Wee Ginger Indy Stamps

A guest post by Gwen Sinclair of Yes East Ayrshire

Wee Ginger Stamp

The idea for Indy Stamps came about a few months ago when I was thinking about new ways to spread our message of Independence for Scotland. I had been involved in designing a  limited edition set of Island postage stamps and a first day cover for the Isle of Raasay to commemorate the local buy-out of their Community Store back in 2014. I remembered how popular this was; stamp collectors also snapped them up.  It was an idea that I thought might interest the Indy Movement, since people can add them to their letters or cards – alongside a usual postage stamp of course; these stamps would be seen by whoever receives them, as well as in transit – perhaps travelling round the world!   It is also nice to think that one day soon we might have our own Scottish postage stamps, and so I have made up a name that might well one day be used – “Alba Postadh” with two unicorns and a thistle as the emblem. These are quite small on the stamps, but it’s there all the same!

indystampsI have been donating  graphic design, artwork, film, crafts, and jewellery for the Independence campaign since 2014, starting from when I made a poster to help bring in new volunteers for Yes East Ayrshire based in Kilmarnock.

After the referendum in 2014, many of the Yes East Ayrshire team had no intention of giving up and we carried on with weekly street stalls in Kilmarnock town centre for quite some time, where we undertook a very successful food bank collection.  We chose a subject for each stall, eg pensions or fracking, and I would produce a new leaflet each week and monthly newsletters spreading the news that we knew the mainstream media would not!

I designed professional branding for our Yes East Ayrshire Campaign, with a new logo which is fairly well recognised now, with its shape of East Ayrshire inside a flying bird carrying a saltire in its beak. It has featured in many leaflets, on our on-line media sites (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram,TripAdvisor, Google, IndyApp), and also all our leaflets and merchandise,  More recently, I developed it to feature as the sign above the door and on the window graphics of our Yes Shop in Kilmarnock!

For the stamps, I chose images of the new Yes logo with the addition of a map of Scotland in each letter, just in case a letter or parcel might make its way across the world where our Yes Campaign is not so well known. Another features my favourite phrase “Independence is normal”, which I think says it all. I have added some of the sea area to also remind people Scotland is much larger than they might think!   The dark area denotes the stolen sea that Tony Blair took from our maritime alloted territory. This is a travesty; it must be returned.

The other two are of my favourite Indy Dugs.  Sheldon has recently become something of a mascot for the Saor Alba Pipes and Drums, and with his owner, Jane Cooper Stewart, proudly led the Edinburgh March last month, looking every bit the regal king of Indy Dugs with his selection of Indy coats which I feel epitomises the fun, happy, attitude of Scotland doing it our way. It’s always a joy to see all the dogs with their special indy-messaged attire at our marches and rallies,  and I always think they are showing any undecided voters that its ok to be part of this – everyone is welcome, four legged friends and two! Wee Ginger Dug is one of our best known indy dogs, and also one of my favourites, not only because he has his own blog, with the help of his owner, Paul Kavanagh, which has made an enormous contribution to our cause, but also that he is, like Sheldon, a bit of a star in his own right and I love to see him.

I hope very much that Yes Campaigners will buy a strip (one of each stamp) for £1.00 or a sheet of 7 rows of the set of 4 Indy Stamps (£6.50) to add to their Christmas cards this year.  Contact yeseastayrshire@gmail.com to find out how you can buy them via PayPal and we will post them out.  All profits from the sale of the Indy Stamps will go towards helping to keep the Yes Shop in Kilmarnock going strong.

My biggest wish is that they get out there and spread the message! I would like to give special thanks to SIF (Scottish Independence Foundation) who have recently awarded me a financial contribution to help me upgrade my hardware so that I may continue to produce graphics for our independence campaign, as well as assistance with the cost of printing the stamps. This would not be possible without the donations from you, our Indy movement and I would like to thank you all!

 

Fnaugh-fnaughing and Swinson car crashes

The BBC were determined not to repeat the mistakes made by ITV in Monday’s debate, when only Corbyn and Johnson were invited. Instead they made some mistakes of their own, mainly by adopting the format of the utterly discredited Question Time programme. Half of Scotland spent most of the show scanning the audience to see if Orange Jaiket man had travelled down to Sheffield for the occasion. A mash up of a leaders’ debate and BBCQT is quite possibly the worst political show imaginable, a baying and unrepresentative audience combined with Johnson fnaugh-fnaughing and talking all over everyone else. However, cunningly, the BBC decided to make harder for him by not actually having the leaders up at the same time. That’s one way of making sure Boris Johnson doesn’t talk over everyone else. But it’s also a way of stopping the leaders from holding one another to account.

Corbyn was up first, and tried to answer questions rather than slag off the Tories. At least his glasses are on straight this time. His problem is that he wants to operate by the more gentlemanly political rules of the 1970s, when he’s up against a Conservative party without any principles. As the event began he was also up against some very hostile questioning. In a clip shared on social media, the Labour leader was cheered by the crowd outside the venue. The difference in attitudes between the crowd inside and that outside couldn’t be starker. However after the opening salvo of attacks on his character, the biggest cheer came when an audience member described his Brexit policy as the only grown up one on offer.

When asked why he would not listen to the people of Scotland if they voted for parties supporting another independence referendum, he replied “bribery”. Well not exactly, but that’s what it boiled down to. He said he’d invest in Scotland in the hope that would make us change our minds. He didn’t answer the question about basic democracy. He didn’t answer the point made to him about the existing mandate for another indyref. It was a telling difference from his answers to previous questions. There were a lot of complaints on social media about how loads of Scots had gatecrashed the debate. How dare those Jocks think they can get involved in a British election, said all those people who took it for granted that a QT audience in Dundee should be full of Tories with English accents.

Next up was Nicola Sturgeon. She got a big cheer when she said that she couldn’t put Boris Johnson into Downing Street. She asserted that it’s for the people of Scotland to decide whether we want another independence referendum, not Westminster. She was confident and assured despite the interruptions from Fiona Bruce. The audience was lacking in the hostility which many had displayed to Corbyn, but displayed the lack of understanding of Scotland we’ve come to expect from BBCQT audiences in the rest of the UK. We got the Spanish veto klaxon. We got someone who said that his grandparents had fought for Britain so what right did the SNP have to break it up. We got the question about the deficit, based as ever on the assumption that the deficit is due to Scottish shortcomings, not Westminster’s. On social media, Jimmy Krankie was trending, which tells you all you need to know about widespread attitudes to Scotland in the rest of the UK. Back in the real world, the First Minister came across as confident and convincing, and certainly a lot more at ease with the audience than Corbyn. She was easily the best performer of the evening.

After the First Minister we got the Lib Dem leader. Jo Swinson was asked if she regrets voting with the Tories to implement austerity. One of the audience members referred to “horrible Tory cuts”, although I might have misheard. She replied that she didn’t get everything right. It’s a bit like Dracula admitting that he’d been a tad inconsiderate when he drained all those virgins of their blood. A woman describing herself as a remainer asked how the Lib Dems could still call themselves liberal and democratic if they were planning to overturn the result of the EU referendum without another popular vote. She was asked how she could be against fracking given that she’d voted in favour of it twice. That was Ed Davies fault, she replied. A big boy did it and then became the Lib Dem deputy leader.

The Lib Dem leader gave a masterclass in how she becomes less popular the more people see of her. If Nicola Sturgeon came across as a headmistress, Jo Swinson came across as a nursery school teacher exasperated with a class of toddlers. A classroom act following a class act. By the end of her time I was ready to throw a copy of Elocution Lessons for Beginners at the TV. It wasn’t so much a car crash as a car crashing into an oil tanker that went on fire and exploded against a nuclear power plant causing a meltdown which triggered an earthquake and then set off a tsunami.

Finally we got Boris Johnson. Last and most definitely least. He was asked how important it was for someone in his position to always tell the truth. The audience laughed. He immediately tried to get onto the question of delivering Brexit. Groans and jeers. He ignored Fiona Bruce’s interruptions, being too busy interrupting himself. He was asked why he’s refusing to release the report on Russian interference, why he was avoiding scrutiny, why he refused to address the issue of the validity of the EU referendum. He replied by complaining that Parliament was blocking Brexit. More groans from the audience. More fnaugh fnaughing from Boris Johnson.

Then he was asked how he could justify poverty and the increasing use of foodbanks. He replied by telling us that he’d visited a lot of schools and hospitals. Fnaugh fnaugh. Wasn’t my fault, I was mayor of London at the time. He just blabbers on, speaking quickly in the hope that makes people realise that he’s not answering the question. Waugh waugh. Harrumph. Eh. Eh. But. But. Before this campaign began there were many who opposed the Tories who were worried about Johnson’s campaigning charisma and rhetorical flair. Fnaugh fnaugh. The audience groaned loudly when Johnson claimed that his party was fulfilling its promises to build affordable homes. The problem he’s got now is that even when he does attempt to answer a question no one believes a word he has to say.

Fiona Bruce reminds him about the Russian report question he’s been studiously avoiding. His answer was far from convincing. He accused the questioner of “Bermuda triangle stuff”. Fiona Bruce got a bit rattled with an audience that would lynch him given the chance.

Then he was asked to apologise for his racist rhetoric. Big cheer from the audience. I’ve never intended to cause hurt, he said. Ha. There’s another lie. If he’s caused hurt it was entirely an accidental by-product then. But he still doesn’t regret it. He used racist and homophobic terms, and then tries to brush this off as hand picking phrases to make them seem offensive. This is a man who wrote an article in which he compared gay married to bestiality and used the phrase “tank topped bum boys”. Is there a context in which the words he’s used are not offensive?

He stumbled badly when asked about the NHS. Asserted yet again that he’s building 40 hospitals. In his head. A questioner who identified herself as someone who worked in the NHS said “you’re lying to us.” All he could do was to attack the Labour party. Another question about trust. Another round of applause from the audience. He tried to get back to when he was mayor of London. This is a question about the NHS and he wants to go on about London transport and getting Brexit done. More groans. It was ten years ago that he was mayor of London. Ten. Years. Ago. He’s had other jobs since and he was crap at them. Oh god, he said “oven ready”. The Tories in the audience cheer.

That’s it. It’s over. And if this is what the British political system has to offer us, it’s all over for the UK. The only credible performer there was the one who wants Scotland to become independent. Sturgeon won convincingly, Corbyn did credibly well despite some aggressive questioning. Johnson was his usual bumbling lying fnaugh-fnaughing self, and Swinson was a car crash.


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


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

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

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


Wee Ginger Dugcast – 22 November 2019

In this week’s edition of the dugcast, The National’s Stewart Ward and I discuss this week’s goings on in the General Election campaign. We chat about the debate between master-debaters Corbyn and Johnson on ITV, Jo Swinson’s transformation into Doctor Strangelove, Channel 4’s decision that the most important thing about Scottish independence is how it affects Cumbrian farmers, why the UK is beyond repair, and a lot more besides.


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


Breaking up isn’t always hard to do, part 2

Channel 4 is generally the best of the broadcasters when it comes to coverage of Scotland’s independence movement, although it needs to be stressed that we’re talking about a very low bar here. However last night they let themselves down with a report on “the union” which was billed as giving Scotland’s perspective. A significant chunk of the report was taken up with speaking to farmers in Cumbria, because of course how England is affected by Scottish independence is the most important part of the Scottish debate.

We also heard from those two groups much pursued by the Tories, farmers and fishermen. What we didn’t get was much in the way of comment from those of us who live in the Central Belt, in industrial Scotland, in the big cities. You know, where the great majority of us actually live and where the question of independence will ultimately be decided. If your sole source of information on Scottish politics was reports broadcast on the UK media, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Scotland was made up of fishing communities and dairy farmers, and little else. But then that’s precisely how they think of us in London. Rural, far away, and scattered in isolated communities.

What we did get were a few Better-Togetheresque sound bites from Ian Rankin. If it’s proving so difficult to leave the 40 year old union of the EU, just imagine how hard it’s going to be to break up a union that’s over 300 years old, he opined in a sentiment that came straight out of Jo Swinson’s Little Book of Reasons to Say No. Or rather, Sigh Neuw. The exact same point had been made by the Lib Dem leader when she was interviewed on ITV for her segment in the “Oh bugger we need a sop to tell the court because they’ve sued us for not allowing her or Nicola Sturgeon to participate in the leaders’ debate” Show. What we didn’t get was much in the way of input from anyone putting the other side of the argument.

So I’ll do it here, even though I’ve done it before. The reason that Brexit is proving so difficult is not because it means leaving a union. The reason that it is proving so difficult is because those doing the leaving have no clear idea of what their final destination ought to be, and because they hope to achieve mutually contradictory aims by leaving. On the one hand Brexiteers want to have the freedom to make trade deals as they please, and to rip up all EU rules and regulations. On the other they want to keep an open border with Ireland and expect full and unfettered access to the EU’s markets. You can’t do both.

Scottish independence is a very different proposition. Those of us who advocate independence have a very clear idea of our final destination. We seek a status that is the same as that of the Irish Republic. There you go, in one simple phrase you can explain the final destination of Scottish independence. You can’t do that with Brexit.

One reason that Brexit is full of unknowns is because no country has ever left the EU before, however dozens of countries have become independent of the UK. Comparing Scottish independence in terms of difficulty with Brexit is rather like saying that someone you know had a terrible time when they went on a road trip, they got lost, they ended up being stranded in the wilderness, because they had no maps, no GPS, no idea where they actually wanted to get to before they left the house, and wanted to visit two different places simultaneously, and then saying that this means that it’s going to be equally traumatic to set off on a journey where you know the route and you know exactly where you want to go. It’s like comparing an Arctic expedition into the wilderness with a train journey. Now ScotRail might have its issues, but as far as I know no one has ever actually been eaten alive by a polar bear while waiting on the platform at Edinburgh Haymarket.

However the highlight of Channel 4’s coverage was an interview with Michael Gove. Well, I say highlight. I say interview. It was rather more like being slimed very politely by someone who thinks that good manners mean that you can’t be a sociopath. “I’m always happy to answer questions,” oozed Michael. Other than the ones he’s actually asked, that is. He refused to apologise for the Conservative Campaign HQ disguising itself as a neutral factchecker and deceiving the public, and he refused to say that it wouldn’t happen again. The sense of entitlement is of a Prince Andrew level. The difference is that Prince Andrew is a 59 year old man who got grounded by his maw. The Tories don’t think that anyone can ground them. For the most part the media doesn’t even try. Ciaran Jenkins’ interview was a rare exception.

The interview was a classic exercise in gaslighting. How very dare Channel 4’s Ciaran Jenkins try to hold him to account. When he was asked precisely how many hospitals the Conservatives are building, six or forty, there was no answer, only an attempt to cast aspersions on Channel 4 for daring to ask the question. Watching Michael Gove in action is like watching Donald Trump twitching net curtains and tutting like an elderly Daily Mail reader.

It can only be because Channel 4 is a left wing broadcaster trying to make a polemic argument with a socialist agenda, and not because the Tories have actually done anything wrong when they disguised their twitter account as a neutral factchecker or because Michael is incapable of providing a simple answer to a simple question. The irony of someone who campaigned for Vote Leave posing as a factchecker is off the scale. Michael Gove is about as reliable and trustworthy as a month old prawn sandwich that’s been kept in a hot car.

On Scotland, he was concerned to make sure that Alister Jack was slapped down for talking out of turn when he said the previous day that if Scotland’s voters gave the SNP a majority in 2021 then there might possibly maybe perhaps be a mandate for another independence referendum. There would be no such thing, he harrumphed. Scotland would get another independence referendum when the Conservatives in Westminster said so. Which would be never. It’s not for the Scotland Secretary to make decisions about Scotland. That’s way above his pay grade.

The Tories have sunk to depths that we wouldn’t even have imagined that they were capable of during the Thatcher era. They lie shamelessly, and when caught out on those lies shrug their shoulders and tell us that they don’t care. They deny that the people of Scotland have any right at all to determine their own future. They have destroyed the understanding of the union that Scottish unionists have always prided themselves on. They dismiss anyone who tries to hold them to account with tactics straight out of the Trump playbook. They scoff at the damage that they cause to social cohesion, to the poor, to the vulnerable. They have become a grave threat to the future of democracy. They are the party of sociopathy. Breaking up with the Tories isn’t hard to do. Ensuring that we vote them out in Scotland, and in the rest of the UK, is a moral priority.


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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


Toxic and useless

There’s been a bit of time now to digest the debate last night between Corbyn and Johnson. It’s only becoming more and more of an outrage that Scotland’s largest political party was excluded from a debate during which the future of Scotland was such a key topic. There was no one there who was willing to challenge either of the two party leaders when they stated that Scotland wouldn’t be “allowed” to decide its own future in the UK until such time as it suited them. Poll after poll has shown that Tory party members would be happy to sacrifice Scotland in order to secure Brexit. They’d be only too happy to trash Scotland in order to keep it within the UK. These are not people who have our interests at heart, and there was no one from Scotland there to point that out. We only had Jeremy Corbyn telling us that Scotland doesn’t deserve another referendum until it suits him.

The debate had only just started when Nicola Sturgeon was mentioned by name and SNP policies were attacked. Yet there was no right to reply except in a separate programme one hour after the end of the debate. Social media was full of British nationalists in Scotland crowing about the exclusion of the SNP. Yet it’s their own right to have their voices heard that they’re celebrating. It’s their own nation’s impotence that they’re extoling. Imagine having such a low opinion of your own country that you believe that denying it the right to democratic self-determination, denying it even the right to debate its own future on its own terms, is something to be proud of. Imagine having such a low estimation of yourself.

We can be certain now, as if there was any doubt beforehand, that there is no place in the UK’s political system for Scotland’s distinct political voice. The highlight so far of the UK General Election is two London politicians telling Scotland what’s good for it, having first made sure that there would be no one from Scotland there to tell them otherwise. The UK’s political priorities are England’s political priorities, anything else is unimportant, regional, parochial. Keep that sort of thing for your pretendy wee elections to your pretendy wee parliament. The big boys and girls in Westminster will make all the important decisions, and don’t you dare imagine that they’ll listen to Scotland’s voice in Westminster elections.

The debate itself only confirmed that neither Johnson nor Corbyn are fit for leadership. Johnson lied, dissembled, and distracted his way through the hour, talking over everyone else, in love with the sound of his own fnaugh-fnaughing. Corbyn missed open goal after open goal. There’s only one question that needs to be asked of Boris Johnson when the subject of his trustworthiness arises, and that is “How many children do you have?” It’s not a question that Corbyn is ever going to ask, even though it’s the easiest question in the world to answer for the vast majority of people, and the hardest one of all for Boris Johnson.

The Tories even proved their untrustworthiness during the debate. The Conservative Press Office took to rebranding itself as “FactCheckUK” for the duration of the debate, masquerading as a neutral fact checking organisation like Full Fact. It was a classic and blatant example of fake news, of Conservative lies, of deliberately misleading the public during an election campaign. Yet when challenged about it on the BBC Breakfast show the following day, the foreign secretary Dominic Raab claimed, “No one gives a toss about the social media cut and thrust.” Lie often. Lie blatantly. Lie confidently. And when anyone pulls you up for it, shrug your shoulders and say you don’t care. That’s the Conservative way.

We know the Tories don’t give a toss. They don’t give a toss about being found out to be liars. They don’t give a toss about the poor. They don’t give a toss about those whose futures and livelihoods are threatened by Johnson’s Brexit. They don’t give a toss about Scotland. The only thing that they give a toss about is raking in dark money donations from big corporations, offshore trusts, and Russian oligarchs.

In the wee interview section an hour after the debate had ended, during which other party leaders were given a few minutes in an arse covering exercise by ITV, we got the usual ignorance about Scotland masquerading as sharp political questioning by an ITV reporter who would struggle to find Scotland on a map. There was no awareness from the interviewer that Scotland might have a democratic right to determine its own future, that this UK General Election is an election for Scotland as much as for the rest of the UK, and that Scotland’s priorities have every bit as much right to a respectful hearing as England’s.

Jo Swinson got a noticeably easier ride than Nicola Sturgeon. Funny that. She was allowed to go on about the damage Tory policies do, without having to explain why she was so enthusiastic to support those policies just a few short years ago. The exchance was notable solely for yet another illustration, if we needed another illustration, of What Is Wrong With the UK, evidence exhibit number 802193. Swinson was asked whether she’d be prepared to use nuclear weapons. “Yes,” was the immediate reply.

Yes, the Lib Dem leader is quite happy to state that she’d evaporate hundreds of thousands of people in her pursuit of power. Yes, Jo Swinson has no questions about the utility of the UK nuclear so-called deterrent. Yes, the Lib Dems don’t question whether the UK is right to spend billions of pounds on weapons of mass destruction and keep them just a few miles away from Jo Swinson’s own constituency, the one that she doesn’t live in herself. The interviewer thanked her for her “brilliant short answer”. ITV doesn’t have any of those questions either. Trident is a weapon of mass destruction, a political device that exists purely in order to allow the UK to pretend to itself that it’s still a global power. But we’re not allowed to question anything about it, we are only invited to castigate those who point out that it’s morally bankrupt, financially ruinous, toxic, and useless. A bit like the UK, come to think of 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


You’d have been better off watching Eastenders

I wasn’t going to watch the debate between Corbyn and Johnson this evening, figuring that since they’re ignoring Scotland’s voice it’s only right and proper that we ignore them. The Twitter hashtag for this evening’s proceedings is #ANationScorned. Anyway, who needs to witness Boris Johnson lying through his teeth and going fnaugh fnaugh fnaugh at a geography teacher for an hour. But then I saw a photie of the studio, and it looks like something out of Star Trek. This is possibly confirmation that Boris Johnson is indeed a lizard alien. It also probably means that the guy in the red gets wiped out in the first scene.

Meanwhile, in other news, the only Brexit MEP in Scotland has resigned from the party complaining that it’s racist and homophobic. The rest of Scotland has filed this under surprises as big as the discovery that Boris Johnson is a liar, and that Prince Andrew is an entitled prat with all the self awareness of a slime mould. Not to be outdone, the Conservative candidate for Aberdeen North has been suspended from the party after it came to light that he’d suggested in a series of appallingly spelled online comments that the Holocaust was exaggerated, some deeply Islamophobic musings, and wondered that if everyone turned gay then the human race would go extinct. We are all wishing that Tory MPs would go extinct in Scotland, and many of us are working hard to achieve that outcome on 12 December. We just didn’t expect that Tory candidates would do the job for us.

A hacker has released a whole load of direct messages on Twitter between Arron Banks and his Leave.EU pals. But it’s OK. There’s nothing untoward in any of the leaks as he was in a Pizza Express in Woking at the time. No sweat. Andy Wigmore, one of Banks’s associates who describes himself as one of the bad boys of Brexit, took to Twitter to harrumph that those who were spreaking the leaks were guilty of breaking General Data Protection Regulation rules. That would be those GDPR rules which are – letsee – an EU regulation from the EU Parliament providing protection to, ahem, EU citizens. Oh.

Back in Scotland, Alister Jack, the governor general for the Caledonian Colony, has suggested that if the SNP win the Holyrood election in 2021 then this might just possibly constitute a mandate for another independence referendum. In making the remark he has contradicted Boris Johnson, who says that he won’t permit another independence referendum as long as he’s Prime Minister. Still, we don’t need to worry too much about the contradiction, since Alister will be out of a job in a couple of weeks. All the Scottish Tory MPs are the red shirts in this episode of Conservative Star Trek.

It is interesting to ask why the anti-independence parties think that there can only be a mandate for another independence referendum after the 2021 election, and not in an election to the parliament which does actually have the power to change the constitution. A dispassionate and uninvolved observer might think that a mandate delivered to Scottish MPs was of greater weight than one delivered to MSPs. She or he might also wonder why the media in Scotland was not pressing the anti-independence parties on this issue. Just what right do they have to ignore the will of the Scottish electorate as delivered on 12 December? Or indeed the mandate for another independence referendum that Holyrood currently possesses. Or is it only those votes which suit the anti-independence parties that count? Answers on a postcard to Pacific Quay, because they don’t even seem to think that there’s a question to be asked.

Right, so onto the debate. That’s what you pay me for. You only have yourselves to blame. Oh god. Oven ready. Unleash. Dither. Fnaugh fnaugh. Get Brexit done. Referendum. Rinse and repeat.

The opening question is “Can you assure me that we won’t be talking about Brexit forever?” The only truthful answer to this question is “no”. Naturally Boris Johnson lies and spends his time attacking Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn tries to be reasonable, which is like trying to talk a gall wasp out of implanting its larva in your cold paralysed flesh. Johnson is still claiming that he can get a trade deal done in under a year, when in the general run of things trade deals take years. We’re only a few minutes in, and he’s saying oven ready already. Someone stick his head in that oven, please. Johnson won’t shut up. He keeps talking over the host, Julie Etchingham. This isn’t just a metaphor for his attitude to women. The most noticeable thing about Jeremy Corbyn is that his glasses are wonky.

The next question is, “Is the union worth sacrificing for Brexit?” This is the question where the SNP, if they’d been present, would have had a chance to explain why it’s so important that the people of Scotland get their say and have their voice respected. Johnson claims that his deal keeps the UK together. Ha ha. Said half of Scotland. He repeats his lie about a deal between the SNP and Labour. He says he’s ruling out another independence referendum. Johnson’s great idea for keeping the union together is to ignore the will of the people of Scotland. He won’t give the people of Scotland any right to make up their own minds. Silence from the audience. Tories in England don’t care what happens to Scotland.

Corbyn denies that there’s any deal, says Johnson’s comments are nonsense. No one here is prepared to say why they think it’s remotely democratic to ignore the will of the Scottish electorate. For Scotland this debate is like overhearing people talking about you, but not to you. Johnson claims another referendum would create chaos. “We’ve had nine years of chaotic coalitions already,” says Corbyn. Biggest cheer of the night so far.

God, Johnson can’t shut up.

Question from the audience about how this debate has been made toxic. How can the nation trust either to have integrity. Johnson fnaughs. Corbyn does his reasonable geography teacher thing. He comes across as warmer, more human, and more accessible. But then that’s not hard. So does one of the lizard aliens in Star Trek. Johnson gets laughed at when he tries to claim that he’s trustworthy. He said he would deliver certain policies when he was the mayor of London, and he is just getting round to it now. So that’s reassuring.  Does the truth matter? Asks Julie Etchingham.  “I think it does,” says Johnson.  The audience laughs.

Corbyn stresses how seriously he takes accusations of antisemitism and recognises the suffering of the Jewish people throughout the 20th century. Johnson won’t answer the question about his own trustworthiness, instead he prefers to attack Corbyn. This is a question about his own personal integrity and character. It’s about the nastiness in political debate. Johnson just keeps on being nasty. He can’t help himself. Nothing about Islamophobia in the Tory party. The former Tory candidate in Aberdeen North will be relieved. When Johnson is asked about his own character, he responds by attacking someone else’s. That tells you all you need to know about his character.

Advert break. You might not agree with all his answers, but so far Corbyn has made honest attempts to respond to the questions. Johnson has been his usual blustering fnaugh fnaughing self, incapable of answering even simple questions. Still, it could be worse. We could have had to put up with Jo Swinson as well. No wonder they didn’t want to debate Nicola Sturgeon. She’d have run Saturn sized rings around this pair.

The first question after the ad break is about how the two would ensure that the NHS is able to meet the demands placed upon it. This is Corbyn’s specialist subject on Politics Mastermind. The NHS, he says, is under the greatest stress it has faced in the past 20 years. Johnson says he’s building 40 hospitals. Didn’t we find out that was a lie a couple of weeks ago? Corbyn demands an end to privatisation within the NHS. Johnson says that he’s not going to privatise it, says it won’t be up for sale in any trade deal. But he also said he was going to die in a ditch. Corbyn challenges him on the 40 hospitals lie. No clear answer. Apparently it’s all because we haven’t got Brexit done. He keeps waffling. Corbyn is much clearer and much more convincing. But that’s not really saying much.

This is poor stuff. If this is the calibre of leadership in the UK it’s really no wonder that the British state is, to use a technical political term, royally screwed. I’m losing the will to live. Can we not just get independence please, then we can protect Scotland’s NHS from this lot forever.

A question about austerity. Johnson tells us that he’s going to cancel his proposed cut in Corporation Tax. So he’s shelving a plan that only he was planning to do anyway. Isn’t that great. Accusations that Corbyn doesn’t just have a money tree, he’s got a money forest. Corbyn says that the reality of austerity is that local authorities, young people, education, and the poor have borne the brunt. He wants to prioritise spending on those areas.

Now we move on to some rapid fire questions.

Is the monarchy fit for purpose? Corbyn says, “Needs a bit of improvement.” Says that before we discuss Prince Andrew we should talk about the victims of his friend Epstein. Johnson says that the institution of monarchy is beyond reproach.

Is climate change the biggest issue? Johnson waffles. Corbyn wants a green industrial revolution to prevent damage to our natural world.

Which current foreign leader do you most admire? Johnson says he admires all the EU leaders because they gave him a great deal. Tries to attack Corbyn on Brexit again. Corbyn says it’s someone that no one has heard of.

What non political present would you leave under the Christmas tree for one another? Corbyn says he’d give Johnson a copy of A Christmas Carol so that he can understand how mean Scrooge was. Johnson says a copy of his Brexit deal, because he can’t stop himself from attacking others instead of listening to the bloody question.

Thank god. The final statements. We’re at the end now. You’d probably have learned more about British politics if you’d watched Eastenders on the other side. That’s also depressing and fictional. Who won? I don’t know. What I do know is that we’re all the losers with this lot as our political masters. Can we hurry up and vote for independence please?

I’d like to give a huge thank you to the SNP canvassers in Prestwick who helped me when my car got a flat tyre this afternoon when I was out with Philippa Whitford’s team. I wouldn’t have been able to change the wheel without your assistance. SNP Pitcrew, top lads.


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


Look out of the window

snowywindow
And in today’s instalment of “What the actual @*!& is wrong with the UK?”, we learn that it’s perfectly OK not to have the largest party in Scotland represented in a General Election debate to be broadcast in Scotland. Because union of equals. Because the most successful partners of nations in the history of the multiverse. Because Scotland needs us to look after it. Because we say so Jockos. Look, we let you vote in OUR elections – what more do you want?

Raise a glass to your imperial masters, Scotland, and salute their decisions about you. It’s just not on to allow anyone on the tellybox who’s going to put the case for Scotland having its own say on its own future. It’s for your own good. Far better to restrict the debate to those who think it’s perfectly fine to ignore a democratic mandate from Scotland. It’s cleaner. It’s simpler. It’s more British. That way no one is going to challenge Boris or Jeremy when they say that they’re not going to permit another independence referendum. It avoids all those nasty complications. When there’s an SNPbadfest, it only spoils the fun to allow those vile nats a right to reply. That’s how proper British democracy works isn’t it?

It’s not just the SNP. The Lib Dems aren’t being allowed to participate either. This is also a good thing. It would only confuse the voters to allow people who don’t think Brexit is a good thing to speak. You can’t have people voting in an election that everyone keeps saying is all about Brexit and then allow them to hear from parties that want to stop Brexit. Can’t be done. It would be wrong. Will of the people and all that.

This is a general election. It’s supposed to be at time when all sides in current debates get the opportunity to air their views, freely and fairly. We’re supposed to live in a parliamentary democracy. We don’t have a presidential system. But we have broadcasters who look at their American colleagues with the presidential debates and who long to have some of that. That’s the curse of the UK, doomed to forever look at America as the only possible model because few can be arsed to learn the languages of our nearest neighbours. You can have Republican or Democrat, Conservative or Labour. Anything else just isn’t to be taken seriously.

There’s only certain things that are considered fit for public discourse in the UK. It’s fine to allow right wing provocateurs on the telly, but not their left wing counterparts. It’s fine to glorify the military, but we must never, ever cast a critical eye on the actions of the British army. It’s fine to offer mild criticisms of individual members of the royal family, but never the queen, and never the system. Scottish independence likewise belongs to that category of things that are unBritish, and when discussed must only ever be examined like something unpleasant on the sole of a gentleman’s oxford brogue.

So what is going to happen is that the two largest parties, the Conservatives and Labour, will be given an unfair advantage in an election in Scotland in which the two of them combined have less support than a party whose presence has been rejected. This isn’t a UK election debate, it’s an English one. Because from the perspective of the Home Counties English and British are the exact same thing. That’s why the likes of Boris Johnson can declaim that the UK is the most successful union in the history of forever. For him and his like it’s successful because it puts no demands on him, it puts no demands on the ruling classes. It’s very successful for them if Scotland has been subsumed, silenced, and locked in the shortbread tin. You can have your democracy Scotland, just as long as you don’t place any demands on your betters.

We have a Prime Minister who lies every time he opens his mouth. And we have a public broadcaster that the public are forced to pay for which allows him to get away with it. According to the Conservative commentor Peter Oborne writing in the Guardian, he spoke with senior BBC executives who told him that they thought it would be wrong to expose Boris Johnson’s many lies as it would undermine trust in politics if the public were to discover that their rulers were liars. That’s the same defence used by the Vatican when it was confronted by accusations of abuse. Far better to maintain the great lie.

Johnson lies and lies again, and again and again the broadcasters indulge him. Just last week he was filmed sipping a whisky when he graced Scotland with his presence, safely tucked away from any of the public who might heckle him. Then the next day he claimed that he’d given up alcohol for the duration of the election. He lies on the big things too. He lies when he said there is an agreement between the SNP and Labour. He lies when he says that he’s going to get Brexit over and done with, when all that’s going to happen is that Brexit will drag out for years and years to come. Even after the UK leaves the EU, the topic of the UK’s relationship with the EU will dominate British politics for a generation. Brexit’s long and malign shadow can’t be wished away by Boris Johnson’s lies.

It’s not the job of a proper reporter to tell us that Boris Johnson says that it’s bright and sunny, but critics say that it’s snowing outside. The job of the reporter is to look out of the damn window. Yet time and time again, the broadcast media allows Boris Johnson to tell us that all is sunny when really the snow is falling.

The UK is being failed by its political leaders. It’s being failed by its media. It’s a corrupt dance of the self-serving, liars and enablers, locked in a fatal embrace. It’s a state of disgrace. This is not a state that can be fixed. There’s no federalism fairy about to wave a magic wand. This is only a state that can be abandoned. Scotland needs to escape. It’s time. Look out of the window, and vote.

I’m publishing today’s article a bit early as on Tuesday the dug and I are off to spend the afternoon with Philippa Whitford’s canvassing team in Prestwick.  We’re determined to do our wee bit to help get as many pro-indy MPs as possible.  So if you’re going to be helping Philippa’s campaign tomorrow, we’re looking forward to seeing you.  Philippa’s fundraiser has already reached its target, so here are some other worthy campaigns that need a bit of assistance.

Robert Leslie – Orkney and Shetland

Robert is the SNP candidate in Orkney and Shetland.  He’s got a mountain to climb to dislodge Alistair Carmichael, but Robert’s got his crampons and climbing rope at the ready.  Give his campaign a wee lift by donating to his crowdfunder

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/elect-robert-leslie-orkney-shetland

Patrick Grady – Glasgow North

Patrick has represented the north of the city of Glasgow since 2015.  Help him to get reelected and ensure that the city has a clean slate of SNP MPs.

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/re-electpatrickgrady

Amy Callaghan – Dunbarton East

Amy is standing against Jo Swinson, so naturally the Lib Dems are throwing everything into the seat.  She’s got a battle on her hands, but she’s young, she’s determined, and she can overturn the Lib Dem vote and give us a historic victory by unseating the Lib Dem’s national leader.

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/elect-amy-callaghan


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