It’s been a week for space geeks. It is deeply reassuring that the rest of the world is catching up because everyone in the UK has been living in a dystopian sci-fi nightmare for quite a while now. Who needs lizard alien overlords when you have the Conservatives?
Scientists are investigating a strange object which is the first confirmed visitor to our solar system from the depths of interstellar space. Called ‘Oumuamua, the object is believed to be an asteroid which is ten times longer than it is wide, a shape which scientists who specialise in the study of space rocks are finding hard to explain. Some have speculated that it could even be artificial, and are checking whether the object is emitting radio signals because it has the exact same dimensions as the Battlestar Galactica off the telly. You know, typical spaceship shape, indistinguishable at a distance from an extremely large phallus. Which is probably why it’s now heading away from us deep into the solar system and is on course to penetrate Saturn’s ring. If it is a messenger from a distant alien civilisation it’s legitimate to ask why it hasn’t made contact, but clearly it picked up a transmission of British cabinet ministers talking bollocks about Brexit and concluded that there’s no intelligent life on Earth.
Meanwhile, on Monday Donald Trump signed an executive order committing the USA to putting another man on the Moon. Originally Vice President Mike Pence had volunteered to make the journey because he wanted to go somewhere where there is no gay life, but then someone told him about the Clangers and the dangerously socialist Soup Dragon giving away food for free. So the plan is now to send Jared Kushner instead so that he can’t be questioned by the FBI. I’m going to start a petition to get Trump to send the entire UK cabinet. If we pack them all off to the final frontier then maybe we can have some sense on the Irish frontier instead. And there’s always the chance that by ejecting them from the planet we’ll raise humanity’s average IQ by enough to make ‘Oumuamua turn around and make contact.
Not that Labour is any more coherent than the Tories. The problem isn’t that Labour doesn’t have a position on Brexit. The problem is that Labour has as many positions on Brexit as there are Labour MPs. This means that Labour is still indulging in its favourite game of saying all sorts of positive and pleasing things in opposition and giving us no certainty at all that it’s going to implement any of it once it gets into power. The basic problem for Labour is that they have picked up thousands of votes from younger people who are viscerally opposed to Brexit, but Jeremy thinks that Brexit is quite a good idea, because he believes it will allow him to pursue his 1970s dream of the British Parliamentary Road to Socialism only without the flared trousers, the avocado toilet suites, or the casual racism, sexism, and homophobia. This is Labour’s own version of the Tories’ Irish border conundrum, one which they’re trying to solve by saying as little as possible but what they do say consists of meaningless soundbites. So very much like the Tories in that respect then. British politics these days is as meaningless as asking what time it was before the Big Bang, or claiming that there are actually real statistics for Scottish exports to England.
Those of us who are a bit older and a lot more cynical have seen this sort of trick from Labour before, and that’s why we gave up on the party a long time ago. We desperately clung on to the hope of Labour salvation all the way through the dire decades of Thatcher and John Major, only to discover that the British Parliamentary Road to Socialism ended up with PFI and bombs in Baghdad. This is why we want Scottish independence, it gives us a chance to press the political redo from start button.
However there are still those who think that the problem with British politics isn’t the system, it’s the individual parties. This is a bit like insisting that the symptoms of your illness are actually its cause. The problems with the British state are much deeper rooted. They are caused by the Westminster system and they won’t be cured by creating yet another Westmonster Raving Yoony Party. Writing in the Herald on Tuesday Chris Deerin, that apologist for British nationalism because it’s not nationalist at all, proposed exactly that. Let’s ignore Scotland’s constitutional questions and pretend they don’t exist, said Chris, unwittingly illustrating exactly what is one of the major problems of the British state. Scotland doesn’t get a voice in the Brexit negotiations, even though we voted by a much larger margin to remain in the EU than we voted to remain in the UK, but the Brexit-supporting DUP from a Northern Ireland which voted to remain by a smaller margin gets a veto.
Chris wants a new centre right party like that of French Prez Emmanuel Macron. Let’s get the likes of Tony Blair and George Osborne together in a new political party, he suggested. The thing is, if the answer is Tony Blair and George Osborne, then it ought to be obvious that you’re asking the wrong question. We’ve done the politics of Blair and Osborne before, and that’s precisely what brought us to the pathetic situation that we’re currently mired in. You’d have a far more realistic chance of solving the problems of British politics by pinning your hopes in ‘Oumuamua turning around and bringing us the 20th century equivalent of the monolith in the movie 2001 teaching the apes how to bang the rocks together. Presumably that would be banging the heads of the Tory party together. This wouldn’t actually lead to any lasting or meaningful solutions, but it would at least make the rest of us feel a bit better.
New political parties have been tried before, remember the SDP? That didn’t work. The UK is incapable of reforming itself and no amount of banging the rock heads of British political parties into a new Westmonster Raving Yoony Party is going to make the slightest bit of difference. There’s only one solution for Scotland, and it doesn’t involve remaining a part of a dying political culture in a delusional UK.
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.
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