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…

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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.

Glasgow’s striking women and the Labour Party

Today has seen the first of a two-day strike by women employed by Glasgow City council (GCC) in regards a very long dispute going back to 2006. Back then, the Labour run council implemented the Workforce Pay and Benefit Review (WPBR), though it quickly became apparent women (and in the vast majority of cases it was women, men in similar roles had no issues) were being paid up to £3 p/h less than their male counterparts. What then follows is a story of low-paid workers, mainly female, being advised horribly by unions and attacked by the then Labour run GCC. Fairly recently it became clear just how badly the women suffered and just how the Labour run GCC spent over £2.5 million fighting the women’s case.

In this time the GMB were advising the women, well, badly, but one heard not a peep from other unions or the Labour Party, both pre and post Jeremy Corbyn til May 2017. Two things happened; one is that Labour lost control of GCC for the first time in half a century and secondly before the women won their long fought court case and the incoming SNP run administration promised to settle the case. Negotiations started but earlier this year the GMB promised to strike so we’re here today.

The more astute of you may think ”hang on, why didn’t the GMB go on strike in the 11 years when Labour ran Glasgow?” and that is indeed a reasonable question and can be explained by the symbiotic relationship of both. In fact current Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard was a GMB official during part of this time, and the self-appointed leader of the strike, Rhea Wolfson, is a Labour candidate in the next election. Once you ask that question and discover other councils in Scotland have similar issues, but as they’re Labour run, there’s no threat of striking, then one has to conclude this is a political act that doesn’t have the women’s concerns at the heart of it.

Here for example is a Tweet from Carol Fox, who has been a lawyer representing the women.

Here’s an example of the ‘staggering hypocrisy’ in full gaslighting flow.

Now it is true the SNP led council need to up their game. Their handling of the aftermath of the Mack fire has been, on the whole, fucking dreadful (I live not far from the area affected and can testify as to how bad an aftermath it has been first hand) and their general level of communication is terrible but as this nicely balanced Scotsman article by Dani Garavelli makes clear that for all the faults of the current GCC administration, we can’t forget that a male dominated GMB and the Labour Party got us into this mess in the first place so some humility, and even an apology is forthcoming.

Today has seen Labour indulge in a campaign of stunning political hypocrisy mixed with opportunism as figures who stood against the women now Tweet furiously in favour, and some MP’s wade into the debate in the most cack-handed, tone deaf way.

You read the above Tweet right but in the midst of all this gaslighting there comes honesty from at least one person in Labour.

Realistically, this is probably what will happen as the estimated bill to settle is between £500 million and a billion. GCC can’t afford this without bankrupting Glasgow, and the Scottish Government would have to step in to mitigate this which means because the SG works on a restricted budget, other services in Scotland would be cut which means Labour run with the ‘SNP austerity line’ they’ve decided is their only real contribution to Scottish politics in the age of Brexit.

In effect, what could have been a day where the women’s 12 year old fight (and remember, some of the original women have passed on now) could have finally hit a point where all sides worked together for resolution. The current council could have been more open, and Labour rather than gaslight, lie and bullshit could have been contrite, even apologising and offering sensible solutions. Union leaders on 6-figure salaries who ensured men were paid more because that’s how it always has been could have apologised and we could try to come to a sensible outcome where the women get their backpay (the current council have binned the old pay scheme and employees are all now equally paid) but no, we’ve seen an extraordinary day where the divide has been ripped open.

What can we draw from the day? We should show solidarity with the women. There’s no doubt with that after the contempt these working class women were shown by the then Labour run council.. We should however question the GMB as to what exactly their motives are now after over a decade of, at the very least, not advising the women correctly, and for Labour they need to answer why they fought the women so hard for 11 years and also, what happened to people’s council tax because we’ve got buildings declared unsafe in what seems now like a policy to let some of Glasgow’s buildings fall into ruin.

I’d personally like an inquiry into just exactly went on in the City Chambers for decades and why women are forced to take less than their male counterparts and large parts of the city are left to rot and now we’re having to clean up this mess. That however would uncover some dirty little secrets that some of those gloating today would not like aired in public but realistically this isn’t going to be over til those responsible are contrite and that includes the Labour Party as a whole.

We’ve now had two years of Brexit

Two years ago the UK, well, England mainly, voted to leave the EU and the world went mad.The vote was won with no plan, no idea of how to leave and with experts promising total collapse if we just up and leave with no deal, but hardline Brexiters from the right and the left on the morning after the vote demanded Article 50 (the procedure that kicks into motion the UK leaving the EU)invoked and the UK leaves with nothing more planned than the fact we’re leaving. Two years later this is sort of the situation we’re still in. Both the right and left of Brexit want to leave ASAP to bring about some sort of nirvana based upon their own political ideology so both push the line about ‘respecting the result’ because to veer off course now would mean they don’t get what they want.

Problem is ‘respecting the result’ means buying into the fact the referendum was built on racist lies and possible (probable?) criminality and corruption. This Bloomberg article reveals part of the problem, while the work of journalists like James Patrick and Carol Cadwalladr are exposing what is a massive perversion of democracy, not to mention people’s real concerns about being stuck in eternal austerity which has lasted a decade with no end to come.

Tens of thousands marched the streets of London at the weekend just gone protesting Brexit but with the Tories locked in a death spiral trying to put off the day when the likes of Jacob Rees Mogg gets his cold hands on the PM job, and Labour stuck in a nostalgia trip there is no way a political end to Brexit can be found. Anyhow, it’s far too late. As soon as Article 50 was invoked the UK lost any control on what will happen, apart from the ‘no deal’ option where the UK walks and carnage happens overnight. Business is making that clear with a series of warnings falling on arrogantly deaf ears. Basically the type of country you want to live in is at stake and frankly, the extremists have all the Trump cards.

We’re heading towards reality with a sickening thud. When the smoke clears and things calm down we might not like the look of where we are, what we’ve done and the irreparable damage done to people’s lives. So, I’ll be blunt. Be prepared for next year as if we do drop out with no deal and off that edge, or even just take what we’re given because we gave away any power in March 2017, we could face something people in this country haven’t faced since the early to mid 1970’s. I hope I’m wrong but unless something major happens we’re fucked.

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.

Devolution in Scotland is over

At the start of the year, Scottish Secretary David Mundell promised (in as much as one can take the word of a Tory) as debate on the EU Withdrawal BIll and the return of powers from the EU to not go to Holyrood as they should, but to Westminster.

To make devolution in Scotland simple, the settlement (contained in various Scotland acts) means that what is not reserved, is devolved and Westminster can’t ‘normally’ touch anything devolved. The EU Withdrawal Bill contains a clause where that’s ripped up and they can walk all over the devolved powers of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. There’s a whole load of powers Westminster wants control of that would, bluntly, make life in Scotland a fuckload harder for people, and in many cases people who have a fucking hard life now as it is.

Yesterday the EU Withdrawal BIll was debated and devolution was allotted a whole 15 minutes, but that was filibusted by the Tories so devolution effectively began being dismantled but a vote took place and the chance to oppose it was laid out. Sadly only all the SNP and Plaid Cymru MP’s voted against it, with a lone Lib Dem, Caroline Lucas of the Greens and one lone Labour MP in the shape of Dennis Skinner. Labour abstained and the Tories won.

This also happened last night.

During the debate SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford asked: “Mr Speaker, what options are available to us in this house to ensure that the Government understands real concern among people in Scotland at this unprecedented power grab, and how can we make sure that our voices are heard?”

In response, an MP can be heard shouting “suicide” back at Robertson.

Today during PMQ’s, Ian Blackford, leader of the SNP in the Commons, was asked to leave by the Speaker, which prompted the entire mass of the SNP ranks to walk as one in protest, solidarity and disgust as to how they, the Scottish Government, Holyrood, the principle of devolution and indeed, the people are being held in contempt.

Yes, the walkout was a stunt but it’s a stunt that got this issue into the headlines and now more people know what’s going on, not to mention the sight of Tory MP’s (and their useful idiots on the Labour ranks) jeering and sneering at Scottish MP’s will have caused blood pressure to rise in a good number of people, and indeed, the SNP are reporting a surge in memberships today off the back of this.

I’m glad this has happened. I was getting tired of the SNP sitting around doing little, and seemingly doing little and I was getting tired of them being polite in the company of arseholes that make up the Tory benches, and although I appreciate Nicola Sturgeon’s cool head, she was in the middle of a pincer movement between Ruth Davidson’s loyalist hard right Unionism and Jeremy Corbyn’s outdated ‘socialist’ Unionism. The last few weeks there’s been positive signs of something happening to fight this power grab, and now finally we’ve got something which took bollocks but only happened after years of Scotland being repeatedly being ignored, bullied and treated like contempt.

Well, the genie is out the back now. The Tories tonight seem to be closing ranks but the question for the Lib Dems and Labour (who voted in Holyrood to fight the power grab) is where do they stand? For now this isn’t about independence (though that’s the nuclear option) but preserving the place of Scotland in the UK so does Jeremy Corbyn especially think his MP’s sitting on their hands while he pushes for a Brexit, Scotland never wanted, a good thing for a democrat and a socialist. Fact is this is the time to stick your neck out. The Scotland Act is effectively over bar the kicking and screaming, unless we all unite against the Tories but I fear this won’t happen so next up will be using the mandate for a second referendum because bluntly, the UK can go fuck itself.

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.