The problem with being Scottish…

I have to admit that over the summer I took an extended break from the news and politics.  I almost sent an email to Peter letting him know that I was going to stop writing here as I was increasingly getting frustrated and annoyed at my attitudes coming out of my country.  In all honesty, I thought that living in England I was still just a bit too far removed from it all that I really shouldn’t be contributing here…after-all, who am I to be pro-independence and yet not living there myself?

However, it happened!

The bridge.

Only in Scotland could we have other parts of the world praising something that we built and yet we’ll criticise it.  The same old faces made the same old noises; ‘it’s not our steel that made it’ yadda yadda yadda.  Is it me or have Unionist Journalists become pretty much one trick ponies:  too wee , too poor etc?

I genuinely believe that the heart and soul of Scotland is at stake here.  I say that without any hint of me trying to be melodramatic.  I don’t want a Scotland that still tolerates religious bigotry.  I don’t want a Scotland that is timid and always looking to blame its woes on someone else.  Scotland is so much better than that, she deserves more than that, and that is why I have decided to keep at this and attempt to contribute a hell of a lot more than I have been doing.

Stand with us!

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Sick politics

Is it possible that the British political elite might be unaware of the impact of these immigration proposals? It is easy enough to believe that the likes of Theresa May and David Davis are perfectly ignorant of Scotland’s demographic and the crucial part immigration plays in the health of our economy. It is less easy to believe that this ignorance extends to the entire British civil service. One supposes there were a number of people involved in drafting the document that has now been leaked. Surely at least one of them must have been aware of the implications of what was being proposed.

We accept that, with all too few exceptions, politicians tend to be detached from the reality that the rest of us live in. They exist in a bubble of self-serving sycophancy that filters out anything which doesn’t confirm notions of their own competence and popularity. But how far does this fantasy spread? How deep does the delusion go?

Is there any part of the machinery of the British state which isn’t operating from within a ghetto of disinformation, delusion and self-deception; bricked-up behind the walls of the British media; policed by British nationalist prejudice; utterly convinced they are defenders of a fortress rather than inmates in a prison of their own making?

The whole Brexit fiasco exemplifies this siege mentality taken to a deeply troubling extreme. British nationalism is increasingly fearful. It regards itself as unjustly embattled. Righteous and wronged. Popular democratic dissent is seen as a threat. Reality, facts and truth are things to be deflected and defended against. Wilful ignorance is a coping strategy.

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Ripple effects

A vote for Scottish independence in 2014 would have ripped a hole in the space-time continuum and ushered in the age of the undead, a former Master of the Royal Dressing-up Box has claimed.

Lord Jeremiah of Doom said that the “ripple effects” of Scotland becoming a normal nation would have had cataclysmic consequences for life on earth and would certainly have emboldened the alien forces bent upon taking over our planet and enslaving humankind.

The British Labour politician who was part of Tony Blair’s warmongering cabal had previously warned that the very fabric of the universe was held together by the great and glorious British state.

Speaking to a psychiatric assessment panel, Lord Jeremiah said: “Britain is best pals with America and if Scotland had left they wouldn’t let us be their pals any more and that would have been catastrophic because being pals with America is really, really good.”

He added: “We British are very special and important. We’ve got big bombs and if our American pals let us we can scare people and kill people and stuff like that. The horrible SNP wants to stop us having big bombs and if we can’t scare and kill people any more America won’t be our pals any more and that would be really, really bad.”

“So the ripple effects of Scotland becoming independent would have been disastrous and all the people who hate Britain would have laughed at us and that would be terrible because if you hate Britain you must be truly evil and also hate babies and kittens and mummies and all the nice things.”

Scots voted by 55% to 45% to stay part of the UK in September 2014, with Lord Jeremiah arguing if the UK had been broken up this would have “weakened” Western powers, adding that as a consequence “those people, global terrorists, global organised crime, global vampires, global zombies, global giant spiders would undoubtedly overrun the world”.

He said: “We’re still part of the great and glorious British state. So there! Suck it up, SNP! We rule! We’re British and that means we’re clean and shiny and wonderful and strong and powerful and if Scotland had decided to be a normal country then that would have had enormous ripple effects and everybody knows that. FACT! Did I mention the ripple effects?”

He continued: “I might be the only one who sees the truth of the ripple effects of separation. But everybody knows I’m right. That’s why independence has been killed stone dead.”

He also insisted that he is not even a little bit insane, saying instead: “I just think the British state is divinely ordained.”

Lord Jeremiah insisted: “Britain is one nation and we are great and glorious and important. If we allow any part of the UK to go its own way and be different people might look at us and say we’re not as good as we think we are. and that would have ripple effects that would be cataclysmic and catastrophic and everything would just all fall apart and the bad men would come to get me and they wouldn’t let me wear my lovely robes and it would be really, really awful. And there would be ripple effects.”

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Understanding why

Whatever his other qualities, Iain Macwhirter is a journalist in the British tradition. Hence his tendency to echo the cosy consensus of the London-based media. And his dutiful adherence to another facet of the British journalistic tradition, the prompt rehabilitation of failed politicians.

Unless their demise has been occasioned by a sin unconscionable even in the context of British politics – spit-roasting of minors for culinary or sexual purposes, perhaps – then the ending of a political career is the cue for hacks to say all the nice things about the individual in question that tradition dictates could not be said whilst said individual was in office.

Everybody’s a saint when they’re dead.

So it is that, before the ink was even dry on Kezia Dugdale’s resignation, work began on redefining her as the greatest leader British Labour in Scotland ever had. Not all in one go, of course. Journalistic professionalism these days mostly involves knowing how much you can get away with, legally and in terms of whatever reputation is felt worth preserving. So it starts with Dugdale being declared a “relatively successful leader”.

As well as avoiding an excessively precipitous change of heart, the qualified praise is felt to betoken a dispassionate assessment. It’s a nice flourish.

In order to accept this assessment, however, we are asked to discount or disregard several failings. The political naivety. The unfortunate media ‘presence’. The dire parliamentary performance. Some might opine that these are rather important accomplishments for somebody in a party political leadership role. But, apparently, they cease to be of any significance once the individual has stepped down.

I said, it’s a journalistic tradition. I didn’t say it made sense.

Having set aside the defects and deficiencies which might disqualify the subject from elevation to even the modest rank of relatively successful leader, it is necessary to find something to put in the pro column. In Dugdale’s case, that presents something of a challenge.

With what cannot help looking like desperation, the more determined turd-polishers turn to the British Labour gains in the the 2017 Westminster election. Crediting Dugdale with this ‘triumph’ does the trick for those intent on reinterpreting her incumbency, in keeping with the demands of the British journalistic tradition. But it’s a tad problematic for those of a more realistic bent.

In order to ascribe this ‘achievement’ to Dugdale, we have to do a bit more of that discounting and disregarding. We have to discount the possibility that more harm than good was done by spending the whole campaign looking like the dummy to Ruth Davidson’s ventriloquist. Woodenly repeating the line, ‘No gemogracy here! We’re Gritish!’ didn’t exactly convey the impression of bold, exciting leadership.

And we have to disregard the other factors which might rationally be assumed to have played a significant part in British Labour’s slightly improved performance. Things like the inevitable readjustment following the extraordinary SNP landslide in 2015. The SNP was going to lose some of those seats pretty much no matter what anybody did. The electoral arithmetic meant that British Labour was bound to benefit from this readjustment. It was going to happen anyway.

Then there was the tactical voting by Tory British nationalists determined to get a British party candidate elected regardless of what colour rosette they wore. It’s not possible to accurately gauge the impact of this tactical voting. But it was surely a factor. Does Dugdale really want credit for attracting hard-line British nationalists?

Finally, there’s the much vaunted ‘Corbyn effect’. Basically, former British Labour voters ‘coming home’ because they were convinced by the hype surrounding the real leader of the British Labour Party. Many have argued that this was the most significant factor in the BLiS recovery. Certainly nothing to do with the Scottish branch manager. Indeed, speculation is rife that it was Corbyn’s supporters within BLiS who, emboldened by waht they regarded as their ow triumph, stabbed Dugdale in the back.

But none of this matters. Custom and practice dictates that British journalists come to praise Dugdale, not to bury her.

Why does this matter? Surely it can do no harm to eschew speaking ill of the politically dead. Well… yes and no.

I have no reason to wish to see Kezia Dugdale denigrated. As far as I am concerned, she is just another British nationalist politician. She has made it clear that, in terms of the constitutional issue which lies at the centre of Scottish politics, she is absolutely no different from any other British nationalist politician. If people want to give her the benefit of whatever doubt they may be able to contrive, it really doesn’t matter much to me.

But I can’t help feeling that there is a problem here for British politics in general and, perhaps, British Labour in particular. It occurs to me that the serial leadership crises which beset British Labour can be explained, at least to some extent, by reluctance to properly assess the reasons for successive failures.

That British journalistic tradition of revisionism reflects a more general aversion to thoughtful assessment of failed politicians that pervades the British establishment. British Labour in Scotland presents as the worst case. Over the last decade, BLiS has changed its leader on average once a year. It really looks like nobody in the pretendy wee party has any interest in trying to analyse why they have just lost their umpteenth leader. And if they can’t explain why they are changing leaders more often than most of us change phones, how can they ever hope to find better leaders?

If you find these articles interesting, please consider a small donation.
All monies received are used in furtherance of the campaign
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Harder than changing socks

What is striking about all this is the fact that, despite having had an embarrassment of opportunities to practice, British Labour in Scotland (BLiS) still doesn’t have a set procedure for electing a new leader. It’s not as if this is all new to them. Over the last decade, BLiS has changed its leader on average once a year.

OK! Not all of these changes have required an election. But, including those in an acting capacity, there have been no fewer than ten names associated with the job of managing British Labour’s Scottish branch office since devolution. To put that into some kind of context, the comparable figure for both the SNP and the “Scottish” Conservatives is three.

For BLiS, changing leaders should be like changing socks. Yet they continue to have the same unedifying squabbles about the process every time it happens. If a ‘party’ can’t even organise its internal affairs efficiently, how can it be relied upon to manage the nation’s affairs?

And when one considers that almost all of the dispute about process is occasioned by various factions within British Labour trying to gain advantage by circumventing democracy, why would we ever trust these people with our democracy?

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All monies received are used in furtherance of the campaign
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September’s iScot Magazine

iScot MagazineThe following is an excerpt from my latest article for iScot Magazine. You can read the full article, called ‘Wounds unhealed and lessons unlearned’, in the September edition.

Independent media is hugely important to Scotland. Please consider supporting iScot Magazine by subscribing.

Against very strong competition, one of the most disturbing facets of the British state’s propaganda effort during the first Scottish independence referendum campaign was surely the attempt by the failed leader of the British Liberal Democrats in Scotland, Tavish Scott, to raise the spectre of partition. Along with the odd party colleague and, if memory serves, an even odder member of the aristocracy, it was he who most fervidly peddled the notion of Scotland’s northern and western island communities being partitioned from independent Scotland to form exclaves of the rump UK.

There was, of course, no evidence of any measurable support for partition among the people of Orkney, Shetland or the Western Isles. And Tavish Scott’s constitutional and economic arguments were, to be generous, ill-informed drivel. But, needless to say, his ‘secessionist’ campaign on behalf of nobody who’d ever asked for it won enthusiastic support from the British media.

While it is easy to mock the antics of Tavish Scott and his ilk, this is not a laughing matter. The very mention of partition is deeply offensive to those aware of how the British state’s strategy of divide and rule has blighted large swathes of the world…

Read more

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Brexit bullshit!

What is this nonsense about a transition period after Britain formally quits the EU in 2019? We are in the transition period. The transition period started when Article 50 was invoked. That transition period lasts precisely two years – no longer.

The distinct impression is that none of the British parties have a clue what Brexit actually means. They seem oblivious to the fact that there is no halfway house. There is either being a member of the EU. Or there is being an ex-member of the EU. Those are the only options.

Who are they trying to fool with all this talk of ‘soft’ Brexit and ‘extended transition periods’? Even if Corbyn hasn’t yet reversed the position hinted at by Starmer, it’s still a nonsense. Because retaining the benefits of EU membership after quitting simply isn’t in the gift of the UK Government.

British politicians can talk until their arses drop off about all manner of measures that might hopefully ameliorate the impact of Brexit. But they can do nothing! The EU will decide what the UK is permitted. And the way these British politicians are behaving can only make it more unlikely that the EU nations will be at all disposed to doing the UK any favours.

The arrogance and towering sense of entitlement exhibited by May and Corbyn and the rest is profoundly offensive to all but those who believe heart and soul in British exceptionalism.

If you find these articles interesting, please consider a small donation.
All monies received are used in furtherance of the campaign
to restore Scotland’s rightful constitutional status.

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