Beyond the cringe

There’s a lot of talk about the Scottish Cringe, but the real Cringe making country is the British one. But that was a long time ago. Some of us long for the days when the British state was merely cringe-makingly embarrassing. Those days are now but a distant speck in the rear view mirror. Seat shuffling head in your hands is long gone. We’ve left the days of squirming mortification far behind, and now we’re deep into industrial strength tranquillisers, screaming night terrors, and repressed memory therapy territory. It has been said that the rate at which maturity arrives is directly proportional to the embarrassment that a person or institution can tolerate, which must make members of the British political establishment have an average age of 65 million years. The same as dinosaurs. That explains a lot.

British politics these days makes Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now seem like the cheery chortling host of It’s A Knockout before we discovered he was a serial sex abuser. And there’s another British embarrassment right there. In Britain even children’s entertainment is as dark and threatening as the scary clown in It. However we can’t take part in Jeux Sans Frontières because of Brexit, although it would provide a certain emotional satisfaction to force Nigel Farage to dress in a penguin costume and then make him get on a revolving platform covered in oil and try to fill a bucket with fish quotas, not to mention seeing him being chased down a sewer by the clown from It. It would also be the closest thing he’d ever managed to contributing to the happiness of the nation.

Britain’s problems, whether it’s the appalling abuse committed by popular BBC entertainers, the banking crisis, Hillsborough, the shocking lack of care that led to the Grenfell tragedy and the woeful response from the Conservative local authority when it did, or this week’s Pontius Pilate hand wringing from the Foreign Office that foreign aid rules don’t allow them assist the British Caribbean territories devastated by Hurricane Irma all stem from a wilful refusal of those in charge to accept responsibility while they accept their inflated pay cheques. It goes right to the very top.

We’re led by a Prime Minister who recently took the country into a highly personalised General Election explictly in order to seek a personal mandate for herself. She failed to get it. She lost her party’s majority, yet she’s continuing as though absolutely nothing has happened. It cost the country £140 million, and then in order to get out of a difficulty that she herself had created, Theresa went and threw £1.5 billion at the quasi-fascist drum bashers of the DUP. They can’t find the money to give people decent houses that aren’t firetraps.

The Tories claim that Brexit is all about restoring the sovereignty of the Westminster Parliament, yet they’ve introduced one measure after another to reduce the ability of Parliament to hold the government of the day to account. We’re getting Henry VIII powers, the packing of committees to ensure a Conservative majority, and changes to Opposition Day debates to ensure that they have no statutary effect. Parliament can now vote for a particular action, and the government can ignore it. Then politicians wring their hands and wonder why people are disaffected and either don’t vote or are turning to alternatives to mainstream politics.

It’s called Prime Minister’s Questions because it isn’t Prime Minister’s Answers. There is no compunction on politicians in the Westminster Parliament to answer the questions that are put to them. PMQ’s is a weekly exercise in point-scoring, smugness, evasion, and lame jokes that fall as flat as a cardboard cutout of Michael Gove. It’s the closest he’s likely to get to being a fully rounded human being. There’s no rule in the House of Commons that compels the Prime Minister to answer the question that is put to her, and yet this is only opportunity to hold a Prime Minister to account in a system without a written constitution. Theresa now wants to take even greater power for herself. Democracy in the UK is increasingly a hard hearted charade led by thugs who call themselves gentlemen and women. In Britain you can excuse an inhuman lack of compassion, you can excuse reducing every human interaction to a financial exchange, you can excuse a cold and flinty disdain for homelessness and deprivation, just as long as you say please and thank you and know how to use a knife and fork correctly.

There was a robot on the telly news the other day, conducting an orchestra. That robot took greater responsibility for its own actions than our government does. It also managed to have more sensitivity and grasp of emotional nuance than Theresa May. Although it was a real achievement to program a robot to conduct an orchestra, it doesn’t take much in the way of computational power to have more emotional literacy than Theresa May. A vacuum cleaner has more humanity, and it manages to get your floors clean with its monotone drone, which is a lot more than you can say for Theresa’s.

The UK is a country where the only technological innovator who is celebrated is the Brexit supporting guy who invented the Dyson. It’s because Britain sucks. James Dyson is the billionaire patriot who moved his manufacturing to Malaysia where the minimum wage is £180 a month. He thinks that the UK will leave the EU without a deal, and that will hurt the EU more than the UK. We can be sure it won’t hurt the squillionaire James that much. It’s always only the little people in Britain who suffer the consequences. James will continue to hoover up a very comfortable income. He might lose the millions that he vacuums up in EU agricultural subsidies, but you can be sure that post-Brexit Britain will continue to look after the interests of the rich. The Tories aren’t taking us out of the EU in order to make life better for the poorest.

It’s because Britain is so inept, so cruel, so clueless, so incompetent and graceless that British nationalists have to manufacture the Scottish cringe. They’re projecting their own inadequacies onto Scotland. Look beyond the Cringe and you see that the real Cringe is the British one. The movement for Scottish independence is motivated by the radical idea that Scotland is a normal and perfectly adequate country. The UK could never aspire to that. The dysfunctional proof is before our eyes.

The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. You can now access this blog simply by typing into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.

gingercartoonWee Ginger Fundraiser

I’m doing a fundraiser this year to keep this blog going for another twelve month and to allow the dug and me to continue visiting local groups all across Scotland. You can donate via my crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo –

Alternatively you can donate by Paypal by clicking the donate button.
Donate Button

Or you can donate by making a payment directly into a special bank account I’ve set up for the purposes of this fundraiser, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at and I will send the necessary information. Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

Many thanks.

0 thoughts on “Beyond the cringe

  1. And the biggest cringer if them all is Ruth Davidson. So according to her we’re all a bunch of thieves? Only the Conservative ones dear.

  2. As ever, you’ve completely hit the nail on the head Paul. I’ve always hated it when refer to me as English but now it’s completely embarrassing and cringeworthy.

    I would never have believed in my 70 years of life that it was possible for the government, no matter what party, to be as hopelessly inept as this lot! We say that May has to go, but who on earth is there available that would be better? I can’t think of one.

    We may not have a perfect government in Scotland but it’s a thousand times better than the UK one, and independence might be a difficult step for some to take, but how can it possibly be worse than what’s ahead of us with Brexit?

    • I agree completely Annie. Pity Scotland can’t take over England for a bit, prior to Indy say? It would be for their own good after all and might go a little way towards evening up the balance after all those years of English domination. Then, when the puir thangs are well sorted, we can safely leave them to look after themselves and go back to running our own now independent land 😉

        • Well it seems to me that if England & Scotland are equal partners in the Union, then allowing for Scotland having around 10% of the UK population, perhaps a shade less, then given that Westminster has been in charge for c300 years, it follows that Holyrood deserves say around 25 years or so in the UK’s driving seat. Think of all the useful things we could achieve in those years, no nukes for a kick-off! We’d be generous enough to devolve limited powers to WM, of course, where we thought they could be trusted. After all as someone once said (in a poem about Magna Carta IIRC), “An Englishman’s free, to do as he likes … just so long as he does as he’s told!” 🙂

          • Hahahaha! One of my favourite monologues by the inimitable Marriott Edgar … and absolutely spot on! The menu of changes we could … and would … make has my mouth watering. Aaaaah … if only …

          • It would make an interesting fiction piece to develop that idea … is there a novelist in the house? (I don’t have the required skill set). So it would start with someone turning up a ‘lost’ codicil to the Treaty of Union (Passport to Pimlico style), giving England and Scotland turn and turn about (and there must be a braw Scots expression for that, a possible title mebby?) Off you go then, Ye buddin schrievers aa 🙂

  3. I’d say Monday night’s vote pretty much killed stone dead even the mirage of a United Kingdom. It shouldn’t take much of a stretch to remember another minority right wing regime upon a time that required emergency powers, supposedly in the name of the people. ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it’ is a quote which seems pretty apt these days and one which has come to mind quite often recently.

    Just to be clear though. There is no partnership, no ‘family’ of nations and absolutely no intent by the UK state to pool or share any damn thing. The rhetoric of state has nothing to do with the reality of relationships on these islands. Those sociopathic bastards are happy to conflate political union with social union when it suits. When they need to manipulate familial loyalty or tug on the old heart strings, but they honestly couldn’t give a shit whether you live or die. Wave a fleg. Put on a show. Have a royal baby… give the natives pretty beads and blankets to keep them happy.

    People are disposable assets. Lives, aspirations, humanity? Victims of realpolitik and expediency.

    A government with the ability to legislate without parliamentary oversight. A government which ensures relevant committees are loaded in their favour. A government which seeks to repatriate devolved powers (in the name of fairness you understand). A Tory government mind you, that legislates without fear of reproach, scrutiny or redress, but y’know, strong and stable. So strong and stable they claim to require emergency powers (with no timetable for handing them back by the by) in order to operate effectively. Mind you, you’d have to give up the odd human and civic right or two as a side effect.

    THAT is the reality of Better Togetherness.

    It’s not too late. We can still change this.

    • Well said, Sam. I’m quite sure that this is the reason there is so little emphasis placed on “Modern” History in our classrooms and lecture halls. The Establishment do NOT want us to look at recent history and draw odious comparisons! Fortunately, some of us were educated properly in spite of them!

    • They have fallen back on the ‘the UK voted to Leave’ defence, Sam. There are more of them, so fuck off Scotland; we are dragging you with us into obliteration.
      Davidson, Mundell, Rowley, Findlay, Rennie, Cole Hamilton, Scott, that fat faced ruddy giggling fool Carlaw (watch his antics at FMQ today) are Scotland deniers.They are Fifth Columnists determined to destroy Scotland the nation.
      They have sold their souls to their English Masters, and now make no secret of their treachery. England’s needs come first.
      Scotland has been conquered and at last they are admitting it outright, in public, and to hang with the electoral platform upon which they stood a few weeks ago.Say anything, promise anything, do nothing.
      If you vote British Nationalist Unionists into office in Scotland, you must be prepared to accept that
      they will not protect your interests, the well being of you and your family, stand up for this proud nation of ours Scotland.
      Your needs, your express will, whether it be our future relationship with the EU, the merciless cuts programme which rewards the filthy rich, and hammers down the poor into unrelenting poverty and servitude, matter nothing to the new 13 Blue Tories, 7 Red Tories, and the 4 Yellow Tories, who along with Cameron and Osborne started the whole Austerity Ball rolling.
      I caught some of today’s FMQ on BBC Scotland’s Wind Up Radio today, and switched off.
      WE have a bunch of third rate Brits whose function is to clog up the works, destroy Scottish Government, and backed by an alarmingly British National MSM, laugh in the faces of the Scottish people at every opportunity.
      There is a clear division now between Scots who want to defend the rights of their fellow Scots, and True Blue Loyalist Brits who would sell us all down the river to appease their Southern Paymasters.
      We are at war.

    • Macart, not in the least wishing to be rude, but your comments are rather on the long side of late, maybe you should think seriously about having a blog of your own, I’m sure it would be well read 🙂

  4. The ineptitude of the Government in WM astounds me. It has always been like this I feel but this lot take the cream, sour cream.

    ‘Cringe’ is the correct word Paul. I cringe when I listen and read nearly every mefia article.

    Take for instance BBC 6.30pm news last night. Jackie’s smiling face told us how well Scotland is doing on employment and unemployment. However ladt year it was with glee that they gave the info for that time highlighting how far we trailed behind the UK figures. Did the report how well ahead we are of the UK employment figures now. No they did not. They did mention that the job market is tight when an organisation looks for its specific skills need. A negative point.

    No mention how Brexit is making it worse, no mention the SG’s request for control of immigration here is ignored. The BBC had bias in nearly everything related to Scotland. Cringe just does not seem strong enough to explain my disdain at the whole thing. Time for a dram.

  5. Great post, WGD. The britnat media doesn’t even realize there’s such a thing as this Cringe. Which makes the Cringe factor even more unbearable.

    Scotland must not be dragged down into a britnat bog of xenophobic isolation.

  6. Speed the day when the collaborators will rush south – unless they are caught first.

    Scotland. Country or Colony. You choose.

  7. And here’s me in an office in the City of London. Not a soul interested, nobody cares, and its not the ‘greedy’ type here, its just your indifferent class of “nothing ever changes” types.

    It both shocks and amuses me.

    An independent Scotland can only come faster for this.

  8. England is not the only country with a cringeworthy government. Low quality governments can be found all over the world- Africa, Latin America and Asia are full of them. The difference is they will not last, as usually there is a working democracy to regiment them back into line.
    Cringe provoking governments thrive in the absence of a functioning democracy and the presence of a privileged class. Pinochet was a prime example – but the one that sticks out like a sore thumb is England, with its vicissitude of total fuckwits, clowns, gormless goofs, and their convictions that they are the precious chosen few. It is this delusion of grandeur which makes it toecurling to see. Car crash in progress – you know what is happening but cannot stop watching…

  9. Depressing isn’t it , This whole country since the English welcomed in a right wing more or less fascist regime,
    It would be bad enough if you had actually voted for them ,but having these clowns foisted upon us with the result of every election .
    Must surely alert even the dumbest Unionist, Don’t they get it ,outnumbered ten to one the people in this country will never get a government they vote for, it’s a numerical impossibility , what is the point in voting in a general election, only one country is ever guaranteed to get a majority government, Guess What its not us .

    • They were laughing their fucking heads off at FMQ today, Robert.
      They don’t give a toss about Scotland. It’s all a big game to them and Taylor, Brewer, Gordon, Clegg and Co.
      As long as you support the English colonisation, you’ll get paid big bucks.
      Children are starving, pensioners are choosing heat or eat, in 18 months time, I shall be barred from most of Europe, but Brian Taylor will chubbily leave me with a cheery ‘Toodle Oo The Noo’ farewell at the end of yet another of his pointless little SNP Bad programmes. He and his Unionist colleagues know how to keep us Scots in our boxes right enough.
      We are on the verge of an uprising if this continues.
      I’ll probably get a visit from the MIB for making that observation.
      With how much more do these people think that we’ll put up?
      Haven’t heard from the new Lord Ian Duncan for a while. Still finding his expensive feet in the Scotland Office Stockade?.

      • They were trolling Jack and still had their arses handed to them by the FM. Conservatives with all their ignorance and all their arrogance on display in both parliaments, serves only to highlight their utter contempt for the population. Thirteen of them sold the human and civic rights of ALL Scottish citizens without pause and at the command of their betters on Monday.

        They sold our rights to a Westminster Tory PM and considered it a job well done. The biggest affront to the democratic process in the post war period and they were in it right up to their necks. I’ve defended right from the get go that point of origin doesn’t matter a damn. Being a Scot is a state of mind and a way of living. It’s an act of will. If you contribute to this country, its economy, its culture and defend its democracy and the rights of its citizens, then you’re a Scot.

        You’d be hard put to find a Scot on Tory benches.

        • ‘You’d be hard put to find a Scot on Tory benches.’
          There are certainly no Unionist MSP’s who defend Scotland and its interests.
          We have a nexus of Unionist appointments fronting Scottish Organisations, Health Boards, Universities, Colleges, Unions, certainly COSLA who deliberately set out to destroy Scotland’s civic society merely to smash the SNP Government.
          The nonsense on BBC Reporting Scotland Today dredges new depths of distorted propaganda.
          We are on the verge of chaos.

        • Well said, Sam! I couldn’t agree more. They are a 21st Century “Parcel O’ Rogues” with the same self-serving aims and the same utter contempt for their supposed fellow-countrymen. They are beneath contempt.

  10. I’ve said this before and I shall probably say it again. I really DO cringe when people over here refer to me as British – or worse, English. “I’m from Scotland, actually.” I say and they smile and carefully don’t voice the “Whatever …” which is obviously hovering on their lips. Oh, for the day when Scotland is once again recognised as strong, competent, and above all DECENT independent nation. Then I – and the many others like me – will be able to wipe that incipient “Whatever …” from the lips of our interlocutors! Well said, as ever, Paul.

    • You are English, Wendy, and some day you will be able to boast about your heritage again.
      England has contributed so much that is good, humane, and uplifting to humankind.
      I have lifelong friends, relatives, and ex colleagues, who to this day have values and a sense of social justice that make a lie of the present WM Fascist Upsurge.
      My formative years were fashioned by the works like. ‘Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner.’, ‘Room at the Top.’, ‘This Sporting Life.’, ‘Billy Liar’, ‘Saturday Night, Sunday Morning.’, ‘A taste of Honey.’ ands many many more 50’s and 60’s minor masterpieces written by English authors.
      Boulting Brothers and Ealing Comedies like ‘I’m All Right, Jack,’, or ‘The Man in the White Suit.’ had as many ‘messages’ and social comment in them as Osborne’s (no not THAT one, young readers.) ‘Look Back in Anger.’
      I’d be lost without Dickens, or Shakespeare, or the Beatles.
      I’d challenge any one who accused me of being anti English.
      We are is the grip of an Iron Heel Eton/ Oxbridge Oligarchy which has opted to become the 51st State, and who have been anti European since the Get Go. They have never given a damn about Scotland. Our ‘Scottish’ belted Earls are all Oxbridge educated Brits. Indeed many of them have RP ‘English’ accents.
      Be proud of your English birth, Wendy.Your country deserves better than this bunch of privatyeers and asset strippers.
      Some day all this will be over, and their House of Cards will come crumbling down around their overbloated heads.
      We are nearly there.
      When the foreign owned car companies start to pack up in the next year r so, watch them squeal and have second thoughts.

      • Bless you, Jack. I’ll be able to feel proud of being born English again on the day when the English stop voting for these bastards and show a bit of backbone! Yes, you are absolutely right about the “cultural heritage” … the literature, music, theatre and film … but that is currently secondary in my mind to the overwhelming shame of knowing that so many of my former countrymen and women are so far gone that they continue to vote Conservative! People I grew up with, went to school with, who were from exactly the same working-class background as me … and who have so far forgotten their humanity as to close their eyes and ears to what their Government are doing, and to sneer and mock at the people of Scotland who CAN see what is wrong and who have a different future in mind for themselves.

        When the English as a whole stop subscribing to the “Piss on the fire, Jack, my toast is cooked!” philosophy of Conservatives, Blairites, Lib Dumbs, UKIPpers and the like. Then I will feel able to acknowledge my roots … and not before!

  11. The one thing we can say the first Indy ref achieved was to explode the myth of the Scottish cultural cringe. It was revealed in all its horrid self loathing as a Unionist cringe. Because we can now see that this mindset is unique in the UK. A nation within a union of nations whose staunch supporters live in a perpetual state of embarrassment that they had the misfortune to born Scottish.

    An Englishman, a Welshman and an Irishman walk into a bar. The Welshman rubs his hands and says “Well, whats it to be” The Irishman says “I fancy a pie and a pint to be honest but its his turn to get a round in” he says pointing to the Englishman. Sorry lads, says Albion’s finest “I gave all my money to that little Scottish bastard who was begging outside”

    And that’s unionism folks.

  12. I agree we are in a propaganda war with no end in sight. Westminster brooks no demands for fair treatment for the Scottish people.

    I visited England many times to assist the school holidays. English folk I found to be very pleasant and hospitable. They had very little idea of Scotland. We were invisible to them as a country or a culture. Following the referendum, they had no idea of the realities of the out and out propaganda war Scotland had experienced. They got a taste of it with the Brexit campaign.

    Teresa May is trapped by her allegiance to the Tory establishment which is indeed historically and currently, a cruel, elitist organisation. She could choose to escape, put her health before all.

    Scotland has chosen to escape from the disaster of Brexit. The Tories historically and currently have always used oppression in attempts to crush folks desire to assert their humanity and culture. It took Ireland 800 years, 160 Rebellions, 5 Famines and a war to escape from Westminster and what came before.

    Onwards and forward folks…we can only do our best which we undoubtedly will do for our children and grandchildren.

  13. There is the sub-Brit cringe in Labour in Scotland. They can’t acknowledge Scotland achievements mainly because they are wankdribbles but also because of SNP. SNP is a Labour character debilitating condition. It impairs their their ability to think or connect to the people who live around them.

  14. Good luck to the Catalan people, they may need it. I see the Spanish Government are attempting to walk all over them.

    The British Nats will be watching, they will be interested to see what the Spanish regime gets away with.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.