The democratic deficit

democraticdeficit
There’s a looming freight train coming down the tracks. But don’t worry. It won’t hit us because it will end up stalled in customs for days. That’s essentially the pitch that the Conservatives are making to the UK about the trading future between Brexit Britain and the EU, and all this is going to be negotiated on our behalf by a part time prime minister. In the meantime we also have coronavirus, flooding, snow, xenophobia, Trident renewal, the MoD dumping radioactive waste in the Clyde, and soaring homelessness. We have a governing Tory party which raked in over £37 million in donations over the general election period and which still refuses to publish the report into Russian interference and meddling in UK politics. Здесь нечего видеть. That’s Russian for there’s nothing to see here.

Meanwhile the guy in charge of dealing with the UK’s response to a pandemic is Matt Hanson, a man who has principles for every occasion – which would be spine-chilling if Matt actually had a backbone. Michael Gove oozes his way through TV interviews refusing to acknowledge that the UK is staring no-deal in the face because no deal is really an Australian style deal and threatening to walk away from the negotiations in June, and in the process producing more slime than ten times his weight in garden slugs. Priti Patel spends her time in her office smirking as she pulls the wings off flies and gloats about her purposely cruel immigration system. Dominic Cummings thinks that the more racist you are the more you’re qualified to be a government advisor. And Boris Johnson alternates between hiding in a fridge and fnaugh fnaughing.

So yeah, we’re doing just great. Living the dream. Sunlit uplands. Jam exports. Union jacks on driving licences. Blue passports. The Brexiters have got their country back, innit. What a shame it’s so shit. It’s like the Tellitubbies but with no TV reception and Lala being deported for being an illegal immigrant who can’t speak English. If the UK was a school it would be in special measures. If it was a hospital in Scotland its crappiness would be the only thing that Reporting Scotland ever talked about. If it was a Eurovision Song Contest entrant it would get nul points. If it was an episode of Star Trek Spock would have broken down in hysterical tears. It’s life Jim, but not as we know it.

The sole consolation is that at least the UK will soon be over. It’s just frustrating that it has to descend into such appalling crapulosity in order to make a majority of people in Scotland realise that we could make a far better fist of things in an independent country. It would be difficult to do worse, and even if in the unlikely event that our political classes were even worse in an independent Scotland, we could always vote them out. We’re stuck with the Tories despite the fact that Scotland hasn’t given the Conservatives a majority of Scottish seats during the lifetime of anyone under pensionable age. Or at least what used to be pensionable age before the Tories raised it. You had to be 21 to vote in 1955, when the Tories last won a majority in Scotland. That means that the only people alive today who were of voting age the last time that the Conservatives won an election in Scotland are now over 86 years old.

There’s a lot of talk, especially in the media, about the economics of independence. However the real reason for wanting independence is to do with arguments about basic democracy. It’s important we don’t lose sight of that. It suits opponents of independence to focus on other issues because they have no answers to the question of the Scottish democratic deficit.

Scotland’s democratic deficit is about more than the fact that this country rarely gets the UK government that it votes for, and only does so when England votes the same way. It’s also about how the institutions of the British state cannot and will not accommodate Scotland as a distinct nation within the UK. This goes back to the very foundation of the UK, the institutions of the UK understand Scotland’s political authority to have been extinguished by the Treaty of Union of 1707, but England’s was expanded. We see it in the way in which Brexit was sold to the UK population as the restoration of British parliamentary sovereignty, and was immediately followed by Conservative executives which used it as an excuse to arrogate yet more power to themselves at the expense of Parliament, which reached its pinnacle in Boris Johnson’s suspension of Parliamentary democracy in order to deprive Parliament of time to fillet his Brexit plans. And he’s not finished yet, the Conservative manifesto included the promise that the UK government will restrict the powers of the courts to hold it in check. That’s a deeply alarming development in a state which lacks a written constitution and which already invests the Prime Minister with the powers of a dictator.

We see the democratic deficit in the way in which the British Government reacted to Scotland’s vote in the EU referendum. The way Scotland voted was seen as an irrelevance. Scotland was given no input into the shape that Brexit would take. Scotland’s concerns were not taken into account. Worse still, the British Government announced that Brexit represented a substantive change in circumstances enough to justify it making unilateral changes to the devolution settlement – to Scotland’s detriment – while denying that Brexit represented a substantive enough change to justify another independence referendum. This despite the fact that a key promise of the Better Together campaign in 2014 was that only a vote against independence could secure Scotland’s place within the EU.

The UK is in a mess, a mess which is only going to get worse, and yet within the framework of the British state the people of Scotland have no remedy. That’s the core reason why independence is a necessity. The Scottish media bangs on relentlessly about Scottish education, about the state of our hospitals, while never examining the constraints placed upon Scotland and our public services by the British state. The key point however is that while the electorate in Scotland have the ability to vote out a Scottish Government, it is powerless to do anything about the British Government which writes the rules that the Scottish Government must operate within. That’s why we need independence. Not merely to escape the vile policies of vile Conservatives, but to have the power to set the parameters within which the Scottish Government operates, to have the power to reject that government at the polls, and to change the parameters if they no longer suit us. Independence means the freedom to choose, the freedom to adapt to changing circumstances. The UK means being subject to the priorities of a political class for whom Scotland’s people are at best an inconvenience.


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97 thoughts on “The democratic deficit

  1. Pingback: The democratic deficit | speymouth

  2. The UK is certainly a mess presently – a stinking, corrupt, despotic shithole. Anyone who still thinks the British Establishment is a cornerstone of democracy and a power of good need only read the reports from Belmash Magistrates Court and the horrific treatment of Julian Assange in the extradition hearings.

    Sincerely hope the Scottish judiciary don’t adopt a similar strategy next month..

  3. As you say, Paul, the Scottish Government is under constant attack about its competence and the economics of independence but I’ve never heard any journalist (or SNP spokesperson, for that matter, in rebuttal) ask the Tories to explain how they’ve manage to TREBLE the national debt since 2010 to over £2 Trillion during a time of austerity when public spending has been slashed. Where has this money been spent?

    The SG has to produce a balanced budget since it has hardly any borrowing powers and is a model of probity compared with the incompetent spivs and crooks who are bringing the UK economy to a cliff-edge.

  4. Good commentary as usual.
    Beggars the question as to wether there are any circumstances under which the uk would deal with Scotland under any acknowledged democratic, reasonable way on the path to independence.
    I can’t see the depraved psychopaths who have control ever doing so. They can not afford to lose Scotland. It is their last jewel. These folk are programmed by beasting at the expense of their beasted parents to be the sociopaths they are.
    The future is orange. The glow of a nuclear two sun Inverclyde as the guarantor for a burnt earth last resort.
    Failing that we should look to Sweden as an example for construction of bunkers to preserve any chance of surviving the cumming bojo, smirki Patel and the gang war.
    Yep. War.
    Not long now

  5. Sorry to be pedantic about an otherwise excellent essay, but you’ve used the word ‘abrogate’ where you clearly meant to use ‘arrogate’. Abrogate means to repeal or cancel an existing law, whereas arrogate means to take or claim something for oneself without any legal or moral justification.

  6. The democratic deficit that Scotland endures could not have been stated as eloquently as you have:

    “The key point however is that while the electorate in Scotland have the ability to vote out a Scottish Government, it is powerless to do anything about the British Government which writes the rules that the Scottish Government must operate within.”

    This is what we need to tell our No voters, especially those closest to you. Only Independnece can make their voice heard.

  7. Another good one Paul and with all that’s going on, and our inability to do anything about it, I’ve been thinking that we’ve actually been taken back in time (in more ways than one) to the days when the vast majority of people couldn’t vote at all.

    ”We’re stuck with the Tories despite the fact that Scotland hasn’t given the Conservatives a majority of Scottish seats during the lifetime of anyone under pensionable age.”

    I’m basically just wondering what was the point of people fighting for the right to vote when the Scottish vote seems to count for nought and not just in relation to Brexit.

    ‘The debates in both Houses of Parliament saw majority cross-party unanimity. The Home Secretary, George Cave (Con) within the governing coalition introduced the Act (1918):

    ”War by all classes of our countrymen has brought us nearer together, has opened men’s eyes, and removed misunderstandings on all sides. It has made it, I think, impossible that ever again, at all events in the lifetime of the present generation, there should be a revival of the old class feeling which was responsible for so much, and, among other things, for the exclusion for a period, of so many of our population from the class of electors. I think I need say no more to justify this extension of the franchise.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Representation_of_the_People_Act_1918

    AND…

    ‘Right to vote:-

    ”Women felt they should have the right to vote for many reasons, particularly because they had to pay taxes and abide by the law, just as men did.

    **They believed they had an equal right to influence Parliament and government by voting.”**

    http://www.parliament.uk/about/living-heritage/transformingsociety/electionsvoting/womenvote/overview/campaign/

  8. And then again they can do what they like …

    …”I was under the impression, in its simplest form, democracy was about one person one vote,” says campaign director Dan Firth.

    “But in the City of London Corporation elections, businesses have almost double the votes of ordinary people and to me that feels like an injustice.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-39283177

    And you can see why they are determined to hold onto their own dictatorial system.

    https://truepublica.org.uk/united-kingdom/city-london-centre-global-crime-scene/

  9. Everything you have written Paul is sadly true,
    I would expect in a normal country the Media would be all over what Bawjaws government is acutely up to ,I was around when the likes of Spitting Image and various satirical publications really ripped the piss out of the government and their hapless ministers, what happened were they all bought off or threatened with legal action , who knows .
    Every single thing this lot touch turns to shit maybe someone can name one thing this lot have done that has actually improved someone’s life f/kd if I can , sorry about the language there.
    This total waffle about being prepared for what might become a serious situation with this variant of the Flu will be a Test ,trusting this lot is like crossing your fingers, This Self isolation advice what exactly does that mean ? , my take on it is this , this lot don’t have a bloody clue so they give doing He-Haw a label it sounds catchy , it’s all about presentation it’s an Illusion meant to fool the public .
    I give this Clown and the rest of the liars till the end of the year before it all ends in Tears and the rest of us have to fix the damage that has been done .

    • Like the criminal who goes to prison for a couple of years but knows when he gets out his I’ll gotten gains are still there, so the Tories are willing to trash the country knowing they will make a fortune and be able to enjoy it at their leisure in whatever country they please. They don’t care about anyone except themselves.

  10. O/T

    I’ve been following Craig Murray’s coverage of the Assange case and noticed the following.

    …”In reply Lewis (James Lewis QC, acting for US authorities) stated that a treaty could not be binding in English law unless specifically incorporated in English law by Parliament. This was a necessary democratic defence. Treaties were made by the executive which could not make law. This went to the sovereignty of Parliament. Lewis quoted many judgements stating that international treaties signed and ratified by the UK could not be enforced in British courts.

    “It may come as a surprise to other countries that their treaties with the British government can have no legal force” he joked.”

    http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2020/02/your-man-in-the-public-gallery-the-assange-hearing-day-3/

    • That jumped out at me too, Petra. Interesting. Some other very disturbing things came out from the prosecuting counsel’s approach in Craig’s account as well as the shockingly incompetent and partial magistrate Baraitser. People, you should really follow Petra’s link to Craig’s account, it will make your hair stand on end. The British state revealed.

    • Treaties trump domestic law, so said Teressa May, and domestic law agrees. What we are witnessing in this case is the Westminster poodle bending over backwards to accommodate their U.S. handlers.
      This case has more significance for the independence movement than might be readily apparent.

  11. Excellent blog again Paul. But all is not rosy in the Scot parliament garden. GRA reform is the turd on the sole. Totally unnecessary, unscientific and unpopular, if passed I will not vote SNP. Still pro- Independence but not at this cost.

      • I’m not quite sure where you’re coming from Shagpile,but for the avoidance of doubt… YES We Know what’s in the proposed changes to GRA!
        It shrinks the Transitional process time.
        It ends the need for professionals to become involved.
        And enables a self declaratory statement to suffice as evidence of the gender change.
        This will allow for all a Trans person’s documents to align more easily.

        That’s the nuts and bolts of it Shagpile and on the face of it seems reasonable enough….
        Till ye start applying it to life in general and women in particular.
        Then then there are problems that need ironed out before it gets waved through.

        It’s a bad ill thought out piece of legislation and is incompatible in its current form with existing law for the protection of women and girls.
        The catch all solution to this seems to be accepting that Trans Woman Are Women , and If so Women and Girls protections are unaffected.
        The ramifications of that are endless.

        So Yes we do know what’s in it,some of us took a real good look and are saying no to it…And a massive no to the notion that Trans Woman Are Women.
        We’ve just about got the religions stopped trying to make us believe stupid things…And along come this lot with what must be the stupidest mantra since Virgin birth.

        So 2 things Shagplie.
        1) The Trans people want a change,so the case for acceptable proposals is theirs to make
        2) If it is ultimate acceptance they want,they should park this till after Indy. Westminster will weaponise this to damage independence. The signs are already there. Perhaps this is why Ruth Davidson really resigned? Who knows but…
        I can imagine that Trans people will never be forgiven for a very long time,if they are responsible for keeping us in this bloody union.
        Especially since when a no vote is secured Westminster will rush it through anyway and Scots woman will have no say.
        Thatcher still hacks us off and the damage she did to us was decades ago…. An easy path to a birth certificate will be cold comfort if the acceptance they crave can never be attained!

        • “So Yes we do know what’s in it,some of us took a real good look and are saying no to it…”

          Hi Liz. Do you have a link to the text? I can’t find it.

          Thanks.

        • Thank you for setting out the issues in such clarity. I’m seriously concerned that there is much complacency from folk with the usual reply of “..but who else will you vote for”.

          The consultation is a disgrace too and I can’t help but wonder why. I’m so conflicted but what is even worse is I see NO direction for independence atm and really fed up being lied to and ignored by my representatives when contacted.

          What an awful situation…

        • Well said Shagpile , the unintended consequences of this GRA Self ID bill are pretty serious. It seems as if many preparatory aspects have already been put in place. The Trans lobby via Stonewall are very powerful and continue to openly threaten people who speak against them, closing down debate and totally ignoring women’s concerns.
          Science seems to be losing out to the “feelings” of a minority.
          I foresee legal action in the future from detransitioning folk asking why they didn’t get rational advice and medical help towards their earlier decisions. Parents allowing children as young as 4 years old child to be medicated against puberty must be making big pharma very happy.
          It’s sorry mess of ill thought out legislation that will have a massive impact on women’s lives and on the lives of gay people .

    • I was just thinking Susan that if we all decide not to support the SNP due to the GRA Scotland won’t become independent and in fact could end up with Holyrood being run by a Tory, Libdem coalition. And then what would happen with the GRA? Have you checked out the LibDems stance on this and their link to pharmaceutical companies supplying puberty blockers? The sneaky Tories meanwhile are keeping their heads down and mouths shut on this in Scotland and in England have not dropped it at all as suggested in some quarters. This would go ahead regardless in Scotland with the BritNats calling the shots from London.

      This unpopular issue hasn’t been plucked out of thin air by the SNP. Countries worldwide are having to deal with this and even if enacted in Scotland could be amended or repealed like the OBFA at a future date, especially if we were independent and had the power to hold our government to account.

      Are we willing to let Westminster continue to rule us with all that entails, such as with Brexit especially a massive rise unemployment, poverty, homelessness and drug and alcohol addiction. No control over Trident, fracking, dumping of radioactive waste, GM crops, issue of poisonous foodstuff and so on. No control over anything at all including our NHS if we don’t get out of this Union soon all due to an issue, one issue (versus hundreds), that could be kicked into the long grass or ultimately be resolved to meet the needs of all involved. It’s a no brainer, imo.

      • I thing GRA needs binned until after independence not the other way around. I personally think it is a huge mistake to not suspend this now. Indy first.

        My understanding is that the U.K. government has said they are not going ahead with GRA in England in order to protect children and women. That was last week.

        Denmark has had GRA for 10 years. They are in the process of repealing their law.

        Ireland did this 5 years ago, 256 trans people have registered for their version of GRA. That is 256 out of a population of about 6 million.

        I am in favour of rights. However for a very small minority we are upsetting a majority. Why do we not simply mark disabled toilets as trans and disabled? They are one person only toilets.

        As for prison and a trans man who calls himself a woman sharing with a real woman while he had his bits is crazy.

        Anyway enough of my rant.

        To me the SNP should protect the vote next year by suspending this legislation process.

    • Susan,
      To represent this – the amendment of the GRAct 2004 – as solely an SNP/SG initiative is just plain wrong.

      The move to amend the GRAct 2004 resulted from a report by a House of Commons committee in 2016.

      Both the UK and SG held consultations in 2018 on their draft proposals to amend the Act. The UK Government received well over 100,000 submissions to their consultation and they are still being analysed. The Scottish Government received just over 15,500 submissions which were independently analysed. They decided to re- draft their proposals and open another consultation on them. This consultation closes in March so plenty of time for you to submit your thoughts. Shagpile has provided the link.

      Here is another link – a statement on GRA from the Scottish Government which is longer than a Tweet but less hysterical and more informative.
      https://www.gov.scot/publications/statement-gender-recognition/

  12. ‘There’s a lot of talk, especially in the media, about the economics of independence. However the real reason for wanting independence is to do with arguments about basic democracy. It’s important we don’t lose sight of that.’

    No. The economy determines how so many issues can be addressed. The economy is so central to independence hence the reason why GERS is so often thrown out as the final word on why Scotland can’t be independent. Sadly with support for independence still only around 50/50, it has largely worked.

    Thankfully others are now challenging the GERS figures very graphically, supported by details of how the alternatve GERS figures are calcuated.

    https://www.businessforscotland.com/revealed-the-accounting-trick-that-hides-scotlands-wealth/

    Without a strong economy how would the NHS fare? Why are pensions so low compared with our European neighbours?. Scotland does have a strong economy and it astounds me that the pro UK people have managed to turn that reality on it’s head. They’ve done it by falsely claiming that Scotland’s economy is weak and for far too long now, the counter arguments have been far too weak.

    The UK economy has been and is it’s biggest weakness.for decades. If independence is going to persuade the necessary 10%+ to support it, there needs to be more to expose the reality about both Scotland and the UK’s economy. Achieving independence is a task not a debate.

    https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/nationalaccounts/balanceofpayments/timeseries/hbop/pnbp

    https://www.uktradeinfo.com/Statistics/RTS/Pages/default.aspx

    https://www.gov.scot/publications/government-expenditure-revenue-scotland-gers/pages/5/

  13. Grampian Health Board does not support primary care (first six weeks of detox) for people addicted to drink/drug. The first six weeks is the crucial time as people can die (alcohol) without the proper support. It has to be paid privately. For a few £thousand people can get better.

    Everyone one should be given proper, one chance, total abstinence rehab counselling. Facilities are closing because of lack of public funding. There are less places available for referral. The (unionist?) Councils and some Health Boards do not provide proper funding and facilities,

    The Social work dept in the City does not support proper, total abstinence, rehab facilities. People are put on methadone for years. A wasted policy. It costs more.
    No wonder the highest number of deaths, in Scotland, are in the region.

    The MUP policy and information are reducing alcohol consumption and early death. Saving NHS funding. The NHS funding is still higher in Scotland pro rata.

    The Tories cut NHS funding £4Billion a year from 2015 to 2020. £20Billion. There are hundred of thousands of people depressed because of Universal Credit. Cuts to welfare funding £18Billion.

    In Scotland child poverty will be eradicated by £10 child payment for poorer households.

    The Tories are spending £Billions on HS2, Hickley Point and Trident. A total waste of monies. They have cut spending on essential services. Education/NHS and Welfare.

    Brexit is a disaster. The economy stagnation. Migrants deporting migrants. Failed tax evading bankers in charge of raising tax revenues.

    Scotland now has Devolution to stand up to Westminster failed policies. Support for SNP/Independence rising. Another Referendum soon. Scotland is going it’s own way with better policies. Vote out the Tories.

    • One area of alcohol abuse treatment where the Scottish NHS were (and probably still are) ahead of England is that it is lawful for GP’s to prescribe Opiate Blockers to treat this condition.

      The area of the brain which ‘light up’ under the influence of alcohol, is in large part (but not exclusively) the same area which responds to opiates.

      In Scientific tests carried out by Sinclair in the 50’s – rats, which are not naturally attracted to alcohol, were tested. They selected the ones that were attracted to alcohol and fed it to them regularly. Then they stopped supplying alcohol to the rats – cold turkey – for a period of a month.

      In theory, the rats should have been weaned off alcohol completely by this stage. What they found, however, was when they reintroduced alcohol to the rats, the rats were More addicted than before.

      In other words, total abstinence, had Increased/strengthened their addiction.

      By administering opiate blockers, prior to taking alcohol, the body/brain gets no chemical reward/high, and so, the brain begins to rewire itself and the patient, becomes naturally disinclined to drink – there is no point to it anymore.

      Finland uses this treatment to great effect – with an over 60% success rate.

      Unfortunately, you need to know about it, in order to ask for it, as even a lot of GP’s are unaware of this procedure.

      For more information check out the 3C Foundation on You Tube, or the Sinclair Method on tinter web.

      For some people – total abstinence works – for others not so much (even with years of abstinence), this is a different method of addressing a very real problem.

      Kind regards to all.

  14. It is the young people who are campaigning for gender self ID. They are in favour of diversity and equality. They were brought up in a more diverse, open community/society. Older people can be more influenced by traditional stereotypes. Self ID only affects a tiny amount of people.

    There have been mixed changing rooms for years. Without any problems. It helps more women and others to swim and access facilities. There are separate cubicles. Even older facilities had changing rooms around the pool. There are more staff and people around.

    Many facilities have family (mixed changing) rooms. They still have separate cubicles. Restaurants have mixed toilets. Often with separate cubicles with wash hand basins.

    The young also support EU membership. So Britain will be back in the EU. Especially once the queues start at airports, prices go up and there could be higher unemployment. The Tory mess and shambles. They had to get rid of Thatcher for closer ties with the EU. Deja Vu.

    • ‘Mixed changing rooms have been about for years – without any problems’.

      My town has a local swimming pool with mixed changing rooms. The cubicles have about a 1′ gap at the bottom. This is to prevent the stringent chemicals with which the wash the floor, mark/stain the cubical sides.

      Unfortunately it also enables ‘up skirting’ / peeping tom type activities, and staff are very much aware, and trained to watch out for this crime type, including being notified about ‘regular offenders’ some of whom are permanently banned, and some of whom are Registered Sex Offenders.

      CCTV within the communal changing areas, can assist in detecting suspects of such crimes, but cannot prevent it, due to the (almost) private nature of the cubicles.

      The motive a person would put a camera phone under the cubical to film a child or adult in a state of undress, is so that later on they can masterbate to the film. The infringement of privacy, the lack of permission, the criminal nature of the offence all add their excitement.

      Over a 10 year period from 2003 -2013 there were about 14 reported incidents at the leisure pool of this nature. In all cases the suspects were male, and in some cases the victims (all female by the way) were as young as 7.

      You try telling a a frightened and upset wee girl, whose privacy has been invaded, so that some pervert can wank off to the video of it later, that ‘theres not any problem’.

      The pervs who have been caught, travel to different towns and leisure pools to carry out this activity.

      The leisure pools will not consider floor to ceiling cubicals due to the cost, and because the cleaning products stain the cubical sides.

      If you want, you can request a FOI to Police all towns with leisure pools/mixed changing rooms of this type and ask for the numbers of crimes of this type reported. I’m sure they will be able to assist.

      Just because you personally are unaware of this type of crime, and have not suffered from it, does not mean that it does not exist.

      • Thank you Daisy. Reality is that even if ONE girl or woman is affected, it is one too many.

        Anyone condoning that, imho, needs a second look.

  15. Health Boards stopped referring people to Castle Craig. A person went out and used substances and died, A relative kicked up such a fuss that some Health Boards stopped referring people. More people could have been helped.

  16. Thanks to those that replied, your responses were calm and factual (mostly). Ken, FYI, most of the instances of attacks/ indecent exposure/ voyeurism have happened in mixed sex areas of gyms/leisure centres. As for “young ppl are pushing this” are young ppl automatically more knowledgeable than older? The level of unbalanced information in schools and unis, not to mention the intimidation in unis and in public generally makes this unsurprising. I will not have my speech compelled, I will not have my thought compelled. Transwomen are men and have no right to women’s single sex spaces.

    • ” your responses were calm and factual (mostly)”

      Who lied? Do you have a link to the truth?

      “The level of unbalanced information in schools and unis, not to mention the intimidation in unis and in public generally makes this unsurprising”

      Do you have a link/example or personal experience of this?

      “I will not have my speech compelled, I will not have my thought compelled”

      Nor will I.

      “Transwomen are men”

      There’s the rub.

      You can take part in the consultation. You can be part of the outcome. You are entitled to your view. I get this issue makes you uncomfortable, is it balanced; to opine, that your view makes others uncomfortable?

      The reason I want independence is I’m done with the “tyranny of the majority”. I refuse to be part of that towards other minorities, and perhaps when they do come for me… there will be someone left to fight for me.

      Best regards.

  17. To be a unionist, is not just being mug. It’s to accept that your lot in life is to be shat on by tories and shovelled up by labour. Scotland deserves better. The SNP is not “Scotland” but they dont sit back and watch Johnson take a shit on it. They sure as hell dont join in. They don’t piss on Scotland and tell us it’s raining. That’s the job of union and unionists. That’s why this shabby little con needs to end. It can’t come soon enough.

  18. How many women are attacked in changing rooms?

    More people are accidentally hurt in toilets.

    Most of attacks on women happen in their own homes.

    More men are attacked than women. It is a gender issue the attackers are mainly men. Four times more men are murdered.

    Average 500 murders 100 women

    It is still unlikely people are murdered. It is usually by someone they know.

    There is a relationship to drink/drugs and crime. The drink’s in the wit’s oot.

    Crime rates are falling. Too many innocent people are put in cells. Costing more.

    Knife crime has risen in London. 200 people killed in a year.

    • Yes Ken
      Men attack other men, but women are not a shield who’s privacy and dignity can be put aside because men can’t accept men who are different.
      Why is the focus not on preventing male violence?I
      The problem for Trans Woman seem to be other men!

      As to how many women and girls are attacked in toilets!!!!
      That’s a disgusting thing to say.
      One is one too many. ( and has already happened in an ASDA in Scotland recently )
      Not to mention you haven’t defined “attack”
      Do we need to be actually injured?
      Is intimidation enough,because these TRAs seem to be perfecting that particular male trait!
      Is filming us kind of ok for you?
      How about a sneaky peak?
      Or just hearing the activity in the next cubicle and understanding what’s actually going on?
      Where exactly is your line in the sand Ken?

  19. The desperation by Westminster to deny anything which allows Scotland to act independently,exposes just how dependent England is on Scottish resources (and has been
    for 300 years).
    They need us in order to continue to pretend that they are a global player.
    Meantime,they continue to undermine our government at every opportunity,drugs policy being just one of many which we need control of in order to improve the lives of Scots.
    Drug dependency affects everyone,through the pernicious impact on public services and crime which we need to address in a way independently of England’s Tory right wing ideology.

    • Hi Susan,

      Liz has not yet provided the text to the draft Bill (to which I can’t find a link to) which she claims…

      “So Yes we do know what’s in it,some of us took a real good look and are saying no to it…”

      Because, what I want to know is where in the text of the draft Bill does it contradict the statement made by Shirley-Anne Somerville (in the link I posted above which Liz replied to) which was:

      “We recognise that there are men who seek to abuse women and we want women to be safe from that violence. We have taken action to change the law to protect women from such abuse. This is a global issue and not a new issue for Scotland or indeed the UK. And it is not the fault of trans people. It is the fault of the abusive men. Which is why we will continue to address violence against women and girls through our Equally Safe strategy which takes a gendered approach.

      Reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 will not change our approach.

      Nothing in what we are proposing will change the exceptions in the Equality Act 2010 which allow trans people to be excluded when this is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim – for example single sex services, employment, health services. Those exceptions are very important and the Scottish Government would encourage any organisations and service providers to know their rights on this issue.

      Obtaining a Gender Recognition Certificate will remain a serious and lifelong commitment. Trans people will still make a statutory declaration to this effect and people will still be subject to criminal proceedings for lying or making false applications”

      Can you help her?

      Regards.

      • And she isn’t going to shagpile.
        The word or statements of any politicians and especially that one matters very little…. You do know they lie and especially by omission?
        What matters is how what they proposed will trickle down to affect you or I.
        The interpretation of a “proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim” is subjective and open to interpretation.
        She names a few examples ment to be reassuring but notable in how vague they actually are…..employment!….. What does that even mean?

        Is a 20 year old shop assistant legitimate in refusing to fit a bra on a man? Can she depend on her company refusing to be cowed by these somewhat litigious people and back her in refusing to try high heels on a man on the basis something about him is ringing alarm bells with her?……without a definitive guideline the management reserving the right to refuse service has been rendered almost useless .
        And there is reasonable grounds to assume an employer will not risk litigation and very few young women can afford to just walk out of a job.
        I’ve spent years reinforcing with my daughters to listen to their spider sense around men…. In any situation….And I’m not about to tell them any different now

        This is not as straightforward as dealing with basic discrimination here this is the complexities of human sexuality and being caught up unwillingly in, and disadvantaged by, another’s person’s choices.

        The Trans Woman Are Women mantra is the get out clause for the legislators and they have been very clear in their intention.
        Which is something the judiciary do take account of when interpreting the Law, we see it already in the system…
        So let’s try to create more light than heat here…

        A pretty benign phrase.
        Football Fans are Football Fans…. No Discussion…
        Yet E.G. If a group of Rangers fans book a venue to have a conversation.
        No body rocks up and demands Celtic fans have to be included because they are Football Fans too,and just as passionate about having their say.
        In fact they get separate ends of a stadium,their own designated streets to walk down and are even allocated their own train station.
        If a crowd of costumed Celtic Fans turned up to a Rangers Fan event do you seriously think the police would defend their right to get all rowdy and protest?
        Do you see it now ?
        And with Football Fans it is indeed bigotry!
        But it is also recognised they don’t want to be in the same space.
        They stay in their own lane and aren’t forced to mix.
        Why the double standards?
        Consent is what matters and Women who don’t consent to have a Trans person visit their world view on them should be perfectly entitled to do so.
        I’ve no doubt that it’s a hard road Trans people walk but they choose it and good luck to them but I’m choosing to protect my hard won rights too!I
        So no Shagpile I’m not going to run through the vagaries of this legislation with you!
        I’m not even going to bother to explain the problem with the 6 months time frame
        This legislation is being underpinned by the notion that Trans Woman Are Women and that’s simply a lie and I’m not buying it.

        • “So no Shagpile I’m not going to run through the vagaries of this legislation with you”

          Well my “spider sense” told me that might well be the case.

          What it’s worth, since we’re now on deflection and projection. I don’t believe all football fans are bigots.

          Regards.

          • Hi Shagpile. I haven’t looked through all the comments here, so this may have already been posted – I just note that you are asking about the legal aspects of the GRA reform. I posted this elsewhere, the link is to a fairly brief legal analysis of how the equalities act and the GRA reform interact, and they cannot coexist:

            https://www.scottishlegal.com/article/rebecca-bull-the-impact-of-gender-recognition-legislation-on-sex-based-rights

            Here are the last two paragraphs of the Scottish legal article:

            “The statutory code is likely to be incorrect but if it is not, then service providers will be unable to continue to provide single-sex services. Case by case policy application is unworkable putting an intolerable burden on front line staff who may be personally exposed to discrimination claims.

            Most importantly, however, the exceptions set out in paragraphs 26 and 27 allowed the public sector to provide the backroom services rendering single-sex service possible; to approve planning permission, contract out, and allocate budget. None of this is permissible under paragraph 28. Gender recognition reform renders public sector single natal sex services unworkable.”

            The reform has been badly thought out, though I’m sure with the best of intentions, and is unworkable. I can’t see any reason for the reform, myself, either.

          • Hi Contrary and thanks for the link.

            What to do eh? I see the error in the analysis above which you copied into your text. It would follow then that the government ought to abandon all tax laws as there are dozens of challenges to the various law each year? The successes of Ruth Ginsberg should be rolled back in the USA as case by case is totally unworkable? Equality under the law and human rights is a Libturd fraud?

            The OFBA, popular to the majority of fans repealed. Peat Worrier, believed that the legislation was flawed too, but fully workable if changes were made (although not minor).

            Those against GRA talk about rights unless they are rights for a social group that they are uncomfortable with. What if there were to be a Bill introduced on human rights that would not apply to males over the age of 40 and under 5’6″ tall? Ridiculous? Exactly! It is also ridiculous to deny Trans people rights which grant them equality under the law.

            To declare women and girls human rights would be thrown under a bus is an absolute joke. Just because something is difficult to enact, does not mean we ought not to try.

            Just how I see it. Regards.

          • I posted before being aware Paul objected to this subject, for which I apologise to him – I should have scrolled through comments after all. You should also respect his wishes and not have replied.

            But on the other subject of taxation laws – yes, they need a complete overhaul, the GND will not be possible unless taxation is changed. Laws can interact in unintended ways, and it’s not always possible to predict the outcome, and also the world moves on and laws need to change to keep relevant, so you can end up with a confusing mishmash of laws. Loopholes in tax laws intended for one purpose, or not intended at all for that matter, can surprisingly be used for another. Hence you get legal tax evasion – neatly called avoidance, for the avoidance of doubt. Fair tax is a big issue – but one that’s mainly reserved to Westminster, so not of great interest at this time because we don’t get much of a say in it.

          • I’m disengaging now Shagpile…. This is Paul’s site and what he says goes.
            My unreserved apologies to yourself and anyone else who found my comments offensive or upsetting.
            Maybe we’ll come across each other on some other site and pick it back up,but for now on this subject I’m leaving it here.
            Take care of your self my friend and don’t give up arguing for what you believe in 🙂

  20. Your recent posts have been a breath of fresh air Paul.

    Scotland is enmeshed in an abusive relationship. Our abusers hold most of the cards and use them without conscience. They are willing to destroy Scotland if that’s what it takes to get their way. They are the psychopaths next door who can’t even comprehend the notion that other people could have the right to want to live freely and independently of them.

    Fortunately it seems that increasing numbers of Scots are realising this and deciding to take on the huge challenge of breaking free of our neighbour’s clutches. Little wonder that many Scots are fearful of the challenge. We know the depths to which they, our neighbours, will sink to continue to imprison us. There is a long and well publicised catalogue of their infamy at home and abroad.

    Control of our own decision making, to be shared only in circumstances in which WE decide without fear to share it, is the bottom line. Everything else follows from that. By spelling it out here, time after time, without being distracted by those who want to distract us, you provide a beacon of hope.

    Thank you.

    • It strikes me that we should use the law to make life difficult for Westminster and show them that we won’t let them walk all over us. All of us who live in the Central Belt live under the constant threat of the nuclear abomination that is Trident, so why not pass a law at Holyrood making it illegal to transport radio-active materials and other highly toxic/dangerous substances on Scotland’s roads and railways without a permit? Penalties for breaking the law should be stringent. Organisations like the NHS may need to transport radio-active materials from time to time, but, as a matter of public safety, they should be legally forced to apply for permission and notify the police.

      Then, when the Navy or other UK State organisations give notice of one of their numerous convoys between Faslane/ Coulport and Aldermaston to move nuclear warhead materials, we politely decline permission. If/when they breach the law, we take them to court. They won’t like it and might simply try to ignore it, but public safety ought to be among the Scottish Gov’s highest priorities. It will also do no harm to show UK Gov that it can’t treat Scotland with disdain and contempt, or that we consider our people more important than their contemptible nuclear weapons.

      • “It strikes me that we should use the law to make life difficult for Westminster and show them that we won’t let them walk all over us.”

        Something what I writ elsewhere…

        Now’s about the time, (If they have the ambition for it), to use the house against itself. Force them to say what they truly want to say. The ‘Few Good Men’ approach as it were.

        To paraphrase (ahem):-

        “And now you think you can get them to just say it?”

        “I think they want to say it. I think they’re pissed off that they’ve gotta hide from this. I think they want to say that there is no real union and that’s the end of it.

        (Imitates BoJo):

        They eat breakfast 370 odd miles away from 5 million Scots that are trained to obey (Fnaugh, Fnaugh). And nobody’s going to tell this house how to run its business least of all the Jocklander mouths on the opposition benches.

        We need to shake them, put them on the defensive and lead them right where they’re dying to go.”

        That kinda thing. (cough) 😎

    • Absolutely correct in that, Arthur, but it is surely now starting to be realised that we are prisoners of Boris and his fanatasists – so it’s just a matter of time before we become unstoppable.

      • ‘ Unstoppable ‘. Is it though? It all depends on our interactions I suppose. I can connect to people through sites like this with ( mostly ) like-minded people but I can’t ignore the hinterland of other views where I actually live. This is like trying to see through a fog. I actually discovered a well of ignorance about Scotland, independence, the UK state etc., in someone I would have expected to have some knowledge of, if not a great deal of, interest in politics. ( An example, ” I don’t really like Nicola Sturgeon because she’s so ant-English.”)

        It is this kind of engagement where you think – where do I start? – that after all this time, fills me with dismay. You would think that at least some of the independence arguments would have made their way through this kind of simplistic bilge by now.

        But it isn’t only this which makes me want to back off from the independence debate now but some of the fraught and seemingly intractable arguments which entangle any forward movement. This and some other disquieting and unnecessary disputes recently splitting people on-line, cause me to remember the dark days of the 80s when Labour was casting off its old skin and being revealed as something else that I didn’t align with.

        So wishing you luck. I am hoping to make my way back through the wormhole to that other parallel universe I must have left circa 2014. By now, Scotland in 2020 there, must be a good place to be.

  21. How many women are attacked in changing room statistically. There do not even seem to be statistics. That is what was meant, There are statistics for accidents in toilets. Everyone agrees no one should be attacked. The question is how to stop it.

    It is possible mixed open changing rooms are better because less people get attacked. There is more security, people going about and more staff available. There are separate locked cubicles.

    The outcry seemed to be from people who never use mixed changing areas. The ones who do are not bothered in the slightest. It means more people can access the facilities. Including women with mixed families. Children do not have to use separate changing facilities. So more families can swim or use sporting facilities.

    • Current crime recording standards do not record ‘changing rooms’ for the statistics your are suggesting.

      You should be able to obtain detailed statistics with regards the number of women victims of assault, and men, whether their attacker was male or female, and certainly if the crime was a Domestic Incident.

      With regards the location of the actual assault – it is unlikely to go into the detail as specific as the nature of the room within the venue itself, and will not have been recorded to extrapolate ‘changing rooms/shared toilets’ in what has now become a political issue.

      As per my previous entry – the most common crime committed within such a setting is that of the peeping tom/upskirting type, or indecent exposure. While not as obviously traumatic to an observer as an assault – this is not a victimless crime, and no Police Officer worth their salt will ever downplay it. For the following reason.

      Roger Black – kidnapped, raped and murdered numerous young girls in the 1980’s – throughout Britain. The most well known in this area was in Portabello.

      Police enquiry had encountered him several times, but he did not show up on their systems for any sexual offences. Once caught, and reviewed – he did show up on the system – he committed an act of indecent exposure to a female child, in a playground (when he was below the age of 16, so he never had an adult conviction). He is not the only example of this type.

      So, its easy to think, its just a ‘flasher’ type incident – where’s the harm, the victim should just ‘get over it’ and have a more ‘grown up’ attitude towards adult nudity – but in actual fact its is unlawful, unwelcome, sexually motivated criminal behaviour and is most definitely worthy of Police action and enquiry.

  22. Re: Caster Semenya the brutal truth is that he is male (XY) but was observed female at birth due to the effects on male external genitalia of 5 ARD. He has internal testes and responds to testosterone. Subsequent “female socialization” doesn’t change that fact.

    • Caster Semenya has identified as female since birth and has been accepted as female by her community since she was a baby. Irrespective of what you think she “really” is, it’s disrespectful to refer to her as “he”. Please don’t.

      As others have pointed out, if you want to discuss GRA, there are other venues available.

    • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersex

      “Intersex people are individuals born with any of several variations in sex characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones or genitals that, according to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, “do not fit the typical definitions for male or female bodies”.[1][2] Such variations may involve genital ambiguity and combinations of chromosomal genotype and sexual phenotype other than XY-male and XX-female”.

      Yes, black and white. Never grey?

      It seems perfectly reasonable to me that some people can feel “trapped” in the wrong body.

      They are still human beings and have rights. Should not be treated as monsters or subhuman. The fear is that they must all be perverts preying on women and girls. But of course phobia is fear, not rational. They are no more likely nor unlikely to commit sexual offences than anyone else in society.

      This is only my view, but, every bit as valid as yours. Not picking on you.

      Regards.

  23. Do we really need to do GRA on WGD. For those unaware there is a site dedicated to the subject called Wings Over Scotland. You will find all aspects of the subject matter covered in great detail on WIngs.

    • It is not dedicated to the subject and has in fact been the source of much misinformation on the subject for some time now.

      • This blog isn’t dedicated to the subject either. Doesn’t seem to stop people hijacking threads though.

        I really wish they wouldn’t. It means I have to spend my evenings moderating comments instead of, you know, having a life, because this is a topic that an awful lot of people are seemingly unable to discuss in a polite and respectful manner.

  24. It would be a real shame if a lot of dedicated Independence supporters were to lose sight of that goal for whatever reason just when we are showing increased support that puts Yes in the lead and all their hard work is just beginning to bear fruit.

    I can’t say I’m too surprised though. Oh, look, a squirrel!

    • It’s much as the first post outlines it in my experience, an encouragement to proceed with whatever, rather than a form of imperative …

    • That’s fascinating: I’ve never even thought about ‘on you go’ as being anything but normal parlance. Yes it’s a kind of giving permission, to carry on with whatever. (On ye go,,, Do take another biscuit!)

      It’s like only realising that ‘outwith’ is a purely Scottish term a few years ago – I thought it couldn’t be true, what on earth do people use for the opposite of ‘within’? But it is indeed true, furriners don’t know what it means (except in legal courts I think), and don’t seem to have an antonym for within.

      • Presumably “On ye go” would be the more familiar scottish phrasing, but didn’t realise it was it was a peculiarity of Scots any more than “outwith”…
        Hadn’t encountered “arrogate” come to that, the WGD education channel at it’s best…

      • I met my husband who is English, 30 plus years ago, and we were surprised to find there are many words and phrases that appear to be purely Scottish. Or at least unknown in Somerset which is where he is from.

      • On the contrary, Contrary.

        Whilst accepting ‘outwith’ as a Scottism, what about this for an antonym of ‘within’? (Admittedly, rarely used today.)

        There is a green hill far away

        There is a green hill far away,
        without a city wall,
        where the dear Lord was crucified,
        who died to save us all.

        (I had always assumed as a little boy that ‘without’ here meant lacking ( = tea without milk and sugar) but apparently not.)

  25. Re: “On ye go”. I think there’s sometimes an additional nuance which suggests the person being addressed is doing or going to do something stupid or inadvisable. Often it’s “On ye go, then”.
    This is a phrase our parliamentarians should be encouraged to use in reply to Baw Jaws. “A bridge over the Irish sea? On ye go, then”
    An alternative is ” Bash oan”.

  26. Good morning, fellow Duggers.

    Have they gone?

    Is it safe to come back on to this site now that the GRA squad have failed to contaminate this excellent blog with their Momentum engineered infiltration of the SNP party, Marxist trollers who have unsuccessfully failed to peddle their torrid little tales on here.

    In a week where Gove stood at the Despatch Box and declared that the UK would leave on No Deal terms as early as June if ‘our friends and allies’ didn’t bow down to mighty England and agree to let any old unregulated toss contaminate their markets.

    In a week when they threw the Northern Irish Protocol into the bin, and declared that there would be no checks on the Irish Sea between Norn Irn and ‘the rest of the UK.’

    Bang goes the Good Friday Agreement.

    In a week when it was revealed that Supermom Davidson hoovered up £7500 for one night’s Election coverage, while still collecting £1200 a week from us for occasionally filling a seat at Holyrood and shouting Baa Roo from the back benches when NS is on her feet ‘getting on with the day job’.
    Money grubbing we chancer, some may say, but I couldn’t possibly comment.

    In a week when David Steel admits that he knew that Cyril Smith was a serial child molester and resigns, and Willie ‘Mental Health of Our Children’ Rennie doesn’t.

    In a week that it has become clear that the EU are not for budging and we are to be driven off the White Cliffs of Dover by Mark Francois and Jacob Rees Mogg despite the ‘Scottish People’ overwhelmingly voting to remain within the EU, and Carjack Lawson, Richman Leotard and The Child Abuse Denier, are not to be seen, interviewed on air, or in the Dead Tree Scrolls, on the imminent Death of England and its Rich Northern Colony.

    Thank the Lord for the coronavirus. It has been a good week to hide bad news, if you are a Brit Nat ProudScotBut.

    If men want to wear women’s clothes, good luck to them. But not sold as a life style choice to 5 year olds thank you very much.

    Can we concentrate on the road to Independence again?

    • Yes please. When we are in striking distance of creating a modern written Constitution, a constitution that cannot be tampered with, altered or ignored by politicians, that will require the express permission of the people of Scotland before it can be amended, that must be upheld by the courts, that will require any law that contravenes that constitution to be struck down, well we just won’t vote for independence, we would just rather stay in the tender loving arms of a foreign government that thinks we’re vermin. Yep makes sense, not.

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