Wednesday, 5 May 2021

The day after, ummm, no. The day before tomorrow?

For the first time, I really don't give a crap who wins the upcoming Scottish election. And in keeping with what seems to be the accepted paradigm for many independence supporters just now - by not having watched any of the leaders debates, or news reports, or any of the other bits of output I usually do - I'm speaking from a position of almost-complete ignorance.

You'll see why.

That being said, I've merely pulled up the drawbridge, so to speak. I am able to see over the parapet of my metaphorical castle, I have observed, and continue to observe the shite being flung around, the screaming of obscenities, half-truths, and fabrications - that sort of thing. In the distance, I can see a shining light, tinged by a corona of unassailable perfection, I assume that's Nicola Sturgeon sitting atop the pedestal her followers have built -  fuelled by headlines from The National 'newspaper' and bloated articles from Bella Caledonia, and a more general unquestioning faith based mostly on starry-eyed amaurosis.

I tried hard to find a more disparaging image, but came to the conclusion, short of putting one up of the man himself, such an image doesn't exist.

Scanning the field of battle from atop my fence- eh, I mean indomitable battlements, if I look carefully, I can see a small man, with glasses knocked slightly askew, scuttling here and there - his carapace shining dully in the milky sunlight. Every now and then he stops to pick up a severed limb to nibble on, he then raises his shiny head, straightens his glasses (as if that helps to concentrate his thoughts), and issues a hollow scream at the sky in which he tries to explain to the universe what a woman is. But he can't, because he thinks everyone is a woman if only they have the courage to say so.

I watch in disgust, as this horrid little bacillus, tugs feebly at a summer skirt covering the body of an activist lost to this oh-so-pointless conflict.

Over by the wheat fields which supply my castle, (it helps if you build a narrative for your shit metaphors, it makes it feel more real for the reader), I can see a woman, dressed like an Amazonian warrior, but shorter and more squat than you might imagine. She's kickboxing hungry children to the ground, pausing only to kiss the arse of her commanding officers on the phone, and to make sure the kid's parents are still watching.

Every now and again, an odious but incredibly well-spoken cockroach-like thing sidles up, attaches itself to her ample thigh, and laps at the hate-sweat which coats her skin. When it's thirst is sated, it scuttles off waiving a flag and shrieking the words "you just can't, you just CAN'T" at the ruddy-coloured clouds which scud across the sky.

I sigh at this, it's all so depressing.

Just when I think of moving away from my castle's barbican, I see a sight which cheers me - the battle field jester. It's a welcome change from the horror, seeing this clown figure cavort across the cratered land, gibbering at anyone who will stop to listen. If I cup a hand around my ear, I am able to snatch fragments of his oratory from the wind, [Ed. nice one, sounds poetic]. Although they're words from the English vocabulary, they're not in an order that makes sense, or germane to anything which is happening.

This sad, ignored Jester begins to chase an owl, so I allow my gaze to move on.

Only picture of an owl and jester I could find.

I see a ghostly figure in the thick of things, but he's being ignored by everyone. He wanders to and fro, trying to pick fights, but it's as if he's not there at all. Opposition activists wave him off with crumpled pamphlets, like they'd wave off a fly at a picnic. I realise he's not alone, a bearded man with wild eyes accompanies him and occasionally stops sending indecipherably stupid tweets so he can pull the string which hangs limply from between the steeply sloped shoulders of this sad, ignored individual. This milquetoast specimen drifts on, recanting the same lines, over and over again, in to the void created by every other human being in existence ignoring him entirely.

(It's a wet rag, come on, keep up.)

The battle isn't due to reach its crescendo for another twenty four hours. So I stop focussing on the specifics and take in the wider view. To my surprise, it is possible to see a diaphanous form covering the ground as far as the eye can see. As the battle rages, it's being trampled in to the dirt. The majority of combatants trample with enthusiasm, but none more so than the forces of the beatific figure shining brightly, (some might say, so brightly, her holy warriors can't see very clearly), on the pedestal in the distance. (It might just be me, but it looks taller than it did when I began to type this pish out...)

Oh wait, it's just a lamp post.

Here and there, activist-soldiers - horribly outnumbered - try to save fragments of this mysterious, embattled lamina before it is lost under the unthinking, plodding hooves of the masses.

From the curtain wall of the castle, (which in my mind now looks like the one from the Disney adverts, and why not), I see massed on a ridge, serried ranks of men of indeterminate gender. Pink hair here, a nose-ring there - but all to-a-one sporting an immaculately-kept beard. They ripple and seethe down the hill, their war cry a confusion of sex versus gender. But wait, on the opposite ridge, (and it's a glorious site), a roiling mass of adult human females - enraged by the assault on their rights - issues a battle cry which causes everyone to pause.

It's an artists impression.

The forces-of-indeterminate-gender perform what can only be described as a hand brake turn, but are engulfed by the forces-of-adult-human-females anyway. Several adult human female knees connect with several fear-shrivelled lady-testicles - causing handfuls of puberty blocking pills to fountain from hip pockets in to the mud. The ragged remains of the bearded misogynist army slink back under the protection of their bogus consultations, pliable politicians, and their never-ending closed circles of 'advice'.

I have no idea how I'll vote tomorrow, or more accurately, I have no idea if the SNP will get my constituency vote. I'm fed up with being lied to, and being patronised by the pious, or lectured by the sanctimonious, who believe they've cornered the market in wisdom. I'm pissed off with narcissists who can't tell the fucking difference between their own malformed opinions and fact.

There are so many serious issues surrounding this election, but they've been usurped by vested interests, by careerism, and by succubae.

My greatest disappointment is with the SNP, and much as I hate to say - Nicola Sturgeon. I had a higher regard for Nicola Sturgeon than I did for Alex Salmond - I think because I grew up with Salmond always being portrayed as an ogre - and some of that stuck - but also because I genuinely thought she was a different calibre of politician.

Nicola Sturgeon is a manager, she's no reactionary or revolutionary - she talks the talk, but when it comes to kicking the ball, she's got banana feet. More over, I no longer believe independence is her goal - she's toe-punted far too many opportunities over the bar, (and there the football shtick ends). 

There comes a time when the number of things you agree about, and the importance of those issues, is overcome by the number of things you don't agree about, and their importance. More-over, there comes a time when you just no longer believe the things they say - and that undermines everything.

That test has been met. Brexit, the way the trans-debate has been allowed to fester, women's rights, laws around Hate Crime, people being flung out of the party at the whim of leadership (and favoured-others being given a by), and a leadership which is now the darling of Scotland's media, presumably as a result of the bung they got from the Scottish Government.

I don't know what else to say. I thought we were better than this, but we've lost our way. Nicola Sturgeon's SNP won't bring about Scottish independence, that needs fixed, or another way must be found - and quickly.

Of course, all of this is just opinion. Unlike the smug, lecturing wasp-chewers who insist you take theirs, I don't insist you take mine. You're more than welcome to leave it where it is.

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

That ILGA thing.

I don't really want to comment on the ILGA/ Stonewall/LBGT Scotland/ScotGov funding thing, it's been done to death. But to give some context - as usual - I'm somewhere the middle. Do I think the SNP want to lower the age of consent? Nope. Do I think they're paedophiles, or paedophile enablers? Of course I don't.

However, the Feminist Declaration does have some challenging ideas in it. These dubious notions could be dismissed in the first instance as not meaning what Wings Over Scotland or Margaret Lynch said they meant, but look at what's happened around reform of the Gender Recognition Act and wonder at the logic behind excluding women as a protected category in subsequent hate crime legislation - at a point in time when they are being silenced for questioning gender reform.

Sometimes things are what they look like.

This is a meme.

Finally on this, and I thought as seasoned independence supporters we'd know this. Instead of dismissing those with questions as bigots, homophobes, or conspiracy theorists - why didn't the SNP (etc) just deal with the substantive points directly, because not doing so is straight out of the unionist playbook of politics. The SNP used to be really good at rebutting erroneous (usually unionist) notions. It turns out they're not to so keen when it's their policies or actions being questioned.

Anyway, so far so dramatic.

What I want to mention - which is also included in the Feminist Declaration, is this:

Section 14/c of the controversial document.

I've already written some pish about self-ID, which is presumably what they mean by self-determination, but I want to say something about 'timely and quality gender affirming services', which won't be pish because it's from personal experience. (And if we're all about recognising people's lived experience, then mine counts too.)

I'm plain old gay. I'm not encumbered with any overly strange proclivities, I absolutely do not want to wear make-up, or spandex, or a frock. I don't visit (or have) a dark room. I don't 'cruise' down the beach, (it's too cold and uncomfortable - sand is not a romantic substance, nor is gorse). I tend not to meet other men in cemeteries, (see comment about beaches, also it would be creepy). I don't have multiple partners, (to be fair, that might not be voluntary). I've only ever been up Calton Hill for Beltane. And I've never noshed a stranger off in a toi- Anyway, you get the idea...

But I remember well, being a youngster maybe about ten or eleven years old, (an adolescent no less) and realising two things - that I liked boys, and that it would be a lot easier to access boys if I was a girl. I just wonder, if at that tender, formative (really fucking confusing age), if an adult with a modicum of gravitas had approached me, with an affirmative - dare I say evangelical - message about gender reassignment... What havoc could they have wreaked?

I was a boy, and I recognised at least on some levels, I was meant to be a boy, despite where my eyes wandered. But... But... But, what if... 

To be clear, this wasn't a fleeting idea. Around the ages of twelve to fourteen say - I didn't exactly agonise over gender reassignment, because it wasn't a mainstream thing. But I remember often thinking I should be a girl because then, what I felt wouldn't be wrong, or at least it would be normal.*

This is being (somewhat) buried in the pedo-hysteria currently assaulting Scottish political discourse. It's also one of the main concerns - born out of experience - I have with gender recognition reform and with the aims of Stonewall and LGBT Scotland, if indeed they do subscribe to the very letter of the Feminist Declaration. (I was going to link to it, but if you don't know how to find it yourself, there's no way I can explain it to you.)

These details matter - they absolutely do. We've already seen how a relatively innocent-looking message buried within a much wider and noble aim, can grow arms and legs and cause unintended problems.

There are people who will read what I've just typed and be horribly offended by it. They won't tackle the substantive points I made, they'll just call me a bigot (or a transphobe) and move on. They didn't have to read it, and they don't have to comment, but if they do, it's on them to back up what they say - if they don't, it's an act of intellectual cowardice akin to nipping a kid they don't like at playtime then running away.

As adults, we really shouldn't behave in this way.

Young people are important - they matter. Stepping back (and being controversial), one thing I do agree with on the Feminist Declaration is this:

Section 14/g of the problematic missive.

That being said, young folk still need the wisdom of adults (some hope at the moment), if only to temper their sometimes-capricious decision making paradigms. 

But, not much has changed between now and when I was growing up. Back when I was a young adolescent, I did exercise some of the agency I wasn't supposed to have - and I would have been criminalised for doing so had it become known. The same is true now, and that can't be right.

So some balance is required. The current situation isn't ideal, but nor is the wild west free-for-all extolled by ILGA, Stonewall, and LGBT Scotland - based on the Feminist Declaration.

All of which - we must remember - has nothing to do (for now), with the current political situation in Scotland. So, as you were folks.

* Don't get me started on 'normal', those of us who've spent our lives attempting to normalise LGBT existence and get rid of the special labels - only to have Queer gang members drag us back to the 1980's, presumably because they don't like being a bit run-of-the-mill... Grrr... Run-of-the-mill is great - it means your life isn't made a fucking misery at school or work because you've been set apart - you daft bunch of self-interested, self-aggrandising twats. I feel quite strongly about that, as you might be able to tell.

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Genesis of a person's politics?

Do you ever attempt to trace the route you took to the politics you hold? I don't mean the nature of your politics - whether you think trickle down economics or collective farms are good ideas - I mean the critical thought, or actions, or characters that poured the foundations upon which your politics sit?

No, not the band...

I can remember a few things. The first one was Margaret Thatcher. Now, before I go any further - in my defence - she was PM from 1979 to 1990, I was six years old in 1979. I grew up with her in power, I remember thinking she was tough and because I was a child - assuming she was right - which kids tend to do with adults. That's my defence and I'm sticking to it.

I also remember John Major becoming PM, and wondering how another human could be that grey.

At this point, we must jump forward a little to 1997 - which is where any default trust I had in politics was lost - with New Labour and Tony Blair. 'Default trust' is probably over-selling it, up till that point, politics wasn't on my radar. Perhaps becoming older more generally meant I paid more attention, or, I heard Tony Blair speak and some instinctive, preternatural part of my brain thought 'aye aye, you need to watch that one', so that's what I did.

New Labour and Tony Blair basically set the tone. With the Tories, what you saw was what you got - a bunch of grasping entitled cunts, New Labour though... Oily, sneaky... The stealth tax was born, sham-marketing had crashed into politics. Tony Blair and the people he had around him realised it was either no longer possible - presumably due to the internet - or no longer practical to expect us proles to accept policies that were Shit But Good For Us. They needed to be branded, packaged and sold - like a family car, or an insurance policy, or a JML kitchen tool.

It's a JML slide-chopper, or a stealth tax...

TL/DR version? New Labour made me cynical.

Then came an awakening - probably interlinked with the reformation of the Scottish Parliament. I was into that, a definite both-votes-yes, but I didn't vote SNP in the first elections, I voted Liberal Democrat. I won't try to explain that, except to say I vaguely recall resolving never to vote Labour ever (which I haven't), or for the Conservatives, who will probably always be irreformable bastards.

That was the only time I didn't vote SNP in a Holyrood election. (On the list I tended to vote Green out of pity and some vestigial understanding that a vote (recently) for the SNP on the list was a waste of time.)

I impart all that pointless information because when I was growing up politically, Alex Salmond was not a popular figure. At best he was a bellicose curiosity not to be taken seriously, at worst he was a threat to the fabric of the UK. It's fair to say, both notions were ingrained - even if only subconsciously.

Alex Salmond in 1997 - the absolute fiend!

What I mean to say is, I never fully lost that baggage. After 2014 - when Nicola Sturgeon took over - I had more trust in her because she came with less baggage. I have no doubt the psychology of losing the referendum played it's part too, but either way, I thought she was a different kind of politician and one I could trust - to an extent I hadn't been able to since Blair robbed me of my political innocence in the 1990's.

My point is, fellow independence travellers have become selective with the cynicism that allowed them to see through the bullshit. It turns out, it's only activated if it's unionist bullshit. Worse than that, it's malfunctioning to the point where anything a unionist politician says is dismissed - completely negating the idea of an opposition. The opposition parties at Holyrood are not great, but they should not be dismissed completely - or Scotland is a one-party state. 

We need to recall the journey which caused us to question everything we're being told. We need to to spend more time on what's being said instead of who's saying it.

We can't give the things which suit our agendas a by - if we do that, then we're no better than those who seek to hold us in the UK - all we're doing is propagating that same rank mendacity, and I can't get on board with that.

It leaves people like me with an uneasy compromise, we support people who's actions we don't agree with - on the promise we can get rid of them at some tenebrous point in the future, all of this while being castigated for daring to ask for explanations to the issues which are causing us to be apprehensive in the first place - it's an impossible situation.

The Alba Party may not be perfect - but neither is the SNP - no party is perfect. What it does is give people like myself an insurance policy and a much better compromise position. Is it too much to ask, that if I can compromise enough to vote SNP in the constituency, that ardent Nicola fans can do the same and respect my right to vote Alba on the list vote?

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Suspending disbelief.

I have a pal, he has an odd relationship with his mobile phone. When he got a text (and he got lots of those), his phone became the living embodiment of the person sending it. Indeed, the person his phone became, took precedence over the people he was actually with - to be fair - usually because his phone had become his wife. 

He's younger than me, so not familiar with the concept of an old house phone. Did anyone ever look at their old landline and think, 'I'm going to behave as if anyone who has my number is here already'.

I bet you didn't.

The number of times we'd be chatting away - he'd say something, and I might say something in reply. I then turn to elaborate further - as is my want - and he wouldn't be there. He'd be twenty paces back looking a bit dopy while peering at his fucking phone - while I looked like I'd been talking to myself. I'd gently suggest this was a bit rude, but he'd say the sender of the message knew he'd read it and if he didn't reply, they'd think he was ignoring them. I'd think, (but not say), you're ignoring me.

It was invariably his partner - and this is the point I'm clambering my way toward - they'd be hundreds of miles apart, not even on the same land mass - but they still found a way to have unpleasant arguments with each other.

And so it is with Twitter just now. Why do we do it, and why do we care so much about the thoughts and opinions of people we don't know?

We've now had the verdicts, outcomes, reports - call them what you will - and we're not really any further forward. Speaking for myself - which is all I can ever do - I'm more lost.

Nicola Sturgeon was 'exonerated' by the Hamilton Inquiry but found somewhat guilty (if that's the right term) by the Fabiani Inquiry. The former was independent, the latter was not. I don't mute people often on Twitter, but if you attempt to convince me SNP MSP's never vote along party lines, then claim I'm being manipulated. If my subsequent tweets seem aggressive, it's not necessarily because I think you're stupid, it's because you have no self awareness or empathy. You're just a very irritating (and gullible) sociopath.

My point is this, the devil is in the detail. In all that has transpired - no one has been held responsible for anything. No one has been sacked, and no one has been censured. More over, no one has admitted any fault. Indeed, the only person who has, is still being vilified for a great many things he was proven not to have done - which is an embarrassing double standard.

Look. It's a Star Trek meme. (I see young people...)

If we can at least accept that mistakes were made, and tacitly accept who was never in a position to make them -  by which I mean critics of Nicola Sturgeon who had no hand in developing the new complaints procedure (for example), can we at least accept there are issues here which still need addressed? 

And since we're so quick to condemn individuals based on extrapolation, is it fair to excuse others, despite there now being so much established fact? And I suppose a final question, have we forgotten the difference between established facts and establishment facts?

Trying to talk about any of this on Twitter just now, is tantamount to what my pal does with his phone. The debate still needs to be had, but if anything is damaging hopes of independence right now, it's this toxic method of having it.

Friday, 19 March 2021

Percolations, identifications, and metaphors.

This particular typed outgrowth, has been brewing for some time. The temptation was to talk about the leaked voting from the incorrectly-but-popularly-named 'Salmond Inquiry', but enough is being said already, you don't need to read my (probably entirely predictable) opinions on it.

A meme. It's how young people communicate, apparently.

Self-identity or self ID though... It's fair to say it's been the cause of some grief. Indeed, it could be said, it's partially why Nicola Sturgeon's leadership is in crisis. I have no clue why they pursued the policy - they didn't need to. But they did, and handled the subsequent debate in a way that's been impressively crap. I might say, so-much-so, it's as if they chose to destroy themselves with it. (Although that's not my theory, more in a minute on that.)

Getting this most obvious manifestation of self-ID out of the way - of course men too easily being able to identify as female is going to be problematic. For reasons that are obvious, and reasons that are not. Mostly though, because people can be dicks. It doesn't matter if they're male or female or an ephemeral, unknowable entity somewhere between the two. You could have a bunch of daffodils hanging between your legs and chromosomes made from Gouda - you might still be a psychopath, a sadist, or just a creepy twat.

Self-ID though.

The problem with self-ID is simple - there's no such thing.

That's basically it. It doesn't exist. It's not a thing. The type of person who believes self-ID is achievable - is a pure narcissist. We are not what we decide we are, we are as others observe us to be. Identity is a compromise, sometimes easy, sometimes not. Sometimes it's automatic - done subconsciously - sometimes we have to work at it. But it's never purely a decision of the self.

Which is why self-ID as part of a wider policy can't work. Putting to one side the idea of forcing people to think in ways they're not prepared to think, there's the entirety of our lived existence - the way we observe and understand the world itself - at stake.

Science is objective, human thought is definitely not - we're seriously fucked up. I'll give you a topical example, (and put my head on a chopping block.) The current Scottish Government seeks to convince us if a man so chooses, he can be a woman - not dress up or pretend - he can self-identify as a woman and be one.

Occasionally, if it looks interesting, I watch Abandoned Engineering, (I know, I'm kind of at that stage in life), on it is a contributor called Lynette Nussbacher. When she's on, I see and hear a woman. On the other hand, (while I've never watched The Kardashians), if I see Caitlyn Jenner down the high street, I see and hear a man who looks like a woman.

How we perceive people has little to do with how they perceive themselves. And how they're being perceived, shouldn't matter to them anyway. 

You're damn right I am.

Why have the Scottish Government pursued this? I suspect it's more to do with being caught in the deadlights of a lobby group with a powerful narcissist streak. I sometimes wonder if it started out as a project to build a support base, or perhaps to spike the ambitions of someone doing the same, that just got out of hand?

I have no idea, and in terms of the subject of this blog post, it doesn't matter. The policy is based on a premise which is rubbish. It is not possible for anyone to fully self-id as something they're obviously not. Whether it's me thinking I'm an athlete when I'm out jogging, or Kirsty Blackman thinking she's a serious politician when she's out, ummm, doing what ever it is she thinks serious politicians do.

Post Script: It goes without saying, I fully respect the rights of trans-people to exist and I will be as polite as I usually am - which is to say - effusively so due to a middle class upbringing and a moderately passive aggressive nature. What goes on in the fucked-up space between my ears however, is nobodies business but my own* - and I'm fairly sure you couldn't give a shit anyway, and nor should you.

* Unless I decide to blert it out here of course. In which case I'm sorry, but you didn't have to read it.

Wednesday, 17 March 2021

(Further) down the rabbit hole.

The latest instalment of the Scottish Government's corruption saga landed on Twitter last night, I think that was the only place it landed, but gosh - landed it did. With the wet splat of a fibre-deficient jobby, it descended upon users (not real people remember), and provoked an immediate response, from both sides.

Speech here.

I'll lead with the TL/DR version - Sturgeon loyalists dismissed David Davis' Westminster speech, mostly because it was David Davis. Salmond loyalists rolled their eyes because everything he said, they already knew. Everyone else? They didn't notice - why would they?

Now for the Did Read version. The Scottish press seem to be leaving it alone, which is astonishing really. Think of the countless times the merest hint - even if that hint was an obvious fabrication - of SNP/independence-related scandal, but the Scottish media ran with it anyway. Yet here we have a proven sequence of actions in to which, the Scottish press, and what passes for Scottish news from the BBC, have barely dipped a toe. Normally they'd be baw-deep by now.

Or eyeball-deep

I'll admit, I'm not a fan of David Davis - I may have said horrible things about him over the insouciant way he dealt with his responsibilities around Brexit. One uncomfortable lesson I've learned while watching Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon give evidence is, unionist politician - even the most oleaginous ones - shouldn't be dismissed entirely. One of the more unfortunate gifts social media has given us, is a willingness to dismiss 100% of a person because of 1% of the things they believe. I'll admit - I do it sometimes, but it's not right. It's shallow and self defeating. Joanne Lamont's contribution to debates around women's rights are a strong case in point.

I will never vote or be a Conservative, but only a fool would blank another human being because they happened to be a Tory. If Jacob Rees-Mogg gave a speech about how much we love our children, (putting to one side he might think yours should be sent up chimneys), would you angrily declare you hated your kids anyway?

What David Davis did last night, was read out a string of events which happened. It wasn't a list he wrote, or his interpretation, opinions, or extrapolations. It's what actually happened based on the sworn-under-oath testimony of the people involved. They admitted it. It's there in balck and white, in emails and text messages - emails and text messages the Scottish Government and COPFS have been desperately trying to redact, hide or forget exist.

Don't mistake my tone for glee, and don't even think about dismissing me as a unionist or 'yoon plant'. This is anger. The current leadership of the Scottish Government allowed a situation to develop resulting in David Davis (of all people) being able to stand up in Westminster (of all places), and give that speech. I'm mortified, and so should the current SNP leadership be.

I thought so highly of Nicola Sturgeon. I thought she was a different kind of politician. There was never the doubt for her, people my age had, for Alex Salmond.

I don't dislike Sturgeon and for the same reasons I won't dismiss Joanne Lamont, I won't dismiss Nicola Sturgeon. I'm just disappointed.

What is more disappointing, is the craven denial of fellow independence travellers. We know how it works, we see through it every time we intelligently rubbish an argument for the Union. To not see through it because it's our own side, is an abandonment of morality. Worse still, to do so off the back of an unwillingness to be informed, is an abandonment of the good sense that brought us to the independence cause in the first place.

I prefer not to use the word cult to describe diehard Nicola fans, but it's beginning to fit. They claim because we don't support Nicola, we no longer support independence - to them Nicola and independence are one and the same. What is that, if not the views of the inculcated?

The idea independence might be at risk because of the actions of the current leadership - and not its critics - does not compute. Instead, we have continuing and increasingly shrill admonitions to wait for the outcome of an already flawed inquiry, and to ignore all that has come out from it to date.

Its a mess, it can't be denied. Divisive policies and decisions pursued by the SNP leadership - if they were half as competent as their supporters claim - they knew they'd be hugely problematic, yet they persevered anyway. This cannot be the fault of the policy's critics. Those critics exist as a result of the policies, not the other way round.

A longer post today, but it reflects the frustration many feel. That it's been brought back into the spotlight by David fucking Davis giving a speech at Westminster, is frustrating and embarrassing - but the Sturgeon faithful still see fit to blame the egg instead of the chicken that laid it.

If Nicola was a fraction of the leader they claim she is, she'd take responsibility for the eggs she's broken.

Monday, 15 March 2021

Anyone for dominos?

I'm not quite at the point where I want to play dominos, the time may come however, and I'll probably do it on an app, because we might still all be locked down. However, I have a vague recollection you could buy a game or toy - I suspect it was a shite 1980's fads.


Not imagining it...

I mention it because it's what happened in America with Trump. Remember that? It feels like a dream now, a really strange dream, but it happened. There are those who think character doesn't matter. They would rather politicians were 'real' people, they feel any expectation of them being paragons of virtue is unrealistic and unfair. The problem is, we get complete arseholes in positions of power. Fair enough, they don't need to be perfect, but do they need to be quite so flawed? Would somewhere in the middle not suffice?

This is where the (soon-to-be-tortured) domino reference comes in. As far as that goes, Trump probably wasn't the first domino, but it set off a chain of events. There was a list of actions in American culminating in the invasion of the Capitol building. Over here, early on - we got Boris Johnson in number 10. Take yourself back a few years and remember how mental a prospect that was, yet here we are.

I'd challenge you to watch the advert above and not see an allegory for humanity. (Let the torture commence). Do you remember the record breaking domino runs on TV from the 1980's, We never saw much of the organisation, I imagine it was a pain in the hoop to set up - just like building a civilised society. Looking at the advert - as the dominos fall, the kids laugh ever-more maniacally. They're revelling in the destruction of the chain reaction they started. The work it took to set up is gone from their minds, they - we - are now in populist mode. We know what we want, and we're going to get it, and fuck the consequences.

And look how simple it was to set up - could that be a representation of voting into power people like Boris fucking Johnson? Easy to do, but not so easy to live with. Knowing once we've done it, the smallest tremor could set the whole thing off, and once it starts, there's not much to do except stand back and enjoy the spectacle - like the craze-tinged children in the ad?

The torture went well, but I think we can get more out of it.

It seems to me, each shit real world action we witness is used as a precedent to make the one that follows slightly more acceptable. America got Trump - us getting Johnson didn't seem quite so bad. BLM happened, with all the misrepresentations that came with it - women participating in a vigil for a murdered woman get roughed up and arrested by police, I think most people agree this was bad, but the bar moved with BLM, so it's not that bad. 

Illiberal laws being passed by Holyrood and Westminster? But listen, have you seen the hatred on Twitter, or the annoyance caused by protests? There's real antipathy out there, on Twitter especially, wait though, Twitter isn't real is it? Apparently it is if you have an axe to grind - but I digress.

Twitter is full of bitterness, people there are vicious and despicable. So it's fitting, if your chat at the dinner table (because it's a logical extension of the internet apparently), offends, it can be reported to the police, and they can turn up at your doorstep to investigate. Don't worry though, the bar for criminality is high - and as we can quite clearly see - never moves, plus, we have a prosecution service which is renowned for the integrity of it's actio- oh wait, no we don't.

We had the First Minister publish an entirely off-the-cuff, unscripted address to the nation when some people left the SNP in protest at the 'rampant transphobia' in the party. But nothing, not a whimper, when thousands left due to their disregard for women's safety, and a serving SNP MP received threats of a sexual nature from a member of the SNP (alleged) who has since been prosecuted. Presumably someone removed a couple of dominos - because that particular Shit Real World Action didn't set the right precedent.

Are things getting worse, or is this all part of a standard cycle? If it is a standard cycle, or a chain reaction, where or how does it end? Do we want to know?

I don't remember there being a drain at the end of the domino run, I can't help but feel - unless we find the plug - we'll end up going down it.

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Stickers, banners & double standards.

We all have our biases, to claim we don't, would be a lie. Claiming ownership of the status quo won't make our bias mainstream or legitimate, it's just another tawdry dishonesty. Our bias is fuelled by our opinions, which are always subjective. Double standards on the other hand?

And the 'vandalism', 'slurs' and inspired 'fear...'

(All nicked from

Remember when Ian Murray had a similar outburst? Remember our reaction to it. Some fiend stuck Yes stickers on the door of his constituency office. Remember how we mocked?

There are two aspects to this, the first is the subject matter. To put my own bias out there, I have deep misgivings about the regard being paid to women's rights by the SNP. I take the view, that as a chap (by all the usual metrics), it's not my place to tell women what their lot is, it's my place to listen to them, tell me what it is. If they say their protected spaces are at risk - my place in the debate is to accept it, and offer my support if they will have it. It's not my place to foist even that on them.

That's my opinion, but I appreciate (and regularly see) there are others doing the rounds. While I don't agree with them, I won't say they're not allowed to exist, or should be silenced, because it would make me a hypocrite.

Which takes us to the second aspect - the glass-shattering hypocrisy and double standards. Opinion lives on a spectrum, it is by it's very nature subjective. Double standards on the other hand, are a black and white proposition. If you condemn an activity in the morning, then do it yourself in the afternoon (and feign wide-eyed innocence), not only do you engage in the initial dishonesty, you stick a bow on it by engaging in a hypocrisy so obvious, we must assume you are stupid, or think we all are.

Even as I type this, it feels unreasonable. But I think it's because the bar has moved over the past few years. The threshold for offence is so low and ephemeral, anything other than complete acceptance when someone claims it's happening, makes you feel like a Piers Morgan clone.

[insert deliberately unflattering photo here]

Kirsty Blackman and the people who'd agree with and support her, now claim to be the status quo. As an erstwhile fan of Nicola Sturgeon - because she doesn't distance herself from, or at the very least censure people like Blackman - I have to count her in that grouping, which saddens me greatly.

If we can't trust the SNP leadership with something as straightforward as double standards, how can we trust them to deliver a referendum on independence? How can we trust them at all? And how is this any better than having unionists in charge given the similarity in actions?

With the looming threat of the Hate Crime Bill, I have to ask if the SNP (in its current form), can be trusted with it? Do we trust COPFS to exercise legal instruments related to offence, given it's close links with a government so keen on finding it? Because I'll put 50p on the bill's proponents looking for a successful prosecution to justify its existence.

These are all questions I can't help but ponder between now and May.

Monday, 8 March 2021

Nuance is dead.

That's it. You can go.

I'm joking.

I occasionally post on a forum. I'll say something innocuous like; "I quite like apples..." When I check back, some pedant will have asked what it is I have against oranges, or why I like to bully bananas. Then someone else will demand, "what's this fiend saying against fruit salads?" All of a sudden I'm a fruit-hating devil with vegetarians in my crosshairs. All I said was I didn't like apples.

(I know, as internet forums go - it sounds dull, it was an example. Also, I like apples, although not the eating of them by other people in my presence. But I digress...)

If in life, we had to add all sorts of random caveats to the things we say in order to let people know whether or not they should be offended, (because their default setting is very much switched to 'potentially always offended'), life will be very awkward.

And so it is with the Hate Crime Bill.

Normally I take my legal lead from @peatworrier, but I don't hang on his every word, so I'm not sure where he is with the Hate Crime Bill.

However, Roddy Dunlop is a QC, and PeatWorrier retweeted him. As we know, (ever since nuance died on it's arse), when you retweet someone, you align yourself absolutely with everything they've said, are saying, or will ever say - however heinous (or suited to the agenda of who you happen to be arguing with), until the heat death of the universe.

TL/DR version? I feel compelled to agree with Roddy Dunlop because PeatWorrer retweeted him, but I don't.

The issue with the Hate Crime Bill, to me anyway, is that it's deployment is dependent on the highly subjective existence of offence. Offence is a capricious thing, it cannot be made real in the black and white text of an act. Some people find it far too easily, and for reasons which have nothing to do with their delicate sensibilities.

I think Roddy Dunlop QC is looking at it through the wrong end of the telescope. It doesn't matter how well written, or what its intent is. What counts is what it will actually do. It seems to me, what that might be, is to empower pressure groups who can't get what they want with related, reasonable arguments, but might get it with the silencing of reasoned arguments against, and the threat of legal action off the back of faux offence.

You might think this wouldn't be allowed to happen - we have a Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service who will see that it doesn't do we not? Hmmm, I don't buy that either. There are all sorts of very serious problems that require another blog entirely, probably from someone like PeatWorrier, instead of me.

The thing about nuance is, it forces us to ask awkward, difficult questions - the answers to which, we may not like. (Seeing Jackie Baillie - an MSP I did not rate highly at all - ask awkward but intelligent questions of someone I rated far more highly, made me squirm). But it has to be done, because bone-headed stupidity only ever works in Hollywood films, not in the Holyrood Parliament.

We know this already, we learned it by the toll of a hundred thousand newspaper headlines about how shit Scottish independence would be. We even managed to get our heads round the nuance, we understood why they were shit. Now though, we reject the sources who opened our eyes, and angrily reject their information when they dare to present it.

When did we get so comfy yet so frit?

The irony is, we don't counter it with related, reasonable arguments, we seek to mute it with sometimes hysterical, faux offence, and we must assume eventually, the threat of legal action and gaol. At what point did it become acceptable to use Scotland's justice system as a tool to avoid debate and dispose of those who might oppose your position?

Wait now, you don't need to answer that.

Since offence is 100% subjective, all of us will end up treading on egg shells. All of us except those who control the prosecutions.

#Twatgate. Andrew Tickell (PeatWorrier's) finest moment. One hopes there is a statute of limitation on offence.

Friday, 5 March 2021

Imbalances and simplistic statements

Does anyone remember feeling a wee bit exceptional? Do you remember seeing through Unionist shenanigans, and being discerningly choosy about what to believe or disbelieve? While our English neighbours were choking down some barely concealed slurry, pissed out by some posh Tory, we were sitting up here nursing our cynicism - honed to a keen edge by the strop of a thousand constitutional debates.

We knew our stuff, we were proud Scotland had the worst rate of payment for the BBC's television tax. We basked in our ability to see through the sometimes-dense patina that coated political jobbies, and we revelled in our skills at negotiating the skein of political discourse so we could understand exactly what turds they were trying to lay on our doorsteps. 

Google turd, and this appears.

Turns out we're no better than the average UK prole, which is a bit disappointing.

The things Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon are being accused of, are not comparable - in any sense. Of course, you know that, you're not stupid. But I don't mean what they did or didn't do, I mean they're not comparable in terms of perception - and it's causing an imbalance we should be able to see through and cope with.

But we're not.

The allegations against Alex Salmond are straightforward, the rebuttals are complicated. The allegations against Nicola Sturgeon are complicated, the rebuttals are simplistic.

The accusations levelled at Alex Salmond have all the weight of #MeToo behind them. Like the current trans-rights movement, which has a gravity all of it's own, it tends to mow down anyone and anything in it's way - however measured or reasonable they may be. Meanwhile, Nicola Sturgeon's accusations - a spot of political skulduggery - are far easier to excuse due to their mediocrity. (Except they're not really mediocre, an innocent man could have been jailed, possibly for the rest of his life.)

The TL/DR version of this? If two parties are warring, and the accusations against one side are complicated, while the defence of the other is simplistic, it creates an imbalance in terms of how it's understood by us proles.

The independence movement is currently split three ways - Salmond independence supporters, Sturgeon independence supporters, and horrified independence supporters. The first two groups believe what they believe because they think they've deployed that finely-honed judgement. The third group, are still horrified.

But only one group is right.*

For me? There are two things at the front of what passes for my mind. Firstly, a lot of people, (including Nicola Sturgeon), have dropped hints that although Alex Salmond was found not guilty, it doesn't mean his accusers were lying. To that, I'd say this: the jury can only return an innocent or guilty verdict, (I know, 'not proven' is also available, but it's a cop out - it means not guilty). While the answer a jury gives must be binary, the reasoning that leads to that answer is anything but.

No one except the jurors know what reasons they had for finding as they did. Everything else - what Salmond's lawyer said in summation, (or on a train) - is tittle tattle and not admissible in court or informed debate.

Secondly, I don't understand why Nicola Sturgeon would do any of this. I've read about imposter syndrome, or an expansive ego. It may be the people who wrote those words have inside information that I don't. But I don't buy it, so at this time, it's tittle tattle so not admissible in court or informed debate.

On balance, putting all the tittle tattle to one side, much as I hate to say it - because I am a fan - this looks bad for Nicola Sturgeon. Much was made of the Moorov Doctrine in the lead up to Salmond's trial - hold on while I find an explainer...

While not an exact comparison - Moorov talks about a witness statement when taken on its own meaning very little, but when taken with others, hinting at a 'course of conduct'. It seems to me, that could just as readily be applied to the activities of the Scottish Government's leadership these past few years.

* The Horrified Independence Supporters are right.

Thursday, 4 March 2021

It Lives.

 Wait now. What just happened?

Writing a blog is easy, writing a good blog is hard, and writing a great blog is really hard. You can stick to opinions or get forensic. Opinions are simple, forensic analysis isn't. I wouldn't bother looking back on previous blog posts here, they're all (hilariously) out of date. Suffice to say, I tried to be somewhat forensic, but gosh, it was a lot of work.

The problem with sticking to opinion, is that too many people think theirs are facts. They are not. Yours aren't, and neither are mine. They're just collections of words which may or may not reflect generally accepted reality. If you're going to assert one of your opinions is fact, you need to back it up with some of that reality. Spunking out some 'fact' and when questioned, demanding others prove it's wrong, is not acceptable. It's difficult to put into words the extent to which people who do this should fuck off.

You've all (mostly) seen what's gone on these past few days with the Salmond v. Sturgeon saga. Personally? I'm 100% torn about it. I refuse to become vituperative about either side, not because I don't have a view, but because I don't think expressing it would add to any resolution.

What I would say about it is, if you're dismissing entirely the arguments of any side because you a) haven't taken the time to look at the details, b) unconditionally like/dislike Alex Salmond, c) unconditionally like/dislike Nicola Sturgeon, or d) #MeToo - then your opinion, I'm afraid, is shit.

Using social issues like 'me too', or trans-rights, or hate crime - or any other inequality, injustice, or political concern - as a shield or rapier with which to deflect genuine questions or do unfair harm - is an act of execrable cowardice, and accepting it unconditionally, is an example of intellectual imbecility.

At this stage, it's an idea to include a picture, just to break up the text. Hold on while I find something... (And try to remember how to do it...)

Right now in Scotland, it feels like the adults are arguing and the kids have taken a side or are acting out. I've decided to look on askance. I genuinely can't think of anything else to do. 

I have no idea if this is a Unionist plot, generally speaking, I tend to think they're just not that good. However, I know there will be some exceedingly flinty-eyed individuals pulling strings in the background. 

How will I vote in May? Do you remember what going out for a meal was like? For me, I'd look at the menu, but decide what I'd have - at the last minute - when the time came to order. So I don't think I can say until I'm in the polling booth and the paper is in front of me. There would have been no question before, but now? Hmmm...

In the meantime, I'm not a great writer, but it is a hobby. I've written a couple of books and tried to be professional about it. So I thought I'd rekindle this blog - but not as it was before - just as a place to vent. I'm not going to link out or comment overly on specifics - it's pure opinion.

Feel free to share or comment as you see fit, (or not). I have no illusions about the value of the things my mind exudes, it is what it is.