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.

The EVEL That Men Do

(Apologies for the lack of updates: things have been moving very swiftly since the conference, and I’ve been extremely busy on some very important – and cool – matters. All will become clear in the weeks to come)

Clear As Mud

Full Definition of DISENFRANCHISE

transitive verb
:  to deprive of a franchise, of a legal right, or of some privilege or immunity; especially :  to deprive of the right to vote
dis·en·fran·chise·ment

\-ˌchīz-mənt, -chəz-\ noun

Merriam-Webster

The UK Parliament is fraught with inefficiency, corruption and inadequacy. But as they say, things can always be worse. And now, the UK Parliament is indeed a worse place than it was the day before – as it has passed a change to standing orders which means that some members of the UK Parliament could be explicitly prevented from participation in some UK votes.

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