Scottish independence won’t just be won by nuance and persuasion

The weekend saw hundreds of thousands of pro-independence supporters march through Glasgow in the sort of display that reminds the Tory government and the pro-establishment media that there’s a real appetite for Scottish independence, especially with Brexit stinking everything up with the rise of far right populists like Nigel Farage and Tommy Robinson. So you’d expect the SNP especially to be happy, except the Sunday Herald decided to print an article critical of ‘Cybernats’. Which is not the first time this has happened.

So since Sunday, Scottish Independence supporters of all types have been endlessly arguing online about how ”Cybernats” should moderate themselves to the point where opinions become only worthwhile if voiced only by certain folk in the political class, or Scotland’s amazingly fucked up (yes, I know, language!) media class, or those in the Indy movement who look upon grassroots organisations like All Under One Banner with suspicion and contempt because they welcome people of all political persuasions rather than whatever narrow persuasion owned by the person tutting loudly from their West End of Glasgow home.

In short, as the possibility of a second referendum draws closer, people are fighting for a level of control over a movement which is by far the most organic political movement not affiliated to a political party I’ve ever seen in the UK. For some in the SNP, Greens, and the media this has been an issue because as said, they don’t have control of things, so we now have this exceptionally manufactured outrage about how people speak and how they can essentially be controlled. Now like any large group of people there are people to avoid, and yes, there are those who are a pain who cause problems with their lunge towards conspiracy theory and worse. But I’ve never known any group to be so self-policing, especially considering that our opponents aren’t and don’t care about any offence they cause to people. You do not see Ruth Davidson, J.K Rowling, Jeremy Corbyn or any leading British Unionist politician or media commentator decrying the way many of their supporters are misogynist, homophobic, Holocaust deniers and worse.

And we’re stuck now on this eternal loop where we’re expected by some on our own side to play nice, which is a bit like asking someone to bring a stick of celery to a knife fight. You as a reader may not like folk like Wings Over Scotland, Wee Ginger Dug or the parade of Scottish bloggers who don’t just conform to media and political standards, but these people are effective in winning arguments or debunking the bullshit of a mainly Unionist media and establishment.

What I’m basically saying is this debate (for the sake of a better, ruder expression) has been a waste of time and energy which should have been used to motivate people after the independence march in Glasgow at the weekend. The supposedly independence supporting  Sunday Herald should be actually supporting independence rather than working out how to alienate what few readers it has left, and those SNP politicians giving them fuel need to remember that people can be voted out as well as voted in. The SNP may be the only real way towards independence but there’s nothing to stop people giving their vote to the Greens, or if people are members, protesting from within.

This is not the time for the Indy movement to again be going through this level of self-inspection when Brexit looms constantly and the far right are a sliver away from gaining actual real power in the UK. Do we really want to say that we failed to win independence because we were too busy arguing about the right way to speak to keep a minority of people (some of whom I’m not entirely sure want independence as it’d ruin their career path/business plan) happy?

Nah, fuck that.

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…

How a Scottish tourist video became needlessly controversial

Visit Scotland is responsible for promoting Scotland around the world so lots of tourists visit, and of course to convince people to immigrate here.Last Friday they released this video for worldwide consumption.

A bit cheesy, but a good message for a tourist video and of course, the 29th March was supposed to be the day the UK left the EU so a message from Visit Scotland asking people to come to stay and we’re still open was in fact, a slightly more subversive act than a tourist video would normally say.

So you’d expect Brexiters and the likes to kick off complaining about it? Well, no, the self-proclaimed ‘radical’ left in Scotland decided to descend like vultures upon it. Sparked by a Tweet from Cat Boyd there followed an extraordinary display of ‘woke’ bullshit from leftish Corbyn supporting Millenials.

The ad was ‘nationalist’ because it didn’t discuss Scotland’s horrific problem with sectarianism, or the poverty endemic in parts of it, or any number of social issues. It was ‘selling a myth’ and other bits of nonsense as Scottish Twitter became probably the only part of social media in the world where the alleged ‘progressive’ part finds a pro-immigration message a problem.

Fact is releasing this on Brexit Day was a nice act of subversion, and frankly we need positive messages about immigration these days but to a small, but vocal portion of supposed ‘socialists’ that’s wrong and we instead should be sending out a more realistic version of Scotland.

To translate to what actually is going on these people complaining are all Labour supporters and with a general election being possible soon, they’ve reverted to type in supporting Corbyn’s Labour which it has to be noted, has an awful immigration policy as they’re trying to lure in all those UKIP voters swimming around.

The fact is that Lexiters have as much of a problem with immigration as their Brexiter companions so we get a dull whine rather than supporting the message. Thankfully these people aren’t especially influential but this doesn’t stop these incidents of total fuckwittery.

The end of internationalism

With Brexit now changed things forever it’s about time we started facing up to what’s been done and dealing with the consequences of pushing what is a xenophobic, isolationist concept upon a population which overall, isn’t. The problem is that we won’t know what we’ll miss until it hits us which doesn’t mean you won’t get a nice Italian wine anymore, but I’m talking people and the culture immigrants bring to us.

This Wings Over Scotland article touches upon the issue which we’re really going to have to deal with as the right in the Tories are now fiercely anti-immigrant, Labour haven’t stood up for immigration either and there’s actual fascists holding Nazi-like rallies just by the Cenotaph in London. People don’t seem to realise that the reason immigrants (and asylum seekers) come to the UK isn’t to ‘steal welfare money or houses’ but it’s because they want to come here to live, work, love and grow older in an adopted home. Theresa May called these people ‘citizens of nowhere’ which was dehumanising not to mention has meant millions of people are stuck in a legal limbo because the UK is using them as bargaining chips.

We’re entering a world where celebrating other cultures, even welcoming them, will be seen as an act that goes against the ‘will of the people’ and that we should ‘respect people’s concerns about immigration’. Nah, fuck that. Educate people about the reality of immigration and if they still have issues then they’re racists.

The time to fuck about is gone. We’re facing a fight most of us aren’t even realising we’re in but by the time we do then things will be much, much too late.

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

The trouble with Corbyn

I’ve voiced concerns about Jeremy Corbyn a lot of late, especially since seeing him at the Pyramid Stage at this year’s Glastonbury Festival where I saw a crowd cheering on someone who I think is setting people up for an almighty fall. I’ve never been able to fully pin down just quite what the problem with Corbyn is outwith of the fact he’s not what he pretends to be and Labour are still a party mired in policies of austerity and a faux radicalism that just tweaks round the edges while keeping the establishment machine in place.

Alan Bissett manages to articulate everything I couldn’t in this video from the excellent Phantom Power. It’s an excellent, and damning, critique of Labour and especially Jeremy Corbyn in relation to Scotland and is essential viewing.