Alex Salmond’s RT show helps highlight hypocrisy

Former First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond has a new chat show thingy on Russian propaganda outlet RT, and this is sending the usual suspects on the British media circlejerk insane.This article from David Torrance (for those outwith Scotland, Torrance has made a career from talking about Salmond) is the very height of smug hypocrisy from someone who has himself worked for RT.

One of the things about Scottish politics is the sheer, mind-numbing closed-minded inanity of it. The same people say the same things in the same outlets, and as a state broadcaster the BBC acts as a firm outlet for this as much as the other increasingly tired aspects of the Scottish media. So the faux outrage about Salmond appearing on a channel many of the people have also appeared on is just pitiful hypocrisy.

This isn’t to say RT is an innocent bystander here. It isn’t. As a mouthpiece for Putin it supports an anti-democratic, homophobic regime that clearly despises human rights and has its hands dripping with blood. It’d do well for some in the SNP/Indy camp to remember this and not just blindly support it because it stands against the UK’s propaganda. Of course the UK has propaganda arms but perhaps some folk need to engage a little bit of critical thinking before praising RT.

That said, the likes of the BBC and much of what’s called the ‘mainstream media’ are themselves openly biased and themselves propaganda tools for the British state.The fact is politicians will appear anywhere to get themselves heard, and although Salmond is no longer a politician, he is still a political figure and thus people are worried that he may gain a platform where he words can’t be spun to fit the propaganda spun by the British state.  In short it is simply the most hypocritical instance of tedious wankery by people expressing faux outrage because someone they despise (and in Torrance’s case, uses as a business plan for a career) has went off-piste much to their annoyance.

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Why the United Kingdom needs to die

The New York Times has an interesting take on the state of the UK in 2017. Titled No One Knows What Britain Is Anymore, the NYT goes in for the kill with this brutally true paragraph;

The ambitious Mr. Johnson was crucial to the victory of Brexit in the June 2016 referendum. But for many, the blusterings of Boris have lost their charm. The “great ship” he loves to cite is a nationalist fantasy, a remnant of Britain’s persistent post-imperial confusion about its proper place in the world, hanging on to expensive symbols like a nuclear deterrent while its once glorious navy is often incapable of patrolling its own coastline.

The point made that the UK can’t patrol its own coastline came up during the Scottish independence referendum, but during the Brexit campaign was never mentioned as all the supporters of leaving the EU had this vision of the UK that was rooted in the past where a ”British Empire” was still a thing.

The UK is seen as an international joke. A bit like the mate who’s broke up with every girlfriend but never blames himself while living off past glories.but the UK, or to be more exact, England, hasn’t gotten over the loss of empire and that’s something that needs to be dealt with at some point but that isn’t going to happen soon.

The Empire is dead. True we live still with the trappings of Empire, but as some have pointed out, we don’t have to endorse such things and before anyone says anything about Corbyn’s Labour changing things all they’ll do is tweak down the edges of the British state. and the entire Brexit process is about regaining central power from the devolution process.

So what to do if the state won’t change and the establishment won’t let it naturally die? Well, if the series of scandals we’re seeing now continue the entire thing might collapse anyhow, but it’ll survive this as until we realise that Unionism has become one of the last defenders of neoliberalism, even fascism, in the mainstream then we won’t change anything.

The UK needs to be broken down so something can come out of it which benefits all of us, not just an increasingly distant elite because what the UK is mutating into isn’t something to be proud of. Hopefully the dark times that are coming lead us into real reform rather than a more extreme version of what we have right now.

A quick word about Catalonia

Catalonia yesterday became the planet’s newest country as it declared itself independent of Spain, and Spain in return are trying to impose direct rule. A massive can of worms is now open and it really is one that isn’t going to go back in easily, but right now cool, calm heads are called for and not the ones demanding action now to ‘resume order’.

I’m not going to offer an opinion on whether Catalonia should be independent as I don’t know enough to make an informed judgement but I do support their right to choose peacefully and that has been denied to them by the sort of brutality we saw at the referendum. There is now a shrill cry of panic coming from Spanish unionists and their supporters not just in Spain, but across the world including idiots like Malcolm Rifkind foreseeing ‘separatist violence’ on the news this morning.

On the other hand this has sparked elements in the Scottish independence campaign to demand Nicola Sturgeon declare UDI, which is exactly the wrong, and undemocratic, thing to do. I want Scotland to be independent but UDI isn’t an option but I do feel people are rushing towards making opinions with less than an informed head and I want the Catalan people to decide their own fate. I don’t want them to be used as a pawn in a larger game or to suffer the violence we saw from the Spanish state.

So I was glad to see Sturgeon’s government putting out a calm, measured statement.I’m less glad to have seen the likes of Julian Assange, Nigel Farage and all the other usual suspects poke the flames. We’re in a dangerous phase and we need leaders, diplomats and politicians rather than people working towards a more dangerous vision for the world and a cold war becomes hot.

Genetics are not a reason Scotland doesn’t qualify for football tournaments

Scotland failed yet again to qualify for a major international tournament. Manager Gordon Strachan has said something utterly extraordinary.

“Genetically, we are behind,”

Strachan’s idea is that we Scots are too small and we need big blokes to make ourselves effective on the world stage of football. This is bollocks.This is that Scottish habit of failing to accept your own faults and failures so rather than working with what you have, Strachan comes up with bullshit.

This is what’s known as the ‘it’s shite being Scottish’ meme. It’s easy to do, and I’ve even done it myself. It is however a mortifying piece of pathetic self-pitying that solves nothing. I like Strachan, he’s funny but for most of this campaign he’s failed to pick players playing in Scotland who are in form with Leigh Griffiths being the best example. It isn’t unrelated that when Strachan starts picking him regularly we start doing well.

That though is not really the point. Wallowing in a ‘och, we can’t do this. we’re Scottish.’ really is crap and what’s worse we nurture this idea, this concept, of glorious failure and take some perverse joy in it. We’ve went from the nation that invented much of the 20th century to whining miseries in a century and you know what? I’m tired of it. We can do better, not because we’re entitled to it but because we’re capable of doing more than we think we can if we work out ways to do just that. Part of achieving that is dropping this attitude of people like Strachan or quite I few people I’ve met since coming back to Scotland.

We shouldn’t be scared of failure but we should learn from it.It seems too many have learned to take failure for granted and accept it as the natural way of things and that isn’t good enough. So Scotland, get up off your knees and do better!

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.

 

What are the Scottish Family Party?

So I’m off work due to having a lengthy appointment at the doctor which means sitting around waiting rooms watching the telly which was showing Victoria Derbyshire’s morning news magazine programme. On it was an item about Scotland banning smacking children, and is often the case on news programmes they had someone to present an ‘opposing view’ which in this case is defending the right to commit violence upon children.The person presenting this point of view was Richard Lucas, the leader of the Scottish Family Party.

The Scottish Family Party stand against the Named Person scheme, and their opinions on LGBTI issues are well, prehistoric.

From high schools onward, open discussion should be facilitated about the correlations between homosexual relationships and physical and mental health problems, and relational instability. Young people should be aware of these facts, to help them make informed decisions.

And from their ”defending freedom’ policies.

The SFP fully supports measures to help disabled people, and commends the government for progress in the regard. However, we do not believe that the social model of disability is truthful or helpful. Some of the challenges that disabled people face do stem from their disability, and blaming “society” in every case is clearly misguided.

From the same page there’s a few lines that give away what this lot are.

Those who believe that changing sex is impossible and that changing gender is not the best way to respond to gender dysphoria should be free to articulate these beliefs.

The views that Same Sex Marriage is invalid and that homosexual sexual activity is immoral should be respected and those holding them should be free to express them and act on them without fear of discrimination.

In careers and businesses where matters of conscience arise, reasonable accommodation should one-sided where possible. The aim should be tolerance and understanding, not a desire to teach heretics a lesson.

Freedom of association should be protected. There is nothing wrong with, for example, golf clubs for men or societies for people with similar beliefs.

It doesn’t take a genius to work out what demographic the SFP are fighting to protect as they’re the sort of people who go marching every summer and its leader defends jokes about Jo Cox while cheering on hard to far right politicians like Jacob Rees Mogg.

As you’d expect from a pro-life, anti-immigrant/feminist group (because that’s what the SFP is) there’s no facts to actually back any of their positions up. Instead there’s this bullshit about ‘tradition’ and ignoring hard facts in favour of their agenda, which makes Lucas’s appearance on Victoria Derbyshire’s show deeply problematic as in the actual segment he admits to not caring about studies or facts. Now at that point the piece is over as Lucas has no valid position to take & he’s had his say and their small handful of followers on their Facebook page may lap their nonsense up but they should in any society be a small fringe group of extremists scared by a liberal, progressive Scotland changed from what it was decades ago.

By giving the likes of Lucas an equal platform as people who’ve studied facts, or experts his opinion is given validation rather than the contempt it deserves. Now this isn’t ‘censorship’, this is making sure viewers are 100% aware of who they’re listening to and not just being presented by people as equal because Lucas’s opinion is not one that deserves national UK coverage because to quote Harlan Ellison…

And that, frankly, is the only way broadcasters should deal with people like Lucas rather than giving them platforms to promote violence on children.

 

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.