Why this election is the toughest we’ve ever faced

Yesterday I spent an hour or so in George Square here in Glasgow at the latest Scottish independence rally with about another few thousand or so people.

If you live in Scotland and care for an inclusive, internationalist Scotland that reaches out to the future then independence is the only way we’re getting that, and the only way we’re getting independence is via the SNP.  Now, I don’t like how the SNP have become complacent, plus how many more recent members don’t have independence as any sort of priority. Neither am I impressed by the woke brigade who are comfortable enough to demand some sort of unobtainable purity than gain independence and change things then.

Vote Labour in Scotland then you vote for a party that rejects an outgoing view of the world and will rather people in Scotland suffer under the Tories forever than making its own choices. Vote Tory in Scotland then you’re advocating the worst of the worst being in power. Vote Lib Dem and you vote for Tory enablers.

But across the UK, things are tougher. Voting Tory isn’t an option unless you’re a hard/far-right Brexit supporting racist loon. Voting Labour means turning a blind eye to their issues, including the antisemitism of the type once quarantined in the SWP but is now rife. Both main parties offer nostalgic, backward-looking visions with their own versions of Brexit which will wreck us all for generations. Voting Lib Dem gives Jo Swinson the sort of power Jo Swinson should never have, assuming she wins her seat back which is shaky at best.

There’s so much riding on this election. I’m now of the mind that Brexit will happen, and in fact, has to happen or there’s no way to move on, which of course doesn’t mean Scotland, Northern Ireland or Gibraltar needs to leave as we all voted to remain. My fear is that in this election critical thinking will be replaced by how loudly one’s own echo chamber can shout and long term goals will be replaced by short term power. Damage done now will last beyond the next five years, so I ask people to think carefully about what they want and vote with the party/candidate who best matches what you want. Remember, you’ll have to live with your choice so no voting X because your ma and da did but vote for who and what you think will work for your goals.

It’ll be tough and I doubt people will escape tribalism, but tribalism sees us doomed for generations. You all have five weeks to make your mind up.

Read Ragtime Soldier for some truth about WW1

Apart from making sure there is a comics industry of sorts in the UK, Pat Mills  is the writer of Charley’s War, the best British war comic ever made.

Charleys-War-Mills-Colquhoun

Great War Dundee is a new comic which is part of Dundee’s commerations of the Great War and the story of the 30,490 men from that city killed in the war, and the impact upon Dundee. In there is a strip by Pat Mills with art by Gary Walsh called Ragtime Soldier, and it is pure Pat Mills in that it tells a great story, as well as being fucking angry because you shouldn’t be writing about WW1 without getting fucking angry.

ragtimesoldiersplash

See, there’s one thing Pat drops in here that I’ve read rarely about but is a thing my parents used to talk about which is the Great War’s insane death toll was due to those at the top of the British food chain’s desire to cull the working classes. It’s shocking to see in print because (as Pat often says) the history of WW1 has been frantically rewritten since 2014 especially, and now we see things like the Somme being rewritten as a ‘sacrifice’ for a great cause. Essentially the descendents of the bastards who sent men to die arecovering up the crimes of the past.

Many of those same people are behind Brexit, which is again I think a way for the ruling classes to thin out the population, especially the disabled like myself.

Anyhow, I recommened clicking on this here which will take you to Pat’s site where you can download Ragtime Soldier for free. Please do so because I would love to see more not to mention seeing this sort of rage in a British comic.

You’re going nowhere

Home Sectrtary Priti Patel today stood up in Manchester at the Tory party conference and confirmed the end of free movement like it was a great thing, but behind that cold, dead stare Patel has made her own, she told a cheering audience that we’re ‘taking back control’.

For Brexiters this is a victory. They can control who comes and goes, and your rights, and my rights are crushed. If however you have a large enough bank account, free movement will remain yours forever. For everyone else your chances to live, work, love, and experience is made clear in this stark graphic.

freemovement

ON the left is where any EU citizen can go now. On the right is where we can go freely after Brexit, assuming Ireland maintain a seperate agreement with the UK which right now is on shaky ground.

I’ve loved the ability to go where I can in the EU. It’s been a wonderful experiment to show that human beings can slip in and out of countries bringing and sharing cultures while living together peacefully. And for us in the UK, that goes in less than a month all because a group of people hate other people from other cultures so much that they’d deny their children a future where they can go anywhere in Europe and make a life.

It feels awful to lose this. What’s really tragic is most people aren’t going to be aware of what they’ve lost til its gone, and the people who voted for it will probably be dead or unrepenting anyhow.

Five years since Scottish independence was lost.

Five years ago today Scotland voted to stay in the UK and it all went to fucking hell afterwards. The Unionist promises worked and people decided that remaining in the UK would preserve our place in the EU, protect jobs, the NHS and give us the biggest, bestest devolved Parliament in the multiverse. Of course all the promises were bullshit and people very quickly realised they were conned, and those who didn’t felt like this chap at the start of the video here.

But the Yes vote got 45% based off the back of no mainstream media support. None of the main three Westminster parties wanted independence so they combined into one Frankenstein’s Monster called Better Together fought tooth and nail with Labour activists (many of these same activists now plead for a second referendum on Brexit) telling pensioners their pension would be gone or they’d not get blood or tissue transplants, but even with that Yes got 45%. The majority of the English left failed to remember their internationalism or the meaning of solidarity so decided to campaign for perpetual Tory rule upon Scotland, and the entire force of the UK establishment came down on Scotland.

And the Yes vote still got 45%.  Five years on that fact is still remarkable. A campaign built on people battering the streets, chapping doors and going where ordinary politicians never would, scared the living hell out of the British establishment. Five years on, Brexit is here, and polls are slowly shifting for Yes as people realise just what the British state is, what Brexit really means and how Scotland’s place in the world is under serious threat as is its hard won parliament. No wonder the Unionist side are in clear terror because imagine what’ll happen in a campaign where Yes has more support from people who realise the UK is over and the future lies in the four nations of the UK independently working together leaving behind the trappings, and crimes, of the past for a new, fresh start in a safer world.

Or we can become independent to be an island of sanity on an island full of lunatics.

End of the day it’ll be our choice. Five years later it lies with us. Let’s not fuck it up next time.

scotlannnnndd

How will Brexit affect the comics industry in the UK?

As it stands, Boris Johnson will be leading the UK out the EU on Halloween, which is going to affect a load of industries, as well as every single one of us living in the UK. How it’ll affect comics is not something that’s headline news but it will be affected, and it will be something many dealers, con organisers and assorted parts of the industry will not be prepared for.

The most obvious affect is the state of the pound which right now is £1.00 gets you $1.21. It is basically, fucked for an industry which is reliant upon US imports so dealers will put up prices, which means people will cut back which means less money (and less sold books) in the market. A $3.99 import will have to sell around £3.6-80 to make any money, and believe me, the profit margin on new imports is thin as fuckity anyhow so a lot of dealers are going to work hard to make the business work. The likes of Forbidden Planet will be ok, but smaller dealers could well go bust.

But that isn’t the worst of it. Right now the entire scene is in an over-inflated bubble thanks to ‘geek’ culture, the Marvel films and the fact more people than before are interested in comics, or at least the characters. That bubble has been growing since 2008 and is due to pop so if you’re a comics dealer you may survive as there’s always going to be collectors, but we’re in new ground in regards much of the ancillary industries like cosplayers, artists, or pretty much any of the oddities that now populates the modern comic convention. Bluntly put, if you offer a shit product and you’ve been skimming by on the seat of your pants now, just wait til people choose between eating and whatever you offer them. I’ve been through at least three recessions as a dealer/publisher and there are always casualties even with businesses run well, but this recession promises to hurt and badly.  I made a deliberate choice to scale back the one day events in the last half of the year so I could concentrate on larger events or the really good one day shows because all the signs are there for the bubble bursting.

For con organisers this isn’t good. The less traders there are, the less money coming in. It then becomes hard to put on a show that isn’t a glorified mart with a few bleak looking cosplayers and someone selling bubble gum flavoured Deadpool shaped chews. The actual realities of Brexit means it will be harder and more expensive to ship in guests from Europe and America, assuming guests see the UK as an attractive place to come to.

It isn’t all bad. Bubbles need to pop to clear out the chaff but this will be more than that as the UK isolates itself from the world because some racist pricks heard Polish spoken on the bus once. This will be hard, and you’ll need to think hard what you want to do to survive and yet again, my only real hope is that Scotland becomes independent because otherwise I can see things being awful for years.

The UK is utterly fucked.

A kakistocracy according to Wikipedia means…

A kakistocracy is a system of government that is run by the worst, least qualified, and/or most unscrupulous citizens

Yeah, that pretty much sums up where we are today. This week has shown how fucked we are, which isn’t to say we weren’t warned. We were warned by people three years ago that the EU referendum would end is carnage as the government would be faced by whatever deal the EU would give us thanks to the red lines of the UK, or walking away with no deal. Of course, the Brexiters (and Lexiters because they’re also sharing responsibility for this)  lied about a ‘Norway type deal‘ they had no intention of pushing for if the referendum had been won.

No, the referendum was forged on blood and soil nationalism mainly by the right, and the left leavers who in the end provided the thin majority Leave had. Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage, Michael Gove and all the other bastards drooling right now about getting the supreme power no government should have are in a good mood because they’re weeks away from getting what they want, and what comes after that will be a living hell for many of us.

True, opposition parties did finally get together this week only to be outplayed by Boris Johnson proroguing parliament to force through Brexit without any debate, which again, was on the cards according to many months before Johnson became PM. It is a massive gamble, but we know that the last time Johnson was involved in a massive gamble, he won. However had Jeremy Corbyn not been clearly pushing for Brexit for years before realising where it would actually lead (and he still clearly thinks it to be a good idea, just not done by the Tories)  under Johnson, and Jo Swinson not acted like head girl and demanded everything, we might have had some unity when other opposition parties have been struggling to unite the opposition against Brexit.

And there’s also the point that every single MP that voted for invoking Article 50 knew no deal was the default, as well as they knew the UK’s red lines were impossible for the EU to budge on and that we’d end up with a real chance of leaving with no deal. Every one of those MP’s are responsible in part for where we are but the main culprits are those behind the leave campaign who are benefiting from this. We know the referendum was corrupt and we know the UK’s electoral commission is an absolute bag of shite just as we should know by now the UK’s democratic systems aren’t fit for purpose in the 21st century. Leavers knew that, hence why they’re winning and we’re still making twee signs to wave at demonstrations in the hope the Guardian prints the picture.

Fuck that. The time for niceness is over. We have unfit people running the UK leading us into a very British form of fascism based upon nostolgia of a time, and of a people, that never existed. I’ve mentioned Umberto Eco’s essay, Ur-Fascism before  but now if you read it, and tick off Eco’s 14 signs of fascism, the UK ticks every single one. This is where we are.

It will get worse. Johnson isn’t a final destination. He’s more of a Moses figure to bring what comes next because we know Johnson fails often, and that his allies now will happily cricify him when needed. Nigel Farage talks of a forthcoming Tory/Brexit Party alliance, which of course would place Farage in a safe seat, then a place at the cabinet table. Where do you think we’ll go when the UK government is effectively a UKIP government having its strings pulled by disaster capitalists and the likes of Putin and Trump?

Which is why the time for polite protest is over. Fucking fight. Take to the streets. Shut stuff down. Make it uncomfortable for those in power. Don’t go into the night quietly because we know where this sort of thing leads and right now, where we end up will be something many of us won’t survive.

Scottish independence is coming, slowly…

For a while now supporters of Scottish independence have been a tad frustrated with the lack of any progress during the increasingly chaotic, not to mention insane, period that is Brexit and all the frothingly mad xenophobic English/British nationalism which comes with it.

Well at last there’s some movement with Nicola Sturgeon making it clear the mandate her party & the Scottish Parliament has for a second referendum will be used in the lifetime of this parliament, so by 2021. For some that’s waaaay too vague a timeline, but for a vote to be held we need to know what the status quo of the UK is. Right now that’s a choice between a deeply racist and xenophobic Brexit favouring disaster capitalists favoured by the likes of Rees-Mogg and Farage, not to mention Theresa May and most Tories, or a slightly less racist but still xenophobic Brexit favoured by disaster socialists like Jeremy Corbyn or George Galloway. Both offer Scotland nothing, and both involve closing Scotland off from Europe and the planet as both plans are structured round accepting the referendum result, racism and all, rather than fighting against what was only an advisory referendum.

There’s a lot which also needs to happen. Neither a Tory or Labour government are going to grant a Section 30 order (essentially transferring power to Holyrood making the referendum legal and binding) easily if at all, and the full force of the British establishment will rain down upon Scotland as it did in 2014. But make no mistake, win this and Scotland can make all its own successes and failures without clinging onto the coattails of the British state. Lose it, and Scotland faces a generation at least denied any sort of respite because it’ll be punished and asset stripped to pay for the failed promises of Brexit and for being pro-EU/immigrant. We can argue about what type of independent nation we can be once we win the ability to make that decision, plus we’ve also got to remember we’re not in a fair fight so some on the harder left of the movement need to realise this.

So sign the official petition. Show support. Vote for pro-indy parties in the EU elections, so that’s the SNP, Greens and SSP. All others are a vote for the British establishment & (barring the Lib Dems to be fair) are a vote for a party strongly supporting Brexit.

Good luck. We’re all going to need it but at the end of this we could be getting something special indeed…