Friday, 25 July 2014

Another Union Dividend.

First of all, I don't think any one wouldn't be moved by Ross Murdoch getting his gold medal - scooped in the 200m breast stroke which I am given to understand is a swimming thing. The favourite - Michael Jamieson - looked gutted, but that was more than off-set by the look on the winner's face.

The BBC's Tom English said of the win:

"He powered on, super-charged by the roar of the crowd. Not just British-class or Commonwealth-class but world-class."

And there lies another union dividend. On behalf of the British establishment,  the national identity of others is over-written so it can lay claim to international plaudits to which it has no right. And if you're Scottish, Welsh and to a lesser extent Irish; there is no escape. Wimbledon for example, when Andy Murray plays, he plays for Britain, so when he wins - he's British not Scottish. If he was playing tennis in the Commonwealth Games, he should be representing Scotland, but if he won, the BBC's Tom English, would label it a 'British-class performance.'

In the Commonwealth Games, Scotland is distinct, we're not competing as part of Britain. However, when one of our own wins - by default - its a win for Team GB. It hints at a certain mindset - there are those who don't understand that Scotland is a country in its own right, they see Scotland as a part of Britain and Britain is England/England is Britain. When Scots point out the error; we're called moany, chippy or over-sensitive.

The games themselves are being usurped by Britain. In a fly past, the red arrows were going to release blue and white smoke, but it was changed at the last minute to red, white and blue. Flags with Saltires on one side and Union Jacks on the other are also being handed out - it highlights how desperate the British state is to hammer home the message - You might be Scottish, but you belong to Britain.

Its an example of what's at stake on the 18th of September, much as many in the No camp would like you to believe - this isn't about national pride, its about national identity and the ethos it espouses. British ideals today fall way short, they've been warped and bastardised by hard-nosed conservatism and an inbred sense of entitlement. If the world was an open plan office, Britain would be the self-righteously grasping, privately educated twat in the corner taking credit for the hard work of others while pinching their milk and biscuits from the tea point.

This is subtle stuff, but its British Unity by thousands of tiny cuts. You might not notice them now, but when you do, you could find the time for treatment has passed you by.

Keeping the national debate out of the games was always a forlorn hope, as usual, those insisting on it the most broke their own diktats soonest, and given the almost maniacal British nationalism of the Olympics - it was probably an unrealistic expectation anyway.

If double standards was an event, the union would win gold.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Commonwealth Games... Yawn...

I'm going to set my stall out before things kick off: I can't be arsed with it. Like the Olympics, Wimbledon and the World Cup - its all a bit boring - well, for me at least. I understand folk can be interested in such activities; the running, prancing, waving and stick throwing etc - but it doesn't propel my javelin, flutter my rhythmic individual ribbon or lob my shuttlecock to the back of the court. That said, I may cast a lascivious eye over the Men's 10m platform.

Shit, someone get me his number.

What has become apparent before anyone has even tied their shoelaces or hefted a pole; is the political posturing. I've no doubt SNP strategists thought it wouldn't hurt the case for Scottish Independence having the referendum soon after a successful set of games, but for London-based journalists to criticise that after the pantomime that was the London Olympics - to me in any case -  seems to be a classic case of what I'm calling (and desperately trying to get trending on Twitter) Cognitive Estrangement.

We have Fraser Nelson in The Telegraph mithering:

"In theory, politics and sport should not mix. But to the nationalists, politics is all about identity, which side you cheer for and which flag you rally under. When Salmond chose September 18 for his referendum, he had a clear sequence of events in mind. There would be the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, the Commonwealth Games, then the referendum, held as Scots waited for the Ryder Cup in Gleneagles. The drumbeat of Scottish nationalism, he hoped, would grow steadily louder."

The sweeping generalisations are obvious. The notion that many in Scotland might vote yes not because of identity or national pride embodied in a flag, but instead around cold calculations based on empirical economic fact or perhaps an aspiration for something a bit better than the cold bastard-libertarian ideas as espoused by an uncaring Westminster Government - is entirely lost to Nelson. 

(I would also say, with the best will in the world; the only reason many Scots now know this year is the 700th anniversary of Bannockburn, is because unionist press lickspittles keep accusing Salmond and the SNP of cynically using it to their advantage - which is ironic really.)

Nelson Blithely suggests 'Salmond will know better than to mention the referendum...' during the commonwealth games (I'm not capitalising it) when what he really means is 'Salmond would have Vote Yes tattoo'd on the foreheads of all competitors if he could get away with it.' 

He goes on to say:

"The victories of Jessica Ennis and Bradley Wiggins were celebrated in Scotland as the achievements of countrymen, not foreigners. That summer, with the Jubilee and the glory, was one long coming together of the British clan."

The double standard is plain to see; when Britain competes, national pride & identity is fine - when Scotland strives? Not so much so.

Meanwhile, over at The Spectator, Hamish McDonnell is having a solipsistic crisis - it turns out, the entire commonwealth games event was organised purely to piss him off. He says:

"Even the official emblem of the Glasgow Games – a jaggy thistle – seems to have been deliberately designed to prickle and get underneath those prissy white strips worn by the dastardly English."

I don't really know what to say to that other than: Do fuck off Hamish. Is he really suggesting, we cannot deploy a Scottish-based symbol during an event organised in Scotland because it might offend the 'dastardly English'? I mean, they sell Tunnocks Caramel Wafers & Irn Bru down south - does the poor soul run screaming from shops? Is Hogmanay a time of horror for the delicate little flower?

He's coming for YOU Hamish...

More over and in finishing, the entire thing can be encapsulated in one telling collage:

While the usual suspects across the unionist spectrum are insisting these commonwealth games remain unaffected by nationalist politics - to a one - they all declared the Olympics (and the cringing Royal Idolatry-fest of the Jubilee) as a ringing endorsement of what it is to be British.

Its been mentioned, that by publishing these articles, the authors are doing the very thing they're criticising in others - namely -  'politicising the games'. Also, there is an annoying assumption that everyone is into it (if I can deploy such youthful terminology.) As with the Olympic Games, the impact and interest, as far as I could see, wasn't anything like as wide-spread as reported. Outside the sporting bubble; who's talking about it now? Hardly any one. Same with the Jubilee thing - Rolf Harris not-with-standing - is the warm regal glow of Britishness still incandescing?

I think these empire hand-wringers miss the point, its not about Scottish athletic prowess. Its about Scotland's ability to put on a world class event - on its own, unaided financially or in terms of resources by the rest of the UK. I have no idea how it'll go or what the opening ceremony will be like (and I find it hard to care less) but this isn't about nationalist pride, its about national ability.

Turns out, people like Nelson and McDonnell are just judging us by their own tawdry standards.

Anyway, as I said, I can't be arsed with any of it (bar the men's 10m platform of course) so you probably shouldn't listen to anything I say...

... Except, if your still contemplating a No vote in September, you'll be voting in favour of some serious double standards.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Its what they do.

Yesterday saw as clear cut a case of Better Together/Vote Naw/No Thanks dishonesty, that all minds should be boggling violently - if yours hasn't; read on.

That is Jean-Claude Juncker, newly appointed - and not without some squealing from the British Government - European Commission President. He's an ex-prime minister of Luxembourg which if nothing else, goes to show that small countries (Luxembourg has a population of just over 500,000 people) can have sway at the top table in Europe - and since David Cameron fought hard to keep him out of the job - also shows just how much blat the UK Government really has. (Something to ruminate over when Cameron comes on the telly mithering on about renegotiating the UK's EU settlement before the EU referendum...)

But I digress.

In a nutshell, Junckers said this:
"Over the next five years, there won't be any new member states acceding to the European Union.
"It's hard to imagine that one of the candidate states with whom we are negotiating will have, in time, met all the accession criteria."
You can imagine the scene; interns bussed up to work beside highly paid PR wonks at Better Together's Blythswood Square HQ, looking at each other like gnarly old gold diggers who've just found a nugget the size of Blair McDougall's tuba


"Mr Juncker's office confirmed to the BBC that his remarks were referring to countries already in an accession process with the EU and not to a hypothetical case involving Scotland.
Albania, Iceland, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey and Macedonia are candidate countries for EU membership." (From here.)
 Even after that clarification from the horses mouth - Patricia Ferguson (she's a Labour MSP and supporter of a No Vote) was on Scotland Tonight long after Mr Juncker's clarification still claiming his original statement was valid.

The real question is, given that Jean Claude Juncker's office made clear his original statement by categorically saying it DID NOT apply to Scotland - why did Scotland Tonight and the execrable Scotland 2014 still allow Ferguson etc to discuss the issue as if it did?

Patricia Ferguson is a regular on these shows, droning on about what a disaster a Yes vote would be while claiming as evidence arguments that never existed in the first place. Funnily enough, we were joking on Twitter about Johann Lamont's weekend interview with Andrew 'my-jokes-on-This-Week-are-shite' Neil and something called Cognitive Estrangement:


of or pertaining to the act or process of knowing, perceiving, remembering, etc.; of or relating tocognitioncognitive development; cognitive functioning.
of or pertaining to the mental processes of perception, memory, judgment, and reasoning, ascontrasted with emotional and volitional processes.


verb (used with object), es·tranged, es·trang·ing.
to turn away in feeling or affection; make unfriendly or hostile; alienate the affections of: Theirquarrel estranged the two friends.
to remove to or keep at a distance: The necessity for traveling on business has estranged him from hisfamily.
to divert from the original use or possessor.

Essentially, it is the habit - voluntarily or not - of being disconnected entirely from the ability recognise that which is demonstrably & provably true. It seems around the independence debate, many on the unionist side - as evidenced by this episode - suffer from it.

One final but incredibly important sentence:

If you know anyone who is undecided or voting No; you might ask them if it is wise to vote in favour of any proposition when its backers are denying reality & lying through their teeth to promote it.