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.

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Ruth Davidson and mental health

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has a book out soon and has been sitting with London-based hacks for a publicity push that involves an interview with the Sunday Times where she states she never wants to be an MP at Westminster, or take a peerage or become Prime Minister in order to preserve her mental health; of which she discusses in the interview as having problems with 20 years ago.

All of this should be good as after all mental health is an issue all of us struggle with, and the more people speak out the better, but in Davidson’s case it smacks of a carefully planned release of information which benefits Davidson. With pundits (mainly in England) speaking of how brave she is to speak out then it shows it’s worked but here in Scotland there’s an air of suspicion because Ruth Davidson hasn’t got where she is today from pushing policies or being the ‘centrist’ politician the likes of Ian Dunt thinks she is.

Davidson won acclaim for her part in the Scottish independence referendum in 2014 where she managed to be questioned by the police about allegations of election fraud, and in the 2015 election lied about ‘burly men’ scaring away voters. She’s also happy to surround herself with extreme far right types, and barely twitches when these people are found out after being elected. It should be also be made clear she’s built up a healthy following from exploiting elements of sectarianism and Unionism and this worked in 2017’s election where she managed to run a campaign based on no policies at all except ‘no to a second referendum’ with Tory campaign leaflets hiding the Tory name under Ruth Davidson’s.

Davidson is a fantastic media construct but unlike recent examples like Nigel Farage or Jacob Rees Mogg, she’s carefully cultivated this herself along with a media in Scotland totally unfit for purpose. Yet some have questioned her, and when pushed on the few occasions she has been, comes over as brittle, angry and totally without substance. Indeed one of her names here in Scotland is ‘Rape Clause Ruth’ due to her open support for the dreadful ‘rape clause‘, and Westminster Tory policies.

And this brings me back to her comments about mental health. She defends policies which drive people to killing themselves. She supports her party imposing economic ruin upon people that drives them to kill themselves. She’s shown no remorse, no compassion and no sense that she empathises with ordinary people, and she’s teamed up with Michael Gove to create a thinktank to push Tory ideas to younger people under the disguise of being a ‘centrist’ and London-based commentators still trip over themselves to praise her and not ask why she’s revealing all this now, let alone push her on her policies or why she’s never available for interview so she can be asked about the ‘dark money‘ allegations hanging over her.

Make no mistake that if a third of what rattles in Davidson’s cupboard were assigned to Nicola Sturgeon or even Jeremy Corbyn, there would be UK wide media coverage and massively sensationalist reporting.  Davidson escapes this and now with this revelation, ensures that few journalists will push her assuming they would anyhow which is a shame as the question I have for Davidson is if she’s so intent on helping people’s mental health then why does she support policies that damages people’s mental health so badly?

But that question will never be asked. She’s carefully positioning herself for the next post-Brexit phase and if you think Davidson doesn’t want to be PM then I suggest looking back at Davidson’s history and see a tirade of lies and manipulation aimed at one thing; the advancement of Ruth Davidson and the Tory ideology.

A quick word from Scotland for the Brexit People’s Vote

At the weekend there was a People’s Vote rally in Edinburgh that had speakers from the liberal left based in England. Sure, the likes of Dr. Tanja Bueltmann were there, but mainly it was people like Rory Bremner, Gavin Esler and Menzies Campbell who spoke to  around 1k people about the need for a second Brexit vote. The line ”love the UK, love the EU’ was pitched. This sparked independence supporters to refute this on everyone’s favourite online Thunderdome, Twitter.

The jist is that people saw a movement which til now has focused, rightly, on drumming up support for a second referendum in England but had totally forgotten Scotland existed because Scotland voted 62% to Remain and Edinburgh the remain vote was 74%. So to many people it just looked like a bunch of folk who were in the area for the festival turning up to make a few speeches then vanish back down south.without engaging what’s happened in Scotland since the EU referendum because it hasn’t went down the same path as England.

On Saturday in Dundee, somewhere between 12k and 16k people marched through the city in support of independence, and of Scotland independent within the EU. The People’s Vote has ignored the fact for two years the people of Scotland have been fighting to not just stay in the EU, but to preserve devolution itself which is at risk from Brexit. So to have folk swan in and out telling people in Scotland what they should do reminds too many people of the independence referendum in 2014 when folk based in England swept in to tell people what to do, including telling people a Yes vote would be the best way to lose EU membership so vote No said people like, Gavin Esler and Rory Bremner.

We know how that turned out.

Scotland is treated as an afterthought by the main Westminster parties. Theresa May swans in and out of Scotland giving the air of someone who’d rather be at her own funerals, while Jeremy Corbyn swans up for a few days to put us bloody Jocks back in their place because that’s been Labour’s job.All the time the message is ‘be more like the rest of the UK, just conform to what England does’ and that’s what drives people insane as this has never worked. The UK’s political system was for years held together by bits of string & chewing gum but all its horrible flaws are now exposed, but Esler, etc don’t propose a People’s Vote which will result in this being rectified. They just want Scotland’s vote and when they get them (because polls now show support for the EU to be around 70%) they’ll walk away.

It is the idea that for two years Scotland has sat around doing nothing but here’s Rory Bremner here to put us right. The same man who wrote this now quite pitiful piece in the Telegraph four years ago (there’s also an exceptionally cruel line about Charles Kennedy’s alcoholism) that said basically Scotland should vote No because it might, possibly, perhaps get a better deal and hey, Kirsty Wark made it big so it shows Scotland is doing well!!

It is bullshit.

When pushed as to why they won’t support at least the principle of a second independence referendum, the likes of Esler, Bremner, etc say ‘ah well, you voted No in 2014. Shut up and support this’ which is at best, tone deaf.

So to hell with Bremner and those like him. The English liberal left has never been there to show solidarity with Scotland having chosen to show their solidarity by standing back when the Tories decimated Scottish industry and brought in the likes of the Poll Tax. But Brexit is important to fight however a second UK wide vote will give Scotland whatever England votes for, so independence is important as if Scotland wins it, then all cards are in the air, including Brexit. The problem is that too many pushing for a People’s Vote are also those most in favour of a return to the status quo and that ship sailed.

Want to help? Understand Scotland’s politics and history. Understand what Scotland has done to speak up for immigrants and protect them as much as possible. Perhaps put feelers out to Indy groups; see if you can work together but don’t assume the argument in Scotland is the same as England. It isn’t just as it isn’t the same in Gibraltar or Northern Ireland. Even Wales is starting to shift slightly away but don’t assume things can go back to normal as that (whatever it was) is no longer on the table. Want allies? Then speak to folk and understand the situation rather than preach.

The ball is in the court of the People’s Vote. We have a large organised grassroots campaign in Scotland that can attract tens of thousands in areas that weren’t big on supporting independence four years ago. It has been built up with zero support from the media, or the liberal left in England but it’s the sort of activist base political parties and movements would die for. Why not make bridges to help fight Brexit but the People’s Vote need to give a hell of a lot, and ensure they don’t do anything as cack-handed as the weekend in Scotland again.

Giving into the far right because of Brexit

I’ve tried to avoid blogging about politics of late, especially about whatever the hell is going on in England as it’s complex enough here in Scotland, and anyhow, it’s summer so I fancied a break but there was an interview on Newsnight the other night that featured Ash Sarkar, a contributor to Novara Media, a self-professed ‘radical left wing’ website that is in effect a public mouthpiece for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour. It’s a site easily ignored here in Scotland as when it does venture into territory outside England, fuck it, outside London, finds itself flailing and lost.

But the last few weeks have seen a debate about whether communism is worth a comeback, and the ludicrous idea of ‘luxury communism‘ (it’d never be a joyous time for workers, but the sort of folk running Novara because I’ve read my Orwell and learned from history) which provides a fully-automated utopia where everyone has the ability to do what they want. A nice utopian idea ripped out of Science Fiction of the early 20th Century and as we know from history, Communism leads to dark places so dig that Orwell out again because we as a society don’t seem to have learned from it.

Now I understand the point that for a generation who didn’t grow up seeing the horrors of Communism that any sort of alternative to what we’ve had for the last decade where austerity, and the post-9/11 rush to more authoritarian societies has left people who haven’t known better to look at all options for a way out. And this brings me to  the Sarkar interview.  The idea that a second referendum won by the Remain side would embolden the far right so we shouldn’t do it is simply put, capitulating to the far right for the gain of your own chosen political party. It also ignores the fact that the far right are already emboldened, and are in fact winning what should be clear, is a war upon post-WW2 values, society and culture by the far right. Brexit is a line in the sand. Lose this and the future isn’t utopian.

So the idea that we shouldn’t carry on fighting Brexit for fear of the far right is just capitulation. It’s handing the far right an advantage because to be blunt, you’re too scared of losing votes for your chosen party so this is a more acceptable position for you than carrying on the fight against far right extremism. There can be no giving into the far right and there can be no capitulation.

Why most Scots won’t support England

Another World Cup is nearly over which means for Scots (as well as the Welsh and Northern Irish) don’t have to put up with being told by people (who all seem to only pay attention to football every major tournament) who elect themselves arbiters who what people should do in relation to supporting football teams. This time though it has been totally unbearable in Scotland as media commentators trip over themselves to display how glorious they are by saying they’ll support England. Take this nonsense from Stephen Daisley as an example of this.

This is of course an example of the cringe; but before the Anyone But England argument comes from England fans hurt that not everyone will support England, especially people from the three countries of the UK used to be downgraded, insulted and ignored (If you’ve you’ve ever called the UK ‘England’ then you’re a dick) but this isn’t about hating the English, but the bullying, sometimes patronisingly smug attitude that places England at the centre of the galaxy.

It boils down to not supporting your biggest, and oldest rivals (Scotland/England is the oldest rivalry in football) so Celtic fans won’t support ‘Rangers’, Spurs won’t support Arsenal, Man City won’t support Man Utd, and on. If you then say ‘ah, but we’d support our nearest neighbours’ then I ask you how many English folk will be supporting France tomorrow in the World Cup Final?

But really it’s the entitlement and the way that England transforms into a place where if you’re not from England, it becomes deeply unwelcoming and in the case of this week, dismissive and insultingly so of opposition. Roy Keane hit the nail on the head.

Yet this year England had a likeable, decent man as manager and players who never seemed as arrogant or entitled as previous teams. Gareth Southgate represents the more civic side of England you rarely see these days, especially since Brexit, and England’s ethnically and culturally diverse team is a step in the right direction. Imagine had Sam Allardyce dragged a team to this World Cup. It’d be like Nigel Farage’s wet dream.

So good luck to England in the third place playoff. You’re learning but you need to remember it isn’t always about you so come on Belgium!

Solidarity for Scotland

After Wednesday’s extraordinary events where the SNP walked out of PMQ’s, we have a situation where yet again in a matter of days everything that seemed fixed and certain is nothing of the kind. The walk-out is international news as well as the talk of buses, workplaces and every corner of Scotland and the UK, while Yes groups are reporting boosts in membership to go along with the SNP reporting a sharp increase in new members since yesterday afternoon. People now know the Tories plan to grab powers devolved to Scotland and the walk-out did more to raise the issue than anything else has so hopefully this don’t give a fuck attitude carries on.

We even have Murray Foote, the originator of the infamous ‘Vow’ in 2014 coming out now in support of independence. Not just supporting efforts to protect devolution, but actual independence.

Basically if the man who helped win it for the UK government and the establishment in 2014 goes ”fuck this, give me a Saltire, Indy now!’then we’re at the point where anything is possible.

But before we all get ahead of ourselves let’s remember that although the Tories are against the ropes, they still have the entire UK establishment (and other useful idiots) supporting them, and the Union. Then there’s Labour eternal promise of jam tomorrow which, for now, has the supposed ”radical left” (though I don’t see anything radical about Labour supporting a system designed to create poverty and inequality) still making doe eyes at it in the hope that it’ll work out. Support needs to be won but right now it does seem like the tide has turned and maybe, just maybe we may find ourselves getting out of the mess we’re in.

So caution for now, but a wee bit of positivity is allowed.