The state we are in

There’s a lot of talk about what this election is about. It’s about Brexit. It’s about an independence referendum. It’s about protecting the NHS. It’s about poverty and inequality. It’s about holding power to account. It’s about the lies and deceit of Boris Johnson. It’s about austerity. It’s about access to affordable housing. The truth is that it is about all these things. This General Election is about the state we’re in. The state we’re in is a desperate state, a decrepit state, a declining state. The state we’re in is the disUnited Kingdom, dysfunctional, and disgraceful, unthinking dumb.

Walk along any high street, and you’re confronted by homeless people huddling in doorways, trying to find what little shelter they can. They’re in every town, in every main street. Many are young, some are disabled. We walk by, because not even the kindest and most generous amongst us can help them every single one of them. Homelessness on this scale isn’t inevitable. It’s a product of political choices. It’s a product of a social security system that long since stopped being a safety net for those in need and instead turned into a lash to castigate and punish them for the crime of being poor. It doesn’t have to be this way. But this is the state we’re in.

In every supermarket there’s a basket asking for donations for your local foodbank. There’s always a local foodbank. There’s always people who rely on charity in order to feed themselves, in one of the richest countries in the world. They’re everwhere. They’re your neighbours, your friend, your relatives. It’s estimated that one third of children in the UK are being brought up in poverty, kids for whom a trip to the foodbank is normal. Well it’s not bloody normal. It’s a result of a government that decided to make the poor pay for the sins of the rich. It’s a result of political choices, political choices that Scotland never made, never supported, never wanted.

In every doctor’s surgery, in every local hospital, people are waiting, waiting, hoping for the best while they wait for their tests. The waits get longer, the pressures on staff grow like a cancer, the tumour of creeping privatisation that eats away at the soul of universal provision. This is happening because of choices that are forced upon us by people whose only prescription is I’m alright Jack. Scotland does better than the rest of the UK, but only because the Scottish Government is forced to make cuts elsewhere in order to prop up a system that’s dying from lack of care. It’s only going to get worse as the Borises and Jacobs and the Nigels look greedily upon their bank balances and the business opportunities that open up to them by opening up the NHS to US health companies. Boris Johnson says that he’s got no intention at all of privatising the NHS, but he also said he was going to die in a ditch. We’re still waiting, Boris, waiting. It doesn’t have to be this way, but this is the state we’re in.

This election might be the last hurrah of Nigel Farage, but although he’s lost his personal battle to get himself into power, he has won the war. He has transformed the Conservative party into his image. The extreme right has become the right. The Brexit party and Ukip have become an irrelevance because the Tories have turned into them. Brexit is now defined as the most extreme, the most estranged, the most divorced state possible. Just a few years ago those supporting Brexit said that they’d be happy with a situation like Norway’s, out of the EU but accepting freedom of movement and the customs union and single market. Now they tell us that’s not Brexit at all, and the Conservatives enthusiastically agree. It doesn’t have to be this way, but this is the state we’re in.

The devolution settlement that Scotland fought long and hard for in the teeth of opposition from decades of Tory rule is at threat like never before, because only some people’s will needs to be respected. The Conservatives are using the EU referendum as an excuse to undermine the will of the Scottish people to have stronger safer devolution, everything that they promised us in 2014, and now they tell us that we can’t complain. It was a once in a generation vote, they crow, telling Scotland that it has no right to hold them to account for their failure to honour their promises. Only some referendums need to be respected, those whose result suits the Tories. They tell us that it doesn’t matter how Scotland votes in December, it doesn’t matter how Scotland votes in 2021. It doesn’t matter how Scotland ever votes. We have no right to decide the future of our own country, we only have the right to sit in silence as our future is chosen for us by the Borises and the Jacobs and the Nigels. It doesn’t have to be this way, but this is the state that we are in.

Boris laughs and tells his weak jokes for the fourteenth time. He blusters, he fnaughs. Democracy in the UK is an after dinner speech for the East Surrey Conservative Association. He chortles as he breaks the law. His party takes money from Russian oligarchs and practises the dark arts of digital manipulation. Move along now, there’s nothing to see here, only the studied distractions of a man who has learned how high a dead cat can bounce. Even senior figures in his own party, former Chancellors, former cabinet ministers, warn about the dangers of allowing the dissembler in chief to have a majority in Parliament. He says he’ll get Brexit done, but he’s lying. What he means is that Brexit will be done to you and me. The Conservatives don’t want to leave the EU in order to turn the UK into a paradise of employment and social rights. They don’t want to leave the EU because they have a deep concern for the poor, the marginalised, and the vulnerable. They want to leave the EU because once the UK is no longer subject to EU rules and regulations it will be so much easier to screw us all over. It doesn’t have to be this way, but this is the state we are in.

This is the time to say no to Tories who don’t listen. Tories who are terrified of democracy. Tories who despise the people of Scotland and refuse to allow us a say in this supposedly precious union. Just today Boris Johnson referred to the UK as the most successful union of nations – successful for who? Because it’s not looking too successful for a Scotland that wants to strengthen its ties to the rest of the world and to Europe but which is being dragged out against its will into a low wage low tax low protection economy where the rich will get ever richer but there will be more kids begging on our streets, more mothers waiting for medical tests, more cold people trudging to a food bank in the rain because they can’t afford the bus fare. This is the state we are in.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We have a choice. We have a voice, and we can use it to say loud and clear that Scotland doesn’t agree, that this land of ours demands the right to decide that path that it takes. We will decide what state we are in, and we choose a Scottish state that respects the dignity of all.

I’d just like to say thank you to all the lovely people at Yes Caithness, and especially to Darren and Jim, for all their kindness and hospitality when I visited on Saturday.  The dug and I had a great time, and thanks to Yes Caithness the evening was a huge success.  All the best to Karl Rosie, the local SNP candidate in the General Election.  I would have included a link to his crowdfunder, but he doesn’t appear to have one! 

Crowdfunder for Brendan O’Hara

Brendan is campaigning to keep the Argyll & Bute seat for the SNP.  He’s a tireless campaigner for local issues – and originally from the East End of Glasgow.  So all round good guy in my book.

Crowdfunder for Kirsten Oswald

Kirsten is hoping to take East Renfrewshire back from the Tories.  74% of local people voted to remain in the EU, yet the Tories are hell bent on taking us all out of it.  Let’s not make it easy for them.  Every Tory MP we can defeat makes it harder for Boris Johnson to steamroller us.

You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Please log into and send a payment to the email address Or alternatively click the donate button. If you don’t have a Paypal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.
Donate Button

If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my bank account, 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.

GINGER2croppedGaelic maps of Scotland are available for £15 each, plus £7 P&P within the UK for up to three maps. T-shirts are £12 each, and are available in small, medium, large, XL and XXL sizes. P&P is £5 for up to three t-shirts. My books, the Collected Yaps Vols 1 to 4 are available for £11 each. P&P is £4 for up to two books. Payment can be made via Paypal.

newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free. You can order here –

You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email

25 thoughts on “The state we are in

  1. Aye Paul dark indeed….but as you say It doen’t need to be this way for we have a choice to break free of the straglehold of this corrupt union. Vote SNP no other for this GE.

  2. Pingback: The state we are in | speymouth

  3. Spot on Dug dont know what I would do without your daily dose of ‘comment’ sense..
    Helping political change come about is at least something we can all try to achieve to counter the litany of ills you describe…
    Can I be cheeky and ask for help with Robert’s corwdfunder ?- the toughest seat in Scotland but a dedicated band of stalwart indy supporters giving it their all – always optimistic that the northern isles tide might turn ….

  4. As an older person I found myself crying whilst reading this. I weep for the younger generation who will have to pay with their lives if we don’t grasp the chance to escape from the madness

    • I too had tears of anger after reading this,.It was one of off your best,Paul.please keep it up and and save my sanity1

  5. One of your best Paul

    Writing like any art form should instill emotion and this piece got me angry, it should make every self respecting Scot angry

  6. Purdah began at midnight on the 6th of November now that’s the Joke of the Year ,

    Every single News bulletin since then has Labour – Tory – Libdem in no particular order but always these three ( all Unionist )

    Scotlands party of government and by far the biggest political party by a long way is posted missing and this is happening in this country , this fascist behaviour by a foreign government, unless challenged immediately will like food banks become normal , if it’s not challenged then it’s accepted as normal , it’s not just the SNP who are being taken for fools ,it’s the whole country .

    Paul has published posters over the last few months that are straight to the point , have they been taken up and used for the well publicised election NOPE ,
    have the SNP changed their approach to being ignored by the media NOPE ,
    has the fight for independence taken a beating from all sides without reply YES ,
    a lot of folk including myself getting a bit bloody fed up by the lacklustre approach to a real imminent problem ,

    • Totally agree !

      The SNP should be using billboard advertising around the country to emphasise the many successes of Scotland’s industries , our natural resources etc…
      Let the people know that we are NOT dependent on handouts from London as the unionist parties would have us believe ( though they know that they are lies ! ).

      I don’t want a leaflet coming through my door from the SNP telling me that the SNP will stand up at Westminster for Scotland – I want them to stand up IN SCOTLAND for us !

  7. Do you agree with SNP saying they would not help Labour into 10 Downing St having just pointed out everything the Tories hac=ve done and will continue to do.

    • These days the spirit of Kier Hardie is much more alive in the SNP than in the party that can’t make up it’s mind on a simple thing like Brexit despite all the damage it will wreak on the working poor. The Labour Party is just another Imperial party and should be treated as such.

  8. @ Daniel Dominick – Labour in government will simply continue with the Tory policies. Independence is the only secure answer to enable Scotland to provide care for her people.

  9. The Tory candidate for Aberdeen North has been suspended, as per ‘the Campaign’ on BBC1 with Angela Haggerty once AGAIN being given the time (to spout guff) that Nicola Sturgeon has been denied. Disgraceful.

  10. Well said Paul. This is powerful writing. It brings emotion in me in the form of boiling my blood. Scotland should be in a state of emergency! How can this message be delivered to every single person in the land? Who writes Nicolas speeches? She needs a speech writer of your caliber.

  11. Rachael Georgina Hamilton Blue Tory MSP( no, I’ve never heard of her either) , a ridiculous looking Willie Rennie in a daft Pierrot pointy hat skipping down Ashton Lane in Glasgow, and a forlorn looking Richard Leonard his neck muffled in his £200 red scarf trying to force a few cold train passengers to take his pathetic leaflets as they scurried homewards through the mist of a frosty twilight.

    This was BBC Ministry of Truth’s Teatime Scottish coverage of Election 2019.

    Three MSPs who have hee haw to do with WM, spouting the usual general guff and promises which none are in the position to keep, but who don’t give a Labour lost deposit that they are blithering idiots, marionettes dancing to the tune of their English masters.

    Where is Alister huntin’ and shootin’ gentleman farmer Jack,? Where is Jo Swinson? Where is Lindsay Laird? (I’ve got her name right?) Or is it ‘Lesley’? Where are they all hiding?

    As usual, BBC Scotland bows to the will of the London Establishment and short changes the Scots electorate, the TV licence payers, who pay their wages and Angela Haggerty’s burgeoning appearance money coffers.
    We are fed this nonsense from third rate politicians because we don’t matter. We are a colony of England, so shut up, sit down, and let us tell you about 20,000 extra police and HS2.

    It is deliberate of course.

    Jo Swinson refused to appear on Gary Robertson’s BBC Radio Jordanhill this morning so Willie Rennie blurted his way through an hour of embarrassing waffle and lies instead.
    She would have had to answer to ‘George’ of Dundee who had to give up work 10 years ago to become full time carer to his wife. He demanded to know why he was living on an income of £1.28 an hour and why Swinson had voted down an increase of 50p when she was a Beige Tory in the Coalition.
    He di not answer.

    Rennie was a complete disaster. Child Care, Mental Health, and planting trees was his transformative manifesto. The man’s an idiot.

    You see he and Leonard, and Carlaw can say what they like. They’ll never be held accountable, and the WM Better Together Brit Nat Hopefuls are shielded from the public by an obliging Brit Nat media Pack.

    There will be a Scottish voice during the ITV Johnson Corbyn ‘debate’ tomorrow.

    I’m sure that Davidson will begin earning her fat bung analysing the debate tomorrow night as she provides a balanced critique of the Blue and Red Tory Leaders performance, despite still trousering a day’s wages as a Blue Tory MSP tomorrow.

    Two wages for one day’s work. Twofor Ruth.

    Yet we put up with this obscenity.

    I reiterate, the SNP should pull out of every TV event, and interviews.

    Both Johnson and Corbyn will attack the SNP, and Scots who demand a return to Self Determination, with impunity with no right of reply or rebuttal.

    ITV is a commercial business run by
    Sir Peter Bazalgette, a pillar of the London Establishment.

    Back behind the compound wire, ye pesky Jock Barbarians.

    The Establishment will ensure that our voices are snuffed out in print, radio and TV, and our Scots hacks and broadcasters have already demonstrated that they will be a willing compliant Fourth Estate Fifth Column in selling their fellow Scots down the river, the Thames, that is.
    You are vital in the attempt to rage against this propaganda deluge, Paul.

    • Did anyone see Sky news on state of the union program? I did a big eye roll when the guy in Derbyshire said that the UK next prime minister should go straight to Scotland and give the Scots government a years notice to get out of the union. This he explained would save England lots of money that they currently pay to subsidise Scotland!! He added let them see how long they’d last. I shouted at the TV. How about Scotland’s natural wealth that has propped up your pathetic narrow minded, self indulgent poorly educated little England who still believe the myths that they are better than anyone else. I have no doubt that the genuinely good people of England would be surprised to hear the truth about their precious union and what has kept it going to afford illegal wars and the obscenity of the weapons they store 20 miles away from our countries largest, historically and architecturally significant cities on these islands. Quite obviously the UK media has failed him and his ilk in not living up to their duty of informing the populace and imparting truth. I’ve had enough of this ill informed arrogance. Alba gu brath.

  12. Yes another great article from Paul and my blood’s boiling too, Malky. Sad to say the vast majority of Scots won’t read it just as the vast majority of Scots are being bombarded with Unionist propaganda as they in turn ensure that Nicola Sturgeon is being gagged. And when they do deem to throw us a few crumbs, such as the BBC for our £320 million donation annually, by broadcasting what Nicola Sturgeon has to say they edit the piece or just talk over her. Data of course is being published via the SNP site on a daily basis, but one wonders how many people actually access that site?

    There’s no doubt that Paul will be at the forefront of our MSM (if he wants that), however that won’t happen until after we get our Independence. Meanwhile in a country where around 50% plus of the population support Independence, every presenter on TV seems to (does) support the Union. How hellish is that?

    I moved on from the BBC to STV tonight. and watched Scotland Tonight being presented by John MacKay (Unionist lackey or fearty for his job prospects). They covered the cancer targets, tonights debate between Johnston and Corbyn and the Prince Andrew paedophile saga.

    After outlining the cancer target issue they (two experts) had to admit that money wasn’t the problem (Nicola Sturgeon has allocated an additional £100 million to deal with it … not mentioned) nor did they mention the horrendous situation south of the border. The problem relates to lack of staff. Twenty seven diagnostic technicians to be precise. What really p*ssed me right off was that there was no mention of SNHS staff leaving the country due to (Unionist) Brexit and the ScotGov’s total lack of control over immigration.

    Then they went on to stating that the SNP and Libdems had lost their ITV nae debate court case. Two minutes spent on that and around 10/15 minutes spent on the pros and cons of Corbyn versus Johnston’s “version” of Brexit and running the country. Not our country, Scotland, of course as it looks as though few people here have any time for the two galoots, as per the polls.

    And forget about Randy Andy. Who gives a whit about the Royal family? We’ll no doubt have a vote on them following Independence. Vote on Queen Bessie, Queen of Scots, who’s spent nearly 70 years ignoring us: worse still.

    Paul I just want to say, once again, that I can’t thank you enough for producing your excellent articles, one after another, which afford us so much info, ammunition, to help us win this fight and of course for all of the work that you do on top of that such as travelling around Scotland getting the word out there. What a commitment to our cause! A big thank you to new sites too like You, they and a number of others put some of the “so-called” key Independence bloggers and the way that they are “using” their sites right now to utter shame.

    • And so say all of us, Petra.
      I don’t watch ‘commercial’ TV as it used to be called.
      By its nature funded by Coca Cola and the like, it must be pro the Elite and Big Business.

      I believe that they still interrupt a stream of adverts with wee sections of a programme.
      Paul’s name will immediately removed from the Fourth Estate’s black list come independence.

  13. A joke I have cracked many times over the years.

    Scotland is a country, but it is not a state.
    However, thanks to its membership of the UK, it is in a state.

  14. Jack you must have fallen about laughing, as I did, at crazy Wee Willie Winkie skipping down the lane with his Pierrot pointy hat on and with a soft toy (red hen?) dangling from his hand? Sad clown right enough and what a sight for sore eyes. Let’s hope that someone gets that online. Who knows maybe excluding Nicola Sturgeon from some of the talks will focus minds on what exactly is on offer? Nicola Sturgeon versus a bunch of lying, callous, ignorant nutters.

    • This bunch of Pagliacci laugh and snicker on camera like the fools and shallow heartless unfeeling mercenaries we know them to be.

      They are not tragic clowns; they are the Fifth Column intent on Scotland’s destruction.

      We neither laugh with them, or at them.

      As George from Dundee prepares for another day caring for his wife and living in Willie Rennie/Jo Swinson engineered poverty and early death, I can’t imagine how he must feel watching this gap toothed Court Jester skipping and prancing in front of the assembled snappers and brit Nat TV crews.

      We are not laughing of course.
      WE are not crying either.
      We are driving this bunch of carpetbaggers out of politics once and for all.
      This time, Scotland. This time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *