Back home now

I’m home now, back from visiting my significant other in the USA. One of the best things about going abroad is realising that other countries’ politics are just as childish and dysfunctional as the Scottish variety. We’re often accused of parochialism in Scotland, but our news and current affairs concerns are cosmopolitan and outward looking compared to the domestic obsessions of American TV news programmes. If your sole source of information was the American TV news, you’d be forgiven for believing that the rest of the world only exists whenever it’s visited by Donald Trump, or when there is a terrorist outrage that involves white people.

Still, it was nice to spend a couple of weeks in a country where hardly anyone has heard of Ruth Davidson and none of those who have done give a damn. But here we are, back in Scotland and trying to catch up with what’s been happening while I was away. It’s back to the childish dysfunction that passes for grown up political discourse in Scotland.

Before election campaigning was suspended due to the horrific and appalling events in Manchester, the Scottish part of the election campaign was dominated by Kezia Dugdale’s attempts to deflect attention from the Labour councillors in Aberdeen who had gone into coalition with the Conservatives by pointing an accusing finger at something Stu Campbell of Wings over Scotland had said a couple of months ago. Because naturally, Scottish politics in general and the independence campaign in particular is entirely defined by a non-party blogger in Bath and joking insults he’d lobbed a few months ago are far more important than the fact that if you vote Labour, you’ll get the Conservatives, certainly in Aberdeen. It was perhaps the most blatant attempt at issue-dodging since the Mongol hordes blamed their destruction of Central Asia in the Middle Ages on the difficulty in finding fermented mare’s milk in the Samarkand branch of Lidl.

Then there was nursegate, in which a nurse with a Facebook record of blaming the SNP for everything blamed the fact that she had occasionally needed to use a foodbank on Nicola Sturgeon. The story then became how the said nurse was being hounded by cybernats and a new phenomenon – the ultranat. Ultranats are just like cybernats apparently, except that they speak at a pitch higher than can be heard by human ears. This was all detailed in articles in the Express newspaper, an organ with a propensity to CAPITALISE everything, which as everyone knows makes it more true. At least if it’s a BLOW for the SNP.

The same newspaper also carried a piece saying at a TOP ACADEMIC had delivered a SHOCK BLOW to Nicola Sturgeon by predicting that in the event of Scottish independence Scotland would be divided literally, in a geographic sense, and well as metaphorically in the sense beloved by Unionists. That’s divided in the sense that they can no longer spout off in the bowling club about how Nicola Sturgeon is responsible for every bad thing that’s ever happened, up to and including the Mongol invasion of Central Asia in the Middle Ages, without someone voicing disagreement. Jill Stephenson, for it was she, is best known for calling Mhairi Black a slut and for retweeting a Unionist meme which is simultaneously racist, homophobic and derogatory to people with autism. Kezia Dugdale has not so far taken time out of her busy schedule of condemning pro-indy bloggers for a remark that many gay people don’t find homophobic to pass any comment on Jill’s retweeting a meme that is universally regarded as homophobic amongst other offensiveness.

According to the Express, Jill had said that if Scotland votes to become independent then all those areas where there happens to be a Unionist majority will remain with the UK and the country will be partitioned. Because partition has worked out so well on every previous occasion that the British have tried it. Strangely enough, the same people who claim that the parts of Scotland that vote Unionist following a Yes majority in an independence referendum will have the right to remain with the UK are the exact same people who would have scoffed at the notion that those parts of Scotland which voted Yes last time ought to have been allowed to become independent anyway. Otherwise I could be typing this from the Republic of Glasgow, North Lanarkshire, Dundee, Stranraer, Skye, and Arran and would be able to look on the farce of a UK general election with the detached air of a US news correspondent.

Then there’s Theresa May’s U-turning and the introduction of the dementia tax, which saw her polling figures slip before campaiging was suspended. Then she had to hurriedly announce that there would be a “cap” on the amount to be clawed back by the state in order to recoup the costs of social care only she refused to say how much that cap would be. Having been viewing the US news for the past couple of weeks, it’s quite an achievement to make Donald Trump seem consistent and reasonable, but Theresa May has managed it.

What it boils down to is that the state is prepared to foot the bill for caring for people with certain medical conditions, but not for others, only the state won’t – at least not before the public has a chance to vote on the proposal – say how much or what conditions. At the moment it appears that if you are unfortunate enough to be diagnosed with cancer then your care will be paid for by the NHS, but if you are unfortunately diagnosed with Alzheimers then you’re paying for it yourself. But once the principle of pay for care is established, it’s only going to be a matter of time before creeping charges are introduced elsewhere too.

But not to worry. The Tories are promising to allow workers to take a year off in unpaid leave in order to care for elderly relatives. They’re touting this like it’s a good thing to fill the gap in social care provision caused by their own policies with unpaid labour. And then having been left without an income, due to the dementia tax these unpaid carers could be left homeless after the person they’re caring for dies. As a former unpaid carer who looked after a dementia sufferer, I know how heartless and uncaring the Tory policy is. It’s bad enough to watch a loved one slowly succumb to the destruction of their personality and self caused by dementia without also worrying that you’ll be left without a roof over your head after their illness has taken its course. But all Theresa May cares about it getting reelected with an absolute majority that will allow her to do as she pleases. It’s almost enough to make me wish I wasn’t back home at all. But I am, so I’d better keep ranting. Ensuring that the Tories receive as few votes as possible is a moral imperative.

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.

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

Copies of Barking Up the Right Tree are available from my publisher Vagabond Voices at price just £7.95 plus P&P. The E-book of Barking Up the Right Tree is available for Kindle for just £4. Click here to purchase.

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

0 thoughts on “Back home now

  1. Pingback: Back home now | scottishactivist0

  2. Thank god your back. Apparently 84,000 EU citizens have left the lovely UK since Brexit. I wonder how many were nurses and doctors? We’ll find out in due course, no doubt when we’re lying on a gurney in a lobby waiting for a nurse or doctor.

  3. Yoon exceptionalism in living colour from Ms Stephenson then. Only unionists are allowed to annexe or create enclaves wherever they happen to be, is that right? Don’t recall them extending the same courtesy to independence voters last time out right enough.

    But Yoons are super special because…. badgers or some such.

    Welcome back. 🙂

  4. Last I heard of Stephenson she was moaning that it was unfair to label Davidson “Rapeclause Ruth” as it wasn’t anything she had any control of. Certainly begs the question as to why we’d ever elect a Conservative MP in Scotland if they have no influence in the decision making and are willing to put their own objections aside in order to defend the indefensible.

    The Dementia Tax is even worse given that it doesn’t seem to even consider the case where both partners are I’ll when one falls I’ll. Even if the cap is on only one of their assets it’s going to be even more of a shock when not only does the survivor have to deal with bereavement but also with having to find a mortgage to repay whatever value is to raised on their marital home or sell up.

  5. Pingback: Back home now | speymouth

  6. Welcome back, Paul! We like Macart here at Schloß Freeman – hello there, Macart – and he did a great job, but it’s good to have you back, of course.

    What a lovely piece of Barking Yoon bonkerdom from Historywoman… par for the course, I suppose. When I was a kid, I lived in Lenzie, which was then part of an administrative unit called Dunbartonshire (detached), so I’ve always had a bit of a thing about enclaves and such. My favourite bit of nonsense in that regard is this place – Baarle-Hertog / Baarle-Nassau.

    “Baarle-Hertog is noted for its complicated borders with Baarle-Nassau in the Netherlands. In total it consists of 23 separated pieces of land. Apart from the main piece (called Zondereigen) located north of the Belgian town of Merksplas, there are 22 Belgian exclaves in the Netherlands.

    There are also seven Dutch exclaves within the Belgian exclaves. Six of them are located in the largest one and a seventh in the second-largest one. An eighth Dutch exclave lies in Zondereigen.”

    For further information – (title “European Small Exclaves”) and (that’s “The Most Complicated Border Town in the World” for anyone who hadn’t guessed that already.)

    To anyone of a Unionist persuasion who may be reading this: you may well be a sane, reasonable, decent human being. I hope so, and if you are, you have my respect and acceptance, though (surprise!) I think you’re wrong about what is the best future for Scotland. I hope you agree with me, though, that Historywoman and her ilk are simply batshit crazy. Barking, in other words.

  7. Paul, it’s not exactly toying with the secession of the Independence voting areas but I did consider that Dundee for eg could be charging vehicles from Angus and Perthshire a toll to enter the city? Any views

    • Ooh, another good reason to vote Yes! Huge convoys full of unpleasant people heading out of Scotland! Oh, the relief!

      I have (sorry, had) a friend like that – claimed to hate “nationalism” of every kind, at which point I realized that with friends like him, I needed no enemies, and he remains to this day completely blind to the fact that he’s actually a Barking Yoon Britnat.

  8. Just had a Conservative leafleter round our way. We had a bit of a talk, and it transpires that the reason to vote Conservative is “I don’t want an independent Scotland” (BTW, later on she admitted that she doesn’t like Scotland anyway and is “only here for a reason”.)

    I asked about the proliferation of foodbanks, and I was informed that one of her friends who works in a foodbank told her that people who use foodbanks smoke, so obviously they don’t need to use the foodbank.

    Another of her friends works in social services and tells her about the numerous cases of benefits claimants getting payments (presumably for no good reason). The stereotype “undeserving poor” springs to mind.

    Her parthian shot was that she was voting conservative because she believes in democracy.

    I do not believe that she is a politician, she truly believes in her worldview. Interesting though to meet the Daily Mail personified. She also stated that should Scotland become independent she would be on the first train out.

    • My what a pollution that con bicth is why be up here glad to send haters who are anti Scottish out of our great nation scotland is paradise compered to england that the torys turned into a debt ridden racist shithole in there 7 year rain thats sealed it for me to return up here in 2015 after being away for 26 years

      • Robert, I don’t think that she is intrinsically bad, it is just that she has been subjected her whole life to the right wing framing which is part of the morality known as Strict Father (see the work of George Lakoff). I believe that it is important to understand that the Right Wing in the US and the UK have spend literally billions of dollars developing the language to condition voters to accept this frame as the norm (c.f. MSM in UK, BBC, constant programmes demonising the poor end so on).

        We need to reframe the debate in terms which do not emphasise their frame, but rather reframe with a liberal frame (liberal in the sense of versus right wing). Where facts and frames collide, frames win, which is why providing evidence is only effective once you have reframed to your frame, then the facts can be accepted.

    • So this friend in the jobcentre had been breaching confidentiality by yapping o to her pals about the people she deals with? Hope she loses her job and can’t get any payments because, you know, apparently payments is bad.

  9. You are watching the wrong stations. In Boston WGBH broadcasts BBC World Service (something the world could do without), NHK Newsline and PBS Newshour. On WGBH World you could be watching this There’s lots of crap on American TV but the public broadcasting network has content that’s often a lot better and more diverse than anything you’ll see on British TV.

  10. Welcome back, as everyone has said, and I agree, the other fellow did the site grand, but it’s still good to have the real McCoy home … real Mac a’ Choin ?? Co-dhiù, fàilt’ a-staigh 🙂

  11. Welcome home, Sir! Mr Miller was a brilliant stand-in and kept the pot boiling nicely but it is good to have your mordant wit back again.

    Vis-a-vis the dementia tax and being an unpaid carer – my maiden Aunt lived at home and was an unpaid carer first to my Grandfather and then to my Grandmother. When, a few years after Grandad died, Grandma had to go into residential care, my Aunt was wheeched out of the family home before you could say “Alzheimer’s Disease” and the proceeds of the sale of the property were split between the Local Authority (to pay for Grandma’s ‘care’) and my Aunt (I do not believe my Aunt got much more than 30% of the amount realised). Aunty, meanwhile, was teetering on the brink of dementia herself and the move to a sheltered housing unit, followed eventually by Grandma’s demise, tipped her over. So, guess what happened to her share of the sale proceeds? Yep – appropriated by the same Local Authority to pay for her own residential care!

    Ms May’s “novel” idea has been in practise in some parts of England for donkey’s years but cloaked in layers of obscure bureaucracy so that you don’t get to know what is happening until it happens to you. One way or another, if you have lived a frugal existence (as my Grandparents and Aunt did) and scrimped and saved to buy your own home; if a member of your family has offered unpaid home-care for years, saving the State an absolute fortune – your reward will be to have everything that you worked and saved for “appropriated” – whether before or after you die makes little difference. All Ms May’s ill-advised, ill-thought-out manifesto has done is to bring into the public eye a state of affairs which has been extant in some English Local Authority areas for at least 20 years.

    I hope and trust that this, along with her decimation of the Police Services while she was Home Secretary (a chicken which has now come home to roost following the Manchester atrocity) will prove to be not the vote-winners she was banking on but her nemesis!

    • In her arrogance she’s possibly lost the Conservative party the snap election and if that happens wacth her blame everyone else before the torys turn on her

  12. We all know there was vote rigging going on 2014 but by not really complaing has made westminster imperials arrogant and complacent they now frooth at the mooth and bark about hating independence all the time and now they losing there minds when things like the rape clause or dwp cutting people’s benefits forcing them to food banks or suicide is brought into light the autistic guy who gave Davidson an ass kicking showed that when he brought up there record rubbing it into her face what the cons had done

    • I too am born and bred in Scotland, but now living in Spain. I think all that you have said is so true. I cannot understand how folk in Scotland can’t see how much better, fairer and more democratic Scotland would be if it were independent. After independence will be plenty time to decide on EU membership, or which party should be voted to be in charge of Scotland. But as you say Independence FIRST. What’s not to understand??

    • Well said Annie. I agree with everything you said. I’m an English Scot, over 60, a candidate for every grouping that is supposed not to want independence. Yet I am desperate for independence and it is good to hear from someone else in my age group who thinks the same way. Thank you for this video.

      • “I’m an English Scot, over 60, a candidate for every grouping that is supposed not to want independence. Yet I am desperate for independence”. That makes two of us, Toni. Mebbe they need to check their ‘models’, eh?

  13. Historywoman is clearly stuck in a time warp.

    Perhaps in her mind, and oh what a fascinating jumble of six billion cells that has turned out to be, it is the 17th Century, and the Thirty Years War rages across Europe. Mass slaughter, purges, one Prince’s serfs and slaves dying for their liege, slaughtering tens of thousands of working class stiffs just like they were, in the process; mass movements of refugees across the continent because one man’s transubstantiation is another man’s consubstantiation.

    And the Almighty turned a blind eye?
    You may recall that in the 17th Century Christianity had split into factions.
    The Reformation, uppity scientists trying to tell us that the Earth wasn’t the centre of the Universe, that the sun did not revolve around the earth, and all that heretical nonsense, dangerous thoughts which could get you hung drawn and quartered, or exiled to Dunoon.
    The Power of the Roman version of Christianity was under threat, and ‘Protestants’ were taking on Rome, and carving out their wee bit of Europe for themselves.
    In the century that gave us the Enlightenment, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Bach, Galileo, Newton, and so much more, the royals were still doing what they do best, kicking feck out of each other to expand their lands.

    Historywoman’s daft notion that we split Scotland up into little fiefdoms so that Morningside becomes an English village, recalls the Thirty Years War principle of ‘cuius regio, eius religio’.

    Back then the religion of the ruler was deemed to be the religion of that particular state.
    Substitute politics for religion, and we arrive at Ms Stephenson’s elegant but stark staring bonkers solution to the ‘division’ that has apparently riven Scotland in two. Smash it into little ungovernable bits instead. Then we can spend thirty years chibbing each other.
    The judgement of Solomon.

    Of coursethe Brit Empire’s History is full of cutting babies in half.
    Ireland, Palestine, Cyprus, India Pakistan.

    When the Brits pack up and skedaddle, they make sure that they leave an almighty ungovernamble mess behind them.
    Not Scotland, but, though, mind.
    Paul, the beat goes on.

  14. They tried this particular tactic with Orkney and Shetland already, did they not?

    As AnnieM eloquently said above, Scotland is a nation. And we will stand together as a nation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.