough payments come to an end. This is what happens when a privileged performance artiste is elected as Prime Minister, a narcissistic sociopath whose sole motivating force is his entitlement, in a state without proper checks and balances on the limits of his power. You get lies, you get deflection, you get a willingness to trash conventions and break the laws. You get promises that are broken and a devolution settlement that is undermined. You get a prime minister who blames everyone else for his own failures. And you get a public which hears his tired old excuse shifting and thought, “We’ve heard your bullshit too many times now and we’re not buying your schtick anymore.” We deserve better.  We can do better.  We are better.

The dial has just shifted a few more notches on Scotland’s independenceometer.


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