The country formerly known as Scotland

I sincerely hope that the First Minister is not taken in by this talk of a “rebranding exercise”. I trust she is aware that this is merely a precursor to, and preparation for, major constitutional reform which will be conducted over the heads of Scotland’s elected representatives and without the consent of Scotland’s people.

Prior to the 2014 independence referendum, people were warned that a No vote would be regarded by the British state as a licence to do what they want with Scotland. What they want is to lock Scotland into a political union on their own terms. A unilateral redefining of Scotland’s constitutional status without any consultation and in total contempt of democratic principles.

This had hardly got underway when the EU referendum came along and shifted the political ground. But Brexit did not deter or hamper the project to lock Scotland into a unilaterally redefined Union. On the contrary, it provides the ideal opportunity. Which people were also warned about prior to the vote in 2016.

To put it briefly and in the simplest of terms – the UK was constitutionally redefined by joining the EU (as it became). It stands to reason that the UK will again undergo constitutional redefinition on leaving the EU. The British political elite has ensured that Scotland, together with the other devolved parliaments, has been all but entirely excluded from the Brexit process. Therefore, the British political elite is ideally placed to dictate the form of the redefinition which the UK will undergo.

Brexit is the British state’s chance to close and barricade the democratic route to restoring Scotland’s rightful constitutional status. This was going to happen anyway. But Brexit makes it easier to ensure that democratic niceties don’t interfere with the process of tightening England-as-Britain’s grip on Scotland and reinforcing the structures of power, privilege and patronage which constitute the British state.

This isn’t something that is going to happen. It is something which is happening right now. The “rebranding exercise” is part of it. The ‘UK Government in Scotland’ is part of it. The ‘UK-wide common frameworks’ are part of it. The ‘EU power grab’ was part of it. The ghastly ‘unionjackery’ defacing our foodstuffs is part of it. Mundell’s new castle in Edinburgh is part of it.

And still people refuse to see!

The anti-democratic British Nationalist ‘One Nation’ project is behind schedule – by about a year. The Article 50 extension granted by the EU gave us a year’s grace. A year in which we could have acted to save Scotland. A year which has been wantonly squandered.

I genuinely despair for our country. The ‘One Nation’ project is gathering pace. The Scottish Parliament is in recess. The Scottish Government seems paralysed. SNP politicians talk as if delay is a consequence-free option. The Yes movement is marching but, for want of political leadership and an actual campaign strategy, it is going nowhere.

Brexit will soon be upon us. The jaws of the ‘One Nation’ project will close. Holyrood, no more! Dignity, fairness and respect, no more! Democracy, no more! Hope, no more!

But doubtless Nicola Sturgeon will “slam” the UK Government in a Tweet.



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The redcoats are coming! They’re wearing grey suits!

Sometimes, things happen and you think to yourself how obvious it was that this would happen. There was never any doubt that the British establishment would respond to the Referendums Bill. The ‘review’ of devolution ordered by Theresa May is just the kind of response we might have expected and is, without doubt, partly prompted by what is regarded in London as a rather impertinent piece of legislation.

This is dominance behaviour. It is political scent-marking. It is a blunt and imperious message from the British state reminding us that they own devolution. They own the Scottish Parliament. They own Scotland. Devolution and all that has flowed from it – largely unanticipated by its architects – was a gift to her northern subjects from beneficent Britannia. And what is given can be taken away.

Scotland is being told to behave. Or else!

Look at who May has appointed to conduct this ‘review’! Andrew Dunlop! Who, unless I am very much mistaken is the individual who, together with Alistair Darling, cooked up all the inane scaremongering about currency in the final stages of the 2014 referendum campaign. If the appointment of a British lord isn’t a contemptuously calculated slap in the face to Scotland, then the choice of this particular example of that species surely is.

I say this ‘review’ of devolution is only partly a characteriscally high-handed and overbearing response to the Referendums Bil because this, or something similar, was inevitable anyway. As the British state prepares to exploit the constitutional implications of Brexit in order to restore and reinforce its grip on Scotland, there had to be an initiating act. It was never likely that the British political elite would simply close down the Scottish Parliament and declare the devolution experiment a failure. Although, as recent history teaches us, it would be unwise to discount anything as being beyond their capacity for arrogant idiocy, the British pride themselves on being devious and, from their own rather biased perspective at least, subtle.

A ‘review’ is as good a way as any to start the process of dismantling devolution. It is something that can later be referred to as if it justified the process. It helps to make suspending or closing the Scottish Parliament look like the outcome of a process that is rational and dispassionate. Or, at least, that is how it will be spun by the media arm of the British establishment.

Please don’t say you weren’t warned. Some of us have been warning about this since before the 2014 referendum. We recognised that the fate of Scotland’s Parliament was sealed in 2007 when, despite all the precautions to ensure that it would never happen, the British parties lost control of Holyrood. When, in 2011, the Scottish electorate broke the system that was supposed to keep the Scottish Parliament on a tight British leash, its fate was confirmed beyond any hope of reprieve.

The No vote in the 2014 referendum gave British politicians licence to do as they pleased with Scotland. The Leave vote in the 2016 EU referendum created a need to redefine the constitutional status of UK; and an opportunity to unilaterally redefine Scotland’s status within the UK. The nature of the Union ensures that neither the people of Scotland nor their elected representatives need be consulted.

Some may insist that saying the British state’s moves against the Scottish Parliament were foreseeable is just a case of being clever with hindsight. They will point to particulars that were were not predicted – such as ‘Dunlop’s review’ – and claim that this ‘proves’ the actions of the British state are such that nobody could have foreseen. But, quite apart from the fact that articles written as long ago as 2012 warning of the British state’s intentions, are still available online, any appreciation of the imperatives driving the British political elite and the options available made it obvious what was coming.

I say all this, not by way of a big “Ah telt ye!” – although I do reserve gloating rights – but in the hope that, realising we were right before, people may heed the warnings being issued now. It is to be hoped that people will at least attend to the voices saying how urgent it is that Scotland get out of the Union and warning of the consequences of failure to do so.

There may well be another purpose to the ‘Dunlop review’ of devolution. We are assured that “the review will look at areas within the UK Government set-up and not at devolved areas”. That, surprisingly, may actually be almost entirely true. It is difficult to see how any meaningful ‘review’ of devolution might exclude devolved areas. But the project makes perfect sense if the purpose of the ‘review’ is actually to gauge the preparedness of the ‘UK Government in Scotland’ to take over the powers and functions of the Scottish Parliament. It is unlikely that such a ‘review’ could be conducted in secrecy. So the sensible course of action is to announce it, but disguise its purpose.

And, of course, announcing the ‘Dunlop review’ means that it also serves the ‘scent-marking’ purpose referred to at the start of this article.

Be warned! The British government is gearing up to bypass and then eliminate the Scottish Parliament. It is preparing for an ‘end game’ in which Scotland’s distinctive political culture is eradicated. This is the ultimate playing-out of the Greater England project which aimed to obliterate Scotland’s national identity. All of this will come to pass because the imperatives of ‘One Nation’ British Nationalism demand that it must be so.

Be warned! Unless the Scottish Government, the Scottish National Party and the Yes movement act promptly and in solidarity to prevent it, the juggernaut of British Nationalism will roll over our land and crush Scotland’s democracy.

Be warned! The consequences of acting and failing are now no different from the consequences of failing to act. And those consequences are catastrophic for Scotland. We must act now! We must #DissolveTheUnion!



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Time to choose

Am I alone in having difficulty dealing with the torrent of idiocy and mendacity gushing out of the British political elite like effluent from a burst sewer? Am I the only one who struggles to relate what these British politicians say to observable reality? Does anyone else entertain niggling doubts about their own mental state as they listen to the increasingly brazen lies and the ever more fantastical claims? Do you, betimes, catch yourself thinking, is it me?

I surely can’t be the only one experiencing the sensation that truth and facts are being so eroded as to have become ethereal and elusive. The world is shifting and crumbling under a barrage of delusion and dishonesty delivered with such easy conviction as to make one momentarily doubt ones senses and ones intellect – and even ones sanity.

I listen to Jeremy Hunt talk about negotiations with the EU and have to constantly remind myself that there are no such negotiations. As he claims to be qualified to conduct these negotiations, I find myself on the verge of disputing this in a way that would imply acceptance of the reality of the negotiations. I am in danger of becoming submerged in Hunt’s delusion and must push my head out of the cloying mire to gasp a breath of truth.

There are no negotiations with the EU. There is no remotely realistic prospect of such negotiations. But Hunt’s delusion is so complete in its construction as to take on the qualities of reality. I understand how easy it would be for this manufactured reality to supplant actual reality as the former steals the attributes of the latter. I see how truth is diminished as it is pillaged for materials from which to build lies. I have to peer ever more intently to distinguish one from the other.

It is not just truth and reality which are under attack. Discharge from the festering pit of British politics is corroding the very concepts which underpin civilised society. Concepts whose concreteness we rely on – and all too often take for granted. Concepts such as justice and democracy are in danger of disintegrating as arbitrariness, expediency, imperiousness and authoritarianism are normalised in a calculated perversion of political discourse.

Nested within the intertwined fantasies of further negotiations and “orderly transition” and an advantageous Brexit ‘deal’ is a denial of fundamental democratic principles so nonchalantly delivered as to give the impression that those principles have no value – and never did. It’s not that democracy is being discarded so much as it is being erased, eradicated. Just as Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia not Eurasia, so it has always been the case that the criterion for selecting members of bodies such as that which forms part of Jeremy Hunt’s delusion is, not democratic legitimacy, but devotion to the structures of power, privilege and patronage which constitute the British state.

That British state is the place where truth and democracy go to die. It is the place where it is normal to discount any kind of democratic mandate and denigrate the very idea of parliamentary authority. It is the place where political leaders are anointed, not elected. Where political authority derives, not from the people, but from a divinely-ordained monarch whose powers are wielded by an executive answerable only to forces unseen and unaccountable. It is the place where reality is whatever serves the interests of established power. It is the place where truth belongs to the ruling elite; theirs to shape using the tools of tame mass media.

For Scotland and its people, the British state is a daily more alien and threatening place. It is a place where we don’t belong. A place where our needs, priorities and aspirations count for nothing. Where our democratic choices are dismissed. Where our political culture is despised and derided. A place of insult and iniquity.

Scotland is shackled to the British state and all its corruption and dishonesty and incompetence and deluded imperialist pretensions by an archaic, asymmetric, anomalous Union. The people of Scotland hold the key to those shackles. We can free ourselves from the chaos. We can choose not to be dragged down by the British political elite.

We can choose truth over lies. We can choose the reality we make for ourselves over the the demented fantasies constructed in the diseased minds of ‘One Nation’ British Nationalist fanatics. We can choose to #DissolveTheUnion.



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Contradictions and inconsistencies

As ‘Minister of the Union’, Boris Johnson might well be expected to defend his assertion that it is the most successful political and economic union in history. He won’t, of course. That would involve stating the ‘positive case for the Union’; a thing of myth and rumour which, if it had any basis in reality, would surely have been enunciated long ere now by one of the countless people who are better qualified than Johnson to speak on such matters.

As with pretty much all such pronouncements from British politicians, Boris Johnson’s claims for the political and economic success of the Union do not stand up to the scrutiny they won’t get from the British media.

A political union which can only be maintained with lies, deceit, denigration and intimidation is not a political union which can sensibly be described as a success.

A political union which at least half the people of Scotland want dissolved and a significant part of the remainder want substantially reformed cannot sensibly be described as a success.

An economic union which is claimed by its proponents to have left Scotland in such a parlous economic condition as to be unable to survive without the financial support of ts neighbour cannot sensibly be simultaneously described as successful.

An economic union cannot sensibly be described as a success even as its media supporters pump out propaganda saying that it has left Scotland’s essential public services limping from crisis to catastrophe.

It is a commonplace that the utterances of Boris Johnson and other ‘One Nation’ British Nationalist fanatics tend to be riddled with inconsistencies and contradictions. Much of which is quite deliberate. Even if these utterances were to be subject to the kind of scrutiny which British political journalists are too professionally incompetent and/or intellectually indolent to undertake, it is advantageous for dishonest political actors to ensure that they cannot be pinned down on a particular position.

The inconsistencies and contradictions which aren’t part of the British politician’s arsenal of deviousness can generally be attributed to their repertoire of idiocy.

The truest indicator of an economic union’s success is surely the prosperity of both, or all, parties to that economic union. But here we have Boris Johnson asserting the success whilst denying the prosperity.

The truest indicator of the success of a political union is surely the contentment of both, or all, parties to that political union. But here we have Boris Johnson asserting the success whilst admitting that extraordinary measures are required to maintain that political union in the face of growing discontent.

Does it really matter whether these contradictions and inconsistencies are the product of malicious mendacity or simple stupidity? Isn’t the sensible response the same either way? Is it not clear that the Union has failed Scotland and must be dissolved?



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Bring down the clowns!

It has, for very good reason, grown all too easy to dismiss the actions of the British state in relation to Scotland as being motivated by pettiness or as the result of incompetence. We see in the likes of Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson (Not to mention the Tory leadership candidates rejected in their favour. Imagine how that must sting!) bumbling clowns playing to an audience so beguiled by the bright lights and sequin sparkle as to think this performance important politics and the tawdry, torn and precariously tilting big-top in which it is being enacted the only place of any consequence.

The clowns know their audience well. They know how it likes to watch the whiteface abuse and humiliate the auguste. They are aware that the loudest and most demonstrative section of the audience identifies with the superior status of the lead clown. They are conscious of how this claque subconsciously associates its myriad hate-figures with the inferior and afflicted fall-guy.

When Hunt, or another of his British ilk, throws a custard pie in Nicola Sturgeon’s face, the audience screams with amused delight as they see in their lumpen imagination Britannia’s bold favourite asserting dominance over her possessions and inflicting defeat and mortification on those who dare challenge her divinely-ordained status. The clowns are adept at pandering to the basest urges of their audience. And should that audience’s enthusiasm for the circus show any signs of flagging, the media is ready to play ringmaster, urging the crowd to renewed frenzies of righteous outrage and vicarious triumph.

To those of us catching glimpses of this spectacle through gaps and rents in the fabric of the circus tent, it seems just that – a show; an entertainment; an interlude. We may readily forget that such performances are, not mere distractions from the serious business of the British state, but the actual conduct of that business. We tend to abstract performances such as the Tory leadership contest from the context of British state affairs and lose sight of the fact that this really is the British political elite doing its day job. We tend to see the clowns as stage actors playing a part when, in fact, they are state actors playing with the lives of real people and the fate of nations.

When the British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs withdraws his office’s support for overseas trips made by Scotland’s First Minister, we should not take this lightly. We should not see it as just a clown lashing out with a flimsy paper plate piled high with harmless foam. We should not regard it as only a bit of macho posturing in the hope of impressing the select few who will select the next British Prime Minister not least on the basis of how ‘tough’ the candidate promises to be with those uppity Jocks.

We must take this seriously. We must see this as offensive action on behalf of the ‘One Nation’ British Nationalist ideology which now stands as the greatest threat to Scotland since England’s armies northwards rushed rebellious Scots to crush.

We must see this for the anti-democratic abuse of power that it truly is. We must recognise that this is a senior Minister of the British state seeking to impede the democratically elected First Minister of Scotland in the performance of her solemn duty to the people of Scotland.

We must know this as one of the most explicit manifestations to date of the British state’s imperative to crush democratic dissent in Scotland and eradicate our distinctive political culture.

The First Minister’s primary responsibility is for Scotland. She is wholly and solely accountable to the people of Scotland. The sworn duty of our First Minister is, first and foremost, to safeguard and further Scotland’s interests in accordance with the mandate afforded by the electorate. Whether or not you voted for Nicola Sturgeon or her party, she represents all of Scotland – nation and people – at home and abroad. That is democracy.

To slight our First Minister, as the British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs has done, is to slight Scotland. To show contempt for the office of First Minister is to show contempt for the people of Scotland who own that office regardless of who the incumbent may be. To attempt to prevent our First Minister from performing her duties and fulfilling her responsibilities is an offence against Scotland’s democracy. To offend against democracy is to offend against all the people who serve and are served by democracy.

We must take this action by the British establishment as a declaration of war. A war to be fought, not with swords and spears on some blood-soaked field, but with truth and justice in the arena of democratic politics. A war, not against a foreign invader, but against an increasingly alien political culture and an appallingly pernicious ideology.

A war, not to assert dominance over another land or people; nor even to defend our own land and people against overt subjugation, but to affirm the fact that Scotland exists as a nation and defend the principle that legitimate political authority in Scotland derives solely and exclusively from the people of Scotland.

Our First Minister acts with that authority. Her every word and deed carries the authority of the people of Scotland. Notwithstanding the pretensions of
certain media-hyped nonentities, Nicola Sturgeon is the head of Scotland’s democratically elected Government sitting in the only Parliament with democratic legitimacy in Scotland.

This is a war, not against England, but against the Union which perverts and corrupts relations between our two nations while encouraging debauched and feckless British politician to presume themselves above the will of Scotland’s people and beyond the reach of our reproach.

Nicola Sturgeon is under attack because the forces behind both Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson are aware of how crucial she is to Scotland’s cause. We have to take seriously the threat of ‘One Nation’ British Nationalism. And we can only counter that threat by dissolving the Union and restoring constitutional normality to our nation.



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No trust! No redemption!

Keith Brown expresses concern that “viewers will lose trust in the BBC if this deception continues“. This seems strangely naive on at least two levels.

It is folly to suppose that, in Scotland at least, public trust in the BBC has not already been seriously eroded. Just as trust in other British media and political journalists in general has suffered because of a common stance which I cannot now describe as anything other than anti-Scottish.

If the BBC were doing no more than defending the constitutional status quo then it would be difficult to criticise or condemn the corporation. But it has moved beyond mere portrayal of the Union as the established situation and/or presentation of what the BBC’s management may consider the advantages and benefits of the Union to Scotland.

The BBC no longer merely promotes the Union, as its charter commands. The BBC has now adopted – or allowed to develop – an editorial stance which actively opposes a lawful democratic campaign for constitutional reform which is supported or condoned by the majority of Scotland’s people. And the BBC pursues this editorial policy by means which are, at best, questionable and, at worst, a breach of its charter and an affront to the codes and conventions of professional journalism.

In the context of Scotland’s constitutional debate (I leave it to others to identify further contexts), BBC news and current affairs broadcasting in/to/at Scotland has come to emulate the worst of British newspapers’ excesses in denigrating and maligning Scotland’s democratic institutions, public services and economic capacities using disinformation, deceit, distortion and downright dishonesty.

Indeed, the BBC is seen to colluded with the openly British Nationalist press in various ways. The corporation’s news and current affairs operations have developed a symbiotic – or mutually parasitic – relationship with the establishment press evident in those all too common situations where BBC news does not report, but reports that it is being reported, so placing itself at some remove from the brazen anti-Scottish propaganda being peddled by British newspapers. Those newspapers, in turn, seek to borrow authority and credibility from the BBC; having already squandered whatever they may once have possessed.

The question long since ceased to be whether the the public in Scotland trusts the BBC. The question now is, why would we trust the BBC?

It is folly, too, to suppose that the BBC might abandon the editorial stance referred to. Keith Brown implies that he believes this possible when he says “if this deception continues”. As if there were any doubt that it would. There is no retreat from the BBC’s support for British Nationalist ideology which does not simultaneously undermine the British establishment and strengthen the independence cause. As other factors, such as Brexit, have this effect the BBC will be under pressure to increase its efforts to promote an ever more extreme British Nationalist denial of Scotland’s democratic rights. And to broadcast ever more more virulent anti-Scottish propaganda.

In short; BBC coverage of Scotland’s politics will get very much worse before it never gets better. It will increasingly be seen as a ‘foreign’ broadcaster carpet-bombing Scotland with tales of our inadequacy and unworthiness. Sowing doubt and uncertainty and fear in the minds of Scotland’s people. Sapping confidence and instilling self-contempt. Suffocating the will to act and persuading people of their powerlessness.

As the broadcasting arm of the British establishment, the BBC’s task is to have the people of Scotland believe that we are less than we might be and never can be more because what we are is all we are capable of being and all we deserve to be.

We can trust the BBC to pursue that task with efficiency and enthusiasm.



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A bunch of Hunts

The most striking thing about Jeremy Hunt is how accurately and comprehensively he typifies the British political elite. He clearly knows nothing of Scotland and our politics, but he assumes he knows everything there is to know. He presumes to tell us what the people of Scotland think and feel, having never even considered the possibility of asking us what we think and how we feel.

He makes claims that are dubious if not patently untrue, safe in the knowledge that the British media will never question or challenge anything that he says so long as he is peddling British Nationalist dogma.

He is patronising towards Scotland’s people and contemptuous of Scotland’s democratic institutions, but so lacking in self-awareness as to genuinely believe he is winning our affection and echoing our sentiments.

Jeremy Hunt is a liar, a hypocrite and a fool. In every regard he is indistinguishable from any of the other British Nationalist politicians who occasionally sally forth from their metropolitan fastness to grace Scotland with their presence and chasten Scotland’s people with their colonialist rhetoric. Words which first deliver the patronising pat on the head, and then the lash of the imperialist master’s whip. He basks in the sycophantic attendance of the British state’s North British lackeys, then returns to the cocoon of aides and advisers to be assured of what a fine impression he’s making on Scotland.

Jeremy Hunt is like all the rest. They are all Hunts.

Meanwhile, Scotland observes the antics of the Hunts who venture north to scent-mark jealous Britannia’s territorial possessions with a mixture of bewilderment, amusement and disgust. And with increasing detachment. More and more, the Hunts seem to have nothing to do with us. Nothing to do with Scotland. They are alien. Like particularly ill-mannered foreign visitors. Like a series of little mini-Trumps, barging into our home, trampling their muck into our carpets; crudely insulting us; outstaying their welcome by however long the intrusion last; and departing leaving behind only the stench of their corruption.

The Hunts are not connected to us at all. They have no connection with us. They are remote from the reality of our circumstances. Even if they could hear us; even is they were prepared to listen to us, they would not understand. They are unapproachable. Unreachable. Untouchable. There is absolutely no point addressing pleas, petitions or protests to the Hunts of the British political elite. They will not be received. They certainly will not be acted upon.

Why would we expect it to be any different? Why would we bother with the Hunts? Even if they had anything to offer us, they have nothing we would want. They cannot give us what we seek. It is not in their gift. They cannot do what needs to be done. It is not in their power.

We have a Scottish Parliament. We have a Scottish Government. The former has democratic legitimacy. The latter has a mandate from the people of Scotland. What use are the Hunts to us? Our pleas, petitions and protests should and must be addressed to the people we elect. The people who have a solemn duty to serve Scotland’s interests rather than subordinate those interests to the pretensions of the British state. The people who are connected to us.

Ignore the Hunts! They can and will do nothing for Scotland! Speak, instead, to Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. She is both willing to listen and capable of understanding. Speak to Scotland’s Government. It is required to act on our behalf. Speak to Scotland’s Parliament. It alone has the legitimate authority to speak for us.

Scotland’s fate will not be decided by the Hunts. Scotland’s fate is in the hands of Scotland’s people. Our First Minister, our Government and our Parliament exist to give effect to Scotland’s voice. It is for us to tell them what that effect must be. It is for the people of Scotland to imbue the apparatus of Scotland’s democracy with the power to serve our needs, honour our priorities and realise our ambitions.



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