The Opposites of Traitors

The logic of scorpions extends to many a party.

Mind how I say the Opposition Party are not traitors? Neither are the UK Government party – if anything, they’re the opposite of traitors. They may talk about how proud they are to be Scots – and they do, at length. They may claim they put their constituents’ interests first and foremost – and they do make such claims. But they are members of a party which is dedicated to the perpetuation of their chosen state. Their state is the United Kingdom. They can never work with the cause of independence, for it represents nothing short of an existential threat to them. Keep this in mind, next time you see some pundit acting surprised that a member of the UK Government’s party voted with the UK Government, even if they are Scottish. “Scottish” doesn’t enter into it. Scotland doesn’t enter into it. It never did.

I’ve had a look through the maiden speeches of all 12 new MPs who, we were told, would vote as a bloc for “Scotland’s interests.

Scottish Tories expected to vote as bloc to protect Scotland’s interests
Sources say leader Ruth Davidson will tell MPs to champion Scotland in Westminster, adding to pressure on Theresa May

…Scottish Tory sources say Davidson will use her authority by asking all 13 MPs, including the Scottish secretary, David Mundell, to “champion the Scottish national interest” both at Westminster and inside the government.

That includes fighting for greater Scottish powers and spending on fisheries and agriculture during and after the Brexit negotiations, to reinforce Holyrood’s existing powers in both areas under devolution.
She is also expected to ask the UK government to fund the Borderlands initiative, a cross-border economic and infrastructure investment coalition of English and Scottish local authorities which UK ministers had promised to support. The Scottish Tories won all three Borders seats on Thursday.

See if you can square their honeyed words with what happened last night. I would simply love to know how they think they are representing the interests of their constituents by denying their Scottish Parliament the right to even have a fair say in the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

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I Don’t Want Another Independence Referendum

There are wants and there are needs. This is a basic element of health, economics, and social structure. First there are wants: things which you might desire, but which are not essential to your life & livelihood – luxuries, frivolities, hobbies. Then there are needs: things which you might not desire, but which are essential to your life & livelihood – sustenance, shelter, warmth. There are wants which can provide some needs, and some needs which you might want. But at the end of the day, needs are essential: wants are not.

It is important to distinguish between the two.

Basis for Comparison Needs Wants
Meaning Needs refers to an individual’s basic requirement that must be fulfilled, in order to survive. Wants are described as the goods and services, which an individual like to have, as a part of his caprices.
Nature Limited Unlimited
What is it? Something you must have. Something you wish to have.
Represents Necessity Desire
Survival Essential Inessential
Change May remain constant over time. May change over time.
Non-fulfillment May result in onset of disease or even death. May result in disappointment.
I don’t want another Independence Referendum. The Scottish Government don’t want another Independence Referendum. And I don’t think the people of Scotland want another Independence Referendum.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

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The Article 50 Directive

Since it’s pretty clear the UK Government still has no idea what it’s doing three months after the European Referendum, the MP for Gordon decided to toss a metaphorical firecracker into the public domain:

I would expect Nicola Sturgeon to fulfil her mandate to keep Scotland within the single market place, I would expect her to give Theresa May the opportunity to embed Scotland within the negotiations to enable that to happen.

And I fully expect, my reading of the situation is, the UK will not be flexible or wise enough to do that and therefore I expect there’ll be a Scottish referendum in roughly two years’ time.

And, because British Nationalists are the only people more obsessed with Scottish independence than its own supporters, the press erupted in a predictable paroxysm of petulance:

express-alex-salmond-indyref-pledge-vow

You’ll notice that neither the words “pledge” nor “vow” – nor any synonyms thereof – appear in the interview with Russia Today, which the above newspaper quotes itself in the article. All it says is that Mr Salmond expects. It’s a prediction, not a promise. It’s not the first time British Nationalists have read into things that weren’t there.

But curiously absent from most of the papers is Mr Salmond’s reasoning as to why he came to this conclusion.

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The Illusion of Control: What Do You Mean “We,” Paleface?

Then again, this IS the Express...

Who’s country’s flag is that on the shield, Express? Pretty sure it isn’t “Britain’s.”

The SNP’s positive case for Scotland remaining part of the European Union is commendable, and the Wee BlEU Book is an excellent publication full of all the facts, statistics and comments you could possibly want or need. I think the SNP have definitely made the right choice in starting their own campaign, distinct from that of the UK Government’s. Part of the problem with the wider Remain campaign is that it fell all too readily into old habits. Project Fear kept going, trumpeting uncertainties and warnings of cataclysmic futures outside the safety and security of the EU – a campaign which didn’t win the Scottish Independence Referendum so much as survived it. A campaign starting with a 30 point lead and ending with a 10 point lead cannot be considered successful except by default.

Nonetheless, the official result on the 19th of September was a victory for the Union. Time will tell how long that victory will last, considering how utterly thrashed the forces of Unionism were in subsequent elections. But there’s a really unpleasant air of frustrated apathy going around: both the Remain and Leave camps are being accused of inaccuracies and scaremongering, the same stories from the indyref are being trotted out, and people are confused by what a Remain/Leave vote even means. If I didn’t know better, I’d say the establishment didn’t want people to engage in the questions – all the more disappointing given the democratic awakening in Scotland.

Unfortunately, in this referendum, Scotland is treated as a region of Britain – and the question on the ballot issued to Scots on the 23rd of June will not mention the name of our nation at all.

It is this fact which belies the fatal flaw for the Leave campaign – that they have absolutely nothing to offer the people of Scotland.

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EXCLUSIVE: Leaked First Chapter of Harry Potter & the Cursed Child

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.
Harry Potter and The Cursed Child

ScienceOfDiscworld

I’m a bit reluctant to even put pictures of Harry Potter on the blog, so I’m just going to put pictures of other fantasy series which feature wizard education that are well worth reading. Terry Pratchett’s Discworld is that rare breed of comic fantasy which not only pokes fun at the conventions of the genre, but furthers it with genuine meaning and creativity.

While J.K. Rowling has never shied from commenting on politics in her personal time, she did not bring it into her fiction for the most part. The infamous “The Other Minister” chapter of Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince was one of the rarer overt intersections between the mundane and the mystical. However, as Harry Potter & The Cursed Child book is set in the year 2017 (19 years after the events of Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows) it seemed natural that the more and more politically outspoken Ms Rowling would delve into the political sphere of the Muggle and Wizarding Worlds.

Through the powers of subterfuge, cunning and more than a little luck, I have acquired the first chapter of the upcoming book.

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2015 Highlights

A lot of people are glad to see 2015 go join 2014. I tend to be very ambivalent about years: love the good, hate the bad, you know? So while there were some truly horrendous things, there was also magic, and the winds of history carrying us to the Undiscovered Country.

So, here are the top 15 Wilderness of Peace blog posts for 2015, in order of publication.

17th October 2014: The Devo Files – Very glad it remained well-read up to the General Election period. I’m still kicking myself that I never got around to Messrs. Carmichael, Mundell & Murray – even if they still got elected, I wish I at least got around to them.

24th March: The Devo Files: Russell Brown (Dumfries & Galloway) – It’s funny to think I thought the then-MP’s 7,449 majority in 2010 was going to be tough for Richard Arkless – only for the result not only to be a 6,154 SNP majority, but for Mr Brown to be bumped into a distant 3rd place.

27th April: Why SNP? – The final great push to get Inverclyde’s first SNP MP, Ronnie Cowan, elected. Strange to think how unreal it felt at the count given the struggle we felt.

5th May: Engagement – The 2015 General Election campaign in Scotland encapsulated in a single image, and it’s a wee girl from Inverclyde.

27th May: Respect Is Earned – The hypocrisy of the Commons is well known, but to see it in action is another thing entirely.

5th June: “Uppity Jocks, Can’t You Take A Joke?” – In reference to a throwaway remark about Cromwell and slavery being an “answer to the West Lothian question.”

16th July: The Devo Files Return – A special edition coinciding with the election of Jeremy Corbyn as the Other Party’s new leader. Since there’s an election coming up where the Other Party’s “best” and “brightest” are still fighting over the list, they will likely return in a slightly altered format in the new year. (It’s very kind of Thomas Docherty & Anas Sarwar to seek election as MSPs, as it means my unfinished Devo Files for 2015 can be put to use!)

21st July: Scottish Votes for Scottish Laws – What would have happened if only Scottish MPs were permitted to vote on the Scotland Bill?

23rd July: Congratulations, Private Eye! – The esteemed organ presents a truly uncanny parody of the worst elements of SNP BAD unionism.

2nd September: Tongue Lashing With Friends – In which I extol the virtue and value of Scottish Gaelic in the 21st Century.

10th September: Long To Reign Over Us – A wee bit of Wings Over Scotland-inspired media analysis, where someone who called the SNP “illegitimate,” “dangerous,” “intolerant,”” racist,” and “tartan Tories” is cited as “a Scottish Nationalist.”

23rd September: Matters of Importance – I think a big issue here was that Social Justice means very different things over here, and over in America. In Scotland, we have a Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, who campaigns and legislates on addressing inequalities. In America, it likely means the same – unfortunately, as with “political correctness,” the phrase appears to have been appropriated by intolerant bigots who don’t seem to understand the meaning of the word “justice” (or “social” for that matter), which conversely means that the debate devolves into angry shouting matches between opposing bigots. Bigotry, after all, does not delineate by political spectrum. In any case, I am perfectly happy to never again comment on American politics or social issues.

9th October: Better Things To Talk About – The Other Party is curiously reticent on discussing the party of the UK government’s conference.

2nd November: All The Things They Said – The Other Party made such a big noise about losing jobs at Faslane during the referendum, only for their Scottish members to decide to agree with the SNP over a year later. (Also the first appearance of “The Other Party” in reference to the Reds)

7th December: Old Unions Die Hard – The folly of pinning old party resurgences on 2 million unionists that don’t exist.