The battered coffee cup


We’re almost there now, staggering to the end of the least inspiring, most depressing General Election in living memory. And that includes the experience of Theresa May’s robotic performance in May 2017. It’s not just the punters, even the parties don’t appear to have their hearts in it this time, certainly in my part of the world. Here in the East End of Glasgow I’ve seen one single solitary election poster in someone’s windae – an SNP one. I’ve had just two pieces of election material through the door, both from the SNP. There’s been nothing at all from Labour, the Tories, or the Lib Dems. This is a marginal constituency which Labour needs to take if it is to prove that it’s on the road to recovery in Scotland, yet the party is invisible locally.

Yet despite the boredom, the ennui, the exhaustion, this is a vitally important election. This is the election when Scotland decides who gets to decide the future of this country. Is it to be Boris Johnson, or is it to be the people of Scotland? Are we content to sit back and watch passively, silently, as foodbanks burgeon, as homelessness spreads like a cancer, as in work poverty blights more and more families, or do we say that enough is enough. This election is fundamentally a choice between Conservative selfishness or an assertion that there has to be a better way.

It’s fine to speculate about what might happen next, about the precise mechanism by which Scotland can wrest an independence vote from a reluctant Westminster, but the fundamental truth remains that the vital first step is to ensure that the only pro-independence party which can win seats tomorrow wins as many as possible. It’s imperative that independence supporters are motivated to get out and vote. It’s only by returning a large majority of SNP MPs tomorrow that we can take that first step that leads to a referendum that leads to independence that leads to something better, because if the party falters now, then all is lost.

I was in town yesterday, in the rain and the cold I lost count of the number of young people sitting in a puddle of hopelessness, a battered disposable coffee cup in front of them collecting their pennies of relief. They’re everywhere. Even in streets in the East End where you never saw homeless people before. We are now a society where all that some of us have to hope for is contained in a disposable coffee cup. The Tories did this. With their destruction of the social security system, their decimation of drug programmes, their callous disregard for social housing, Tories did this to those young people. The Tories have done it to all of us.

Every time I go into town I keep a few pounds in my pocket to place in a coffee cup. I don’t judge what it’s spent on. If the person who happens to be the first one that is stumbled across chooses to spend it on alcohol or drugs, don’t judge. Who are we judge how another person copes in a situation that those of us who are more fortunate don’t have to face. Who are we to judge what it takes to get through a long dark cold and wet night of desolation of body and soul. Who are we to judge how to cope without hope. And then I pass another battered coffee cup, and another, and another, and there are no pounds left in my pocket.

The Tories create callousness in all of us, because we can’t individually help every single person in need. We need to turn a blind eye, to walk by in our warm dry clothes towards our warm dry homes while the coffee cups are empty on the streets. The Tories tell us not to care, because it’s the only way that we can cope with the overwhelming nature of the problems that their greed has created. We need to make all of society to care, to make government care, to make those with power care. We can’t solve the problem of homelessness with a few coins in a cup, we can only solve it together. That means electing people who care, and rejecting those who don’t. It means voting out the smug arrogance of a Boris Johnson who lavishes handouts on the rich, on banks and big businesses.

Not all poverty is visible. There’s the poverty of the mother who huddles with her children under a pile of coats in the bedroom, because she can’t afford to pay her gas or electricity bill. There’s the poverty of the couple who trudge to the foodbank in the rain because their social security payment has been sanctioned. There’s the poverty of the man who sits in a van while an app controls his life, hoping for a little bit of work to put food on the table. There’s the poverty of a lifelong struggle, that has caused poor health and illness, that gives men in the area where I live a lower life expectancy than Mexico.

None of this was inevitable. The Tories just want you to think it was. None of this was necessary. The Tories just want you to think it was. None of this needs to be this way. The Tories just want you to think that it must. All this is a result of deliberate choices by a British government, a British government that the people of Scotland don’t want. They can inflict poverty, illness, and marginalisation upon us, because we don’t matter to them. And that is why it is important that we do not allow hopelessness and despair to overtake us, because when those of us who have the strength do not speak up, when we don’t say enough, when we don’t say that there is a better way, we become complicit.

Tomorrow we have a choice. We can choose not to be complicit. We can assert that there is a better way. We can demand that the empty coffee cups are a sick abomination in one of the richest countries in the world, a result of deliberate choices made by a government that doesn’t give a shit. Well we give a shit, and tomorrow is our chance to make sure that Boris Johnson hears that. There’s only one way to teach him, and that is to ensure that there are as few Conservative MPs in Scotland as possible, to ensure that Scotland insists that the people of this country have the absolute right to determine the path that this nation takes. And that is a path that will not be littered with huddled bundles of despair. It’s a path that will not lead to foodbanks. It’s a path that leads to empathy, to compassion. Vote SNP tomorrow. Vote for a future that can’t be contained in a battered coffee cup.

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23 thoughts on “The battered coffee cup

  1. As always, the Dug nails it.

    I have explained to people here in Ireland how efficient the Conservative Party machine is at selecting parliamentary candidates. The test is to find a frail, elderly woman, preferably with very poor eyesight, waiting to cross a busy road. If you can take her half-way across and leave her there, then you have what it takes to be a Tory MP. If you leave her half-way across and run away laughing, you are clearly an excellent candidate for future ministerial office. If you leave her half-way across, run away laughing, and then throw stones at her from the kerb, then you are destined for the highest offices of state.


  2. Powerful stuff and every bit of it true. It’s easy to see why you’re persona non grata with the likes of the Beeb!

  3. Pingback: The battered coffee cup | speymouth

  4. Well said Paul. It’s totally disgusting and an absolute disgrace, that this rich UK has a proliferation of foodbanks, and large numbers of homeless. It’s true, the tories couldn’t care less. They and their wealthy pals make more, and the rest of us, well we can just be safely ignored, because the MSM protects them. Words are not enough sometimes.

    My family members will turn out and vote for the SNP, but I’m quite honestly dreading Friday the 13th. I’m worried that we will find out that the tories have a working majority, the, well, god help us all.

  5. I give a shit and I want to live in a country that gives a shit.

    England is sailing off into an extreme right wing future that the “I’m alright (Union) jacks” will dominate and they do not give a shit about anyone other than themselves.

    Vote SNP and then YES for a better future. I will be voting first thing tomorrow for a better future.

  6. Excellent again Paul pity it can’t be spread far and wide by the MSM but they are implicit in the rise of poverty and despair and all they can do is shout SNP Bad to deflect from themselves.

  7. On Friday Scotland will get what England votes for end of. Then what will happen. I can assure you absolutely sweet F/A. Scotland. and us Scots will continue as we have done for the past 300 odd years bend over and take it and as usual be the laughing stock of the world.

  8. Aye Panda,
    I’ll be there as well.
    Got a hand written letter from untruthful today, the boy didn’t even get a mention, they must be really worried when carless jackass isn’t in the letter either.
    Hope for her son’s sake that Loch Ness isn’t too cold for her, would love to hear she’d been arrested for subjecting the locals to her skinny dipping. That will be the same as the famous ‘eat my hat’ quote from Paddy.
    As reported earlier, Bougainville has voted to be a normal country, to be free of PNG.
    Scotland has to wake up tomorrow and vote for the freedom from the union party.

  9. Excellent…
    “All this is a result of deliberate choices by a British government, a British government that the people of Scotland don’t want”.
    I don’t suppose the majority in England want the current lot either, but have fallen for the propaganda war against a Labour Party Scotland dumped in 2015, and will realise too late their mistake. Not that Corbyn would have much luck overhauling a Parliament and system which is corrupt to the core and will fight tooth and nail to keep it that way.
    With luck, Scots have the good sense to repeat the 2015 shock to the London Luvvies, it is time these clowns and charlatans got a message they cannot ignore..

  10. Worst of al, Paull – none of this was necessary. Britain – as an issuer of currency, cannot run out of money – it’s impossible. The government can create money at a keystroke without borrowing or issuing bonds. It could quite easily provide a generous universal income for every citizen, fund major infrastructure projects and pay for the NHS ten times over. Seem fanciful? Take twenty minutes and listen to Prof Bill Mitchell explain how money really can work. When people realise just how much they’ve been deceived….

    • …and btw, the government are fully aware how MMT works. What do you think Quantitative Easing was? £200bn created out of thin air and given to the banks to lend at interest to us. That covered their losses. It’s that easy. Just think – Boris Johnson could quite easily instruct the Treasury to issue new currency by way of a BACS transfer to WeeGingerDug for the sum of £100,000,000,000 – and tomorrow morning you could have a long lie. We’ve been creating money from thin air for decades – only most of us have never seen a penny.

  11. There are a surprising number of people who are looking for any excuse to just continue subsisting until they die.
    Then there is a tranche of the ‘nothing changes if I vote, but I want all the benefits of what you do”.

  12. Heard that the PM hid in a fridge today whilst delivering milk to avoid an interview, today – has he lost his bottle?

    (Or is he picking up tips from ‘Subway’ Gray, now?)

  13. And the Scottish Tories are the club Johnson hopes to use, to beat Scotland down with. Lets smash it to pieces and give him heehaw. Then we can sit back and watch King Quisling Carlaw turn a deeper shade of puce.

  14. I heard a woman on the radio I can’t remember when , she made a comment and said her family were never poor but were clean and respectable and reasonably comfortable , she said she couldn’t be at peace knowing people around her were in dire circumstances , it stopped her enjoying the little comforts she had . Removed some of the joy of life and always cast a shadow when ever she came across people in need .

    There are people in Scotland so removed from what is happening around them they don’t or won’t see , they are ok , because the people you mention Paul don’t frequent M&S , Fraser’s etc and the west end wine bars , the Coffee Shops , the nice Schools or UNIs , a whole section of Scottish Society doing very well thank you oblivious to anyone but their nice circle of friends , aye life is just peachy for some and they don’t give a f/k about anyone else that’s why Jackson the car man fits in ,he’s one of them .he might be a lying barstuard but he’s their barstuard .

    Just like Johnston a lovable rogue to them, and the Dark future to the majority of normal Scots who still can’t believe this Clown has been elected PM .

  15. Tomorrow is Friday 13th. I wonder how many people will wake up & say “who’d have thunk it?” Keep the children indoors while Ruth skinny dips & frightens the monster.

  16. Do you think as well the homelessness problem contributes to people who have no address, no stability, no security, unable to register to vote, therefore don’t exist in the eyes of the electoral role, one or more less voters who could make a difference? A nasty tory tactic to wipe out Scotland’s people? Make the ‘savages’ even poorer and destitute, lose their homes, security, will to live, then tory agenda will harrumph they are right, there is no appetite for a second Independence referendum.
    I’m shouting now…WELL THEY ARE SO VERY WRONG!!!

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