It’s time to grasp the thistle

Watching May in action is like being transported back in time to the Thatcher era. We’ve got a female prime minister who’s channelling a matron with a lubeless enema, and we’ve got a Tory government that blatantly doesn’t give a toss about what Scotland wants without even bother to hide it with a veneer of consultation. May told us, “We voted as one United Kingdom to leave the EU, and we’ll leave it as one United Kingdom. There is no opt out from Brexit. And I will never allow divisive nationalists to undermine the precious Union between the four nations of our United Kingdom.”

Yes, she actually said that. And she’s not a parody Twitter account of a Prime Minister. You might just think that if she was so concerned not to let divisive nationalists undermine the Union that she’d have campaigned a bit for a remain vote and condemned the not so much dog whistle more a fog horn racism of the Brexit campaign. But no, it’s not divisive racist xenophobic British nationalism she’s got in mind, it’s the nationalism of the internationalist civic and Scottish variety. May said that it’s for the UK government to negotiate Brexit, to define Brexit and to impose Brexit. So you can forget about getting any special deal Scotland. You can forget about all that guff about how Scotland shouldn’t leave the UK but lead it. You can forget about your voice being heard or your wishes being respected. Theresa May has told us what a UK agreed approach means. It means that she’ll tell us what the approach is and we will agree.

There is no precious Union. A Union means a voluntary coming together of partners. A Union means that the differences between those partners are respected and a means found of accommodating them. A Union means consent. A Union in which the largest partner in that Union always gets its own way and the others have to do as it commands is not a Union. It’s a takeover. It’s a demand for obedience. There’s precious little to distinguish it from a colonial enterprise. What precious to Theresa is her right to command, her ability to rule, her capacity for power.

Well guess what Theresa, if Scotland can’t have an opt out from Brexit it will have an opt out from you. Because it’s you who is the divisive nationalist. The Union is over and it’s the Tories who ended it because the Tories can’t allow the existence of a political space within the Union that they don’t control. The Union has ended because all the achievements of the British state, the National Health Service, access to higher education for all, decent public services, a social security net to catch the poorest and the weak before they fall into the dark pit of despair, a decent pension for the elderly, they’re all threatened by the Tories. Paradoxically, the only way that the decent and humane parts of the British state can be preserved is for Scotland to seek independence.

Theresa May’s speech to the Tory party conference told us that there is no place for Scotland in the UK. She made the case for independence while setting her face against any consideration for Scotland. It was a speech in which Scotland’s nose was ground down in the powerlessness of the region where we are at the small end of the weather map.

They’re going to tell us that we need them, that we’d be nothing without them. They’re going to insist that Scotland needs access to the markets of the rest of the UK and we won’t dare risk losing that, while they also insist that a post-Brexit Britain will negotiate a favourable trade deal with the EU and have all the access to the markets of the EU that it could possibly need. But if Scotland is independent and a part of the EU then it’s also going to have all the access to the markets of the rest of the UK that it could possibly need.

They’re going to tell us that there will be a hard border between Gretna and Berwick while telling the Irish that there will be no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

They’re going to tell us that we have a massive deficit and we’d have to make huge cuts to public spending, while the deficit of the UK soars and spending cuts come thick and fast. They’ll gloat about Scotland’s supposed poverty while hoping we never ask why we should remain with a criminally negligent Westminster that caused it. A Westminster that pissed away the oil, that farted out the gas, that’s allowing Scotland’s renewable potential to blow away in the wind.

Better Together Mk II will have to pull off the unlikely trick of scaring Scotland one way while reassuring the rest of the UK with the opposite. But they’re the same people who’ve insisted that Scotland can’t have its own broadcast media. The message they send to the rest of the UK will be received loud and clear in Scotland too.

Theresa May told us this weekend that she’ll start the Brexshit clock, so we’ll know when it’s about to hit the fan, but she’s still not told us what’s going to happen. All we’ve got are the vainglorious aspirations of a pub bore on a barstool. Britain can have everything it wants and Europe is going to come running. Britain can have everything it wants and Scotland will acquiesce. Britain can have everything it wants and the world will be at its feet. And then the drunk drains his glass and falls off his stool and lies there in a pool of his own urine while the world steps over him.

Scotland has a choice. Scotland can choose to submit to decades of right wing xenophobic Tory rule, where bunting and royal occasion substitute for community, where military parades glorify a state that abandons its veterans to benefits sanctions and charity handouts. Or we can grasp the thistle and take our own destiny into our own hands. Theresa May has made the choice for us, we can watch the thistle wither and die, or realise that it’s time to grasp it. It’s time for indyref2.

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

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 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 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 Price just £21.90 the pair plus P&P. Copies of Barking Up the Right Tree are available from my publisher Vagabond Voices at 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.

0 thoughts on “It’s time to grasp the thistle

  1. Pingback: It’s time to grasp the thistle | pictishbeastie

  2. Great stuff as always ma man, This time the tide is coming in thick and fast.. and with their arguments shot in the foot as you outline in your piece it is essential we get this message across from the grassroots to the population who follow msm.. would a weekly free publication not be a good in-road to these homes? -keeping up with current myths, and dispelling them each week? no shortage of paper boys, girls, dugs.. new walking boots to be ordered methinks!
    Great to see you and Ginger in Girvan last weekend, I’m glad I did, ye’ll be a busy man (and dug) noo.. there is a dream to be realised- YES!!

  3. They are terrified they will loose the trillions of £s worth of oil Scotland sits on. They are trying to force Scotland to give up its rights and assets through fear willingly. Or they are going to threaten the cosh tacktiks and blame Scotland the victim. Aye they need a new script, some things never change, just the actors.

  4. Pingback: It’s time to grasp the thistle | speymouth

  5. Ceart!

    They say a week is a long time in politics.

    Compare and contrast:- 16th Sep. 2014 from David Cameron (plea to Scots) in advance of the Referendum….describing it as ….’the greatest example of democracy the world has ever known.’…

    …(there have of course been 56 democratically elected MPs (SNP), 1 Labour, 1 Liberal and even (and most importantly) 1 Conservative MP returned by Scotland to represent this part of the United Kingdom in Westmister since then). .as certain ‘promises’ were made… …’divisive’ stuff this democracy….best not let them have too much of it… by consulting Parliament at inconvenient points…might not get the result you want..

    ….compare and contrast with……. his replacement’s recent efforts .(Oct 2016)…

    ‘I will never allow divisive Nationalists to undermine the precious Union between the four nations of our United Kingdom’.. presumably this is what is meant by ‘one nation’ Conservatism.
    Genuinely interested to know from ‘No’ voters in 2014 – is this what you voted for? thought you were getting? what you hoped and dreamed for your Country when you had the opportunity to vote for Independence…by simply putting a ‘X’ = Yes in a box for it. ..

    • Unfortunately I suspect many No voters would still consider themselves “Better Together” or they don’t care – as long as they can still be “Brititsh” – plus they can’t be seen to back down or change their minds. I despair of ever changing the minds of the Stockholm Syndrome sycophants. Maybe the SNP should adopt Tory policies for 6 months to show people how much worse off they would be without the protection of the Scottish Govt.

  6. Paul, I’ve put off watching the Tories at play today, not being able to muster the stomach to watch them at triumphalist play,or Marr and Neil slavering and cap doffing like the Uriahs they are. If your quote is accurate, I’ll steel myself and tune into Tory Towers. I need to hear this for myself.
    Well, Dugdale, Rennie, Harvie? We are being invaded by an English Mind Army.
    Your thoughts?
    The Sound of Silence.

    • Dear Dear language tut tut , Oh well too old and pissed off now to waste time on the niceties and its late nite all.

  7. Where to start with the Birmingburg Rally 2016 ? Whether ’tis nobler to finally announce the launching of the Good Ship Article 50 on a BBC chat show rather than in the elected House of Commons we can only ponder, for we are just the cannon fodder in Führer May’s battle royale.

    In fact no, we are Scottish, so we’re not even cannon fodder – we are less than this, we are the maggots which will feed upon the remains of, er, the remainers, for they (like us) have had their referendum and lo, it was lost.

    So there will be no second EU referendum, no UK wide discussion, no idle chatter from Scotland (keep pumping that Oil you heathens) or NI, no need for the Commons or the Lords.

    No need either for a running commentary, as this would mean Herr Theresa would be talking to herself. Carry on Führer, chatter away to your bloodless hearts content – because Scotland stopped listening years ago.

  8. The gauntlet has been thrown down. Let us pick it up and slap them roundly round their sleekit jowls wi it. Game on.

  9. Definitely a case of ding ding the witch ain’t dead.She sounded more like Thatcher than Thatcher did. “The precious union” nothing precious about dearie. Half the planet is laughing themselves silly at the situation the UK is now in. Is the EU scared nope and if she thinks Scotland will go meekly into the dark night of Brexit then she is in for a big surprise

    • She’s certainly starting to sound like Gollum with all this ‘precious’ fixation. We all know how that ended up.

  10. The blue touch paper will be the ‘great repeal bill’. The attempt to annul or repeal all legislative and legal amendments which allows the UK to conform to EU requirements. Scots law is separate from UK law and always has been. The UK parliament will find itself attempting to overrule and direct both the Scottish parliament and Scottish law (Scottish democracy and process) in order to pass the bill for the whole of the UK.

    QED – constitutional crisis.

    I’m sure Ms May meant to point that out in her speech. ‘Course she has a lot on her mind and it’s easy to let pesky details slip when you’ve got your plate full of Daily Mail soundbites and dog whistle cues to get across to an audience.

    • Maybe she’ll just abolish Scots law. Many would just sit back and say “Oh well, if that’s what’s to happen what can we do about it?”. Some just don’t realise the implications and believe life will just go on as normal. Then there are the diehard “proud Scots” who think we should all just be Britannia and Lizzie all the way, whatever. I’ve tried being political and discussing these things but have found the majority to be disinterested or embarrassed. How the hell do you get through to them how bloody awful this all is?

      • Posted this earlier elsewhere but FWIW, here’s my take on it:

        The great repeal is the constitutional crisis. It would be Westminster parliament’s attempt to override Scottish democracy, the will of the devolved parliament and our still independent law.

        Now our parly could be dismantled by thone grumpy MPs and Peers I suppose, but in order to do so would require the repeal of the Scotland act and then the creation of a new act which would ignore the primacy of Scots law, Scottish sovereignty and I’d imagine drive a horse and cart through the treaty of union. I’m sure our MPs, MSPs and electorate would just be standing around with their hands in their pockets watching the clouds roll by during all of that. 😀

        No, I don’t think they’ll attempt any of that either. They’re in enough bother as it is with the population across the UK. Remember Mr Cameron’s careless and well publicised remarks on indyref? The one where he let the cat out the bag on her maj and what a narrow squeak the whole thing was?

        The political class will always, but always attempt to subvert the democratic process. They’ll lie, cheat, manipulate, blackmail, beg, bully and bluster, to convince the public to vote the way they want. How and ever, in a 21st century western democracy I’d very much doubt they’d attempt to destroy democratic process and replace it with dictatorship, (though most days it certainly feels that way to people). 🙂

        The reason Cameron had been afraid, was simply because he would have been compelled to abide by the democratic process. As indeed May is compelled right now over Brexit and will be on the result of any indyref2.

        So long as the democratic process exists, there is no need or want for the likes of UDI. If any politician pulls that out of the tool box, its because democracy has failed and the tanks are headed for the border. Its the course no one wants, or wants to see. Its also not needed.

        So long as democracy exists on these islands, all that is required is a simple agreed upon mandate at a ballot. Referendum or GE, doesn’t matter which. If you vote for someone seeking a specific mandate and they win? Then I’d guess its their job to carry out that mandate. 😉


        In short our politicians are bound by democratic process and laws both international and domestic. This includes the legally binding structures of the treaty of union. Its why May has no choice in the type of Bexit deal which will be on the table and why there is no avoiding a constitutional crisis in attempting to pull ALL of the UK out of the EU. She can’t force the Scots to go where they don’t want to go (we need to agree to go willingly) and the treaty forbids the UK government to interfere in Scots law which has accrued forty years of EU amendments in order to conform to its membership.

        In this instance it’s not really a case of what the politicians want, rather a case of simply what is and what they are compelled to do. 😉

        Something has to give and the most likely method for settling the issue would be a second indyref.

  11. One of your better blogposts. Its Game on for indyref2 alright. I might have to come home and cast a vote for YES.

  12. I note that John Cleese has been given a Cabinet post in May’s politburo. SoS at the Ministry of Silly Talks.
    The Glasgow tenement dwellers of Broomhill, Hyndland, and Kelvinside are craving for social status, Cleese blasts, in a bout of ‘culturalism’.
    He’s not a racist, though, but, mind.
    ‘I’m a Scot, and I look up to him, because he is an English born person of any class, and I’m a brainwashed subjugated Sweatie low life under English Imperial Rule. But I look down on no one.’

  13. I believe her speech was the Tory’s throwing in the towel on Scotland, no voters have been thrown under the bus.

    We need to win the next Indy Ref by any mems necessary.

  14. Repealing the 1972 EU act means hard Brexit at a stroke. No need for the EU to negotiate. Ergo no passporting rights etc.
    The EU just turns its back and closes the door.
    Subsidies from the EU to the Scots will stop!! And more.
    At a stroke the UK is out.
    And the long attempts chasing the chimera of free trade a la Fox will unravel.
    EU citizens here and UK citizens across the EU, what then?

  15. May is many things, but she is not stupid. These comments were aimed at a tory audience, and stuff what Scotland thinks. She is leading a divided party, in a divided Union, in a divided country.
    It doesn’t matter who is PM. The choices are limited. Westminster has made a laughing stock of the country internationally. Other countries are actually sniggering at us.
    Comments made by other countries ambassadors and political leaders include publicly deriding Fox as “delusional”, The Canadians saying publicly “They haven’t got a clue”. The EU’s chief negotiator taking to social media to openly and publicly taunt Britain. Several political leaders from other countries describing the situation in Britain as a mess, whilst head shaking and smirking at Westminster’s impotence and inaction.
    Country after country shutting the door in Britain’s face when the question of trade agreements are discussed.
    May is no Prime Minister. She is just a marker to show how far the country has fallen, and reflect the absolute bankruptcy of political talent at Westminster. May’s only answer is to blame the nationalists, Sturgeon, Scotland and even the Brexiters for the current predicament the UK finds itself in. She will do everything and anything to avoid triggering article 50. March will come and go, just like the other dates have came and went.
    The fact is, she and her colleagues at Westminster don’t have a clue what to do. Westminster is paralyzed.
    I think we live in dangerous times. There is no plan A or B. The UK is leaderless, cut adrift and heading into a storm.

  16. The rancid-graun’s political sketch has likened the lubeless maytron et al with snow white and the seven dwarves. A better caricature might be ‘mirror, mirror on the wall…’.

    “I will never allow divisive nationalists to undermine the precious Union”. Yeah, right, that will be the precious union with the bestest devolved democracies ever, where one part hands over all its dosh and gets some pocket money back in return, and one part dumps, uninvited, its missiles of mass destruction on another part – one could go on.

    If, as is likely, that Brexit gets bogged down in the courts or within the legislature of the component parts of the precious union, will the lubeless maytron lash out at the constituent parts of the precious union? That will go down well.

    Then we can talk about negotiating positions – or complete and utter absence thereof…
    fUK: We are leaving
    EU27: adiós, adieu, addio, adeus, Äddi, agur, avvedeci, Αντίο, farvel, Hyvästi, Sbohem, Vaarwel Hyvästi, Auf Wiedersehen, slán, ardievas sudie, Äddi , do widzenia, Tchau, zbogom – but not Au Revoir. And shut the door behind you.

    Meanwhile, worth a read :

  17. I think May’s speech on BREXIT and Scottish nationalism was as clumsy and provocative as Cameron’s EVEL spout on 19th September 2014. Hopefully, it will have a similar impact on the Scottish electorate. That said, May is no fool. IMO she has decided to force the issue: the “Scottish Problem” needs to be dealt with before she turns her attention to BREXIT. If she has indeed determined that an early IndyRef is better for the union’s chances (as it is), then what better way to speed things up a little with the usual insults and goading. The longer IndyRef 2 is delayed, the less chance the yoons have to win it. They know this, we know this.

    My nightmare is a 51% NO victory – this would lead to years of trouble and chaos, especially if coupled with a sharp decline in the Scottish economy. A narrow NO in 2019 would lead to IndyRef 3 within a decade. No question, whatsoever. However, do we really want another 10 years of this nonsense. We really need to win the next one, for everybody’s sake.

  18. It’s a source of mystery to me why British nationalists don’t see themselves as British nationalists. I have heard people say they are unionists, or ‘patriotic, not nationalist’. It’s the same thing to me.

    I don’t mind calling myself a Scottish nationalist. But to me the term ‘nationalist’ isn’t tainted by the racist undertones that some desire it to have. It just means my nationality is Scottish.

    In fact I have also heard some Scottish nationalists swear that they are indy supporters, but never nationalists… ?

  19. From the SNP website:

    “In a joint statement of 5 August 2014 David Cameron and the Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson – along with Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg then Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont, the LibDems’ Willie Rennie, signed a pledge saying: “Power lies with the Scottish people and we believe it is for the Scottish people to decide how Scotland is governed.” How will the Conservatives keep this pledge on which they won a No vote if Scotland is pulled out of the EU against its will?”

    • They don’t think of that Dan torys like all who think England is great thinks as long as they reap the befits screw everyone else

  20. Watching the Tory propaganda festival is like witnessing Hysterical mass deception and denial on a grand scale, while the whole world sees the bloody enormous Iceberg on the horizon ,there they sit on their well upholstered arses oblivious to what lies ahead, every single speech contains a contradiction and the audience lap it up , just now they are trumpeting how great they are while forgetting the mind boggling debt they have managed to acquire on our behalf and freely given to their friends , You can almost feel the salivating as they eye up Employment Law that they are not just going to cut they are intent in completely removing all of it in their mission to return to Victorian Times, then the NHS is getting it, Christ the opportunities that this lot see are endless, good Times ahead for SOME .

  21. Machiavelli May is already fighting the next English GE. Her less than diplomatic display of apparent ignorance and intolerance is directed at one audience and one audience alone and that is the ignorant and ill informed racist majority in the English electorate. Let her and them get on with it as one by one she and they will only create more Yes voters.

    What I saw of the Tory Party Conference I found a little frightening. I really fear for the future generations of my family and those of my friends if we don’t get free of that baying mob and their lickspittles in the now shamelessly racist intolerant and bloodthirstyBrit Nat Press and Media.

  22. May and Hammond have stated with patronising smirk: “We won’t turn our backs on Europe”.
    What they forget that, given all the trouble and negativity towards the EU displayed by the Brexiteers, the EU can with impunity turn their backs on Westminster and shut the door after Westminster invokes Article 50.

  23. Beautiful and empowering piece Paul. One of a kind.

    As per May’s lack of wisdom in her words, let’s have another wee look:

    “We voted as one United Kingdom to leave the EU…”
    No we didn’t. Ms May seems to be blatantly ignoring the fact that the United Kingdom (that is NI, Scotland, Wales and England) did not vote to leave the EU. Only 2 of the 4 countries that constitute the UK voted to leave the EU. The other 2 countries didn’t, so I do not see how on earth she can say such a thing because it is not true.

    “and we’ll leave it as one United Kingdom”
    I guess we will have to see about that.

    “There is no opt out from Brexit”
    Yes, there is: it is called independence from the UK.

    Is it just my impression of Ms May is making it crystal clear for Ms Dugdale and those still dreaming of two unions that independence for Scotland is the only option left for Scotland to remain in the EU? Was Ms May giving the green light for independence campaigning or attempting to bury Dugdale? Is Ms May a mole for the Yes campaign?

    “I will never allow divisive nationalists to undermine the precious Union between the four nations of our United Kingdom.”
    Well, that was nice of her! The most divisive ‘nationalists’ ever that have actually caused the UK to be in the dire straits it is now are in Ms May’s own party and a fabulous example of this is that awful divisive campaign leaded by Mr Cameron, his incompetent chancellor, his gambling politics and his spin doctor who, laughably, got a royal gong for ‘his services to the UK’, go figure!. If she is going to tackle nationalists she will have to tackle first her own party and that is going to hurt!.

    As for the Scottish nationalists, well, she has not been given mandate from Scotland to allow/not allow anything. Only a 14% of those voting in the last GE in Scotland voted for this lady’s party, so it is not really for Ms May to allow anything, the question here is, is the people of Scotland going to allow a party it didn’t vote for to drag Scotland out of the EU against its will and just because it suits England while is disastrous for Scotland?

    Precious Union? This has to be really a joke. I think she must be trying to be funny, as an attempt to match the raucous laughter of the leaders of the 27 EU countries watching this sorry spectacle.

    By the way, did Ms May mention anything in her speech about the investigations on the electoral funding fraud of all those tory seats? I say, because if by-elections are set for all those constituencies Brexit may be pushed even further in in the long long grass…

  24. When May states that Britain will brexit together from the EU to the beat of the English drum and no uppity nationalist is going to rain on the parade.
    Is Irish nationalism included in this diatribe or is it only Scottish nationalism? Because they talk plenty of British and seam to forget about Northn Ireland, is this perhaps intentional. Is Ulster being given to Erin as a peace offering so they can concentrate on the top prize. After all another conundrum is a hard border for Scotland and a shrug of the shoulders for the Emerald Isle.

  25. Patrick Grady (SNP Shadow Spokesperson) said in the debate on Claim of Right for Scotland: ‘I heard a number of colleagues both in the Government and in the official Opposition say informally that there would not be another independence referendum because the Prime Minister would not allow it. That reminds me of the famous words of the convenor of the Scottish Constitutional Convention, Canon Kenyon Wright, who said at the opening of the convention:

    “What if that other voice we all know so well responds by saying, ‘We say no, and we are the state’? Well, we say yes—and we are the people.” ‘

  26. “A Union in which the largest partner in that Union always gets its own way and the others have to do as it commands is not a Union. It’s a takeover.”

    This type of argument needs to be hammered home at the next referendum.
    It’s not all about short term economics. It’s about dignity, democracy and our own place in the world.

    We need to make it clear that its unpatriotic to vote for Scotland to be a region where our vote doesn’t count.

    Labour can’t play the internationalist socialist card any more, after going along with a Brexit, so any moral high ground they pretended to have is gone. They are now just another British nationalist party, and it all boils down to a choice between UK/English nationalism or Scottish nationalism.

  27. Pingback: It’s time to grasp the thistle | My Blog: Ewen A. Morrison

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.