Three years on from the Scottish Independence referendum

On the 18th September 2014 the people of Scotland went to the polls to decide their future. The choice was between being an independent country or remaining part of the UK, though the vote itself was never a vote on things staying stagnant as politicians on the Better Together side defending the Union promised real, defined change.

Near federalism was promised. Scotland’s voice would be heard like never before in the Union. Powers would be devolved. The UK’s entire structure would be changed for the good of all and the democratic deficit closed forever as we enter a new Golden Age.  This lie died a horrible death in the early hours of the 19th September 2014 when David Cameron brushed everything said and done over the long referendum campaign to one side and announced plans for EVEL-English votes for English laws. That demoted Scottish based MP’s to second class MP’s, bodyswerved the democratic deficit and all of Gordon Brown’s promises of ‘near federalism’ were seen as the bollocks they always were.

Three years later all those party leaders are now yesterday’s men having all left and been replaced. Brexit threatens he devolution settlement itself and the UK of 2014 which at least had a semblance of sanity has been replaced with a country full of people who think Brexit will work because the EU ‘needs us more than them’, and that is one of the saner opinions on Brexit out there.

The UK is being pulled to the edge of a cliff gleefully by Theresa May’s Tories, and more insanely, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party even though Brexit isn’t really about trade or democracy, its about ethnic nationalism and British exceptionalism. Basically everything independence supporters are accused of.

So on this third anniversary of the vote we have David Mundell saying Indyref 2 must be ‘decoupled’ from Brexit while the Labour Party put party first in propping up the Tories on Brexit. A second independence vote could well be the only way for Scotland to have a voice about where Brexit is going and both main Westminster parties are fighting to deny that chance. The UK today is not the UK of 2014. Things have changed for the worst and things will get much, much worse, so remember all the promises of 2014 and how they were unfulfilled as we enter the next phase of Brexit as promises are made which will never be executed and realise the only thing left is independence.

It won’t be easy. It’ll be hard but we need to ask people what sort of country and what sort of people they want to be in the future.

 

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Watching Scotland play in Scotland is more difficult than it should be

Last night I was feeling a bit peaky so went home to watch Scotland play Lithuania in a World Cup qualifier which if lost, meant Scotland had no chance of qualifying, if won then it kept it us with a shout. Turning on STV I found them showing the England game and after slipping into a mild coma listening to Ryan Giggs dazzle us with the fact he’s got the personality of rice paper. No Scotland game to be seen.

Now since moving back to Scotland this is something I’ve encountered before and frankly, it is extraordinary. I’ve been in France and Sweden where their respective national broadcasters broadcast games of this importance, but in Scotland you need to sign up to a subscription package or scour the internet for a stream. It is frankly ludicrous a Scottish based broadcaster doesn’t show Scotland national matches on free-to-air TV, and that isn’t an opinion which is mine alone, but tens of thousands others share. As for STV, their word on this is this Tweet.

So here’s the problem. ITV as a network buy the England rights, but feels it isn’t worth buying Scotland (or indeed Wales and Northern Ireland) rights. The BBC have been priced out the market and the SFA doesn’t give a fuck about fans anyhow. Now Westminster could legislate to ensure Scotland gets their football on free-to-air TV but that ain’t ever going to happen so we endure England playing Malta is a game so turgid and without tension it could be mistaken for a dead bird lying in the gutter.

This isn’t a good situation if we want to get future generations excited about the game. A child may watch this and think ‘I want to do that’, go out and become the best footballer they can, but if you only have Scotland games subscription only then you keep many kids away from the game as after all, kids aren’t going to go to the pub to see the match and if the national broadcasters don’t give a fuck why should they? It’s a crap short sighted, fuckwitted decision that reduces the national sport into an afterthought and it shames the Scottish media that there isn’t more fuss about it. Then again after nearly a year of being back in Scotland I have to say the Scottish media can always be there to let you down.

Brexit is an act of self-harm imposed on us by arseholes

A Yougov poll released today is quite simply proof that people have lost their tiny little minds.

So imagine you’re a 20-something in a tenuous employment situation and you come home and tell mum and dad your job has been moved to say, Frankfurt, because of Brexit. Your folks will turn round and tell your that it’s worth it which is by any stretch of the imagination, fucking insane yet we’re at the ”we’ve got to do this and fuck the young‘ phase of something that’s going to hurt bad, and worse, with free movement of EU citizens ending soon we’re going to lose hundreds of thousands of skilled workers which for some is a good thing as they’ve ‘flooded’ the market in the UK ‘wholesale’.

You may think that rhetoric from the Tories and UKIP (and you’d be totally right) but this is increasingly what we’re hearing from Labour who’ve given up on any sort of solidarity with workers regardless of birthplace and now seem to be moving into an extremism worthy of the SWP as  as phrases like ‘scab labour’ is used to define immigrant workers in articles posted, and then quickly deleted from Labour sites.as Labour firmly set foot in the fantasy that is Brexit with the idea that Corbyn can pick and choose what he wants (just likes May and Farage say) and (just like May and Farage have been told) that such things as having the benefits of the single market without accepting the four freedoms is impossible, but hey, here’s a Guardian article pushing that bullshit for the faithful. And oh the Labour and Tory position puts the Northern Irish peace process at risk but hey, we’re in a world now where excruciating damage is a good thing…

With things falling apart and the Scottish Independence movement tearing itself apart as to who can look the most cool and ideologically pure in that annoyingly middle class way certain Glasgow University students like to posture, it seems that a front against the lunacy of Brexit within the UK is currently invisible.

So I look to the Irish who with simple clarity have made it clear they want none of the UK’s infectious rage-fuleled idiocy and where they stand. If I were you I’d scour the family tree and see if you can grab yourself an Irish passport because we’re on a sinking ship being cheered on by people who think the economic and social equivalent of cutting your legs off is a good thing.

Ruth Davidson: Soldier of Orange

Last week the general election saw pretty much everyone lose. Theresa May lost her majority and all her hubris she displayed since last June vanished with an appalling campaign. The SNP lost 21 seats thanks partly  to a Corbyn-injected Labour vote and a Tory vote energised by Ruth Davidson’s single minded ‘no more referendums’ campaign. Jeremy Corbyn may have the impetus (for now) but nothing hides the fact he lost and (for now) we’ve a Tory government propped up by the deeply sectarian DUP.

However most political pundits from all sides point to Ruth Davidson as a clear winner. Her campaign in Scotland saved Theresa May’s neck as those 13 Tory MP’s in Scotland were the difference between May cobbling together a government and Jeremy Corbyn cobbling together a government but yet bizarrely many south of the border see Davidson as a calming influence on Theresa May and someone of some integrity yet that couldn’t be further from the truth.

I’ve pointed out before Ruth Davidson’s defence of the ‘rape clause‘, so really, she’s no friend to the left, yet some praise her partly because as Labour loyalists some prefer to see the SNP being given a bloody nose over beating Tories, and here’s where Davidson’s not went through any scrutiny in England. Now some blogs in Scotland have dragged Davidson’s somewhat flexible politics through the coals but her apparent defence of LGBTI rights in the UK (which again she painted as standing up for herself, but as that is a reserved subject for as long as she lives in Scotland she’s perfectly fine) led her to Tweet this.

Davidson has played with religion for a while dragging into the Scottish political spectrum when many thought it was dying but here’s the thing, when Arlene Foster of the DUP says the union is her ‘guiding star’ that is exactly the same position as Ruth Davidson. Her campaign in Scotland was built round one thing; no more referendums. That was it. No other policies and when pushed on policies Davidson folded or showed complicit support as in the rape clause.

Yet again, we were warned about Ruth Davidson and her pandering to the Orange Order who may not have the power in Scotland they once had, but hold an influence in Scotland that seems unbreakable for as long as the union prevails. If you haven’t a clue who the Orange Order are, this wonderful clip from T2: Trainspotting answers everything in a succinct way.

This election was the last stand of a hard, sectarian Unionism and thanks to Ruth Davidson and the DUP, that strain of Unionism has the whip hand over the entire UK, and as for Davidson’s claim last week she’d ensure the DUP preserve rights that’s been shown to be bullshit as women from Northern Ireland are now banned from travelling to England to get a termination.

Davidson fought tooth and nail dabbling with sectarianism to put a dent into the SNP, hurt the idea of independence and also hollow out Labour who insanely worked with the Tories in many Scottish seats to help stop the SNP. So yes, Davidson has won and is the media’s new love but it’s easy to oppose. Now she has to deliver and she’s incapable of doing that. What do voters who don’t want a second referendum think of the fact the SNP have a mandate for one, the Greens still support one and there’s now more independence minded people in Labour? As 2015 was a high point for Nicola Sturgeon, 2017 could well be the same for Ruth Davidson.

I hope so. She’s stirred up some horrendously dark forces and they won’t get back into their box easily now they’re holding a gun at Theresa May’s head.

Don’t vote for the Tories or their enablers

The general election is a week away. You have a choice; vote Tory and get the party of the rape clause, child cap, xenophobia, Unionism, racism and a ‘plan’ that is as full of holes as Swiss Cheese. Vote for UKIP you get the same but with extra racism. Vote Labour or Lib Dem in Scotland and you vote for Tory enablers. That’s right, the Tories and Labour are working in unity in Scotland as this Tweet also shows.

Hence why to beat the Tories in Scotland there’s only the SNP/Greens stand as the opposition. In England things are different. Labour are the only option (unless you live in Bristol and Brighton where you should vote Green) and for all of Corbyn’s betrayal over Brexit and his astonishing crapness in regards the rest of the UK outwith England there’s no other option as otherwise we’ve got Theresa May as Prime Minister.

There will be things needing to be done assuming Corbyn becomes PM. Scotland and Northern Ireland can’t adhere to his vision of Brexit, and his failure to keep his branch parties in line in Wales or Scotland as they do (and I assume will continue to do) the exact opposite of what he intends to do in England means that there’s much to be done. There is however the thought of Theresa May in power for five more years doing what she wants and enacting policies that won’t just kill people, but hurt the economy and state in ways we’ve never seen outwith of wartime.

If I were to recommend what people do it would be to vote SNP/Green in Scotland. Labour/Green in England. Plaid in Wales and Alliance and SDLP in Northern Ireland. I’d give Sinn Fein a shout but they refuse to take their seats in Westminster so frankly, what’s the point unless they do that? So this is where we are. Nicola Sturgeon and many on the left are right; this election shapes the future of the UK and Corbyn isn’t a saviour, far bloody from it but he’s not a sociopath like May and we may just be able to see if he’s sensible and pragmatic enough to work with.

But you vote Tory next week you own what they do next. When that comes on your doorstep and hurts you remember that you were warned.

Why the UK coverage of this election is like this Armando Ianucci sketch

In less than a fortnight we’ll find out who will be the next Prime Minister of the UK but if you watch this election through the prism of the mainly London-based media you’d think it’s a straight fight between Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May. To an extent it is as only those two can become Prime Minister but seeing people talk of Corbyn as the great hope for ending tuition fees or stop the bedroom tax is frankly a tad irrelevant here in Scotland as these don’t apply. Fees were scrapped a decade ago and the Scottish Government mitigates the bedroom tax.

Many of the things Labour want in the UK is already being done or are being worked towards. True there’s more to be done, and the stuff that’s still reserved to Westminster (which is still most things) will still hurt if the Tories get back in, but in Scotland (and indeed, in all the devolved nations) we’re still at the mercy of Westminster.

As much as I wish Corbyn well in England, I don’t feel he, or his party, will work for me or for Scotland as his support for leaving the EU isn’t what Scotland, or indeed Northern Ireland, voted for. So for most of this campaign as I view it on social media is a bit like this sketch from the wonderfully but underrated Armando Ianucci Shows from 2001…

My thoughts on the local elections in Scotland, Wales and England.

Firstly, well done to Kim Long of the Greens for becoming a councillor for Dennistoun which is where I am for now. A good local candidate who’ll do the area well and with Dennistoun going through massive changes and gentrification (for those familiar with my blogs, it’s a bit like Stokes Croft from about 12-15 years ago) it needs people who’ll do the incumbent and incoming population well.

Secondly, well done to Plaid Cymru and the SNP for a strong showing in Wales and winning the Scottish elections respectively.

Now, those of you who voted Tory. What the fuck have you done? You’ve given the worst government in my life (which speaks volumes) a boost they don’t deserve because you think they’re ‘strong and stable’ or will ‘fight a second referendum’ or ‘fight for Brexit’ but you’ve fucked it up. So when your bins aren’t emptied, or the potholes in your street aren’t fixed, or your kids aren’t educated because schools are being run down or worse, remember, you voted Tory. This is on you. You own what’s coming. The Tories can’t hide behind ”Remoaner traitors”, ‘Nats’ or blame everything on Sturgeon, Corbyn or the Lizard People. They own the clusterfuck coming thanks to Brexit.

Of course you can change this. Look at the Tory polices. Look at what their record is. Look at what they promise. Look at the Tories elected yesterday and think do you want people like this to decide you and your family and friends futures? Look at Theresa May refusing to debate. Look at Iain Duncan Smith tumescent with excitement about imposing new cruelties upon the most vulnerable. Does that make you angry? Good. Get up then over the next five weeks campaign, and get people out to vote. Pissed off with the result today? Chap doors and get people out to vote. June the 8th get people out to vote. If you’re young and don’t vote you’re dooming yourself to decades of hell.

So vote. If people don’t make a stand next month against the Tories people will die. You will be sending people to an early grave and too many have went that road already. As said, a vote for the Tories means endorsing their policies so make your choice. Where do you stand?