A Few Thoughts On What In Blazes Is Going On

In fierce anguish & quenchless flames
To the desarts and rocks He ran raging
To hide, but He could not: combining
He dug mountains & hills in vast strength,
He piled them in incessant labour,
In howlings & pangs & fierce madness
Long periods in burning fires labouring
Till hoary, and age-broke, and aged,
In despair and the shadows of death.
– William Blake, depicting post-Brexit Britain (probably) in The Book of Urizen

You know what? Forget my worries about being a Cassandra. I’m just going to call it like I see it. World’s mad enough as it is.

Continue reading

May, Be Just – For Sure

This week, the Scottish Parliament will debate a motion to request a Section 30 order from the UK Parliament. A good number of journalists & commentators seem convinced that the Prime Minister has outright blocked such an order even before a vote – though, as ever, what the PM actually said was no such thing.

There’s a very good reason I would be extremely surprised if the Prime Minister does, indeed, take measures to block a Scottish Independence Referendum outright – and it’s nothing to do with what the people of Scotland want.

Continue reading

Wasted Years

Be like the Hairy-Chested Yeti Crab of the Hydrothermal Vents

Be like the Hairy-Chested Yeti Crab of the Deep Hydrothermal Vents of Antarctica

2016 was the worst, so the meme goes. So many deaths, so much political upheaval, so many things that just went wrong. My 2016 was not unlike any of the other 32 years of my life so far: good things happened, bad things happened, some great, some terrible. But there’s always something I remember each year.

So, as with last year, I’ll look back on the top posts of this year – 16 this time, in order of publication, while linking to some of my personal favourite posts.

Continue reading

The Boy Who Cried Fascist

“How did this happen?”

I keep reading this in articles, hearing this from talking heads, constantly this repetition of disbelief. All these journalists and commentators and analysts and “experts” who are utterly blind-sided by just how recent events have come to pass. I wrote a post about the false, illogical, and deeply insulting comparison of the Scottish Independence campaign to the worst elements of the Leave and Trump campaigns. Indeed, I found myself rather vindicated by the latest Question Time from Stirling, where Billy Mitchell (who, the BBC neglected to point out, was the UKIP candidate in the 2013 Coatbridge West by-election) actually seemed to agree with my central point:

Donald Trump was elected by the American people, and the people of Britain just can’t understand that the American people believe in democracy. And democracy has been lowered to mob rule; when you don’t like the decision of a referendum, you disagree with it, you go to court, & you get rid of it. The SNP should know this, because we had a referendum: we voted No, they didn’t like it. They had a referendum on Brexit, they didn’t like that, let’s go to court, we don’t like Brexit, and now they don’t like Trump!

Democracy has been overruled by mob rule, and those people have been on the losing side of every single election, and thank God I’ve been on the winning side of every one. Mob rule wins – no democracy, mob rule. The SNP were on the losing side on five different occasions: I’m the winner, they’re the losers, let’s get them out.

Everything he says is true. Well, apart from Trump being elected by the American people, democracy being lowered to “mob rule,” the SNP bringing the indyref result to court, the EU referendum being “overruled” at all, the SNP losingevery single election” (!?!) and most spectacularly, him being the “winner.”

Think he might be a bit sore about that lost deposit?

Think he might be a bit sore about that lost deposit?

But he is, indeed, on the “winning side” of the indyref, the EU referendum, and Trump, along with the white nationalists and supremacists celebrating this glorious change in the world’s political climate.

Continue reading

Speaking for Scotland Against the Monsters

skelmorThe number of times a Trident submarine has had some sort of calamity would be hilarious if it wasn’t so utterly horrifying.

How many times have you read, or heard, some variation of “Nicola Sturgeon doesn’t speak for me” or “the SNP don’t speak for Scotland?” Usually it’s by people who didn’t vote for the SNP. Frequently it’s by people who include non-voters on their side, making preposterous arguments that the SNP are in fact only representing a “tiny minority” of Scots when you include people who didn’t – or couldn’t – go to the ballot box.

I understand when people say that the First Minister, the Scottish Government, or the SNP as a party don’t represent their beliefs, interests, or policies. That’s the nature of party politics. But to say they do not speak for Scotland is rather confusing: for if the democratically elected First Minister, or the democratically elected Scottish Government, or the third largest party in the British Isles, do not speak for Scotland… then who, exactly, does? The next largest party in the Scottish Parliament has barely over a fifth of the popular vote. Same with the third largest, which has been plummeting every year since the Scottish Parliament reconvened. The former third largest party in the UK is now the smallest party in the Scottish Parliament, with less than a tenth of the voters’ support.

Much is made, fairly so, about the SNP gaining 95% of Scottish seats in Westminster based on 50% of the vote. Nonetheless, the SNP candidates in no less than 35 of those constituencies won on an overall majority – which means that 59% of all Scottish seats were represented by individuals with over 50% of the constituency vote. None of the three non-SNP seats were won on anything like such a majority – only a few thousand votes, and Scotland would be entirely yellow.

Nonetheless, social attitudes surveys show that there are situations where the response from those interviewed suggested a divergence between the electorate and the elected. One of these is Trident – and it’s something I think we seriously need to talk about.

Continue reading

The Logic of Scorpions

MurphyBru

Unfortunately, the “Be More Bru” campaign was nixed by AG Barr. Probably for the best. Then again, that’s none of my business…

I said I wasn’t going to give the Other Party any more publicity, but since the election is now over, I don’t think there’s much I can do to increase their chances for next year.

Nonetheless, I said before that I don’t want my life to be governed by hatred. So when the manufactured outrage regarding comments allegedly made by certain politicians within that party, I felt great sympathy for the sense of injustice people in the Other Party were undoubtedly feeling. Let’s put aside the referendum, and elections, and all the things that have happened. If someone had asked me “does the Other Party have a problem with anti-Semitism?” I would’ve responded “No, don’t be so utterly ludicrous, what a stupid thing to say.” I don’t agree with the Other Party on many things, but I’m not going to take pleasure in what the UK Government Party are doing.

The UK Government’s party utilised this, frankly, indefensible propaganda campaign to aid them in the local elections in England & Wales, where the Other Party remain their chief competition. In Scotland, it’s a different story, for obvious reasons – their biggest challenge was convincing Unionists not to split the vote, and to choose Ruth Davidson For A Strong Opposition. Yet there was overlap: the Scottish Parliament constituency of Eastwood has the largest number of Jewish people in the whole of Scotland, so you have to think Mr Carlaw would’ve leapt on the furore to damage the Other Party candidate.

The election’s over now. The smear didn’t work everywhere – but the effects are still being felt, even in Scotland.

Continue reading

Taking Stock, Part One: Who We Lost

 

Scottish_Election_Results_2016

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
– Mark Twain

I left off commenting on the election result, mostly because I’m absolutely exhausted. While I made a point to use the Wilderness as a source of information & campaign material and promised to make sure I published at least one post a day, I’ve also been campaigning the old-fashioned way: canvassing, delivering leaflets & newspapers, minding the shop, producing merchandise. I’m particularly proud of my eggs. But I think I’ll be a bit more relaxed for a short period.

Nonetheless, there is a referendum coming up for the UK’s membership of the European Union. I’ll thus spend a few posts on reflection of the past election, before concentrating on the next big vote.

Continue reading