If you have a Tory friend…

It’s been fashionable of late for folk to say they’d never have a Tory friend, and this has caused much outrage with Tories who can’t see why people wouldn’t want to be friends with the rape clause, Trident, austerity, supporting likes of themselves. I mean who hasn’t been monged to fuck on coke when you literally have the fate of millions in your over- privileged hands?

When one looks at a Jacob Rees-Mogg, Ruth Davidson, Boris Johnson, Ross Thompson, Michael Gove or Theresa May its easy to see inhuman monsters often hiding behind a carefully constructed media profile designed to hide what they really are, because they often are monsters. If this seems hyperbole, ask down your local foodbank or your disabled neighbour what they think of what the Tories have done. Contemptible people deserve all the contempt they deserve.

Yet there’s something wrong about people closing themselves off to those of the right who aren’t lunatics. The old social conservative types who still exist who don’t vote for the modern Tory Party, or indeed anyone that doesn’t derive from whatever form of political and idealogical purity drives you to fight potential allies or friends rather than the Tories. People need to be exposed to a variety of views and opinions, and sometimes you may be friends with people who have opinions different to yours or mine, but we should be able to talk to them without closing them off, climbing into safe spaces or failing to actually understand the basic rule in life that people think differently but they’re still people like all of us.

That said, there’s no excuse for extending the hand of decency to Tories. They gave that right up so it’s perfectly fine not to be friends with Tories, but not to just burying yourselves in your own personal echo chamber.

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Some more words for Boris Johnson

It’s the Tory Party conference this week and the full horror of our potential future is beginning to take form as Boris Johnson further manoeuvres himself towards the position of Tory leader, and Prime Minister.

As Johnson cosies up to fascists and extremists while pushing populist rhetoric which in normal times would be dismissed, but we’re no longer in normal times, we’re on the verge of something very, very awful. With a media that’s built Johnson up as some sort of jolly buffoon rather than a callous sociopath only interested in himself and his vision for the UK which is ripped from the sort of imperial nonsense that would have been rejected from boys comics of the 1920s.

In fact there’s another figure of the 20s and 30s we can draw a comparison with.

But Johnson didn’t appear on the scene spouting racism (well, sort of) and playing the populist ethnic nationalist. It has taken a long, long time for Johnson to get to this stage where I think we’re seeing what he is exposed for all to see and you either are repulsed by it, or his cries to a Britain that never was draws you in.

And this brings me to this Alan Moore quote from V For Vendetta.

“Since mankind’s dawn, a handful of oppressors have accepted the responsibility over our lives that we should have accepted for ourselves. By doing so, they took our power. By doing nothing, we gave it away. We’ve seen where their way leads, through camps and wars, towards the slaughterhouse.”

Johnson terrifies me. He’s surrounded by zealots who unthinkingly drag us ever closer to that dark place that in a way, is the logical end for the British Empire and the idea of British exceptionalism as it finally gives into full fledged fascism. And we walked into it.

There’s only a few months left to even try to stop this. Petition your MP, MSP, AM or whatever your local elected representative is and make sure you do what you can to stop what’s coming. Don’t be guilty of giving it away because we know where that leads.

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.

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.

Is it okay to call Tories ‘scum’?

Ross Thompson is a Tory MP who has taken offence at a banner displayed during last weekend’s march in support for Scottish independence.

A swathe of Tories (and sadly, some in Labour leaping to back them up because this is Scotland) ranging from Ruth Davidson to lowly councillors and Tory supporters leaping in claiming the use of the word ‘scum’ in relation to the Tories was anything ranging from discrimination to a sign of how awful and appalling independence supporters are.

Now if we look at what the Tories do we can judge them; so anything from the ‘rape clause‘ , to the ‘racist van’, to welfare cuts that leave people considering suicide, to the demonisation of the disabled, to the failure of dealing with disasters like Grenfell, or the enforced deportations of people that came here to live from the Windrush generation onwards not to mention the eight years of austerity under the Tories which has seen poverty deepen and food banks become a norm. Then there’s the clusterfuck of Brexit.

So as much as I don’t support the ultra-nationalist group who made the banner, the idea of Tories getting offended by being called ‘scum’ when their policies are killing people or are themselves, so ultra-nationalist that they’ve adopted UKIP’s far right policies and ideas of ethnic nationalism. ‘Scum’ isn’t pretty but neither is the eight years of relentless misery the Tories have imposed upon people who in many cases can’t fight back because they’re too busy trying to survive under the conditions imposed by the Westminster government.

If you vote Tory you do so in full knowledge of what they are and what they do. If you’re offended by being called ‘scum’ then perhaps that twinge is the remnants of your conscience pointing out that these folk calling you that  have a point.

Antisemitism and the left

One of the things about now living in Scotland that looking in on what happens politically in England  makes the utter insanity of Scottish politics seem sane and sensible, well, as sane as politics can be in this world dominated by Brexit and the aftermath of that. In this case the Jeremy Corbyn antisemitism row is one I look upon with interest as it seems most everyone involved in this are at some level, an arsehole.

It’s clear that some of those attacking Corbyn are doing so not because they’re fighting antisemitism, but they’re doing so to land lumps upon Corbyn. This of course isn’t true for all of Corbyn’s accusers as a number of people have very clear concerns with how Labour’s failed to deal with an issue that shouldn’t arise in a supposed party of the people like Labour. However as those of us in Scotland know, Labour are peachy with the like of Hugh Gaffney in their party and although it’s fair to say all parties have eye-popping racists and bigots in them, it is how they deal with them that’s the mark of a party. I can see that if I were Jewish that a party I’d normally consider safe refuge seems to be not treating bigotry aimed at my people as seriously as they should.

But the problem is that instead of an informed debate about antisemitism we now have a polarised shouting session where the decreasing voices of sanity are being drowned out by folk on all sides of this debate.

Do Labour, and the left as a whole, have an issue with antisemitism? Yes. This Guardian article provides some context for Labour, but parts of the left need to address this head on and no, that doesn’t mean turning the subject to Israel or mentioning Zionism. The comedian David Schneider make a wee test for those of us on the left and I think he’s nailed it.

I’ve been at Stop the War meetings not long after the second Iraq War where Tony Benn would agonisingly spell things out for people along similar lines to Schneider and when the floor was thrown open to questions, it would be guaranteed one of the first would be mindbogglingly antisemitic. At one in London around 2003 myself and my then partner (who was Jewish) left raging after folk ignored Benn’s message which meant she left before getting into a fight, and in Bristol a few years later myself and a mate left because we couldn’t be arsed arguing with people about ‘THE JEWS’ with spittle-flecked anger.

A section of people on the left have a blind spot for Jews. Do I think Corbyn antisemitic? No, he’s trying to protect his party and in doing so he’s fucked up because he’s never confronted the problem head on as it’d mean tackling allies, just as Gaffney isn’t tackled as it means he loses an ally here. It isn’t all Corbyn’s fault as no Labour leader in my lifetime had truly tackled the issue head-on but the issue sits within Labour and needs sorted. The left as a whole has the same issue and this leaves a massive open goal the Tories are only too glad to take advantage of. Of course the Tories have issues with every sort of bigotry going but the difference between us on the left and them is we’re supposed to care about people as people rather than find ways to get round this. Basically, we’re supposed to be better but I think some folk just have a blind spot which is why they need called out if they can’t be educated as Tony Benn used to try to do.

We have the worst government in a succession of awful governments which has wallowed in lies and corruption. A Prime Minister in Theresa May unfit for the job leading us to a Brexit nobody with sanity and compassion backs and yet the official Westminster opposition can’t break a lead because they can’t keep their own house in order. It’s a sad, pitiful and hopeless situation but if the left learns something from this then at least it may just have been worth it.

It won’t of course.

The ongoing farce of Theresa May

It was the final day of the Tory Party conference in Manchester today, and Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech was without doubt the most memorable political speech of the year. Sadly for May it was for all the wrong reasons First of all comedian Simon Brodkin handed her a fake P45 in a speech which by this point was going down as well as calling a snap general election and losing your majority.

Coupled with May’s cough due to her cold, and the fact nobody in that hall believed a word being said it really couldn’t get worse? It could. This happened.

If you wrote a political comedy and included that moment the script editor would say something like ‘mate, that’s just taking it a wee bit too far‘. Even Armando Ianucci didn’t go that far.

On a human level one has to feel sympathy for May, except I’m not going to feel a fucking yoctogram for her as she had no sympathy for the people her policies have hurt, even killed since her government came to power in 2010. I could not care less for those commentators mumbling about feeling sorry for someone who is taking us off the edge of a cliff thanks to Brexit and has encouraged all the racists in the UK in her time in government.

This isn’t to say the alternative is appetising, it isn’t. But May’s speech summed up not just the state of British politics but the UK as a whole. Holding itself together for seconds before falling apart and becoming the laughing stock of anyone caring to pay attention. Still, if we’re all going to be fucked at least we’re still able to laugh right?