What an Absolute Joke

By Jason Michael

Didn’t Kezia just knock our socks off today? At long last we got to see some fire from her over this despicable rape clause and the merciless attack on the social security system. She even admitted Westminster is the reason we are going through all this.

Credit where credit is due, I never thought this morning that I would end my day giving a slow, appreciative applause to the Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale. Yet here I am on the verge of singing her praises. In an impassioned address to the Edinburgh parliament she showed the London Conservative agenda for what it is – a brazen assault on the powerless and the weakest members of society. She exposed the heartless cruelty of the attack on the tax credit system and called out the vile nastiness that is Theresa May’s rape clause.

When she asked if there was “no end to the Tories’ desire to ensure those with the least have even less” I was – in spite of myself – standing right there with her. She was saying everything so many of us have been demanding and protesting for so long. When we thought Labour had finally surrendered to its role as the Westminster government’s stooge in Scotland, Kezia came right out of nowhere and socked it at them – kudos. But while everyone was getting excited by her brilliant response to the Tories’ support of the rape clause, some may have missed her golden admission:

For ten years the Tory government at Westminster has slashed our valued social security system in a deliberate act of sabotage, and the question I would have put to Ruth Davidson – if she had bothered to take any interventions – is a question of judgement: Tell us why rape victims have to pay the price of the deficit while you give tax cuts to the to the richest people in our society?

Kezia Dugdale knows as well as anyone else in Scotland that her party is now an unelectable dead duck, that the days of the British Labour Party are numbered, and that the failure of Labour’s twisted brand of socialism has paved the way for at least another decade of Tory domination. She knows that nothing will now save the victims of austerity from the grubby grasp of Davidson’s London cronies, and still she acknowledged – in the chamber of the Scottish parliament – that it is the government in Westminster that has been behind the dismantling of the social security system. She neglected to point much of this out while she was telling Scotland we were “better together.”

Quite obviously we are not better together, and the longer we stay together the more of this we can expect – because we can be damn-well sure the Labour Party isn’t going to protect any of us from the might of Tory avarice. It’s at times like this that even our Kez must wake up in the morning and see that we have only one road open to us now – independence. Only our separation from the monsters in Westminster will protect us from the continual rape of our country. The Union is the real joke, and one day we hope to hear Ms Dugdale speak as passionately about that.


Kezia Dugdale speaking in the child tax credit (“Rape Clause”) debate

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Certain Uncertainty for the rUK

By Jason Michael

Scotland will get by just fine as an independent country, and – as even the figures the UK government has distorted show – we will be boxing well above our weight. What London really wants to know is how it will get by without us.

Scottish independence, as a political idea and ambition, has been pinned down by a relentless barrage of questions about the future. What currency will an independent Scotland use? Does Scotland have the economic wherewithal to be a viable autonomous state? How will Scotland manage its share of UK debt? All of these are good questions. But they are all equally misleading. Given that bartering cattle is no longer a realistic option, an independent Scotland will have a currency. Much in the same way as other countries cope with debt Scotland will cope, and if Denmark manages as a country we can be pretty sure Scotland will be fine.

During the 2014 campaign even David Cameron was forced to concede that Scotland would manage as an independent state, so we have to ask: Why all the pointless questions about the future? It was a tactic, as we all now know, to sow uncertainty about our abilities, but recently I have been thinking that it is likely that the prospect of our independence caused a serious amount of concern in London over the future of the rUK. The real question – as we have come to see in light of Brexit – is how will the rest of the United Kingdom cope if and when Scotland ups and leaves?

Unionist argument has focused on oil, insisting that too much of Scotland’s independence hopes were based on our oil revenues. Why not? Norway appears to be doing pretty well from its oil resources – even now when the income from oil is so “uncertain.” Yes, US and British foreign policy objectives have pushed the members of OPEC to drive down the price of oil by agreed overproduction, but this doesn’t mean that Norway – or even Scotland – has had to give its oil away. Oil is still a lucrative commodity, and well London knows it.

Britain has been banking on Scotland’s oil since it was first discovered, and Scotland – as a result of Westminster’s use of this uncertain commodity – has managed to become the only oil producing nation in the world to get poorer as a result of striking black gold. When the Westminster hacks ask how Scotland will cope, what they are really asking is how they will cope. They know we’ll be fine – because they have experience of how fine a bit of oil makes a country. They also have an inkling of how different things will be when it’s gone, and it is thinking about this that is making them so nervous about Scotland leaving the Union.

Now that the Brexiteers have a better picture of how dismal being divorced from the EU is going to be, Scottish oil has become – short of actually going to war with Spain – one of their last remaining bargaining chips, and even that has become as uncertain as their uncertain Brexit future. Europe doesn’t have an oil producing member state – or, at least, it won’t have after the UK is gone – and, last time I checked, oil still makes the world go round. Will the European Union welcome Scotland – an oil producer – into the club? Do we really need time to think about that?


One way or another, an independent Scotland will be fine. It won’t be a utopia. Sure, but we can cope with that. But the only thing certain about the future of the rUK is that it is all uncertain. Not having the use of Scotland’s oil is only going to make this uncertainty a damn sight more uncertain. In the next independence referendum – when London lets us have it – we should turn the tables on these stupid questions, and ask the unionists to answer questions on how what’s left of the UK will cope after we’ve gone – we’ll be fine.


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No Ideology without the Conflict of Ideology

By Jason Michael

Scottish nationalism is ideological, but it is only ideological insofar as it is a reaction to the domination of Scotland by another nationalistic ideology. These are similar ideologies in character, but profoundly different in nature.

Nationalism in Scotland, or – more correctly – the Scottish independence movement, has been subjected to the definition of its nature and characteristics by the British government and the state-aligned media Britain has at its behest. Britain, as the narrative creator, has presented Scottish nationalism to the British public and a global audience as a narrow, petty, and bigoted fascistic ideology, driven by hatred for England and the English. It has constructed the prism through which the Scottish constitutional debate is viewed and interpreted – both at home and abroad.

Scotland is by no means alone in this regard. Every separatist movement, seeking national autonomy from a foreign and dominant state, is, to a greater or lesser extent, subject to the propaganda of its imperialist-colonialist hegemonic master. Catalonia receives much the same treatment at the hands of the Madrid government, mitigated to some degree by the fact that Barcelona has a great deal more power over its own national media. It was the same for Ireland before it gained its independence.


Irish Nationalism: The victors write history and get to describe the vanquished.

This narrative, how the British state explains Scottish nationalism to the United Kingdom, presents a construct of the independence movement in Scotland as an ideology – implying a system of socio-political beliefs which are fundamentally and essentially anti-British. By dominating Scotland’s political discourse and setting the parameters of its understanding, the British state creates the illusion that it is ideologically neutral; that it is both the victim and the observer.

British neutrality in Scotland is a fiction; a chimera fabricated to distract the recipients of its propaganda from the full reality of its own dominating partisanship in Scotland. Scottish nationalism – our independence movement – simply would not exist in the absence of London rule. There is no ideology without conflict of ideology.

Our movement is a highly ideological social and political entity, but it is so only because it presupposes the highly ideological and imperialist-colonialist state polity that is Britain and the British state’s implied and applied ownership of Scotland. The ideologies of Scottish nationalism exist only in response to British ideology and the actuality of British domination. In this regard these two conflicting ideologies may be spoken of as similar – they are both nationalistic, but they are also different. As a reaction to British ideology, the ideology of Scottish nationalism and the rational basis for Scottish independence would make no sense if it was, in nature, indistinguishable from the dominant British ideology.


“Be the Best:” Britishness as an expression of domination and superiority.

Any effort to understand Scottish nationalism in its own terms necessitates an understanding of British state ideology, but pinning this down also proves to be quite difficult. At its core Britain is unionist; at once royalist, imperialist, loyalist, colonial-expansionist, and militaristically arrogant. Yet without venturing to the Gaelic fringe of its “home countries” qua nearest foreign possessions, Britain has a nearer atmosphere around its ideological nucleus – the sometimes equally dominated England(s).

This malleable and fluid lesser Britishness too has its own British ideologies, without the accommodation and consent of which the core is stifled. It is in a sense true to say, then, that it is this wider social and political Britishness of Britain’s England(s) that empowers Britain’s core ideology and gives it traction. But these ideologies – these inner British ideologies – are not the same. They exist in tension with one another in an arrangement where the core preserves national dominance by negotiation with the inner peripheral Britishness of its dominated England(s).

The ideologies of this – the albumen of the British egg – are, owing to the ever changing social and class dynamics of its various constitutions, transient and shifting over time due to changing regional, historical, and socio-political pressures. At the present we can gain some insight into where these ideologies are situated – akin to a sociological version of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle – due to the expressions that have come to the surface as a consequence of the politics of Brexit.

“Large sections of the English white working class are acting out supremacist and imperialist status frustrations.”

We have seen that large sections of the English white working class are acting out supremacist and imperialist status frustrations. Undergirding Britishness there exists a deep seated cultural belief in English exceptionalism, that the essential quality of England and the Englishman it to share in the imperialist-colonialist mastery over others with the ideological core of the British state. This fraction of the population is angry that it no longer rules the world. It is yet to realise it never did.


The EDL: Supremacist and imperialist status frustrations in action.

As this process of awakening continues, this population – an insuperable social and political force – is venting these frustrations on “traitors” and those outsiders who are to it the proof of their cultural and nationalistic emasculation – “foreigners” and Muslims in particular. Britain’s core ideology is impotent without the support of this inner periphery, and so has accommodated itself to a significant degree to the prevailing racist ideologies of its nearest English dominions. Britishness, at this moment in time, is an ideology mobilised around extremely powerful and toxic frustrations, anxieties, and racisms – principally Islamophobia.

It would be wrong to imagine that the nationalism of Scotland is incapable of descending into this or something similar. Scotland is not immune to racism and intolerance. At this moment in time the nationalism of Scotland, of the Scottish independence movement, has coalesced as a reaction against the core of British state ideology and so has developed a radically different nature to that of Britain and Britishness. Scottish nationalism has become civic; building cross community alliances as Scottishness in resistance to the dominating imperialist-colonialist and racist ideology of Britain. Much the same has happened within Irish nationalism, where racism and xenophobia have been kept in check by the central republican force of Sinn Féin and its activists.

Yet this is only the reality of the present. It offers no guarantees for the future. In the event of the defeat of the Scottish independence movement, Scotland too has the potential to succumb to the angry and defeated frustration of Britain’s England(s). This is by no means the only route Scotland can follow. There is nothing deterministic about it. But, given the right – or better, the wrong – circumstances, a defeated Scottish nationalism may also look for scapegoats. Perhaps the only real safeguard against this happening in Scotland is the victory of the independence movement.


England’s shame: Undercover with England fans

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Class in the Scottish Independence Equation

By Jason Michael

Scottish nationalism is no typical nationalism. It is not the nationalism the unionists have pretended it to be. Nationalism in Scotland has become the working class’ instrument in its particular struggle against Britain’s dominant class.

It would be wrong to reduce the independence debate in Scotland to a simple expression of class struggle, but that is not to say the question of social class is not a significant factor – perhaps even the most significant factor – in the Scottish constitutional debate. On the surface; as it is represented officially, politically, and in the majority of the media it produces, the independence movement is indebted to independentistas of a distinctly middle class and professional hue. Yet the activists and voters are overwhelmingly drawn from Scotland’s working class and its emerging precariat.

Unionism, for its part, remains the opinion of the established middle and professional class – in the higher strata of civic society, and attracts its working class support by appealing to the populism of sectarianism, and tabloid-driven xenophobia. This element of the working class is almost entirely right-wing in its political thinking. Leftist working class sentiment – historically the largest fragment of Scotland’s working class – has, for the most part, gravitated to the SNP and other pro-independence parties.

Unionists deny class in the debate, knowing that the Union will be won or lost in Scotland by the working class vote, and so prefer the construct of separatism being the product of a fictitious groundswell in “narrow nationalism.” Barton Swaim, writing in the Washington Post in August last year, made an interesting observation:

What strikes me about today’s Scottish nationalism is that it’s entirely political and not in any substantial way cultural. It’s concerned preponderantly with laws and government structure. It’s about policy directives and the allocation of public resources — tax rates, social welfare programs, fishing regulations — and only has to do with home rule insofar as home rule means social democracy and soft diplomacy rather than economic liberalism and the use of military force.

We can disagree with him on the point of our nationalism not being “in any substantial way cultural,” but his point that our movement is energised more by politics and economics than by what might be traditionally thought nationalistic concerns is true. Scottish nationalism is not a Braveheart-style war of independence, but a struggle for a more equitable nation by the only means now possible – separation from a rightist, neoliberal Westminster regime in London. It does not take a genius to see that this analysis of our independence movement bears all the classic Marxist hallmarks of class consciousness and mutual self-protection through joint action.

Scottish unionists frequently expose their awareness of this threat to their established British order, but rather than this exposure arising as a result of discussion on class issues it is invariably revealed through their ad hominem attacks on the working class representatives of the independence movement. When arguments are put forward in a working class accent, the now standard unionist response is to deride the accent of the speaker – signalling to their supporters that the speaker’s words are to be considered of less value than those spoken by people with more refined voices – and so avoid addressing the points they have made.


Mhairi Black: From Chip Shop to Westminster

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What Voting Tory Means

By Jason Michael

Voting Conservative to save the Union is a lie. Voting Conservative is voting Conservative – supporting all of the evil, rancid, and vile things for which the Nasty Party stands. Tory-voting is saving nothing. It is blood on your hands.

Jill Stephenson, the retired expert in Nazism from Edinburgh University and present demented mouthpiece for Scottish unionism, has adopted a new Twitter profile picture. This image of a stylised umbrella emblazoned with the party colours of the unionist parties – orange for the Liberal Democrats, red for Labour, blue and purple on the far right for the Conservatives and UKIP, and white to keep the “butcher’s apron” in the mix – is rather similar to my LGBT Pride brolly, but there is nothing lovely about this parasol. Under it, no doubt seeking shelter from the rain of contempt falling on them, are the words: “always choose a scotland in the uk party [sic],” an awkward phraseology that betrays even the unionists’ distaste for the word “unionist.”


Tory means Tory… means Tory!

It isn’t only Jill flying this new Jolly Roger; it has become something of a thing for the yoons. Of course, like most of the flags our unionist friends fly on social media, this is a code. It is a dog whistle. A conspiratorial wink, saying it’s okay to vote Tory. At this stage it doesn’t even look as though Kezia Dugdale will be voting Labour on 4 May or at the general election. Forget UKIP. Everyone knows that would be a spoiled ballot north of the border. Other than in Orkney and Shetland where the unionists are quite content to have a pathological liar for an MP, a vote for the Liberal Democrats in Scotland will only split the unionist vote.

All the chips are down, and from this point on unionism in Scotland is the Tory Party – Ruth Davidson’s Conservative and Unionist Party. However, it’s still not okay to vote for Thatcher’s party in Scotland. It is tainted and ugly. It is un-Scottish, and they know it. You cannot say you are “Scottish and British” and then go off and vote Conservative. The ideologues of Scottish unionism know this. They know that to be a Tory is to be British – period.

This is the reason for this infantile umbrella. It is a means by which they are convincing themselves and others – traditional unionist Labour and Liberal Democrat voters – that it is okay, in extremis, to vote for the Tories… to save the Union. What is more is that this ploy will work. It is already working. Hoping to keep Scotland in the United Kingdom, and becoming increasingly aware of the utter futility of voting Labour and Liberal Democrat, the unionists of Scotland are rallying to the blue banner of the Conservatives. All these heretofore non-Tory yoons need is that gentle nudge, that permission.

As a voting tactic, it will work. It won’t increase the size of the unionist vote, but it will inflate the Tory share of the vote and probably win them a few seats.

But this will work only because people who do not want to vote Conservative have been convinced this is their last chance to save the United Kingdom. It is precisely this that is also the weakness of the idea – these people do not want to vote Tory. Our job now is to show them that their qualms are well-founded; that they don’t want to vote Tory is an indication that they also shouldn’t vote Tory. Is keeping the United Kingdom united worth the moral bankruptcy of voting for the Conservatives, or is the fact that the Tories are the only option left not proof the that Union is already rotting in its grave?

People who are moving to the Conservatives to save the Union are prepared to put this Union before their own consciences because of what voting Tory really means. While they may think this is saving Britain, the Tories in Westminster couldn’t give a crap about Scotland. They never have, and nor have they ever cared about Wales or Northern Ireland or any of the ordinary working people anywhere in the United Kingdom. Voting Tory – to coin Theresa May’s comment on Brexit – means voting Tory and everything that Toryism in Britain stands for. They are kidding themselves on.


Rule Britannia: The reality of Tory rule.

By voting Tory in this general election or at the Scottish council elections means supporting the two child policy and the repulsive and dehumanising rape clause. It means supporting the Conservative austerity agenda that has enriched the wealthiest while impoverishing everyone else. It means supporting the toxic and racist immigration policies that have driven Brexit, the system of DWP sanctions which have stripped this country’s most vulnerable people of basic protection and dignity, and the tax cuts and deregulation that has made every working class occupation a race to the bottom. Voting for the Tories means supporting arms deals to dictators, human rights violators, and tyrants, it means supporting proxy wars over other people’s oil resources that have now cost millions of lives, and supporting a barbaric war on children attempting to flee those bloodbaths.

Is the Union worth any of this? No one can deny that this is what the Union has become. In fact, as we are learning, this is what the Union has always been. If their answer to this question is yes, then let them go and cast their vote. But let us not ever let them forget that this is what they voted for. They want to hide from the reality of what this Toryism is, but we – the Nationalists, the anti-Tory’s – will be doing far worse than them if we allow them to continue to delude themselves that they have clean consciences. Their Tory-voting consciences will be as dark as night. What does it profit a man that he save the Union, but forfeit his very soul?


Tory Bastards vote to cut ESA of sick & disabled ppl by £30 per week

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