Labour’s suicide pact

Every time you think that the Labour party in Scotland might just possibly see that there’s a glimmer of a path to redemption, it ties a red white and blue flag over its eyes as a blindfold and preaches to Scotland about solidarity with people who never manage to demonstrate any solidarity with Scotland. Which would be bad enough, but the only solidarity that Labour in Scotland actually demonstrates itself is solidarity with the Conservatives. Despite the fact that Labour’s solidarity with the Tories in the Better Together campaign resulted in the near destruction on the party and the annihilation of its Westminster contingent, they’re about to repeat the same trick in a future independence referendum. As a party Labour has become addicted to self-harm.

During the last independence referendum, Labour vilified those of its supporters and members who came out in favour of independence. Labour for Independence was publicly accused of being an SNP front organisation despite being set up and run by long standing Labour members who had no connection with the SNP. The smears of the party hierarchy were repeated in the media, and Labour for Independence was given no chance to defend itself. After the referendum, it was made very clear to those independence supporting members by the triumphalist Unionists that there was no place in the Labour party for them. Now there’s the prospect of another independence referendum, and Labour is repeating the same narrow minded mistake.

Kezia Dugdale has been on a course in the USA over the past few weeks, where she seemingly learned that it is in fact possible for her party to make its impossibly bad situation even worse. Returning from her trip, she’s tripped into the Brexit debate with a trippy intervention. Whereas the Scottish government wants to explore all the possible options which allow Scotland to maintain its EU membership, Labour has already decided to rule out the option which has the best chance of securing it. Brexit, says Kezia, is not a reason for independence.

Mind you, Labour, or at least the part of it that Kezia represents, doesn’t think anything at all is a reason for independence. Kezia wants Scotland to snap on the dog collar and be dragged out of the EU against our will with Westminster holding the leash, because solidarity, and because reasons, and because isn’t Owen Smith a great leadership candidate. Although in this analogy it’s Westminster which is the bad puppy who craps on Scotland’s pavement, and Scotland who has to live with the mess. Yet again, Labour in Scotland shows itself to be not a party of Scotland, not a party of defending Scottish interests, but a party which wants to complain on the sidelines about the SNP while allowing the Tories to get on with the business of destroying working class opposition to their rule.

After all, says Kezia, not everyone in Scotland voted to remain in the EU, showing an amazing degree of concern for the rights of a minority which Labour failed to show to the far larger minority which voted for independence in 2014. Some minorities are more important than others, and the minorities that permit a veneer of justification for the maintenance of Westminster rule are the most important minorities of all. In fact they’re so important that they’re even more important than the majority.

Interestingly this major new policy announcement wasn’t made by Kezia along with her deputy leader Alex Rowley. It was made by Kezia alongside Jackie Baillie. That’s the Jackie Baillie who supports Trident renewal on the basis that it creates a bazillion jobs in the Helensburgh area. According to Jackie, Trident isn’t really a weapon of mass destruction, it’s a means of ensuring that there are more jobs in Helensburgh than there are people in Helensburgh. But then as far as Jackie is concerned arithmetic is one of the creative arts.

Just a short while ago the deputy leader had said that he thought that it was perfectly justified of the SNP to hold another independence referendum given the circumstances. He also said a couple of days ago that he wanted the party in Scotland to unite behind Jeremy Corbyn, and released a statement to that effect on the same day that Kezia called on Jezza to quit. Kezia’s bid to stamp down on anything independencey amongst her party colleagues is yet another instance of the infighting in the party leadership. The fighting and disputes which characterise the Westminster party are fully evident in the party in Scotland too, not that the Unionist media in Scotland has bothered to question the party leader in Scotland about them.

Effectively what the Kezia/Jackie faction of the Labour leadership in Scotland have done is to rule out any serious attempt to resist the Tory Brexit. Faced with a choice between an independent Scotland that’s a part of the EU, and a Scotland outside the EU that’s a part of the UK, they choose dependency. They choose submission. They choose to deny the majority which voted to remain a part of the EU.

Instead of resisting the Tory Brexit, Labour wants us to accept it, and demands that Scotland spends yet more of its limited budget in an attempt to ameliorate the damage that the loss of EU funding is going to cause to investment in our communities and infrastructure. Labour wants the Scottish government to use its borrowing powers to borrow the money, but when you borrow money you’ve got to pay it back with interest. Naturally they don’t say where the money to repay the loans is going to come from, but you can bet your bottom euro that if such a fund was to be established that Labour would be the first to complain about the supposed SNP cuts in other areas of the Scottish government’s expenditure that would be required in order to pay for it.

Labour does this while denying Scotland the ability to grow its own economy, because that can only be done by a Holyrood which has control over all the levers of tax and spend – in other words the parliament of an independent country.

Meanwhile we can see the dire effects on Scotland of remaining a part of this mismanaged and misbegotten Union. For all that the Unionists shriek that Scotland would be poorer than Greece if it went independent, a report issued this week shows that wages in the UK have fallen by an extent matched only by near-bankrupt Greece. The income of the richest in the UK has continued to increase at the expense of the poorest. So much for those broad shoulders. So much for pooling and sharing. So much for the best of both worlds.

This is the UK that Labour wants Scotland to remain a part of. This is a UK where the Conservatives enjoy a 16% lead in the polls, tearing apart what remains of the tattered fabric of social cohesion while Labour tears itself apart. This is a UK where the chances are that we’ll have Conservative governments for years and years to come, doing untold damage and completing the conversion of the UK into a low-wage low-rights authoritarian tax haven for the rich. And Labour’s solution to this is to squeak like a mouse and offer a sticking plaster on an amputation while blaming those who seek an escape from the mad Tory axemen and women. Scotland has no use for a Labour party that prioritises the interests of the British state above the interests of Scotland. We’ve already got such a party, they’re called the Tories. Kezia Dugdale’s announcement on ruling out an indyref is a solidarity pact with the Tories, and a suicide pact for her party.

Labour can vote for its own demise if it wants, but the rest of Scotland won’t be following suit.

Audio link to this blog article, courtesy of @lumi_1984, https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/labours-suicide-pact-wee-ginger-dug-27th-july-2016

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/275737784″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]


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frontcovervol3I’m now taking advance orders for Volumes 3 and 4 of the Collected Yaps. For the special price of £21 for both volumes plus £4 P&P you can get signed copies of the new books if you order before publication, scheduled for mid-July. Covering the immediate aftermath of the independence referendum until the Yes campaign’s destruction of the Labour party in the 2015 General Election, it’s a snarling chronicle of Scottish history.

To reserve your copies, just send an email to weegingerbook@yahoo.com giving your name and your postal address and how many copies you wish to order. You can also order signed copies of all four volumes for the special price of £40 plus £4 P&P.


Signed copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 and 2 are available by emailing me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Price just £21.90 the pair plus P&P. 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.

Not a threat but a promise

Nicola Sturgeon has made a statement giving the Scottish government’s response to the Brexit process. It’s a statement which reflects, only in far more diplomatic language, the response of most of Scotland to the megamidden into which the Conservative party has dumped the entire UK. And that response to the UK government was along the lines of, “You can screw yourselves if you want, you bunch of serial selfish numpties, but you’re not going to screw Scotland too.”

Since the country was dragged into this eurogalactofuck by a Conservative party which was only interested in using Britain’s EU membership as a proxy war for its own internal disputes, Britain has been led by politicians with all the clarity of vision of an actor in a Specsavers advert, but without the same hilarious consequences. Brexit means Brexit, is Theresa May’s favourite mantra, but that’s as useful as saying balloon means balloon or wibble means wibble as far as it gives us any better understanding of what’s in store for us all.

What we do know is that while her words are meaningless, May has appointed the most right wing cabinet in recent history, and some of us are old enough to remember Margaret Thatcher. So whatever Brexit means Brexit actually means in the real world, it’s not going to be good for the unemployed, the poor, the low paid, the disabled, or our public services. It’s looking very much as though Brexit means more privatisation, austerity, militarisation, climate change denial, and xenophobia.

Nicola pointedly reminded a UK government which continually goes on about respecting the result of the 2014 referendum that the democratic will of the Scottish people must be respected. You can’t on the one hand insist that the Scottish people have spoken in 2014 and then ignore what the Scottish people said in 2016. The truth is that the UK that Scotland voted to remain a part of in 2014 is a UK that doesn’t exist and never existed outside the imagination of Better Together’s spin doctors.

Scotland was promised a UK where its voice would count. We were promised a UK where shipyard and tax office jobs would be protected. We were promised a UK which would deliver the strongest possible devolution. We were promised a UK that was a part of the EU. What we got was a UK which took action to restrict the voting rights of Scottish MPs, a UK where shipyard and tax office jobs were lost, a UK which delivered a weak devolution settlement that the Scotland Secretary openly boasted was a trap for the Scottish government, and a UK that’s leaving the European Union and taking Scotland with it even though Scotland voted to remain. I’ve said it before but it’s worth constant repetition – the Unionist parties do not get to demand that the result of the 2014 referendum is respected if they do not respect the promises that they made in order to win it.

Demanding that the democratic will of the Scottish people be respected was the first finger that Nicola Sturgeon gave to Westminster. She also gave them four more. Protecting Scottish economic interests, freedom of movement, and access to the European single market. Protecting Scottish social interests, the employment and human rights that we enjoy within the EU. Protecting Scottish solidarity, our ability to work cooperatively with our European friends to combat the serious problems facing the continent and the wider world like climate change and terrorism. And protecting Scotland’s ability to have an influence in European decision making.

It’s up to the Unionist parties to demonstrate now how they can protect all five areas of Scottish interest while Scotland remains in the UK. It was the Tories who got us into this mess, and if the Tories expect us to wallow in the Brexit mud with them, then they’re going to have to demonstrate concrete plans which will allow Scotland’s interests to be protected. This is their mess, but they’ve shown not the slightest inclination to start cleaning it up, instead they’ve used it as an opportunity to mount an internal right wing coup within the party. Bugger the rest of us. We’re just expected to do what we’re told.

If Labour expects Scotland to trot along obediently then it needs to stop its infighting and start fighting the Tories and demonstrating that a better Scotland is possible within the UK, but there’s as much chance of that happening as there is of Owen Smith saying that he’s a big fan of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership abilities. And as for the Lib Dems, they need to explain why it is that they consider the 2014 referendum result to be set in stone, but they’re desperate for another EU referendum as soon as possible. But then we all know that if you look up Lib Dem in a dictionary of politics it’s defined as “lying hypocrite”.

Nicola Sturgeon and Scotland are not asking for anything new. We’re only asking for what the Conservatives and the other Unionist parties promised to deliver in 2014. We were promised economic stability, we were promised the certainty of EU membership, we were promised security and the broad supporting shoulders of the UK. Yet those shoulders are carrying us off into an uncertain and insecure future, outside of the EU, towards some right wing Tory tax haven without workers rights where state surveillance substitutes for personal security. That is not what Scotland voted for in 2014. If the Unionist parties can’t respect their own promises, then all bets are off as far as another independence referendum is concerned.

And next time, we’ll be ready, we’ll be willing, and we’ll be organised. We’re going to win the next independence referendum on a platform of respect for the democratic will of the people of Scotland, for a Scotland that shapes and decides its own future, a Scotland that is not dragged along unwillingly into a privatised nightmare of rightwing austerity in the wake of Conservative leadership ambitions but which forges a path as an equal partner with our friends and allies. That’s not a threat, that’s a promise.

Audio link to this blog article, courtesy of @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/not-a-threat-but-a-promise-wee-ginger-dug-25th-july-2016

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/275308298″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]


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.

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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.


frontcovervol3I’m now taking advance orders for Volumes 3 and 4 of the Collected Yaps. For the special price of £21 for both volumes plus £4 P&P you can get signed copies of the new books if you order before publication, scheduled for mid-July. Covering the immediate aftermath of the independence referendum until the Yes campaign’s destruction of the Labour party in the 2015 General Election, it’s a snarling chronicle of Scottish history.

To reserve your copies, just send an email to weegingerbook@yahoo.com giving your name and your postal address and how many copies you wish to order. You can also order signed copies of all four volumes for the special price of £40 plus £4 P&P.


Signed copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 and 2 are available by emailing me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Price just £21.90 the pair plus P&P. 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.

Self-determination starts with the determination to do things for yourself

Self-determination starts with the self being determined. It begins with the personal decision of an individual to take action to determine the shape of their future, and not to sit passively while decisions are made on their behalf. There’s a lot of talk about when Scotland might have a second independence referendum, or rather, about when the Scottish Government might decide when to call one, but that doesn’t mean that the rest of us should sit back and wait for Holyrood to decide for us. We need to start campaigning right now, because this is our referendum, our future, and it will be decided by our own determination to do it ourselves.

I can understand why the Scottish Government doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to press the indyref2 button. It’s important that those who still cling on to the vain hope that Scotland can remain part of both the EU and the UK have time to process their grief. If we want to get as many people as possible on board with the idea of independence, and it’s important that we do, then the Scottish Government needs to be seen to explore all other options. There are still plenty of people out there who still hope that some other means can be found of preserving Scotland’s EU membership short of independence. Then when the Scottish Government does finally say that it is moving a bill in Holyrood to bring about another independence referendum it can honestly say that everything possible was done to seek a solution that would allow Scotland to remain part of both Unions but it failed due to the intransigence of Westminster.

Those of us with clearer heads know that the chances of the Tories consenting to an arrangement allowing Scotland to remain part of both the EU and the UK are as remote as us sitting down at some point in the future and saying, “You know, remember that speech by Theresa May when she became PM and promised to work on behalf of the poor and excluded, she really came through didn’t she.” The Tories are making vague noises about including Scotland in the Brexit process, but that’s really just them saying that they expect Scotland to trot along meekly to the abattoir of our European hopes.

So while the Scottish Government might have its reasons for not firing the starting pistol on a second independence referendum, there’s no reason why the rest of us have to wait for them. We need to start getting ourselves organised and campaigning now. After all, if we sit back and wait for the Scottish Government to start an official referendum campaign then we can’t claim that it’s a Scottish national independence referendum, it would be a Scottish National Party independence referendum. The indyref2 campaign needs to belong to all of us, everyone in Scotland, irrespective of party affiliation or none. The way to ensure that becomes a reality is for those of us who desire independence to start campaigning for it right now. Then we are the ones who shape the campaign. It becomes a campaign that starts and is led from the grassroots. That’s a real national movement.

This doesn’t undermine what the Scottish Government is trying to achieve. In fact it’s the opposite, it bolsters it and strengthens their hand and increases their freedom of movement. It would put the lie to the Unionist claim that there’s no appetite for a second independence referendum when there’s an active and vital independence referendum campaign out and about in the streets of Scotland. It means that when the referendum finally becomes a reality, the campaign is already up and running, and that will make it far harder for the Unionist parties to dismiss it as an SNP creation as they tried to do the last time.

We gained a wealth of experience and skills during the last independence referendum campaign. We can build on that, so when indyref2 comes along, we’re ready for it. Scottish independence will not be won by any single political party or organisation. It will be won by the sheer bloody minded determination of the people of Scotland who are fed up of being led like cattle. We can lead ourselves. We can direct ourselves. We don’t need anyone’s permission. All we need is belief in ourselves.

If there’s already a local Yes group, join it. You can find out if there’s a local group through the National Yes Registry. http://nationalyesregistry.scot/group-contact-form/ Contact Yes2Scotland for details on how to get posters, leaflets, stickers and other materials. Their facebook page is here. https://www.facebook.com/yes2dunblane/ Indyposterboy has a great range of posters available free for downloading and printing. You can get them here http://www.indyposterboy.scot/index.asp

If you want a Scotland with radical policies that’s going to tackle the social injustice and inequalities which have blighted our country under Westminster rule, join your local Common Weal group. If there isn’t already a group near you, start one. You can find out more here http://allofusfirst.org/common-weal-local/ Or you can start a Yes2 group based around a particular interest, occupation, or hobby.

Starting a local group isn’t as hard as you might think. All it takes it energy and enthusiasm. Or you can get involved with your local SNP, or Green, or RISE branch if you prefer a party political approach.

We won’t win Scottish independence just by sitting at computers or texting on mobiles. We need to get out there into the streets, into our communities, spreading the message to our families, friends, and colleagues. Let’s do this. If we wait for permission, we’ve already failed to achieve independence. Scottish independence is all about the people of Scotland taking control of their own destiny and shaping their own future with their own efforts. We can start doing that right now. Independence begins in the mind, act as though you are already independent and you soon will be, and self-determination starts with the determination to do things for yourself.

Audio link to this article, courtesy of @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/self-determination-starts-with-the-determination-to-do-things-for-yourself-wgd-24th-july-2016

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/275164586″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]


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.


frontcovervol3I’m now taking advance orders for Volumes 3 and 4 of the Collected Yaps. For the special price of £21 for both volumes plus £4 P&P you can get signed copies of the new books if you order before publication, scheduled for mid-July. Covering the immediate aftermath of the independence referendum until the Yes campaign’s destruction of the Labour party in the 2015 General Election, it’s a snarling chronicle of Scottish history.

To reserve your copies, just send an email to weegingerbook@yahoo.com giving your name and your postal address and how many copies you wish to order. You can also order signed copies of all four volumes for the special price of £40 plus £4 P&P.


Signed copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 and 2 are available by emailing me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Price just £21.90 the pair plus P&P. 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.

The real Spanish veto threat

I wasn’t going to blog today because I’ve got a bad case of manflu, which is like a regular cold only with additional histrionics, drama, and attention seeking. So very much like the Labour leadership contest then. But there’s news from Spain which I thought worth sharing, mostly because it’s deeply discomfiting to those Unionists who keep claiming that Spain would veto the membership of an independent Scotland in the EU. And when you’ve got a severe dose of manflu, the one thing that cheers you up more than anything else is making people who annoy you really miserable.

Regular readers of this blog will know that the myth that Spain would veto an independent Scotland’s membership of the EU is just that, a myth without foundation. At no point has the Spanish government ever made a statement to that effect, and on those occasions when he has been asked explicitly to state whether or not Spain would veto the membership of the EU of an independent Scotland, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has refused to give an answer.

The reason is that Madrid’s opposition to a Catalan independence referendum is based on a clause in the Spanish constitution which says that Spanish territory is indivisible. Madrid argues that Catalan independence would be unconstitutional and therefore they would refuse to recognise it. Madrid’s officials have explicitly stated that they would veto the EU membership of a Catalonia which declared independence. They’ve never done the same about Scotland for the simple reason that the Scottish independence process would be perfectly constitutional and legal. When asked about this situation in an interview back in February 2014, foreign minister José Manuel García-Margallo said that if Scotland were to achieve independence within the framework of the British constitution, then Spain would have nothing to say about it.

Of course Spain doesn’t want to encourage Scottish independence, what with us being besties of the Catalans, but on the other hand they know that they have no legal or constitutional grounds to object to Scottish independence. They objected to Kosovan independence because the Serbian constitution prohibits it, but Spain did not object to the independence of Croatia or South Sudan which were constitutional and legal. What will happen with the Scottish independence process is that Spain will huff and puff and harrumph and bluff, but the morning after a Yes vote in a Scottish independence referendum Madrid will say, “But we’ve said all along that Scotland is an entirely different case from Catalonia.”

Foreign minister José Manuel García-Margallo has been a busy man this week. Speaking earlier in the week about the situation of Gibraltar post-Brexit, the Spanish foreign minister did make an explicit threat of a veto. Only it wasn’t Scotland he threatened, he threatened to veto the terms of the UK’s Brexit if it includes Gibraltar. Reported in the Gibraltar Chronicle newspaper, the Spanish foreign minister was quoted as saying that when the UK presses the Brexit button, the European Council must agree the terms of the negotiations “by unanimity”. He added that Spain intended to make it “clear that Gibraltar does not belong to the UK” and would “have the right to veto”.

So it’s not Scotland that faces a threat of a Spanish veto. It’s the rest of the UK and the Conservative government. Oh, the irony.

Last night there was a very interesting interview with Spanish foreign minister José Manuel García-Margallo on the El Cascabel programme on Channel 13tv of Spanish television. The programme is available online for a limited period. Speaking about the dangers that occur when a party leaves the centre ground and flirts with extremism, García-Margallo said that Nigel Farage had succeeded in dragging the Conservative party and United Kingdom out of the EU, and added, “I may be wrong, but within four or five years England will return to the frontiers that it had in the sixteenth century.”

Asked by the interviewer Antonio Jiménez to clarify his point and asked whether he was referring to Scotland, García-Margallo elaborated, “I believe that Scotland will demand an independence referendum in order to remain in the European Union.” He continued to speak of the problems that Northern Ireland would face as a result of the Brexit vote, and the risk to the peace process. At no point did he hint that Spain would veto Scottish membership of the EU if we vote for independence in the referendum that he expects us to have. “When you put the interests of your party before your country,” he went on, speaking about the British Conservatives, “the result is a catastrophe.”
(Link to video http://www.13tv.es/programas-13tv/el-cascabel/ Comments start at 11.30. Please note the programme is in Spanish)

What the Spanish foreign minister’s comments tell us is that the highest levels of the Spanish government believe that Scottish independence is highly likely, and equally they tell us that they believe that the actions of Scotland in seeking an independence referendum are perfectly understandable given the behaviour of the British Conservatives. And by speaking of a return by England (and he said England not the United Kingdom) to its sixteenth century borders García-Margallo implicitly recognised that at the time Scotland was an independent state and was seeking a return to that status as a result of Brexit.

There was no hint of a threat against Scotland in anything that García-Margallo had to say, nothing to suggest a veto, and given that just a few minutes previously he had been discussing the situation in Catalonia, it would have been very easy for him to speak about any measures Spain might take to discourage Scotland from seeking independence. In fact, he adopted a tone that was sympathetic to Scotland and clearly set a second Scottish independence referendum within the context of the Conservative government being dragged to the right under the influence of political extremists and as a means for Scotland to safeguard its EU membership by recovering its previous status as an independent state. I nearly fell off my chair.

So there you have it. There is a serious threat of a Spanish veto arising out of the political fall out from the Brexit vote. It’s just that it’s not a threat against an independent Scotland remaining a member of the EU, it’s a threat against the rest of the UK getting the kind of Brexit that the Tories might want.

Right now due to my manflu my eyes are teary and my nose is running and I feel a bit queasy, which is probably how the Scottish Conservatives and Unionists will be feeling once they digest the latest news from Spain. Spain is threatening to veto them, not an independent Scotland.

Link to audio version of this blog, courtesy of @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/the-real-spanish-veto-threat-wee-ginger-dug-22nd-july-2016?in=occamshaver/sets/wee-ginger-dug-blogs

 
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/274993832″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]


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.


frontcovervol3I’m now taking advance orders for Volumes 3 and 4 of the Collected Yaps. For the special price of £21 for both volumes plus £4 P&P you can get signed copies of the new books if you order before publication, scheduled for mid-July. Covering the immediate aftermath of the independence referendum until the Yes campaign’s destruction of the Labour party in the 2015 General Election, it’s a snarling chronicle of Scottish history.

To reserve your copies, just send an email to weegingerbook@yahoo.com giving your name and your postal address and how many copies you wish to order. You can also order signed copies of all four volumes for the special price of £40 plus £4 P&P.


Signed copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 and 2 are available by emailing me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Price just £21.90 the pair plus P&P. 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.

That ship has sailed

One by one the pillars of support for the Union have been removed. Now all that’s keeping the UK up is the hot air of the Unionist parties and their media friends. The latest pillar of salt to dissolve in the crocodile tears of the Unionists is the pledge to build Type 26 frigates on the Clyde. During the referendum campaign we were told that 13 Type 26 frigates were to be built on the Clyde, but only if Scotland voted to remain a part of the UK. Then Scotland voted no and within months five of the vessels were mysteriously sunk and Scotland could only look forward to building eight of them instead of the originally promised 13. Now we’re told that a decision to build even the reduced number of vessels is to be indefinitely delayed.

Mind you, you can be certain that the contract for the ships will be trotted out as a firm commitment before the next independence referendum. And you can be equally certain that if Scotland is stupid enough to vote No again the ships will disappear in a puff of Better Together smoke the day after Westminster gets what it wants. Ships the the MoD promises to build on the Clyde are like the Flying Dutchman, mythical and doomed never to make it into port because they never get built in the first place. If you ever sight another Unionist leaflet promising their arrival you can take it as a sure fire portent of impending disaster. For the Union, at any rate. The promise of ships on the Clyde is the ghost of a Union, a bedtime story with no substance.

Scotland was told repeatedly during the independence referendum that the Clyde shipyards depended on MoD orders in order to stay open, and that only by voting No could we ensure that the shipyards had a future. Scotland voted No and the yards don’t have a future anyway. The shipyard workers were sold down the river for a Union fleg and a Tory government that Scotland didn’t vote for.

The shipyard betrayal is the latest verse in the dirge that mourns the burial of the promises made to keep Scotland in the Union. The only promise that Better Together made that they actually kept was that Michelle Mone moved out of Scotland, or more accurately, flounced out. Oh no. I tell a lie. They also promised that if they won the referendum they’d spend the next couple of years crowing about it and demanding that yes supporters respect the result. But that’s only because Scotland’s Unionists don’t know what respect really means. You don’t get to demand that the result of a referendum is respected if you don’t want to respect the things that you promised and committed yourself to in order to win the result that you wanted. That’s not respect, that’s a demand for slavish obedience.

Scotland doesn’t do blind deference any more. We don’t bow down before our imperial masters and give them carte blanche to do what they like. Respect cuts both ways or it’s no respect at all. If the Unionist parties expect us to respect the result of the 2014 referendum, we expect them to respect what they promised us. We expect no Brexit. We expect the nearest thing possible to federalism. We expect the 3000 jobs in the tax offices to be saved. We expect EVEL to be abolished. And we expect that none of those things are going to happen, so we expect no respect and we expect to give none in return.

That’s what Ruth Davidson doesn’t understand. She fought the Scottish election on the back of a buffalo and a promise that she was going to hold the SNP to account. But you only have the moral authority to hold others to account if you yourself have abided by your own promises and commitments. Ruth Davidson holding the Scottish government to account is like Elizabeth Bathory taking the moral high ground and saying, “Well yes, I might have slaughtered hundreds of peasant girls and bathed in their blood, but at least I’ve never received a parking ticket.” Our Conservative government that Scotland didn’t vote for is a stranger to morality, truth, or basic human decency.

Meanwhile Labour is reduced to pleading impotently for the Tories to play fair and then abstaining when it comes to a vote in the Commons. Asking the Tories to play fair is like asking the Russian Doping Test Agency for a positive drug test on a Russian athlete. But the burst balloons of Scottish Labour will always find some way of taking a swipe at the SNP in the process. Today on social media erstwhile director of the Better Together campaign was reduced to claiming that the SNP never wanted any frigates built on the Clyde anyway, as if that would make the Tory betrayal all OK even if it were the truth.

Mind you, not that you’d know any of this if you were relying on our national broadcaster or its privately owned competitor to keep you informed. Neither the BBC’s Reporting Scotland nor STV news saw fit to broadcast a story that undermines any residual trust Scots have that the Unionist establishment should keep the promises and commitments it made in order to defeat the case for independence during 2014’s referendum. Murrdurrs, fitba, the pishin rain and cute wee seagulls were all considered far more important stories. Reporting Scotland decided instead it was going to focus on how the Scottish economy hasn’t grown and how the lower oil price has screwed us, anything to help reinforce the message that Scotland is too wee and too poor.

Today’s news is just the latest in a long line of lies and betrayals. It’s now at the point where we can look on every promise of the Better Together campaign and state with certainty that it’s going to be broken if it hasn’t been broken already. It’s for all those shattered promises, all those commitments that lie in the dust, all the lies, all the deceit, all the breaches of faith and breaking of trust, that’s why we’re going to have another independence referendum. It’s too late to save the Union. That ship has sailed.

Audio version of this article, courtesy of @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/that-ship-has-sailed-wee-ginger-dug-20th-july-2016

 
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frontcovervol3I’m now taking advance orders for Volumes 3 and 4 of the Collected Yaps. For the special price of £21 for both volumes plus £4 P&P you can get signed copies of the new books if you order before publication, scheduled for mid-July. Covering the immediate aftermath of the independence referendum until the Yes campaign’s destruction of the Labour party in the 2015 General Election, it’s a snarling chronicle of Scottish history.

To reserve your copies, just send an email to weegingerbook@yahoo.com giving your name and your postal address and how many copies you wish to order. You can also order signed copies of all four volumes for the special price of £40 plus £4 P&P.


Signed copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 and 2 are available by emailing me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Price just £21.90 the pair plus P&P. 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.

Making the case

The Scottish government is planning a drive across the country this summer to make the case for independence, but to tell the truth, the Tories have beaten them to it. Just a month ago making the case for independence looked like it was going to be a long hard slog, a slow campaign of attrition, but in the space of a couple of weeks the Conservative and Unionist party has managed to make the case for independence for us.

It was all very well answering the criticism that Scotland doesn’t get the UK governments it votes for by replying that there will be another General Election, and Scotland can have another chance at trying but failing to get a UK government that most in Scotland support. But Brexit is forever. There’s no coming back from that. Scotland voted by a large majority, by a larger margin than we voted to remain a part of the UK, to stay in the EU, yet we’re going to be taken out of it anyway. We don’t get another chance at voting on this, and the future of Scotland for decades to come will be determined by a choice supported by only a minority of its population. That’s an unsustainable democratic deficit.

Last night’s Trident vote was the stale icing on the shit-cake. The elected representatives of the rest of the UK voted by a very large margin to impose Trident on the part of the UK whose elected representatives voted almost unanimously against it.

Trident creates hundreds, no thousands, bazillions of jobs, cry the Tories and their apologists, citing a number that increases every time there’s a news report. Back in 2012 Labour’s Jackie Baillie was criticised for citing a wildly inflated figure of 11,000 jobs dependent on Trident. The true figure, revealed by a Freedom of Information request, is 520 civilian jobs.  Yet this week the Guardian claimed 13,000 Scottish jobs depend on the bombs. Who knew that nuclear weapons of mass destruction were really altruistic methods of creating job opportunities eh? When Robert Oppenheimer set off the first atomic bomb what he really said was, “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds. But I do keep a medium sized Tesco Express open in the Helensburgh area.”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel very safe entrusting my future and the future of my country to a bunch of innumerate eejits who don’t know the difference between a weapon of mass destruction that has the potential to evaporate the West of Scotland and a job creation scheme. Trident isn’t designed to create Scottish jobs. It’s designed to blow the planet to buggery. It just creates some work for a relatively small number of people as an accidental by-product, rather like the accidental by-product of nuclear contamination in the Firth of Clyde which it creates far more reliably. What all these politicians who scream about Trident’s job creating potential, as opposed to its people melting potential, forget is that if the government was to spend the billions it spends on Trident directly creating jobs, it would create a vastly greater number of jobs than Trident ever could. Let’s just cut out the middle-missile. It’s not bloody rocket science.

The political case for independence has been made, largely by the Unionist parties themselves. The economic case is also looking a whole lot stronger, despite some claims to the contrary from the usual suspects. Apparently it’s going to be a piece of cake for the UK to negotiate hundreds of trade deals with the rest of the world, but it’s going to be almost impossible for the rest of the UK to negotiate one with an independent Scotland that’s a part of the EU.

Ruthie, reeling from the realisation that her own party has just landed her with a Scottish independence referendum that she’s likely to lose, has taken to asserting that most of Scotland’s trade is with the rest of the UK and not with the EU. It’s unclear from the figures just how much of Scotland’s trade with the rest of the UK is promptly re-exported, because Scotland’s been systematically starved of infrastructure investment for decades and lacks the port facilities itself, but that’s by the by.

The point that Ruth doesn’t want us to consider is that if the rUK imposes trade barriers against an independent Scotland then it’s also going to face trade barriers with the rest of the European Union. The next indyref is going to be fought on the basis of Scotland remaining a member of the EU. So if the Brexiteer Tory government succeeds in its declared aim of negotiating unimpeded access for the UK to the EU single market, then an independent Scotland will also enjoy free access to the rUK’s market. And if the rUK’s government fails, and there are tarrifs on Scottish trade, there will also be tarrifs on the rUK’s trade with the EU, to which Scotland will continue to enjoy unimpeded access. That will damage the rUK’s economy immensely whereas Scotland will have other opportunities to explore and exploit. Ruth wants Scotland to remain in the UK so we can risk tying ourselves to a damaged and shrinking economy with a pound that’s plummeting faster than Ruth’s reputation and cut ourselves off from trade with the rest of the world. That’s not an attractive prospect.

There’s also the consideration that if Scotland becomes independent, many large companies which currently have their headquarters in London will be looking to relocate to an EU state in order to preserve their free access to the European single market. An independent Scotland that’s part of the EU and which shares the same landmass with the rest of the UK will be ideally placed to hoover up the jobs that the rest of the UK is losing. It will certainly create far more job opportunities in Scotland than Trident ever could.  The next indyref isn’t going to be fought on the basis of the number of jobs it’s going to cost Scotland, it’s going to be fought on the basis of the number of jobs that it’s going to bring in.

And there’s another reason that an independent Scotland will prosper outside the UK. It’s not just that Scotland is blessed with an embarrassment of natural resources, with a highly skilled population, with a world class reputation for invention and innovation. It’s not even that with our own currency we’ll join the family of nations relatively unburdened by the rUK’s national debt. The rest of the EU will have a very strong incentive to ensure that an independent Scotland, a Scotland which has become independent in order to remain a part of the EU while the rest of the UK leaves, does far better economically than the rest of the UK. What better way to illustrate to the rest of Europe the advantages of remaining within the EU, and the disadvantages of leaving.

All I’ve done here is to put together a few stray thoughts over the course of an afternoon towards making a case for Scottish independence. When we all get our heads together, when we thrash out the details, when we develop firm plans, our case for an independent Scotland will be unassailable. We’re going to be faced with a Unionist opposition which shot its bolt the last time, made promise after promise that it didn’t keep.  Its credibility lies in shreds along with the credibility of the UK in the eyes of the rest of Europe.

The Unionist diehards have been reduced to claiming that there is no appetite in Scotland for another independence referendum. What they really mean is that they have no appetite for one, because they know they’re going to lose it.

Audio version of this blog, courtesy of @lumi_1984 https://t.co/uuk6JfkcqE


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.

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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.


frontcovervol3I’m now taking advance orders for Volumes 3 and 4 of the Collected Yaps. For the special price of £21 for both volumes plus £4 P&P you can get signed copies of the new books if you order before publication, scheduled for mid-July. Covering the immediate aftermath of the independence referendum until the Yes campaign’s destruction of the Labour party in the 2015 General Election, it’s a snarling chronicle of Scottish history.

To reserve your copies, just send an email to weegingerbook@yahoo.com giving your name and your postal address and how many copies you wish to order. You can also order signed copies of all four volumes for the special price of £40 plus £4 P&P.


Signed copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 and 2 are available by emailing me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Price just £21.90 the pair plus P&P. 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.

A fantasy Commons debate for a fantasy deterrent

On Monday the House of Commons debated the renewal of Trident. It was entirely predictable that the House would vote to renew the weapons of mass destruction. It was entirely predictable that all but one of Scotland’s MPs would vote to oppose it but Scotland’s going to get Trident anyway. And it was entirely predictable that most Labour MPs would use the occasion as an opportunity for attacking their own party leader instead of opposing the Tories.

It wasn’t really a debate of course. Debates imply that some participants are open to changing their minds. But then the UK’s independent nuclear deterrent is neither independent nor a deterrent, so a pretend debate on a pretend independent deterrent was perfectly appropriate.

What transpired in the House of Commons on Monday is what Westminster politicians mean when they tell us that remaining a part of the UK gives Scotland certainty. We can be certain that the second rate politicians who lead the Tory party will happy spend £200 billion as an ego boost so they don’t have to come to terms with the fact that the UK is a second rate power. We can be certain that the Labour party is as effective in protecting the nation as the uselessly expensive Trident missiles that they’re so fond of. And we can be certain that Scotland is going to get screwed over.

Our caring sharing new Prime Minister, the one who wants to represent the human and humane face of Conservatism, didn’t hesitate to say Yes when asked whether she’d press the nuclear button and condemn millions of civilians to evaporation, and millions more to long painful lingering deaths. A woman who has participated in a government which has destroyed workers’ rights and opportunities and presided over the explosive growth of foodbanks is all of a sudden posing as the champion of jobs.

Faslane costs Scotland jobs. In exchange for the 520 civilian jobs which the MoD admits the base creates, the MoD insists that the oil reserves in the Firth of Clyde remain unexploited. Scotland could have enjoyed a West coast oil boom during the 1980s, but it was prevented by the direct intervention of the MoD who didn’t want oil companies interfering with the passage of their precious nuclear submarines. All the focus on the BBC is on the jobs at Faslane, allowing talking heads to quote the fantasy figure of 12,000 jobs, a figure which includes several thousand military personel who do not live locally, a figure which rises every time the BBC report on the issue. But they never discuss the real high skilled high value jobs that the existence of the nuclear base prevents from being realised. And the never discuss the immense damage that radioactive pollution could be doing to a coastal area right next door to the largest city in Scotland.

The impression beloved of Westminster politicians that the UK is a world power is as laughable as the idea that Alberto Costa MP is a serious politician. For those who are unaware of the existence of Alberto, I can only say what lucky lucky people you are. He’s the Scottish born Tory MP for South Leicestershire, who has enthusiastically adopted oleaginous toadyism as a career path. Every time the mental scars of Alberto’s last appearance on our telly screens begins to fade, he pops up again with his wee fat face like a bursting plook. His contribution to the Trident debate was to remind opponents of renewal that we must renew Trident because nuclear weapons can’t be uninvented. Next week Alberto will be arguing for the renewal of the UK’s stocks of iron maidens, thumb screws, chemical and biological weapons, and those Klackers which were so effective in breaking the arm bones of 1970s school children.

Labour MPs took it in turn to stand up and interrupt their own leader’s speech against Trident renewal to side with the Tories. What about the jobs? They cried. As though a ruinously expensive weapon of mass destruction was really a job creation scheme. Because the most effective and useful way of spending over £200 billion of taxpayers’ money on creating employment is to spend it on missiles that can blow up half the planet and render the other half as much as a desolate wasteland as an Angela Eagle mass supporters’ rally. Trident is a job creation scheme, it’s just that it’s a job creation scheme for former defence secretaries, directors of defence companies, and the boards of the banks who loan the money and profit from the weapons’ construction.

Labour’s Vernon Coaker tells the House that threats like ISIS are a reason why the UK needs its nuclear deterrent. Because if some madman decides to drive a lorry into a crowd of people the best way to stop him is with a nuclear missile fired from a submarine. Vernon thinks that renewing Trident is so important that it’s worth any cuts to public services it might cause. One after another Labour’s discredited MPs stand up to mouth their nonsense, supporting the Tories instead of supporting their constituents.

The independent nuclear deterrent of the United Kingdom is every bit a ruinous fantasy as the reveries of a heroin addict. The UK keeps paying through the nose for its expensive nuclear medicine to stave off the harsh reality that its life is going nowhere except down the tubes, and it has no future except one of decay and irrelevance. Trident is a 20th century weapons system designed to counter a 20th century threat. The world has moved on, but the British state hasn’t. It’s still desperately clinging on to the glory days of the early and mid 20th century when the UK was still a player on the world stage and not an embarrassing and xenophobic little island perched off the north west coast of Europe, a mini-me America without the weather, the resources, or the clout. A country that can’t afford to be in Europe, that can’t afford to cooperate with our neighbours, but which can afford the weaponry to blow them off the face of the Earth.

If you want to know why so many people hold Westminster in such utter contempt you don’t need to look further than today’s Trident debate. Guff substitutes as fact. Idiocy takes the place of reason. Simple minded platitudes are proferred as profundities. One after another Tories and Labour politicians got up and spoke of the need to spend hundreds of billions on a useless weapons system which pollutes and endangers all of Scotland, and whose sole purpose is to make those self-same politicians feel important.

Audio link to this blog, courtesy of @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/a-fantasy-commons-debate-for-a-fantasy-deterrent-wee-ginger-dug-18th-july-2016


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


frontcovervol3I’m now taking advance orders for Volumes 3 and 4 of the Collected Yaps. For the special price of £21 for both volumes plus £4 P&P you can get signed copies of the new books if you order before publication, scheduled for mid-July. Covering the immediate aftermath of the independence referendum until the Yes campaign’s destruction of the Labour party in the 2015 General Election, it’s a snarling chronicle of Scottish history.

To reserve your copies, just send an email to weegingerbook@yahoo.com giving your name and your postal address and how many copies you wish to order. You can also order signed copies of all four volumes for the special price of £40 plus £4 P&P.


Signed copies of the Collected Yaps of the Wee Ginger Dug volumes 1 and 2 are available by emailing me at weegingerbook@yahoo.com. Price just £21.90 the pair plus P&P. 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.