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. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot 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.
Wee 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 –
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.