VE Day was everything it shouldn’t be

Yesterday in Glasgow VE Day was barely noted outwith of official, very restricted, ceremonies, and this seemed to be the case over much of Scotland. Down south in England things were different. Street parties everywhere with lots of people mingling and drinking heavily together in a display of frankly, toxic exceptionalism which resulted not just in people going to A & E to deal with injuries caused because of drink and expose themselves to infection, but many parties just ignored physical distancing.

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Imagine being a family member or friend of one of the 32,000 dead (so far) who had to sit with a small amount of people at their funeral knowing they couldn’t hold their loved ones at the end watching people waving Union Flags and dancing the conga while indulging in this dangerous British/English exceptionalism which is less about giving respect to the end of the war in Europe 75 years ago than it is to build up the myth in time for Brexit that Britain/England is something which it isn’t.

So in 14-21 days time there’s going to be a spike in deaths, possibly sooner because here’s a police force saying they can’t deal with people breaking lockdown rules. Second waves in a pandemic are traditionally the worst but the fact is the first wave isn’t anywhere near over yet so while countries like Germany and France slowly, carefully lift some restrictions because they had a hard lockdown, we’ve played at it and now thanks to Boris Johnson sending out the most mixed of messages, this first wave will carry on and on for another month at least.

All because some people wanted to wave a fucking flag.

 

The Tories want you to die for the economy

This morning’s newspaper front pages are full of Boris Johnson’s plans to slacken up the Covid-19 lockdown so that by the end of May, start of June the UK is going to be open for business. As of yesterday, the UK has the highest death toll in Europe by any way you’d like to measure it, and the infection rate remains high while the death toll has actually risen for the last three days rather than fall which is where we should be right now.

Yet with all this happening all around us the UK papers are all about Monday being a day where freedom will come even though the science hasn’t changed, but what has changed is that newspapers are dying and they need the lockdown lifted so their millionaire owners can continue to make money and keep their influence. Tory backers are also itchy that they too will lose money so the narrative this week has changed from staying at home, and staying safe to the chancellor more or less calling furloughed workers scroungers.

Of course, the media in the UK is failing to hold the UK government to account which means with the highest death rate in Europe it can sail through this with barely a blow landed on it. There was no ‘leak’ to the press but a badly managed release of information which has now been dialled back as the devolved countries have no intention of letting anything slacken up til the end of May at least. Fact is the Tories want us to die for the economy. We’re facing a virus we’re finding more and more about every day but for Johnson and company, this doesn’t matter. It is all about getting us back to work, hope not too many people die and move on while waving flags and invoking a wartime spirit pulled right out of 1960’s war comics.

Basically, we’re at this point.

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And we all know how well that went after that…

Marvel’s tone deaf entry into UK politics this week is…

IT is 2020. Brexit is happening and the UK is out the EU, while Scotland and Northern Ireland pontificate about independence and unification respectfully. Things are simply, fucked at best and it is safe to say things are a tad delicate at the moment, so here’s Marvel Comics coming smashing into the room like Lewis Capaldi swigging from a bottle of Buckfast.

Here’s Marvel’s latest super-team, The Union.

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I mean, really??

Then there are the new characters, like Kelpie. the Scottish, McScottish, shortbread, Nessie, och aye the noo member!

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And Snakes, the Northern Irish character probably made of snakes, potatoes and Guinness because that’s all Marvel editors know about Northern Ireland.

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What is a pity is that the hugely talented Paul Grist is writing this, and Union Jack the character that sort of inspired his Jack Staff creation.

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Grist himself has said he’s pointed issues out with editorial to deaf ears, and I do hope Grist makes a success of this but I can’t help thinking this is tomorrow’s 50p comics today because the lack of understanding of UK politics is not going to help drives sales on this side of the Atlantic, while I can’t see folk caring on the other side.

Ah well, they might make a film of it I suppose…

 

 

Why the Tories won the election

The Tories won for a number of reasons.A weak official opposition, the demand for Brexit to be ‘done’, the strange popularity of Boris Johnson, and a load of reasons more which will I’m sure be the subject of books for the months to come. The fact is the Tories learned from Theresa May’s horrendous campaign in 2017, kept the message simple, and ensured the focus was purely on Johnson so other riskier Tories like Jacob Rees-Mogg were sidelined to let Johnson carry out his man of the people act.

Of course the media played a large part but to lay the blame all at the feet of the media misses the point that the Tories ran a good campaign as painful as it is to admit this. Drumming home that single message about Brexit was clear as opposed to Labour’s horrible fudge, or the Lib Dems failure to elect a leader who could reach out to all people on the remain side. People in the north of England wanted Brexit (even though many have no idea what Brexit is outwith of leaving the EU) done and to move on from there. Johnson’s promises also helped, but only a few days after the election those promises are trickling away.

The fact is the Tories offered a road out of Brexit and for people who’ve spent a decade in austerity want to grab whatever they can, even if that means for this election lending the Tories their vote to ‘get Brexit done’. They spoke to working-class voters in a way Labour didn’t, and indeed, couldn’t as Labour for a variety of reasons failed to recognise or deal with keeping their vote firm. Parachuting candidates from London over local candidates seems to have played a part in losing Labour votes, while the Tories seem to have stuck with local candidates who knew the area.

Problem is the Tories needed to do little to push themselves over the line. They created a narrative, stuck to it, sold it and convinced enough people to give them their vote while at the same time Labour and the Lib Dems gifted, even helped enable the Tory victory.

In short there was a perfect storm and the Tories took full advantage of it. The future is no good; a decade in power for them looms as Labour tear themselves apart but the Tories eventual downfall lies in this election. Those same people who lent the Tories their vote won’t do it again if there’s something for them to vote for, while any further austerity or the forthcoming destruction of the NHS lies in the hands of the Tories. They own what’s coming but with no functional official opposition they know they can run riot for a while before the people start turning on them. As long as they milk this form of ethnic English nationalism and Brexit for as long as they can they’ll be unopposed in England and Wales.

Meanwhile in Scotland things are different and developing in a very interesting way. More on this next time.

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.

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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.

About the local elections

It’s been local elections in parts of England and Northern Ireland and all the parties are spinning furiously to say they’ve done well. Results say that the Tories have taken a battering, while Labour, failing to capitalise on the worst government in my lifetime, have actually lost seats as voters abandon the party due mainly to Brexit but also it seems because of Corbyn’s leadership. So we have the two main parties led by deeply unpopular people amongst the wider electorate seeing their parties tear themselves apart over Brexit.

The Lib Dems did exceptionally well, as did the Greens, but the real story is the amount of independents winning seats. Local elections tend to through up lots of local independent candidates but this is showing people are tired of all the Westminster parties. In good news it looks as UKIP are over at a local level. However the European elections bring in Farage’s Brexit Party and the weird mess that is Change UK.

So what we learned is the Tories and Labour are fooling themselves but are digging in because for the leadership of either party are so committed to the cause of Brexit now they can’t pull back. Other Remain parties will scoop up votes, as will Farage. Basically the two main parties are back to being picked clean.

As for us in Scotland we have a simple choice in three weeks. Vote SNP or Green, send out a pro EU/Indy message. Time to make another stand at the polls and show we’re not going to be dragged down the road of Brexit by parties more interested in preserving themselves than doing well by all of us.

Lexit and the ongoing failure of the English left

One of the things about the fact the BBC’s Question Time had the same former UKIP candidate on for at least a fourth time to repeat pretty much the same speech he’s clearly reeled off millions of times in newspaper comments sections wasn’t the fact that Question Time is a big fat fix, but the reaction of some of the English left. To be precise the more Corbynist you were the more likely you were to see an ally in the rantings of an Orangeman. For example;

Which is clear nonsense for anyone actually paying attention to Scottish politics. No such claims have been made and the very idea of independence breaks the status quo clean in half; a fact Bastani ignores because it doesn’t fit his narrative or the idea that’s popped into his head.

And by narrative, I mean this;

There’s an idea among the English left that we in Scotland just need to pay heed to Jeremy Corbyn, fall into line with them and vote Labour yet polls show the Corbyn bounce Labour enjoyed in the 2017 general election is well and truly gone with Labour now firmly third in the polls and slipping. That’s not just down to the simply appalling leadership of Richard Leonard, a right hand man of Corbyn’s and someone who doesn’t even know what is or isn’t devolved. The fact is Labour are tanking partly because of Leonard & the fact the party can’t come up with one workable idea, but also because they’re a party of Brexit, or Lexit, the left wing version if you believe such a thing possible.Labour in effect have put themselves in the position of supporting removing our rights as Europeans, but also thanks to them aping Tory immigration policy, they’ve shown little opposition to the increasing deportations which are happening. This is all because of Lexit and the idea Corbyn is playing ‘a long game’.

Lexit is the idea that it’s possible to have a left wing Brexit. In effect from the ashes of leaving the EU, a new socialist utopia can be built which relies upon one major point; that things for people become so intolerable that they feel the only way out is voting Labour at an election, but polls clearly show Labour lagging, or such such a small lead that it falls within statistical error. So for people to be pushed to Labour they have to essentially suffer and for me, that’s the exact opposite of socialism and I find those advocating such a policy tend to be well off and able to survive when right now, people are losing jobs, or being hurt by Tory policies, or being pushed to take their own lives because they can’t take it anymore. Then of course there’s the fact Lexit throws EU27 migrants under the bus, and it risks the Good Friday Agreement.

So for me, if you support Lexit you’re in the same bracket as Brexiters who don’t care about the effects of what’s happening now, let alone what will happen come April, let alone what is to come longer term when all those folk let down by both main Westminster parties look to further extremes (with sections of both parties endorsing the worst of conspiracy theory led bigotry) out there for answers. With Nigel Farage rearing his ugly head, and talk of a ‘centrist’ party with Tony Blair’s cold, bloody hands at the helm, both Labour and the Tories look ready to tear themselves apart now that the contradictions of what are loose coalitions are being torn apart.

In effect we have the left, like the right, having an aspect who are rushing headlong into the destruction of people, their lives and relationships because they feel their version of political purity is worth a try. For people like myself whose life relies upon just in time distribution the idea that my life hangs on a thread because I’m threatened by zealots from the right, and the left, is deeply depressing. We are insulated in Scotland to a degree, but Brexit will rip that insulation aside, and without the protections of the EU and our European allies, we’ll be left to the whims of people who think in conspiracy theory, idiocy and xenophobia.

Basically we’re fucked. Like the Iraq War though, there will be Brexiter and Lexiter in a few short months desperately recanting as the people who have been ignored throughout all of this kick back and take their anger out on the cheerleaders of what is the single more insane act a nation has done to itself in peacetime.

Good luck to us. We’re going to need it.

A word about the People’s Vote March

As I write this the People’s Vote march is snaking its very crowded way round London’s streets.

On the whole I support the march and with massive bloody caveats, support the aim of a second vote but here in Scotland I feel we’re being ignored, or at least patronised by a big chunk of the People’s Vote. This is something I’ve said before, and nothing has changed my mind that for a chunk on the ‘progressive’ left in England, Scotland is only useful for votes because deep down they know that realistically England will vote to leave the EU again in a second vote.

The problems are many. Kev McKenna goes through some of them in this article at The Herald, this paragraph being especially damning.

Yet, like their manufactured concerns for the future of Ireland I’ve rarely heard any of the metropolitan elites previously profess to be overly-vexed by the challenges faced by working-class communities in England’s north-west or north-east. Where were they when the fishing fleets on Humberside disappeared, sacrificed to enable the US to spy on Soviet submarines from the Icelandic coast? And beyond some hand-wringing and anti-Thatcher sloganising what did they actually do when the mines all shut and the car factories fell silent? Each time I see Gordon Brown wade into Brexit on his white charger I can still hear him say: “British jobs for British workers”. You also contributed to this, big man.

I rarely heard any concern for Northern Ireland prior to June 2016, and as McKenna says, while traditional working class jobs and communities were being ripped apart many of these folk sat on their hands, and yeah, Gordon Brown massively contributed to where we are today.

But the problem is that there were aspects of the English left that did raise their hands in protest, but today they’re as likely to be supportive of Brexit for vague, outdated ideology which is why there’s no Jeremy Corbyn or any of the Labour leadership near the march today. From here it looks as if the left and right have a common cause (and both rely on some level on nostalgia tinged with xenophobia about ‘foreigners’) to win the Brexit fight so they can install their rose-tinted vision of Albion.

Meanwhile in Scotland although you’ll find plenty like me who support today’s march and would appreciate some reciprocal support  for a second independence referendum, with the caveat that any second EU vote would need all countries of the UK to support it, or if the result mirrors last time  then that triggers a second Scottish referendum and a border poll in Ireland.

It is hard however not to see the march as anything but positive when it shows the weight of support against the what should be now, clearly obvious far-right coup of the UK. When you’ve got various Brexiters, right and left, talking up a ‘civil war’ and wanking on boringly about taking the fight to the streets, they should remember the tens of thousands who are out on the streets now so even though I don’t think it’ll change anything politically it does help in reminding the elites fighting tooth and nail for Brexit there’s a large number of people who will oppose it.

Four years after Scotland fucked up

Four years ago the people of Scotland voted to remain part of the UK based upon a multitude of false promises, and in doing so Scotland lost all power it once had as no longer could it stand on its own but then the UK held the EU referendum where England and Wales voted to leave, while Scotland, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar voted to remain and now the Union stands ready to rip itself apart from its contradictions.

Barring the diehards, nobody pretended in 2014 things would be honey and unicorns upon independence, but the ability to shape Scotland’s future would be in the people of Scotland’s hands as opposed to whatever Tory or Labour PM who would see Scotland as votes and/or resources to exploit when they need to.Few expected a Tory victory in the 2015 General Election which meant few expected an EU referendum in 2016 and nobody expected us to be in the fucking disaster we’re in right now with Brexit looming and jobs, even lives at stake.

In short Scotland fucked up in 2014.

Some things were good. A creation of a genuine socially aware, progressive left wing grassroots movement which wasn’t hijacked by SWP types/snobbish lefties more interested in their own advancement/wankers was fantastic. Discovering the flaws in the media being another highlight. In fact much of the referendum campaign was artfully pinched by Corbyn’s Labour A Tory Party we can’t get rid of tha

But the last four years has been grim. A Tory Party we can’t get rid of and an official opposition too busy with cleansing itself to bother fighting the Tories, and of course Brexit which Corbyn clearly wants anyhow. So we’re left with Theresa May; a totally useless PM who sadly is the last thing standing against the far right of her party gaining control and power. Scotland lies in the middle of this all because four years ago it fucked up.

There is a mandate for a second independence referendum, and Nicola Sturgeon has been wise not to use it when it could have been easy to do so, but at some point this parliament it’ll need to be used and indeed, it could not just give Scotland a route out of the UK, but an end to Brexit itself in the aftermath.

What we have to do next is ensure we don’t fuck up ever again because the fact is Scotland votes to stay in the Union again and independence is over for generations.