Scotland’s bridge

It appears that there is no truth in the rumour that Jeremy Corbyn is set to return to Scotland over the next few celebratory days heralding in the opening of the magnificent new road bridge over the Forth. There were strong whispers that he would return to walk across the surface of the waters beside the giant legs burrowed into the riverbed and take a bow every five or six steps to an adoring massed audience of 39 Labour activists, 25 of whom who would have came with him from London on the same National Express coach.

However being a humble modern day prophet he simply refuses to take any credit for the massive structure, an engineering marvel coming in £245m under budget, which only overran on its proposed schedule by ten weeks over a six year construction period, a project where 15,000 workers were inducted to be employed during that period, and Scottish companies benefitted from sub contracts and supply deals to the tune of £350m.

No, fresh from suggesting that the leadership of his Scottish branch disciples (who have apparently now stopped knifing him in between the shooderblades) miraculously saved what’s left of the Scottish steel industry, ignoring the facts that this this is entirely untrue, and that steel production in Scotland is an industry that the Tories and his own party systematically decimated over decades, Jezza feels he should step back out of the spotlight on this one and leave the visionary who made it all possible, Gordy Broon, to take centre stage. Gordy becoming the British state media face and voice of the bridge by the simple reasoning that his former constituency is nearby and he represents Britain, always loudly, rather than Scotland.

As far as the media and unionist politicians and commentators will have you believe the Queensferry Crossing is a feat of British engineering, British ingenuity, an example of the British bulldog spirit, British pluck and the stuff that built an empire, set to be opened by the adored British hereditary head of state. What a load of bollocks.

Step forward and take a bow the government of Scotland. The credit goes entirely to them. That ‘vanity project’ the ‘Salmond Folly’ that Brown and his red and blue compadres refused to fund or support, the bridge they said that Scotland would never need, until the older Forth Road Bridge was shut for an extended time causing chaos, will be a tremendous success.

This is Scotland’s bridge. A symbol of the new Scotland, the coming Scotland, a Scotland vibrant, positive and confident in its own abilities. Do not let anybody tell you any different.

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Shut the door behind you

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The news that Theresa May has pencilled in a diary notation to remind her to quit her role as captain on the RMS Titanic 2 should act as a further hint or warning, if any were needed, that the disunited Kingdom, as it currently exists, is heading full steam ahead at collision speed towards a razor sharply sided iceberg the size of Luxembourg, and in its state of arrogant bewildered chaos will surely sink like an iPhone slipping out of a drunk’s pocket and down a grubby toilet bowl, despite the desperately flailing hands of it’s owner trying to avoid disaster.

The deliberately leaked, then denied, news that the end of August 2019 will see the self-proclaimed ‘strong and secure’ leader of England and the surrounding smaller countries which London rules under the very loose misnomer of a democratic union, take her leave and retire to a life of sturdy hiking boots, lashings of ginger beer and cucumber sandwiches, private jets and speechifying tours paid for by Arab sheiks and influential North American rightwing billionaires, generated and spun by Conservative HQ’s media gurus,is designed simply to help buffer May from the full wrath of an angry electorate two years from now.

By that time the game will be up, the pretence will be over, the mask will have dropped, and the shite will have well and truly hit the spinning whirly thing.

Lost in a foggy maze of intransigent European power-play negotiation, bewildered and unwilling to believe that foreign John would have the gall to stand up to the demands of the Empire 2 Phoenix project climbing out of the flames, there will be blame, there will be scapegoats required, there will be nights, and days, of long knives. Theresa May’s political career will be toast. Stating her intention to go anyway takes the pressure off her. Her predecessor, the wealthy privileged clown with a liking for swinus domesticus, who was so frightened of his party’s far right wing element that he launched the Brexit referendum in the first place, is equally insulated, now a private citizen enjoying his immense wealth.

In order to continue to mask inadequacy and mislead the Great British public about the fact that they still have no real structured plan for Brexit negotiations, or are even remotely capable of thinking through the various contingencies they should be preparing for, the incompetent David Davis is set to have another go at launching the only real strategy that Downing Street will deploy in their negotiations with Europe, a traditional British state ploy, which is to engineer a row, storm off in the huff and rouse up a backs-against-the-wall bulldog spirit, encouraging deep resentment and yet further suspicion of all things European.

Oh what boak-inducing cringery will be induced watching the Mail, Express and Sun rouse up the general populace into a patriotic frenzy, urging us to ‘Resist Euro power-grabbers who want our cash’ screaming ” Stiff upper Brit FURY at cheating euro bureaucrat schemers.”

The people of Scotland have been manipulated in the name of unionism many many times over the 300 odd years since their own self-governing parliament was dissolved, by simply paying off a few personal debts of some of its members, and bribing a few more, but they are not daft.

I firmly believe as the nightmare unfolds, at the same time as the reinvigorated positive case for an independent Scotland comes to the fore, back front and centre, that Brexit, although not the prime reason for a self-governing Scotland, will help tip the balance towards convincing a majority of Scots that their best interests are served by leaving the sounds of glug-glugging behind them, deftly stepping off the deck of the doomed monolith to the past and stepping on to the life raft of a 21st century vibrant outward looking social democratic independent country, a nation where their views, hopes and aspirations count, and alway will.

Only a notion away

Hoots mon, jings, crivens and help ma boab Daphne, would you credit it! The state of the UK’s public finances have improved in Scotland.

Light bonfires on the highest Bens, raise unionist flags from all public buildings, and let us prostrate ourselves before our rulers in supplicatory worship, pausing only briefly to gaze in wonderment at their Greek hero-like facial silhouettes.

Those mighty intellects,these projectors of notional notions, those giants of public spending economic strategy, those manipulators of powerful financial levers, those Westminster politicians briefed hourly by London treasury civil servants, fully factually informed with reams of hard copy salience, performance reports, statistics and the forecasting models they need to ensure that their fingers are on the pulse when it comes to the spending of public spondoolics, Titans who, with the flick of investment, a touch of a fat pinkie finger on a keyboard,or with the brief turning on and off of a monetary tap, ensure that we all can sleep comfortably at nights without worrying our pretty little heads about anything, have done it.

They’ve halted the momentum of the runaway juggernaut, the part of their UK deficit, that has occurred because of their mis-management of tax revenue, the part of their deficit, their deficit that they assign to Scotland, a deficit relating to their incompetence in managing revenue raised in Scotland from you, as well as from citizens in their own country and the other ‘partner’ countries they rule over, a deficit created in Scotland, for Scotland, by the government of another country who make all the major decisions on Scotland’s behalf, because we simply could not, amongst our 5 million odd residents, have anyone suitable, capable or able to make such decisions.

Our masters (we can thank them later) have fought off the public sector financial monster, and sent it back towards its lair, reducing its shortfall to just a smidgen over £13.3b. Hurrah hurrah!

A magnificent Great British effort? No. The Scottish economy has improved, in the last quarter growth outstripped the UK as a whole, the percentage of those employed in in Scotland is higher than in the rest of the UK, revenue raised onshore in Scotland has increased by £3.3b, (the fastest increase since records began) and oil and gas receipts are improving. Positive achievements in Scotland, by Scots, Scottish companies or through the exploitation of Scottish skills and natural resources.

The annual release of the GERS report, a statistical suite of data designed on estimates, guesstimates, and spurious extrapolation comparing apples with spark plugs, and devised simply to promote in the people of Scotland a lack of self-confidence in their own country’s financial strength and wellbeing in reality only tells the reader one thing, one crucial fact.

Scotland simply cannot afford not to be independent.

What’s it for?

I’ve had a brief break from blogging, it being the time of a very precious and much anticipated family holiday, a time that in the worst hours of the dark days of a year or so ago I feared I might never see.

Therefore I’ve tried as much as possible to tune world events, news and politics out, concentrating instead on the simple things in life, like the amusement that can be had by just sitting quietly in a room listening to small children having an in-depth conversation about not being able too see each other in the dark. One saying to the other reassuringly “but it’s ok because I can still smell you instead.” The other, after a bit of consideration on the subject replying “what do I smell of?”

I was somewhat taken unawares then when my thirteen year old (going on 23) granddaughter said to me the other day “Why do you do this Papa? Why do you write all of this stuff about politics? What’s it for?”

How do you explain such things to a thirteen year old? I pondered for a moment, deciding that firstly I’d better check what she meant by ‘politics.’ Upon enquiring I was very surprised to find that even at her tender age my granddaughter seems to have a basic understanding of the spectrum of mainstream political views. The Scottish education system, despite relentless unionist bad press, certainly seems to be providing a more rounded knowledge of the world around them in our upcoming youth, if she is anything to go by, or perhaps she’s just a wee tad precocious,

Taking this on board I let her know gently that what I write about is not really politics in the sense that she understands it, I am writing about my commitment to an independent Scotland because I believe It is the right thing to do.

I explained it to her this way. I said “Darlin I’m doing it for you, and your brother and your wee sisters,for your futures.” I told her that all over Scotland in their own individual very small way, like me, hundreds of thousands of people are doing what they can, to help convince those that are not yet persuaded that Scotland would be better off if the people who live here make the major decisions about our country and it’s future.

I said to her “imagine at school there’s a girl in your class who is very smart, in the ‘brainy’ group, a nice lassie, very easygoing and friendly, who always hands in her homework on time, always gets high marks, and is always generous with regards to sharing what she has with others, but because of her abilities and her willingness to share she gets taken advantage of by the popular set in the class when they want her to provide her homework for them to copy, which they take for granted that she will do, and otherwise she is singled out for bullying or humiliation, and shunned.”

Then I asked her to think of that same girl going through her entire school life being treated in this way, slowly but surely having all of the self-confidence in her abilities and potential for what could be a great future sucked out of her, until she reaches the stage that in her mind she can’t see any ambition further than the end of the street she lives in, resigned to the mundane, the mediocre and being dominated by her peers.

I then asked my granddaughter to imagine that girl as being Scotland, and those that made the girl feel the way she did as the government of the United Kingdom, in London.

I then made her aware that in the rest of the world it is not normal for a country like Scotland to be ruled by another neighbouring country, and that where this happens invariably the smaller country loses out because the ruling country making all of the big decisions, thinks only about themselves.

I stressed that English people are not bad, they are our friends, our closest neighbours. She knows that, she has aunties, uncles and cousins from England, people she loves and respects.

I further stressed that she should never ever let anyone tell her that those, like me, who want Scottish independence hate English people, because it’s not true, it’s not about ordinary people, the same as us, it’s about a ruling government from another country who think about their own selfish interests first before ours.

Without blinding her with science and getting too far into the complications of a country suffering from a democratic deficit, and it’s people deprived of their sovereignty, I hoped I’d gotten the right balance in my response, given her a wee insight and at least partially answering her question.

She listened to all of I had to say quietly, then went away, distracted by something else, her younger siblings having a sisterly tiff.

An hour or so later she was back.

“Papa”she said, “see what you were saying earlier about Scotland, I think I get it.”

We gotta get out of this place

There’s a man in the White House who can’t make up his mind who he hates most. However it certainly isn’t white rightwing torch carriers who are now so confident in themselves, energised by his dog whistle rhetoric, that they have removed ‘the hoods their fathers wore’ whilst they strung black men from trees in the glow of fiery crosses, as they chant their hate filled bile.

It may be Muslims, it may be women who don’t fit with his narrow viewpoint of what a woman should represent, it may be Mexicans, it may be North Koreans, at one stage it may have even been Australians. Currently though it looks like it’s the ‘Alt Left’, or as the sane on the planet would refer to them, rational human beings determined to put a stop to history repeating itself and making the same horrible mistakes of the 1930’s.

Meanwhile the government of his appeasing repetitively monotone friend, the one who refuses to criticise any of his actions, the one he likes to hold hands with (it’s always a good idea for women to keep a close check on where his hands are) prepares to remove their country, and the smaller partners over which they rule, from the largest trading relationship that exists in the world.

The strategy for this, we are now finding out, appears to involve making a huge song and dance about leaving various parts of the trading relationship and then asking the former trading partners to sign up to exactly the same trading agreements again under a different name.

Being a humble lot, a British establishment trait, the government, have announced to their adoring media that this is all but a done deal. Some sleight of hand, a bit of mockery of French and German accents here and there, Jacques and Hans Foreigner will be in a state of panicked retreat, and we’ll all be home for tea and crumpets by sundown. What’s the latest at Lords? All out for 102.

However those they need to negotiate with, the member states of the European Union, are looking in on this bewildered, shaking heads, and wondering, is this what happens to a former imperial power in its last days when it completely loses touch with reality? Can the British really fear immigrants that much?

As Burns once wrote ‘O wad some power the giftie gie us to see oursels as ithers see us!’

When the head-on crash that is Brexit comes it is potentially going to be catastrophic, a self inflicted economic disaster. Those in Britain that are orchestrating it are dangerously delusional.

Meanwhile the limited power government of the small northern partner striving to break free from the rule of that former imperial power goes about the business of making life better for its people.

Trump and May have torchlight hate marches, and barely masked xenophobia. We have baby boxes. Mothers of all newborns in Scotland provided with the necessary essentials for the start of life.

Today too we hear, in the latest economic figures, that Scotland has lower unemployment (3.9%) than the rest of the UK, and more people in work (75.2%).

However the manipulation of information to downplay any possibility of Scotland ever being successful at anything without the success being able to be attributed to the loving guardianship of mother London continues.

Flicking through Twitter I see, hard running, a tweet from Nicola Sturgeon, then another from Keith Brown, both telling us these figures are good news, followed by a third tweet from STV news telling us the opposite.

The headline on the STV online report reads “Scots unemployment rate rises despite UK-wide fall.” The headline in bold being the part that casual readers will pick up on. In the interests of appearing unbiased the report’s sub heading (once you click on the article) which many casual scrollers wouldn’t, having seen the bad news of the headline then follows up with ‘Despite the rise Scotland still has a lower jobless rate than the UK as a whole.’

I’m sure during the rest of the day the STV news version and the BBC will clear up the confusion, not.

We really need to find ways to convince our friends, families and colleagues that enough is enough folks. We must strive for independence, we must succeed. It is that important.

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The trouble with Corbyn

The trouble with Corbyn (From Phantom Power)

Wee Ginger Dug

Playwright and writer Alan Bisset exclusively speaks to Phantom Power about his issues with the Corbyn phenomenon.

As UK Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn states his intention to target SNP seats in the next general election, acclaimed writer Alan Bissett considers the implications for Scottish independence and particularly those on the left who also support self-determination for Scotland. While Corbyn has taken Labour back to its socialist roots, Scottish Labour is a very different beast and have deliberately interpreted their modest gains and SNP reduction in seats as a rejection of independence. Alan discusses Corbyn’s election prospects as well as his contradictory positions on a progressive SNP alliance, Brexit, Trident, internationalism and British nationalism. Corbyn and his pro-independence supporters can’t have it both ways.
https://alanbissett.com/

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Grab a headline

They are on it….The online headline reads “Salmond: Michelle Thomson situation ‘handled badly’ by SNP.”

Auntie Beeb are in on the scoop. Have no fear. They are in there spilling the beans on the news you need to hear. Nothing gets past them.

A former leader of the party, knowing full well that that same party is robust enough to take a bit of healthy self-criticism, voices an opinion, his honest personal opinion.

Wait now for the next phase of the story, the extended fables of a wildly speculative nature. Figments of the imaginations of the bank of unionist press hacks sniffing fake horror movie blood in the water. By Monday or Tuesday the likes of the Hootsmon and Depress will be running ‘Is there a split in the SNP hierarchy?'”, ‘Separatists FURY at Salmond’s rant” and ” Indy hits skids amid internal squabble.”

It’s almost laughable. Let’s not worry too much that the media, the BBC included, crucified the poor woman, acting as her judge, jury and public executioner, without Ms Thomson ever getting anywhere near the point of being charged with any wrongdoing. No, let’s just gloss over that one auntie.

Salmond also has suggested that Scotland could return to its rightful independent state within a four year period, depending on any transition period that the arrogant incompetent British government may stumble by accident into negotiating, and that he is willing to ‘play whatever part is necessary’ to secure that goal.

We could do worse than have himself and Angus Robertson lead the way in the upcoming campaign to grow the movement, and the building of self belief in our fellow Scots.

If capable individuals of their calibre were to take it on, one of the first things they may want to tackle is identifying and hiring a communications unit to rebut the propaganda nonsense that comes our way. If we get that part right that’ll be half the battle won.

Pumped

The less than underwhelming response to the 2 million signatures of the Scottish National Covenant in 1949, the revelations,under FOI,of McCrone, pre-Holyrood sea boundary changes, the outcome of the 79 referendum on devolution where Cunningham’s amendment, and the dead, saved the day for Westminster, the Vow, Smith, the Scotland Act, the Sewel Convention, the Scottish Brexit result, lip-service consultation, and many many more instances of how a valued partner is treated in our ‘precious’ Union.

Grievance, our unionist naysayers would scream, imagined, exaggerated grievance, dismissing us. Treachery, deception and theft is more like how most of us would call it. The real picture.

Now, Stu Campbell has highlighted another. Oh how they crowed, the price of oil has dropped. Aren’t you glad we didn’t vote Yes, we’d be a third world country, begging to be taken back. The oil industry is struggling, it’s also running out, only £588m revenue produced in Scottish waters. You nationalist dreamers are kidding yourselves on. The pensions would stop, it just doesn’t add up. Your all mad Braveheart fantasists.We’d be bankrupt!

They were right on one thing, it doesn’t add up. It doesn’t add up if you just keep applying the largest bulk of North Sea revenues to an “Unknown Region ” and then at some time later rejig the figures under the guise of a change in methodology in how statistics are collected, which, when backdated, suddenly show the true picture, that Scotland has produced more than £15 billion than was previously accounted for, some of it during a period when Scotland’s people were asked to make a choice about their future partly based on financially inaccurate information about the viability of their country.

The British state is not to be trusted.
The people of Scotland continue to be manipulated, swizzled, duped and conned. Their resources, land and the products of their labour treated as possessions of a larger neighbouring ruling power.

It’s time some of our countryfolk saw past the red, white and blue tinted glasses folks. You are being well and truly pumped.

Deliberately and plainly wrong

It’s perhaps time we went back in our box. Yes, indeed, it seems we should just accept that we are crap at everything. We simply could not organise a coffee morning in a cake shop. We don’t deserve to be like any other country in the rest of the world, we don’t want to be.

Three years after the greatest mass engagement over the question of the country’s future that ever occurred in Scotland there are still a number of us who don’t seem to know that the NHS in Scotland is a separate entity from the he NHS in the rest of the UK, or don’t know that the Scottish government has only limited powers to make changes to aspects of public spending that might or might not improve the quality of their lives.

There are many, not Tories, not Labourites of the various hues that exist, not left, not centrist, nor right, just Scots, ordinary Scots, like us, whose opinion of Scotland taking its governance into its own hands still starts and stops at the phrase ‘Scotland is not strong enough to survive on its own.’

We should maybe just carry on as we always have for the last 300 years. We love moaning about all that is wrong about being ruled by a larger neighbouring country. In fact we’re just fond of moaning. It is our thing, but we really don’t want to do anything about the things that we are moaning about. We don’t feel that we have the ability, knowledge or confidence to do anything other than complain.

It’s much easier to continue to sit back, and read what our public school educated landowning, city of London investing leaders want us to read, so that we think what they want us to think, and have the opinions they want us to hold. After all, these denizens of power sound like they know best, they obviously are successful, because they have wealth and influence, therefore they must be right.

We, the majority not born into privilege of some kind, fit the role of cap doffing, sometimes living waged early-deathers much better than we ever would as chance takers. Heaven forbid we should ever expose ourselves to risks, other than the ones that send more of our families to foodbanks, drives our children into drug and alcohol addiction and leaves our pensioners dodging the hypothermia-bringing grim reaper, frightened of a hefty electricity bill. These are the risks we are quite happy to accept.

No, settle back down, watch soothing, loving, condescending, cosseting, reassuring British hypnotic TV. Poor people and immigrants are demons that are coming to steal your third hand BMW, and why not buy a specially minted coin to commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar, each with a genuine particle of gun metal engraved into the union flag design (coins legal tender in Jersey), or wallow in a sycophantic orgy of fascination with ludicrous privilege by bloodline, obscene vastly wealthy idols from another era, but hey, they do loads for charity and bring in the tourists you know. Here, Your Highness, have another £380 million, you richly warrant it.

We really don’t deserve control of our own destiny. What would we do with it?

Life is much easier simply accepting that hearing TV newscasters repeatedly referring to something successful happening in Scotland, something major being achieved, something that positively impacts the lives of Scotland’s people ‘despite the Scottish government’ is correct, even when it is blindingly obvious, if you just motivated yourself out of your slumber long enough to listen with your ears and look with your eyes, that it is deliberately and plainly wrong.

Flag waving

I was speaking to a guy I met in the pub the other day, three years after his last trip back, for the referendum, from the North Island of New Zealand, about his trip home, a visit principally to see his Mam, who is ill.

He was telling me that he had taken a jaunt along the Fife coast last week, and couldn’t believe the number of times he came across a Union flag, atop buildings, memorials, in the gardens of private residences, and even heavily marketed on the packaging in his local supermarket. The only saltire he found on display was aloft above his local links golf club.

Is this a new trend he wondered? Were these flags always there, but prior to the last few years weren’t considered by some to be contentious, and therefore invisible? Neither he, nor I, could remember.

Is there a growing need arising in Scots who identify themselves more as British than Scottish to feel they have to publicly display that identity? I don’t know.

We debated the point over a pint, moving on to discuss our thoughts on the news media, and in our alcohol soaked haze decided that we both agreed that there is a lot of messaging, both up front and subliminally, going on to help to ensure that the people of Scotland keep on metaphorically tugging those forelocks, and ‘pooling and sharing’ their resources.’

Mind you, we didnae need the drink to be able to recognise that.