Let’s do what the Tories don’t want

I’ve not blogged for a few days. I consumed something that turned out to be extremely disagreeable and then was stuck on the toilet pan with no energy or enthusiasm and feeling like my guts were making more contorsions than Theresa May in an attempt to cling on to crap. At first I thought it was food poisoning, but then I realised it was a metaphor for the United Kingdom. I’m feeling a bit better now, which is a lot more than can be said for the United Kingdom.

Possibly even more nauseating than food poisoning, over the past week we’ve had the less than delightful sight of Ruth Davidson strutting around like a Russian tank commander after the Kursk Offensive. Offensive being the operative word there. She’s been banging away with the narrative that she won the election in Scotland by virtue of coming a very poor second, and she’s got the unmitigated gall to demand that all and any prospect of a second independence referendum is dropped in the name of stability.

We’ve been hearing a lot about stability of late, mostly from the greatest agents of instability, the Conservative party. We are where we are now, in the most uncertain and insecure times possibly since the end of WW2 because the Conservative party put its party interests above the interests of the country. And they did that not once, but twice. Firstly they brought about an unnecessary EU referendum purely in order to placate their own right wing and shore the barking faction of the party up against Ukip, and then after having spent decades stoking up racism and fear of immigration they ran a pathetic campaign of economic scaremongering and allowed the leave campaign to play the migrant card.

The result was a narrow vote to leave the EU and a vindicated and strengthened extreme right. The ultimate responsibility for the rise in hate crimes, in assaults on migrants, ethnic minorities, Muslims, and on members of the LGBTI community lies squarely with the Conservative party. It’s the actions of the Tories, for their own party political interest, which have emboldened the far right. In Scotland, Ruth Davidson’s Conservatives, as they are now apparently called, hypocritically claimed that the independence movement was divisive while the Tories stoked the fires of sectarianism and chose a slew of candidates for the council elections who had links to sectarian and far right organisations.

And then having created this perfect storm of hate, of fear, and of division, Theresa May compounded it by insisting that the narrow vote to leave the EU was for her to interpret and her alone. She decided to interpret it in its most extreme, most uncompromising form. We wouldn’t just be leaving the EU, we’d be leaving the single market, the customs union, and leaving behind European standards of human rights, all in the name of demonising immigration.

You’d think all that would have been enough. But no. The vindictive arrogance of the Conservative party is one of the few commodities which the United Kingdom has in abundance. Despite having a majority, despite having stated on no less than seven occasions that she wasn’t going to call an early general election, Theresa May did just that. The reason she did it was to bolster her own position within the Conservative party, to crush the remainer Tory MPs, and to destroy the Labour opposition. Theresa May is a politician who thinks that opposition is treason, that disagreement is unpatriotic, that dissent is a threat. She is arrogance personified, brittle and cold. She struggles with the basics of democracy, and thankfully the voters of Britain saw through her, and punished her with the loss of her majority.

Now the Tories want to press on as though nothing has changed, by doing a deal with the swivel eyed misogynist climate change denying homophobic sectarian bigots of the DUP. Ruth Davidson said that she’d made representations to Theresa May and had received assurances that any deal with the the DUP wouldn’t affect LGBTI rights in Britain. LGBTI rights in Northern Ireland can go hang presumably. Then Theresa showed just how much influence Ruth Davidson really has by appointing David Lidlington as justice secretary. Lidlington has an appalling record on LGBTI rights. He voted against civil partnerships. He has consistently voted against equal marriage. He voted to maintain the nasty discriminatory Clause 28. He consistently voted against equalising the age of consent for gay men with that of heterosexuals. He blocked proposals to appoint a specialised LGBT rights envoy.

So for all that Ruth Davidson buckles her swash and makes like she’s got the ear of the UK government, the truth is that she’s only got their ear insofar as she serves their interests. That’s the reality of a Scotland under the Tories, that’s the reality of voting for a Tory in Scotland. You’re voting to serve someone else’s interests, not your own. Over the next few years that will become clear.

It’s now more important than ever that the independence movement does not allow these chancers, bigots, self-servers and careerists to set the agenda. It’s more important than ever that we don’t lose momentum. Let’s remember what we’re doing here. We’re campaigning for national self-determination. That’s not going to be a story of unopposed progress, of ever upwards gains. It’s a hard slog. There will be reverses, just as there are always reverses in any campaign for civil liberties, for equality, for self-determination. Winning independence for a country isn’t something that happens without opposition, there are strong and vested interests who are going to do all they can to put obstacles in our way. It’s important to remember that obstacles are not insurmountable, and that reverses merely mean we need to think of a better strategy.

A reverse for the SNP is not the same as the end of the dream of independence. For the wider independence movement this means we need to demonstrate that we’ve not gone away, that we won’t go away. That means we need to get organised. Get active. Get engaged. Get your local Yes groups up and running. What we learned during the independence referendum campaign in 2014 is that democracy is a participatory process. That’s precisely what the Tories don’t want. They don’t want ordinary people to be involved, to be active, to be engaged. Let’s do what the Tories don’t want.

If you’d like me and the dug to come and give a talk to your local group, email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com


Donate to the Dug This blog relies on your support and donations to keep going – I need to make a living, and have bills to pay. Clicking the donate button will allow you to make a payment directly to my Paypal account. You do not need a Paypal account yourself to make a donation. You can donate as little, or as much, as you want. Many thanks.

Donate Button

If you’d like to make a donation but don’t wish to use Paypal or have problems using the Paypal button, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for details of alternative methods of donation.


frontcovervol3barkingvol2coverSigned copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 2 3 & 4 are available by emailing me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Price just £21.90 for two volumes plus P&P. Please state whether you want vols 1 & 2 or 3 & 4. You can also order signed copies of all four volumes for the special price of £40 plus £4 P&P within the UK.

Copies of Barking Up the Right Tree are available from my publisher Vagabond Voices at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993 price just £7.95 plus P&P. The E-book of Barking Up the Right Tree is available for Kindle for just £4. Click here to purchase.

Get your copy of Barking Up the Right Tree Volume 2 by placing an order on the Vagabond Voices website. Just click the following link.

https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/bookshop-rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2016

Ye’ve goat tae be kiddin

It’s official. We’re in a mess. It’s an official mess, as opposed to the unofficial mess that has characterised the UK ever since a slight majority of the people of England and Wales decided that curvy bananas were more important to them than job security and the ability to travel freely throughout Europe. Theresa May has apologised to Conservative MPs for the mess she created with her single minded pursuit of what was good for her career, but she hasn’t apologised to anyone else. She hasn’t apologised to the public, and she hasn’t apologised to the goats who’ll die in order to produce the goatskin for a Queen’s Speech that’s a tissue of wishful thinking.

But then to be honest, she did stand on a manifesto commitment to animal cruelty, so the goat sacrifice is about the only one of her promises that she’s going to keep. If you’d ever wondered if the Tories were merely metaphorically or literally in league with Satan, just ask the sacrificial goat. If ever there was a time when Westminster politics was getting on the public’s goat, this is it. It’s hardly surprising that the process of forming a government is being held up by a goat, seeing as how Theresa May is looking to do a deal with a King Billy. You have thought that they should have used reptile skin for the Queen’s speech, then the members of the cabinet could have used the ones they’ve shed themselves.

Possibly the most concerning thing about the proposal that the British government is seeking to be propped up by the climate change denying, misogynist, homophobic, sectarian, fundamentalist, bigoted, budgie swing tier-uppers of the DUP is that the London-centric media has only just realised just how horrific that the party is. Ruth Davidson said that she’d sought assurances from Theresa May that LGBTI rights in the rest of the UK wouldn’t be affected, and Theresa said she’d see what she could do. This is a woman whose idea of saving the climate change agreement was to tell Donald Trump that she was “disappointed” that he’s condemned us all to a future of rising sea levels and a climate that’s even less stable than Theresa’s government. So that’s us reassured then, Ruth. Meanwhile the rights of the LGBTI community, women, and minorities in Northern Ireland can safely be surrendered to the No Surrender mob.

Equally concerning is the damage that’s being done to the Irish Peace Process. The terms of the Good Friday Agreement require the British government to remain neutral as far as the communities of Northern Ireland are concerned. Just how neutral can Westminster be when it’s reliant on the main party of one of those communities to prop it up? How neutral can they be when they’re making deals behind closed doors with people whose idea of Peace is indistinguishable from victory and who want the right to hold parades in Catholic areas. How neutral is it if one of the terms of the deal is for the British government to block an Irish reunification referendum? Brexit always threatened the Peace Process, this deal puts a bomb under it.

Theresa May went to the country to seek a mandate for a hard line Brexit which she was going to define all by herself. She went to the country to seek a mandate for secret plans that she wasn’t disposed to reveal to anyone. But mainly she went to the country in order to further her own career and secure her position as the unchallenged boss of the Tory party and the country. And then she got humiliated because having based the entire campaign on her personal character we discovered that she has all the personality of an unbent banana rotting away on the compost heap of Tory manifesto promises. So now the country is in a mess, and so is Theresa’s career. That much at least serves her right.

Several days on from the election, and still no one has any idea what’s going on, where the country is going, or what the government is hoping to achieve in the Brexit negotiations that are due to begin in a few days’ time. We don’t even know what the government is going to be. We still don’t even know if Theresa May will be able to negotiate an agreement with the DUP or whether by this time next week cabinet meetings will conclude with a rousing rendition of The Billy Boys, up to our knees in Fenian blood, and goat blood too come to think of it.

Meanwhile Ruth Davidson is acting as though she won the election, and much of the Scottish media is cheerfully going along with her. No one is denying that Thursday was a poor day for the SNP, but they still ended up as the largest party by quite some considerable margin. They have more Scottish MPs than all other parties put together. What we are witnessing now is a calculated attempt to undermine the Scottish government, the Scottish parliament, and the entire devolved settlement for the party political interests of the Conservative party. Repeat after me, thirteen seats out of fifty nine is not a majority. It is not a vote of confidence. It is not a mandate. It is frankly gobsmacking that this point needs to be made. Scotland’s interests take a back seat to the interests of the Tories, and Northern Ireland’s interests take a back seat to the interests of the Tories. This is not how a united kingdom is supposed to function. This is how a unitary state functions when it’s dealing with troublesome provinces.  Ruth’s attempts at a goat butting putsch on Holyrood must be resisted.

The British state used to boast that it was one of the world’s leading powers. Now it can only vie with the Trump administration to see who’s the most ridiculous. Is it the orange skinned Trump, or the orange hued government of Theresa May. If you honestly think that this bagatelle of bagots, this failing anger management class of angoras, this orange parade of self-serving ruminants, this goat skinned wrapped parcel of rogues, is the best that Scotland can do, I can only reply – ye’ve goat tae be kiddin me.

If you’d like me and the dug to come and give a talk to your local group, email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com


Donate to the Dug This blog relies on your support and donations to keep going – I need to make a living, and have bills to pay. Clicking the donate button will allow you to make a payment directly to my Paypal account. You do not need a Paypal account yourself to make a donation. You can donate as little, or as much, as you want. Many thanks.

Donate Button

If you’d like to make a donation but don’t wish to use Paypal or have problems using the Paypal button, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for details of alternative methods of donation.


frontcovervol3barkingvol2coverSigned copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 2 3 & 4 are available by emailing me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Price just £21.90 for two volumes plus P&P. Please state whether you want vols 1 & 2 or 3 & 4. You can also order signed copies of all four volumes for the special price of £40 plus £4 P&P within the UK.

Copies of Barking Up the Right Tree are available from my publisher Vagabond Voices at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993 price just £7.95 plus P&P. The E-book of Barking Up the Right Tree is available for Kindle for just £4. Click here to purchase.

Get your copy of Barking Up the Right Tree Volume 2 by placing an order on the Vagabond Voices website. Just click the following link.

https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/bookshop-rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2016

Chaos theory

There are dead cats with more bounce than this government. Are you feeling strong and stable? How are those broad shoulders of the United Kingdom working out for you, the ones that are now wearing an orange sash? Are you better together with the lodge? After spending the election campaign screaming that Jeremy Corbyn was a friend of Irish political parties with links to terrorism, Theresa May is inviting an Irish political party with links to terrorism into government. The government of the UK is waiting to hear the demands of sectarian fundamentalists who used to wear balaclavas and paramilitary uniforms.

According to an Irish newspaper, the DUP has a list of 45 demands to put to Theresa May in return for supporting her government. These include, in no particular order: no surrender, making it mandatory that prayers in the House of Commons end with a commitment to FTP, abolishing gay pride marches unless the semi-nude male dancers adorn themselves in the boa their father woa, tying up all budgie swings on the Sabbath, forbidding anyone to wear the colour green, banning all references to the world being more than 6,000 years old and making it clear that humans did indeed walk with dinosaurs because after all the DUP do that every July, introducing a bill to make it clear that New Rangers is exactly the same club as Old Rangers except for tax purposes and it’s all the fault of Craig Whyte anyway, and making it clear that the David Bowie song Ashes to Ashes isn’t about Arlene Foster’s grasp of good financial management.

For all the jokes and the howls of derision, it’s not a joke that we’re now living in a country where extremist fundamentalists are being asked to prop up the government. It’s unlikely that the DUP will ask for changes to LGBTQ rights or abortion rights in the rest of the UK, but they’ll certainly insist that they continue to have a veto on those things in Northern Ireland. However by allying herself with a party which thinks it’s acceptable to remain stuck in the homophobic and sexist attitudes of the 1960s, Theresa May has once again put the needs of herself and her party before the rest of the country. She’s the woman who warned that the Tories were perceived as the nasty party, and now she’s getting into bed with the nastiest party of all.  I wonder if we’ll now have lots of articles in the Scottish Unionist press denouncing the Ulsterisation of our politics.

Theresa May wants us to believe that she’s most capable person to negotiate a deal with the EU, but she can’t even capably negotiate a deal with the DUP. Her office issued a statement claiming that a deal had already been reached before having to retract it amidst confusion and embarrassment. All that has done is to strengthen the ashen hand of Arlene Foster.

It’s bad enough that women’s rights and LGBTQ rights in Northern Ireland are going to be consigned to the deep freeze, but what’s even worse is that by allying herself with the DUP Theresa May is effectively destroying the Northern Irish Peace Process. The terms of the agreement make it very clear that the British government cannot and must not take sides in the Irish debate. By agreeing to a list of DUP demands, one of which is likely to be a commitment from Westminster to oppose an Irish reunification referendum, the British government has done just that.

A few weeks ago just before Theresa May made her ill-fated call for another general election the British economy was starting to struggle as the consequences of Brexit began to bite, inflation was starting to rise as the collapse in the value of the pound began to work its way through, and Brexit negotiations were looming. Now Brexit negotiations are almost on top of us and there’s no plan or indeed clue from the British government about how it’s going to handle the negotiations, there’s even greater uncertainty about the economy, and Theresa May is spending most of her time and energy cosying up to apologists for sectarian paramilitary groups on the one side and fending off Conservative leadership challenges on the other. There is now a very real and horrifying possibility that within a few weeks or months we could be facing the prospect of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.

Theresa May had hoped that she’d have been returned to power with a stupendous majority allowing her to go into negotiations with the EU posing as the unchallenged leader of Britain with the great mass of the country firmly behind her. That’s not happening. Instead she’s going into negotiations as a zombie Prime Minister, politically dead but still walking. There’s already talk of another general election. This is the Prime Minister who sailed into office after the disaster of Cameron, supposedly a safe pair of hands. She’s proven as safe as a wet toddler playing with a fuse box in the middle of the M8.

Given all this uncertainty, the calls that the SNP must immediately take an independence referendum off the table are premature. Quite the reverse, it is now more vital than ever that the people of Scotland get an opportunity to vote on whatever is likely to emerge from the dust of the collapsing and chaotic British state. If anything, the biggest lesson that we’ve learned from the past few weeks is that in times of uncertainty political realities can change radically in an extremely short space of time. We’re now in a period of immense political and economic uncertainty, we have no idea what the shape of the British government will be next week, never mind in two year’s time. We have no idea what is going to happen with Brexit. We have no idea what’s going to happen with jobs or the economy.

In these uncertain circumstances it would be an act of epic self-harm for the Scottish Government to say that Scotland will not have another independence referendum for a generation. It’s not like doing so would placate the Scottish Tories anyway. It’s not like doing so would stop them banging on about their opposition to another referendum. All we know with certainty is that we have no certainty and we don’t know what’s coming down the British line. This crisis may settle down, but it may very well be immediately replaced with another. No one knows, although we do know that the British state has a propensity to lurch from one crisis to another and so far we’ve seen nothing to reassure us that the pattern has changed.

That’s why it’s more important than ever that Scotland retains the right to decide for itself what its own relationship with Europe and the rest of the UK is going to be. But in the meantime, it’s more vital than ever that the independence movement is not discouraged and is not bowed. We must not confuse a short term reverse in a period of chaos with a long term goal. We need to organise, educate, and must not allow the confusion and uncertainty of the British state to infect our movement. And we need to remember that independence will not be handed to us on a plate, we need to work for it. This chaotic election is a reminder that we have work to do. Let’s get to work.

If you’d like me and the dug to come and give a talk to your local group, email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com


Donate to the Dug This blog relies on your support and donations to keep going – I need to make a living, and have bills to pay. Clicking the donate button will allow you to make a payment directly to my Paypal account. You do not need a Paypal account yourself to make a donation. You can donate as little, or as much, as you want. Many thanks.

Donate Button

If you’d like to make a donation but don’t wish to use Paypal or have problems using the Paypal button, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for details of alternative methods of donation.


frontcovervol3barkingvol2coverSigned copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 2 3 & 4 are available by emailing me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Price just £21.90 for two volumes plus P&P. Please state whether you want vols 1 & 2 or 3 & 4. You can also order signed copies of all four volumes for the special price of £40 plus £4 P&P within the UK.

Copies of Barking Up the Right Tree are available from my publisher Vagabond Voices at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993 price just £7.95 plus P&P. The E-book of Barking Up the Right Tree is available for Kindle for just £4. Click here to purchase.

Get your copy of Barking Up the Right Tree Volume 2 by placing an order on the Vagabond Voices website. Just click the following link.

https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/bookshop-rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2016

Journey to Yes 15 – Beyond party politics

Simon says Yes. Simon Pia is a Journalist & Consultant, Lecturer and former spin doctor to Scottish Labour including former leader Wendy Alexander, Iain Gray MSP and Gordon Brown. Simon has always believed home-rule or federalism to be solution to Scotland’s democratic deficit. Torn over the independence question, Simon feels the Yes campaign’s economic argument was not strong or honest enough to sway him and the majority. Brexit now makes any offer of federalism or economic threats from the UK Government redundant. Simon believes more unites Scotland’s progressive parties than divides and a grand coalition may be a possible way forward.

The birth pains of a better country

Welcome to Tory Britain, you’ll have had your democracy. The Tories in Scotland came a distant second to the SNP, but they’re acting as though they’re the largest party. There was only one party which lost its majority this week, and it was Ruth Davidson’s. Theresa May has lost, but she’s acting as though she won the crushing majority she called the election for. Her speech on Friday morning was an exercise in denial. It was a remarkable speech, the speech she was going to deliver anyway. It’s a speech that called for unity without compromise, even though the electorate had stripped her of her majority. It was a speech that showed she has learned nothing, a speech that illustrated how unfit she is for the office that she clings to. Theresa May delivered her words but all she told us is how arrogant and out of touch she is. When Theresa May calls on the country to get behind her it’s because she means she wants us out of sight so she doesn’t need to engage with us or consider us.

May thinks she’s able to deliver certainty, but all she’s managed is to bring about the most uncertain future that the country has seen for generations. Theresa May is going to go on as before, hand in hand with the sectarian bigots, homophobes, and climate change deniers of the DUP, taking sides in the political crisis in Northern Ireland because there’s a political crisis in Westminster. A coalition of chaos with creationists and cranks. This was supposed to be a detoxified Tory party, but Theresa May is allying it to poison. The most inflexible and brittle politician who’s ever held the highest office of state is going to try to run a minority government as though it was a majority. It’s going to end in shattering tears.

This was the election that was supposed to be about Brexit, but we’re even less clear about what’s in store than we were before the election began, and even then we had all the light and clarity you get in a boarded up basement in an abandoned house. It’s hard to discern what’s in store for the country now. Even if Theresa May was capable of articulating a clear and sensible plan, you wouldn’t be able to hear it over all the laughter that’s coming from a Europe that thought that surrealism was a Belgian invention and dadaism was French. You wouldn’t be able to make it out over the plots and leadership manoeuvring on her own back benches. This was the election to bring strong and stable government, and all that’s happened is disaster, confusion, debacle and calamity. This is the election that everyone lost.

The Brexit clock is ticking and negotiations are due to begin in a few days time. There’s no policy, no strategy, no plan. May called this election because she thought that she needed a large majority in order to get through the negotiations, and now she doesn’t have a majority at all. Any small group of Tory MPs who are unhappy with her policies will be able to force concessions. What she does have is an angry and resentful party that saw her throw away their majority. The rumour mill is grinding, the manoeuvring is moving. The good news is that her hardnosed Brexit, out of the single market and out of the customs union, won’t enjoy the support of Parliament, the bad news is that the uncertainty and confusion now makes it more likely that Britain could crash out of the EU without any deal at all.

It’s now quite possible that we could be facing another election within a year. It all depends on whether the Conservatives decide that they’ll allow Theresa May to remain in place. It all depends on the progress of Brexit talks whose progress has now been made far more difficult than it already was. It all depends on whether this minority government will be able to govern. The only certainty we have left is that there is no certainty. Remember when the safety, security and certainty of Britain were major selling points for the Unionist campaign to keep Scotland a part of the UK? Those days are gone now. They will not be back any time soon. Britain is now the European country that offers its citizens the least certain, least secure and least safe future of all.

And that’s why I remain confident that despite the Unionist crowing today that the dream of independence is dead, that they’re very wrong. Independence has never been more necessary. It remains as close as it ever was and it is close indeed. Scotland needs an escape from the madness and self-inflicted destruction of the British state. In this general election, Scotland was the only part of the UK where voter turn out went down and that’s what allowed the Conservatives to perform well in Scotland when they did so poorly elsewhere. This was an election of despair, a vote in depression, a ballot of boredom. It was an election in which many on the left decided they liked the message of Jeremy Corbyn because he seemed to promise the social justice that they long for. That support was highest in areas where there was a high yes vote in 2014. Whatever the claims of the Labour leadership, those Labour votes are not necessarily anti-independence votes. They were votes despite Kezia Dugdale and Anas Sarwar, not because of them.

This was an election during which the people of Scotland gave one last chance to the UK to sort itself out, to deliver those things that they promise, to allow us all to get back to the day job. And now the Unionist parties have to deliver that stability and certainty, that safety and security. The signs don’t look good for them. They’re not going to be able to give us anything but insecurity and uncertainty, and the shadow of a chaotic and messy Brexit looms.

The independence movement is still here, still strong, still vital and alive. The SNP still won a majority. Scotland needs the independence movement now more than it ever did. I’ve always believed that independence will come about because of the failures and shortcomings of the British establishment and the Unionist parties, and it seems that is coming to pass. Today we’re experiencing the birth pains of a better country. Scotland will be an independent nation, Theresa May’s chaotic election and the uncertain Britain that lies ahead have only made it more likely.

If you’d like me and the dug to come and give a talk to your local group, email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com


Donate to the Dug This blog relies on your support and donations to keep going – I need to make a living, and have bills to pay. Clicking the donate button will allow you to make a payment directly to my Paypal account. You do not need a Paypal account yourself to make a donation. You can donate as little, or as much, as you want. Many thanks.

Donate Button

If you’d like to make a donation but don’t wish to use Paypal or have problems using the Paypal button, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for details of alternative methods of donation.


frontcovervol3barkingvol2coverSigned copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 2 3 & 4 are available by emailing me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Price just £21.90 for two volumes plus P&P. Please state whether you want vols 1 & 2 or 3 & 4. You can also order signed copies of all four volumes for the special price of £40 plus £4 P&P within the UK.

Copies of Barking Up the Right Tree are available from my publisher Vagabond Voices at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993 price just £7.95 plus P&P. The E-book of Barking Up the Right Tree is available for Kindle for just £4. Click here to purchase.

Get your copy of Barking Up the Right Tree Volume 2 by placing an order on the Vagabond Voices website. Just click the following link.

https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/bookshop-rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2016

Putting lipstick on a pig

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig. There’s no spin you can put on it, no positive gloss. This hasn’t been a good night for the SNP. The results of the General Election have been terrible for the party. Some of its biggest names are no longer representing Scotland in Westminster, replaced by third rate Tories and no-hope Labourites.

All the Unionist parties made gains against the SNP. Scottish Labour may have cost themselves government with their myopic and destructive hatred of the SNP leading them to nod and wink at Tory voting in order to defeat the evil nats. People in this country looked upon the Tories with their clueless Brexit, their rape clause, their benefits sanctions, and their wholesale destruction of the NHS and said to themselves “Aye, I’ll have some of that.” Now it looks like it’s Scotland that’s foisting a Tory government on England. Oh the irony. Seats that really shouldn’t have fallen fell. Maybe we need this to remind ourselves just how horrific the Tories really are. In Scotland the media never discusses Tory policy, they just let Ruth Davidson attack the SNP. We’re reaping the consequences now.

The only consolations, and they are large consolations, is that the results haven’t been any better for Theresa May and they were an utter disaster for Ukip. Tory insiders were reported as saying that they’d lost every marginal constituency that Theresa May had visited. Wish she’d spent a bit more time in Scotland. She called this election in order to take advantage of the polls which predicted a massive majority for her, and she did so in order to secure her position within the Conservative party. She made this election entirely about her. And she failed. The people of Britain have told Theresa May that they’re not disposed to give her that blank cheque to implement those Brexit plans that she won’t discuss with us. The big winners of this election are the EU Commission.

Yes, the SNP had an impossible time trying to cut through a media that was overwhelmingly biased against them. Yes, they were facing unprincipled opposition which had no compunction in lying and dissembling and which cheerfully conflated devolved issues with Westminster issues. But none of that is new. The truth is that the SNP campaign was weak, lacking in focus, and didn’t resonate with the electorate. There was no vision being given, no dream, too often it seemed that they were simply going through the motions. “Stronger for Scotland” isn’t a vision, isn’t a story. People need a story, and all the SNP offered was a soundbite. It’s not enough. We need to paint a picture of a better country, we need to tell its story and sing its songs and make it live in the imagination.

And it needs to be said that in some areas the internal disputes and divisions within the party did it no favours. The SNP should never have been at risk in a Yes voting area like Coatbridge. The fact that it lost in a Yes heartland has a lot to do with a local party that has been suspended and a central leadership that didn’t crack down sooner and more heavily on cronyism, factionalism, and in-fighting. You can hardly blame people in Coatbridge for not being attracted to an SNP which was perceived as being every bit as corrupt and dysfunctional as North Lanarkshire politics have been in the past. Pro-independence parties have to be better, and have to be seen to be better. You can’t sell a vision of a better country if you practise all the ills that you’re saying independence can remedy.

But it’s not entirely bleak. The results of this election don’t mean that support for independence is any less than it was. I’m hearing of many pro-independence supporters on the left who switched to Labour this time because they were attracted by Jeremy Corbyn’s message. There are a lot of people in Scotland who are attracted to the idea of independence because it means an opportunity to implement a left wing agenda, you can hardly blame them for being attracted to a man who seemingly offers them that agenda, even if it’s in the context of the UK.

By any objective standard the SNP won. We’re judging them against the artificially high tide of the post-referendum protest vote which saw them take almost every seat in the country. You don’t win 95% of the seats in every election. The SNP are still by far the largest Scottish party in terms of seats and in terms of vote share. They won a majority of Scottish Westminster seats and that means they secured their triple lock on an independence referendum. The Tories fought their campaign in Scotland on the sole issue of opposing another referendum, and they lost. They failed in Scotland, and their failure across the rest of the UK means that paradoxically that smaller number of SNP MPs could wield greater influence in Westminster than the larger contingent elected in 2015. Despite what you’ll be hearing in a Unionist newspaper near you, the dream of independence remains very much alive. They’ll be doing their usual thing, trying to insist that by winning the largest number of seats, by putting in their second best performance ever in a Westminster General Election, by securing a majority of Scottish seats, the SNP still somehow lost and the Tories won.

But the big news is that Theresa May has lost her clawlike hold on Brexit and lost her majority in parliament. Things have got bloody difficult for her, and by the time you read this she may very well have resigned. She’s now a zombie PM and her hard Brexit has been rejected. The Brexit negotiations begin in a few days time, and Theresa May has failed to get the backing that she wanted. She’s weaker than she was, and she was in a pretty weak position to begin with. She put party before the country, and she lost. She’s damaged goods and her authority has been fatally undermined. The vulture-like Boris Johnson has already started to circle, scenting blood. Theresa May is finished, her tenure as Prime Minister will be one of the shortest in history. She won’t be missed.

This is a pig, yet independence isn’t dead, but it now depends on what happens with Brexit, a Brexit which is now even more uncertain that it was, and it was always deeply uncertain. Scotland’s future is no longer in Scotland’s hands. We can still win this, but we won’t win by putting all the blame on the Unionists. We need to look at ourselves and consider what we can do differently. We owe that to the vulnerable, the poor, and the weak within our own communities. We owe it to our children and our grandchildren and generations yet to come. We owe it to ourselves. But we can do this. And we will.

If you’d like me and the dug to come and give a talk to your local group, email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com


Donate to the Dug This blog relies on your support and donations to keep going – I need to make a living, and have bills to pay. Clicking the donate button will allow you to make a payment directly to my Paypal account. You do not need a Paypal account yourself to make a donation. You can donate as little, or as much, as you want. Many thanks.

Donate Button

If you’d like to make a donation but don’t wish to use Paypal or have problems using the Paypal button, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for details of alternative methods of donation.


frontcovervol3barkingvol2coverSigned copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 2 3 & 4 are available by emailing me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Price just £21.90 for two volumes plus P&P. Please state whether you want vols 1 & 2 or 3 & 4. You can also order signed copies of all four volumes for the special price of £40 plus £4 P&P within the UK.

Copies of Barking Up the Right Tree are available from my publisher Vagabond Voices at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993 price just £7.95 plus P&P. The E-book of Barking Up the Right Tree is available for Kindle for just £4. Click here to purchase.

Get your copy of Barking Up the Right Tree Volume 2 by placing an order on the Vagabond Voices website. Just click the following link.

https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/bookshop-rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2016

It’s fine to change your mind

On Tuesday evening STV broadcast its Scottish party leaders’ debate. Although the programme should have been more accurately titled the STV Some Party Leaders but not Patrick Harvie Debate. This meant we were treated to the Scottish media’s favourite kind of political show, a wee gaggle of Unionists ganging up on a single supporter of independence. Maybe one day Scotland’s broadcasters will understand that support for independence is not equal to support for the SNP, and that in the Venn diagram of Scottish politics, the SNP circle is a smaller circle than the independence supporting circle within which it sits. But we shouldn’t hold our breath, otherwise we’ll end up more blue in the face than Adam Tomkins screaming “It’s the law!”

We didn’t learn much that was new from the debate. Actually, we didn’t learn anything that was new. We learned that Ruth Davidson is a shameless creature who tries to defend the indefensible but we knew that already. We also learned that when she’s not banging on about her favourite anti-independence obsession she has all the substance of Donald Trump’s hair, which may explain why she’s recently taken to ripping off his political slogans. The Scottish Conservatives want to build a wall between the rich and the poor, and they’re going to make the poor pay for it.

The big news was that Nicola Sturgeon revealed that Kezia Dugdale once told her that she could support another independence referendum and drop her party’s obstinate refusal to consider independence as a realistic option for the people of Scotland. Kezia reacted like Tory MSP who’d been accused of appearing at a socialist rally denouncing the monarchy. Oh there’s Adam Tomkins being blue in the face again.

It’s not a surprise that Kezia once supported independence. She said as much herself prior to the EU referendum when she stated in the press that it wasn’t inconceivable that she could support independence, and cited a hard Brexit against the will of the people of Scotland as a circumstance which might lead her to changing her position. She’s since changed her mind back again.

There’s something about becoming a politician that means you can never admit to changing your mind. Theresa May has spent the last couple of weeks trying to pretend that she hasn’t changed her mind on key aspects of the uncosted Tory manifesto, but we all know that she has. She’s changed her mind because she’s a blowhard who collapses at the first sound of gunfire. Likewise, Kezia has clearly changed her mind on the subject of independence. There are no longer any circumstances under which she would consider allowing the people of Scotland to escape becoming drones in the slave army of the lizard aliens from the distant galaxy where Theresa May formulated her Brexit plans.

In the real world it’s OK to change your mind. I’ve changed my mind about Kezia Dugdale. I used to think that she was probably a nice person in private, but as leader of the Labour party in Scotland she was way out of her depth. Now I think that Kezia is probably a nice person in private, but as leader of the Labour party in Scotland she’s totally out of her depth.

I’ve changed my mind about Ruth Davidson too. To be honest, I’ve never had much time for Ruth Davidson. I despise her for saying that we should get over the Thatcher era because she can’t even remember it. Well I bloody remember it, and it was brutal. If we don’t remember the brutalities of the past, we’re condemned to repeat them in the future, and the future that Theresa May has in store for us looks like it’s going to be even more brutal and inhumane than the Thatcher era. At least during the 1980s we had housing benefit and foodbanks were unheard of. At least during the 1980s there wasn’t an epidemic of benefits sanctions. At least during the 1980s there were strong trade unions.

I’ve never had much time for Ruth Davidson because I have a very low opinion of anyone who believes that the entire point of the LGBTQ movement was “please don’t be nasty to gay people so that we can be reactionary Daily Mail reading bastards too”. The Tories were the main obstacles to LGBTQ equality because they were the party of stigmatisation and prejudice. They’re still the party of stigmatisation and prejudice, they’ve just changed the targets of their hatred. Now they focus on the poor, the low paid, the disabled, migrants, and the Scots.  It’s not OK to support bigots just because the group you belong to is no longer a target of their bigotry.

Despite all that, I did think that Ruth Davidson was human, shouty and unpleasant, totally full of herself, possessing the political insight of an empty crisp packet, attention grabbing with a propensity to cheap photo opportunities and entirely lacking in any political substance, but human. However I’ve changed my mind, at least on the human part. Now I think that she’s an alien lizard person from that distant galaxy where Theresa May is formulating her Brexit plans.

Ruth the Lizard Alien is now trying to make out that the real issue here isn’t that she’s a lizard alien whose idea of standing up for the people of Scotland is to demand that we all bend over and offer up our arses as bicycle parks for the Tory government in Westminster. She’s trying to make out that the real issue is that Nicola Sturgeon revealed a private conversation to the public. That might be the case, if it wasn’t for the fact that Kezia had herself made her thoughts about changing the Labour party’s stance on independence known in that newspaper article. It can’t be comfortable being defended by Ruth Davidson. That’s like championing human rights and then finding out that Attila the Hen is a big fan.

The truth is that Kezia Dugdale changed her mind on independence, and then she changed her mind back again. Now Labour in Scotland is firmly behind the Conservative party and expects Scottish behinds to be used as bicycle racks for Tory Brexit plans, because after Brexit no one will be able to afford petrol anyway.

It’s fine to change your mind, but where politicians lose credibility is when they try to pretend that their changed position is the same position that they’ve always held. That’s dishonest. It’s precisely that kind of dishonesty which has reduced Theresa May’s predicted crushing majority to hung parliament terrority in some polls, and it’s the same kind of dishonesty that has reduced the Labour party in Scotland to irrelevance. Tomorrow we have a chance to show them what we think of them.  Let’s vote to keep the Tories, and their little helpers, out.

If you’d like me and the dug to come and give a talk to your local group, email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com


Donate to the Dug This blog relies on your support and donations to keep going – I need to make a living, and have bills to pay. Clicking the donate button will allow you to make a payment directly to my Paypal account. You do not need a Paypal account yourself to make a donation. You can donate as little, or as much, as you want. Many thanks.

Donate Button

If you’d like to make a donation but don’t wish to use Paypal or have problems using the Paypal button, please email me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com for details of alternative methods of donation.


frontcovervol3barkingvol2coverSigned copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 2 3 & 4 are available by emailing me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Price just £21.90 for two volumes plus P&P. Please state whether you want vols 1 & 2 or 3 & 4. You can also order signed copies of all four volumes for the special price of £40 plus £4 P&P within the UK.

Copies of Barking Up the Right Tree are available from my publisher Vagabond Voices at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993 price just £7.95 plus P&P. The E-book of Barking Up the Right Tree is available for Kindle for just £4. Click here to purchase.

Get your copy of Barking Up the Right Tree Volume 2 by placing an order on the Vagabond Voices website. Just click the following link.

https://www.vagabondvoices.co.uk/bookshop-rants/barking-up-the-right-tree-2016