Sunday 21 April 2024

And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from nationalism


The roots of recent events go far back. The SNP changed when it first gained power in 2007 and even more when it gained a majority in 2011. But it changed most during the long independence referendum campaign that started when David Cameron agreed that there was going to be a referendum and built momentum until it reached a sort of frenzy in September 2014.

Despite having a Scottish father and a Scottish surname David Cameron understood nothing whatsoever about Scotland or Scottish politics. He didn’t grasp that granting a referendum would itself fuel Scottish nationalism. He didn’t grasp that each time his government told Alex Salmond he couldn’t have something that he wanted, it would fuel resentment against the wicked English not allowing us to use oor poonds. Worse still he did not grasp what granting a referendum would do to the SNP, those in charge of it and Scottish voters.



Alex Salmond was tried for alleged crimes committed in the years leading up to the referendum and was acquitted. But those witnesses who later complained decided in 2013 or 2014 that it was more important to win the referendum than to tell the police about Alex Salmond’s behaviour. Perhaps this is because Salmond did nothing. I wasn’t there. I don’t know.

But it may be that power went to Alex Salmond’s head and that he considered that the normal rules applied to a married man dealing with younger women didn’t apply to him. It may also be that everyone else in the Scottish government and the SNP decided not to notice if an important leader crucial to the cause sometimes got drunk and sometimes pushed the boundaries of propriety.

A leader of a national movement may begin to feel untouchable and that the normal rules of conduct do not apply to someone charged with the destiny of a country. This is Raskolnikov’s argument in Crime and Punishment. If I were Napoleon, it would be justified in committing a small crime to reach power. This leads to him committing murder. If such a national leader gets away with one crime, he begins to think he can get away with any crime and at this point real wickedness can happen.

I have recently seen people writing that they don’t care if an important SNP figure was a serial killer, they would still vote for independence. But this is the same argument as I don’t care if the leader of German nationalism kills Jews, I will still support German nationalism. But it is precisely this mentality that was new in Scottish politics.

A single rogue poll I think created what came after the referendum. Scottish nationalists genuinely believed that they were going to win and losing by ten points was more than they could endure. It’s one thing to lose when you never had a chance, it’s something quite different to lose when you were certain that you would win.

This created the still staggering events of 2015 when the SNP won all but three seats and destroyed the Labour Party that had ruled Scotland for as long as anyone could remember.

It also created the cult of Nicola Sturgeon. No Scottish political leader even Alex Salmond has ever been treated to adoring crowds weeping with joy while listening to her words. She reminded me of a figure at the sort of revival meeting depicted in Elmer Gantry. The lame walk and the blind see and blessed is he who believes in Nicola Sturgeon.

All of the power in the SNP was gathered together in the greatest political union since Isabella married Ferdinand. They controlled everything in Scotland. They knew everyone. They centralised everything so that there was only one person who needed to be called.

And then the adulation increased still further when Nicola Sturgeon campaigned for Remain and even the English began to love her.

Someone with sense needed to whisper in Sturgeon’s ear about the danger of absolute power and the sense that you can do anything, but there was no one, there were merely people willing to follow her orders no matter what those orders were.

The case against Alex Salmond should never have even been investigated. The time for investigations was in 2013 and 2014. But no. The First Lady and the First Gentlemen couldn’t resist the temptation to kill King Duncan while he lay asleep in his bed after foolishly accepting their hospitality. Everything follows from this.

It is as if MacBeth and Lady MacBeth got away with the murder of King Duncan. Well, if we can get away with murder despite there being an inquiry and despite there being lots of evidence to suggest our involvement, what can we not get away with?

And then it came to pass that Sturgeon got to play her healer of the sick, curer of the lame role and once more she was greeted with adulation not only from English people, but from Scots who opposed independence. Thank goodness that oor Nicola was in charge rather than that vulgar Boris.

All the while that she was healing the sick support for independence was growing and we had pictures of Nicola Sturgeon with a halo. At this point I knew that her head had been turned. Who agrees to position themselves so that a photo makes it seem that she is a saint? Not once, but a few times.


Everything was secret. There were no WhatsApp messages. The First Lady and First Husband controlled everything. Indeed, only they knew anything about what the party needed to fund this campaign or that initiative, this advertisement or that trip to a conference.

We are all tempted, but most of us don’t have the opportunity. The key to giving into temptation is also having the feeling that I will get away with it. Who would know if I took just one sweetie from the pick and mix? Who would know and moreover who would dare question me? Once you have taken one sweetie and you get away with it, you begin to be tempted to take something bigger.

The sins of the SNP go back many years and involve many more people than appear now to have been naughty. There are all those who saw something but didn’t say anything. There are all those who accepted power being concentrated in an unhealthy way because they hoped it would deliver independence. There are all those who acquiesced in a cult of personality that was dangerous. This may all now begin to unravel and be exposed. It must be or we will never reach cleanliness.

Scotland is recovering from its hysteria in 2014. It took ten years, but now the tiny band of warriors gathered in George Square merely demonstrate the lack of support for the SNP.

But let us be clear it was Scottish nationalism and those who voted for it who are responsible for everything that happened. That was the original sin.


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Friday 19 April 2024

A fairytale that has nothing to do with Scotland. Part 23

Part 22


Once upon a time Penelope Queen of Ithaca was writing her memoirs, only because this was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away she wrote her memoirs by means of a tapestry.

Unfortunately, her husband Odysseus King of Ithaca had been away from home for the past twenty years.


It was rather like in the Railway Children. Daddy was away somewhere, but no one said where as it was a long time ago too and English people kept a stiff upper lip about daddy being somewhere unmentionable until daddy returned at the end.

While Odysseus was away someone in the bar with the barmaid called Lynne or to her close friends Lynnie or else depending on self-identification in the valley of the ton of corn which was harvested each year, Penelope had to ward off each day suitors who wanted to be the next King of Ithaca.

If you only pick me to be your husband Ithaca will be free from Attica, but don’t worry when we cross on the bridge, I will build to Attica all we will have to do is show our wax tablet and they will let us across no bother at all.

But Penelope didn’t much care for the duties that would go with becoming the third wife of the present First Suitor of the Ithacans, nor did she like the idea of any of the other plausible candidates so each night after she had sewn her memoirs, she found herself unpicking the stiches.

Next year I will marry you she said to the man who hummed so loudly you just wanted to be safely away from hearing him, but I have to finish my tapestry first.

So, Penelope would work all day on her memoirs, and she remembered all of the time when she had been Queen of Ithaca and all her triumphs.

But then she remembered how closely she had been involved with Odysseus and his methods of obtaining drachmas with which to fight the battle against Attica.

No, it wasn’t just that the First Suitor couldn’t see the tapestry, it wasn’t just the Second Suitor that couldn’t see the tapestry, above all it was the Head Loo that must never ever see the tapestry, otherwise she too would depending on how she identified end up in Lynnie’s bar or else the valley of the ton of corn.

Fortunately, this being Ithaca the head of the Head Loo had given Penelope warning not merely about the suitors but also about the immanence of the arrival of a tented city outside the palace.

It had been embarrassing of course that Penelope’s favourite sedan chair which acted as her mobile home when she travelled round Ithaca had been discovered at the home of Anticlea but thank goodness she had put everything else down the Head Loo.

But what to do about the tapestry given that Penelope had been paid 75,000 drachmas by the god Pan and there were supposed to be three more instalments after that.

She thought of having two tapestries one that she would unpick every night to keep the Hummer’s lusts at bay and one to give to the god Pan, but every time she sewed something she realised that she couldn’t keep it at all lest she need to write a fifth amendment before any of the previous four.

But poor Penelope then not only had taken the 600,000 drachmas to fight a battle against the Atticans that had never taken place, she had also taken signed up to get 300,000 drachmas from the god Pan for a tapestry she could not deliver.

Meanwhile she watched each day as the useless Hummer, hummed and hawed and kept making a mess of everything in Ithica so that each day the chances of freedom from Attica became less and less.

Penelope needed a new strategy

Then Penelope shall lay both her hands on the head of the live Odysseus and confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Ithaca, and all their transgressions, all their sins, putting them on the head of Odysseus, and sending him away into the bar of Lynnie by means of someone designated for the task. Odysseus shall bear on himself all their iniquities to the bar of Lynnie; and Odysseus shall be left in the bar of Lynnie.

Penelope next announced that she was going to divorce Odysseus as she could not bear the shame of his iniquity to the people of Ithaca and his failure to build either a bridge to Attica or a ferry that might demonstrate how easy it was to travel between the two while having different currencies.

Penelope was now free to publish her memories which she dedicated to Thomas Bowlder.

She then began her own Odyssey which took her from Ithaca to the island of Lesbos where she spent lazy afternoons listening to Sapho’s lyre and thought not one little bit of Odysseus who had justly been punished for being a liar.


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Thursday 18 April 2024

I'd like to get you on a slow road to Scotland

 

The other day I was driving in a city I am not allowed to mention where I drive rarely. Suddenly I was confronted with LEZ written on the road. Now as it happened, I had already checked that my car was compliant, and it turns out that despite the paint on the road we have not yet started charging people for driving naughty cars. But then I saw just ahead a sign on the road saying Bus Gate. What was I to do? I could attempt to perform a u-turn, but this would undoubtedly have been a worse offence than driving through the bus gate which may or may not have been active. So, I had to just keep calm and carry on and see if I got a fine.

Driving has become an obstacle course in Scotland and its about to get worse if we don’t get rid of the SNP. Soon Scotland intends to follow the example of Wales and introduce 20 mph zones.


So not only will we have to look out for zones where we might get a fine for having the wrong type of car or for straying into a bus lane on a corner or to let an ambulance pass or to avoid a stopped vehicle ahead of us, we will also have to hit the brakes and crawl along at 20 mph.

To drive in a city at 20 mph will be excruciating and will significantly impact journey times, but at least in a city there are alternative means of transport like busses even if no one in their right mind would ever use a bus as it involves paying lots of money to stand in the rain then stand in the rain again to get the connecting bus and the whole experience takes twice as long and is ten times as unpleasant as driving the car. But what worries me more is driving in the countryside.

Cars are not optional extras if you live in rural Scotland. They are the difference between isolation and a life worth living. There is not much point living near to a wonderful empty beach if it takes two bus journeys to get there one of which involves a trip into the nearest city, but the car journey is a mere few minutes.

For many people the car is what gets their shopping, gets them to work and allows them to see parts of Scotland that would be completely inaccessible otherwise. If you live in Edinburgh or Glasgow, you could survive well enough without a car, but not in rural Scotland.

I’m not worried so much about making short shopping trips within a small town at 20 mph. It will be a pain, but liveable. What is rapidly going to become untenable is longer journeys.

In England there are motorways and frequent bypasses, but in most of rural Scotland there is no dual carriageway and the road goes through small towns and villages. Let’s say I want to make a trip to Skye. I can get there and back in a day if I get up early. I can get to Thurso and make a circuit of Caithness and Sutherland. When I get to where I want to go, I maybe have a couple of hours to walk on a beach, have some lunch or just sit and enjoy the view. But how many small towns and villages are on the way to Skye or Thurso? How many times will I have to make sure I don’t break the preposterous new speed limit or else be fined multiple times?

Not only will such a journey take significantly longer, it will be much less pleasurable. There comes a point when it won’t be worth bothering. I think this is the idea of the Green fanatics.

One of Scotland’s greatest assets is that we have some of the best scenery in Europe. People want to come here to see it. But they have to come in a car. There is no viable alternative. If you get the train to Kyle of Lochalsh you are stuck there. You might be able to get a decent bus from Inverness to Ullapool but try exploring further. But if you make the experience of tourists travelling around Scotland less pleasant, they are less likely to return.

We need to stop this nonsense. It involves two stages. The first stage is kicking out as many SNP MPs as possible at the General Election. This may involve you voting for the Labour Party even if you don’t much like it.

The next stage will be kicking out the SNP at Holyrood. This may involve a government involving all of the Pro UK parties at least tacitly working together. At this point we need to make it clear to Labour, the Lib Dems and the Conservatives that their remaining in power and keeping their jobs depends on them not voting for laws, rules and regulations that make life for ordinary Scots more expensive and unpleasant.

Don’t make me pay more for a bottle of wine. Don’t force me to buy a heat pump that I neither want nor can afford. Don’t make me return bottles and cans to the supermarket while making me drive at 20 mph to do so.

Devolution is making our lives worse. The politicians we elect have little of significance to do so they continually muck about with hate crime laws, misogyny laws and schemes that boss us about and make everything more expensive.

So, one last chance. If MSPs fail to make our lives easier, cheaper and better get rid of the MSPs so that their lives become worse because none of them will be earning inflated salaries for making the rest of us drive around slower than a bicycle.


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Saturday 13 April 2024

Transgender has become phrenology

 

It is very early days after Dr Hilary Cass’s review on gender services provided by the NHS in England. I am not a doctor, but my initial thought is that it is completely devastating for the transgender argument.

No one denies that there is such a thing as gender dysphoria, nor that there are people who wish to live their lives as the opposite sex or indeed sometimes as non-binary. The issue is how medicine ought to treat children who present with gender dysphoria.


Up to now the tendency both medically and politically has been to accept that when a boy or indeed a man claims to be a girl or woman then he must be believed and that we must all accept that a boy who claims to be a girl really is a girl.

Dr Cass argues however that a boy presenting as having gender dysphoria can have a variety of outcomes. Sometimes this child may grow up to be a transwoman, at other times he may come to accept that he really is a boy in which case he will grow up to be a man.

If left alone a boy with gender dysphoria may grow up to be a homosexual man. In this case his nascent attraction to boys will resolve itself not by his trying to become a girl but by his acceptance of his homosexuality. It may also be that such a boy finds that he wishes to live as a heterosexual get married and have children.

Once you accept that a boy with gender dysphoria may have a variety of outcomes it immediately becomes obvious that the treatment hitherto offered by the NHS with minimal evidence of its effectiveness amounts to something close to medical malpractice.

Dr Cass points out that even allowing social transitioning in a school or home situation might make it more likely that a boy who claims to be a girl seeks to obtain puberty blockers, hormone treatment and eventually surgery.

So, we have two boys. One who says he is a girl is told by friends and family and his school that it isn’t true. He may grow up to be a happy homosexual or heterosexual man. The other socially transitions, is put on puberty blockers, hormones and eventually has surgery to remove his male anatomy. But none of that treatment may have been necessary. He might have accepted in time that he was a boy.

Worse there is minimal evidence that such treatment is the correct response to gender dysphoria and lots of evidence that it leads to unpleasant side effects including infertility and the mutilation of the body.

Once you accept that a boy with gender dysphoria might decide in time that he really is a boy, then it becomes entirely unclear what could justify you allowing such a boy to socially transition, take puberty blockers, have hormones or surgery.

Faced with such a boy claiming to be really a girl, what evidence could you point to that would demonstrate that he really was a girl. You can’t point to his body because it is male. You can’t point to his chromosomes because they are male. But nor can you point to his claim that he is really a girl, because it is just as likely that such a claim by a nine-year-old boy that he is a girl will lead to him accepting when twenty that he is man.

Once you accept this then the predictive validity of the claim made by a boy that “I am a girl” becomes at best doubtful at worse obviously false. If left alone the boy with gender dysphoria may become a transwoman, but it is just as likely that he won’t. Given the explosion of cases of transgender cases in the past decades, it may be that the treatment of gender dysphoria by means of social transitioning, puberty blockers, hormones and surgery has itself been the cause of the explosion and has led to multiple cases of male genital mutilation.

Worse still once you accept that the claim that “I am a girl” may not be true because the person may change their mind, then it becomes clear that the mantra “transwomen are women” cannot be true either. If a boy may feel that he is a girl, but not really be a girl, because later he becomes a man, then this obviously applies to a transwoman also.

Once you accept that a boy’s feeling that he is a girl may be mistaken, then the very idea that we determine whether we are boys or girls by means of feelings collapses. We return to determining such things by bodies and anatomy.

In that case it is hard to imagine a case where healthy tissue should be amputated because of a feeling that might change. It would be better by far to treat gender dysphoria with therapy rather than surgery.

There is a long way to go. Transgender ideology has captured much of the Western world to such an extent that Dr Cass’s review will change things only slowly. But this is quite devastating for those who argued that people with gender dysphoria should be treated with untried treatments and surgery, and it is also devastating for those who argued that people with male bodies should be allowed into women’s spaces or to compete as women.

Once you accept that the subjective feeling of a boy that he is really a girl is not decisive in determining whether he really is a girl and you have to accept this if you accept that he may change his mind, then the trans argument collapses. There is no more reason to suppose that someone’s feeling that he is a girl is decisive in determining that he really is a girl than the bumps on his head are decisive in determining his personality.

Transgender has become phrenology. Any doctor or politician that assumes that it is literally possible to change sex is a pseudoscientist and must be careful in case they are prosecuted in the future for malpractice.


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Friday 12 April 2024

The Labour Party was wrong to suspend Wilma Brown

 

I had never heard of Wilma Brown the former Labour candidate who was suspended for liking various posts on Twitter/X. I had likewise never heard of the person who had gathered the various posts which can be found here.

But it is necessary to point out that in most cases the posts liked by Wilma Brown were innocuous, arguable, or true.


The first post liked is

Humza Yousless is going to be raging, as @jk_rowling is being called the new Queen of Scots. She's slain Humza Yousless and the trans movement, by using her speciality weapon, words, well played ma'am #DoffsCap

Does the Labour party think it is a sackable offence to praise J.K. Rowling?

The second post liked is

Judge Rinder was denounced as a proto-TERF yesterday after India Willoughby incited trans activists to harass him. So here's his reply.

Does the Labour Party think that like what Judge Rinder says in defence of himself is a sackable offence or does it think that Judge Rinder is not allowed to defend himself at all?

The third post is

Scotland spent 3 years considering the laws on hate crimes before the Bill was introduced in 2020. 4 more years, after being voted into law and police training to deal with complaints, it came into force. It took @jk_rowlingless than 24 hours to demonstrate why it is ludicrous. Free speech and women’s rights must be protected. Re-post if you agree.

Does the Labour Party think that criticising the hate crime bill is enough for a candidate to be sacked or does it think that defending free speech is wrong?

The fourth post is

We’ll never forget he did this.

There is a link to Humza Yousaf’s speech about white people. Does the Labour Party think that it is wrong to never forget or to suppose that Yousaf’s speech was misjudged?

The fifth post is

Here’s a thought .. @LeeAndersonMP_suspended from conservative for his comments why was @HumzaYousaf not suspended from @theSNP for his racist speech

Many people think that Humza Yousaf’s speech was dubious because if they did the opposite and complained about black people in jobs it would be racist. Does the Labour Party think that it is a sackable offence to think this?

The sixth post is

This is the Humza Yousaf's  "White" speech, with a bit of input from @Mercurius_Scot It's been watched by over 250,000 now on Tik Tok, a comedy masterpiece, the way they've weaved it in seamlessly

This includes a link to a satirical video about the speech. Does the Labour Party think that liking political satire is a sackable offence.

The seventh post is

Wait a minute! Humza Yousaff’s (2nd) wife takes a Palestinian flag to a Scotland-Israel game. He meets with Hamas and gives them £1/2 million of OUR money. These religious zealots shouldn’t be anywhere near our government.

Humza Yousaf has met with Hamas albeit a long time ago. He also met with UNRWA which has been accused of having Hamas members. While the Scottish Government gave money to UNRWA it is also arguable that some of it may like much other international aid have helped fund Hamas operations. I don’t think Humza Yousaf, or his wife are religious zealots, but does the Labour Party think it a sackable offence to think that they are? In that case is it a sackable offence to call Kate Forbes a religious zealot?

The eight post is by me and says

Yousaf giving money to Gaza is a worse scandal than anything involving Nicola Sturgeon. If Scottish money funded Hamas it is much worse than buying campervans

This includes a link to detailed argument looking at the apparent coincidence of money being given to Gaza and his in laws leaving Gaza. The point is not that money was given to Hamas but that it might have been misappropriated by Hamas owing to the fact that Hamas is the government of Gaza and has frequently used international aid for dubious purposes. Does the Labour Party think it a sackable offence to even wonder about the coincidence of money being given to Gaza and two days later Yousaf’s in laws leaving?

The eighth post is

Humza Yousless gives an organisation £250k two days before his in-laws escape from Gaza. An organisation that has links to the October 7th terror attacks. He was warned about the organisation yet ignored that warning and rushed the money out. Now he expects us to believe that’s just a coincidence and there’s nothing to see. We are not all naive cult followers who believe everything they say. Next they will want us to believe Sturgeon is a saint who knew nothing of the alleged corruption during her time in office

This post too is merely wondering about the apparent coincidence. Does the Labour Party think we must believe automatically everything Humza Yousaf says about the money he gave to Gaza?

The ninth post is

You're literally Indian. It is not your flag. You will NEVER be an Englishman.

This links to a picture of Sikh man saying that the cross of Saint George is his flag. This is the first post that I think it was wrong to like. British people of any background should be able to identify as English and call the English flag theirs.

The tenth post is

Has she tried moving elsewhere if Britain’s free accommodation and benefits aren’t how she imagined they’d be? The ingratitude is staggering. Britain has chronic housing shortages.

This links to a migrant woman complaining about her accommodation. There is nothing obviously racist about the comment nor can liking this post be a sensible sacking offence.

The eleventh post is

Imagine being this ungrateful. Migrant woman complains about her free, taxpayer funded accommodations in the UK.

Many people after World War II who were fleeing persecution were put up in camps. They were grateful just to be safe. It is quite reasonable to expect someone fleeing persecution to count their blessings. At least they are safe now. Again, there is no reason to suppose that liking this post is racist.

The twelfth post is by me

I might suggest that the SNP is riddled with Israelophobia & that it comes right from the top

It is certainly arguable that the SNP suffers from Israelophobia given its continual attempts to impose a ceasefire on Israel, while it is indifferent to other wars which have involved the deaths of more people. I can’t see why the Labour Party would consider it a sackable offence to share this view. Does the Labour Party consider that agreeing with Jake Wallis Simons who wrote a book called Israelophobia: The Newest Version of the Oldest Hatred should be a sackable offence? Really?

The thirteenth post has a picture of Humza Yousaf with pink hair and the slogan I support the current thing. This is obviously satire. Moreover, Humza Yousaf does support the current thing. You can’t win here. If you think Yousaf is a religious zealot, you are wrong if you think he is a liberal who supports LGBT you are wrong too. But does the Labour party think that pictures of politicians with pink hair should get you sacked?

The fourteenth post is

What the hell? Close Holyrood Down. It is making Scotland a laughing stock.

This includes a link to a video of Emma Harper trying to speak Scots.

Again, does the Labour Party think that it is a sackable offence to want to close Holyrood. Around 25% of Scots think it should be shut down. Does the Labour party think that finding Emma Harper’s attempts to speak Scots ludicrous is a sackable offence?

The fifteenth post is a repeat of an earlier one.

The sixteenth post is by me

She gets to call for Jews to wiped out in Israel & those who agree with her threaten our MPs safety, but if we are scared by this we are Islamophobic & if we express concern we are racist. Do you see how they use these words to shut down debate & avoid criticism?

This includes a picture of someone with a “from the river to the sea” sign and a link to detailed argument about the problems of MPs being threatened. Does the Labour Party think that we should not be allowed to express these concerns and the apparent double standard applied to different types of demonstrators?

The seventeenth post is

I think this guy should be removed from the Scottish parliament immediately for his antisemitism and extremism. Thoughts?

This includes a link to Ross Greer speaking with a megaphone. I don’t know if Ross Greer has said anything antisemitic. But does the Labour Party think that it is a sackable offence to suggest that a politician might be antisemitic? If that is the case Keir Starmer ought to be sacked for suggesting that Jeremy Corbyn is antisemitic.

The eighteenth post is

There is a vacancy in Glasgow City Council for the role of Chief Executive and the salary is up to £210k! That’s more than the First Minister of Gaza. No wonder the council is cutting services.

The objection to this post is using “First Minister of Gaza”, but this too is obviously satire because Humza Yousaf appeared to be spending more time and money on Gaza than on Scotland. I don’t think I would use this phrase myself, but it fits in with phrases like the MP for Moscow Central during Soviet times. Again, does the Labour Party want to ban satire?

The nineteenth post also involves the phrase “First Minister of Gaza.”

The twentieth post is

Humanitarian aid being sold on the streets in Gaza, you won't see this in the MSM, doesn't fit their narrative

This includes a link to a video apparently of aid being sold. I have no idea if it is true that aid is being sold but does the Labour Party think that it is forbidden to suggest that it might be?

So, the thread that got a Labour Party candidate sacked and which numerous media outlets have described as racist, Islamophobic and hateful has only one post that is dubious, the one concerning the Sikh man. I think a simple apology for liking this post and an admission of the mistake ought to have been enough.

It is not a conspiracy theory to suppose that Humza Yousaf’s donation of Scottish aid money to UNRWA was linked to the release of his relatives from Gaza. That is to misunderstand the words “conspiracy theory”. The OED definition of conspiracy theory is

The theory that an event or phenomenon occurs as a result of a conspiracy between interested parties; spec. a belief that some covert but influential agency (typically political in motivation and oppressive in intent) is responsible for an unexplained event.

But to suppose that Scottish money got Humza Yousaf’s relatives out of Gaza is not unreasonable, because it is not unreasonable to suppose that UNRWA required a bribe to help and that its help was necessary. Likewise, it is not unreasonable to suppose that Nadia El Nakla’s relatives were allowed to travel to Turkey, because of her meeting with President Erdoğan’s wife.

I stress that I am in no position to know. It might be pure coincidence that Scottish money was paid, and Yousaf’s relatives were released. It might be pure coincidence that El Nakla’s relatives went to Turkey. But we must be allowed to question these events. Does the Labour Party think that we cannot doubt the word of Humza Yousaf and his wife?

Many of the most prominent Pro UK accounts have been smeared by this incident quite unjustly not merely by the Labour Party but by many media outlets. We deserve an apology.


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Monday 8 April 2024

What is a woman?

 

The biggest question of our age is apparently “What is a woman?” The Labour Party is unable to come up with a definition. I think also J.K. Rowling’s recent attempt in terms of DNA and large gametes fails on the grounds that we have only known about such things for a short time while we have know what a woman is from when time began.

The question in fact is much simpler to answer than anyone realises. The answer to “what is a woman?” is the same as the answer to “what is grass?”, “what is the sky?”, “what are bricks?” and what are any number of other things we talk about.


We have a shared language which we learn as children by being corrected. If as a three-year-old I call a man a woman I will be corrected just as if I call a tree grass, the sea the sky or slates bricks. What this means is that we define words objectively by means of their shared characteristics that can be viewed both by a three-year-old and by the person who corrects its language. If this were not the case, we could not learn a language at all.

So, the answer to the question “what is a woman?” is those human beings that competent English speakers call a woman.

When I interact with other human beings, I don’t normally have access to a view of their genitalia, but this doesn’t stop me describing other people as men or women, boys or girls. I certainly don’t have any access to their DNA or their large or small gametes. This is not how we learn the words “woman”, “man”, “girl”, “boy”.

Because sexual difference is real and objective human beings have different appearances according to whether they are men or women. This means that in nearly every case we have no difficulty identifying a woman based on what she looks like. This is how we learn the word.

On rare occasions we might make a mistake. This person who looks like a woman might turn out really to be a man. But this is no different to this grass turning out to be artificial turf, or these bricks really being painted on a stage set.

We have the concept of someone pretending to be a woman, which implies that there is a distinction between pretending and being. Someone might construct an elaborate disguise in order to go into the women’s changing room, but when other women see this person in a swimming costume, they are liable to conclude that he is not really a woman.

So too if an unidentified body goes to the pathologist, he may resort to medical tests to determine the sex of the deceased. Archaeologists may use science to determine the sex of some bones. In each case they can do so because both sex and gender are objective characteristics that are intrinsic features of human bodies that cannot be changed.

Here we come to the issue of people with gender dysphoria. Being unhappy with your gender in previous ages would have been treated by being told to accept it as there was no choice. Now it is treated by men trying to become women. But of course, this normally fails the linguistic test.

Even if a man dressed up as a woman, even if he has surgery, in nearly all cases he still looks like a man. This is because we judge who is and who is not a man by appearance. The physical appearance of men and women is different.

Normally we have no problem using English third person pronouns. We call people “he” if they look like men, we call them “she” if they look like women. We don’t need to see their genitalia or their large or small gametes. Using pronouns has nothing to do with choice. If everyone could choose their pronouns, we would never be able to learn them, nor would we be able to use them without asking, but this would make the language of pronouns impossible.

“I saw a robber and he or she or ze ran that way, sorry I wasn’t able to ask him what his pronouns were.”

The reason why transgender people are so insistent on pronouns being a matter of choice is that a transwoman invariably does not look like a “she”. I don’t need to be told to use “she” about women, I do it automatically, I only need to be told when a man tries to become a woman, which of course is impossible, for which reason he is so insistent he must be called she. If he really were a woman he would not need to insist.

There may be some transwomen who can so successfully change their appearance that everyone automatically calls them women. In which case I would be as happy to use words like “she” and “her” as about anyone else. I wouldn’t have any choice because I wouldn’t know.

There have been throughout the ages women who successfully pretended to be men in order to do certain jobs or fight as soldiers. They would undoubtedly have been called men by their colleagues. But there is a distinction between pretending to be a man and being a man. This is the problem with transgender ideology as it collapses the distinction. What is the difference between an actress who convincingly plays the part of a man and a woman who claims to have become a man? But if there is no objective distinction (only a feeling in head) then we have to conclude that the person who claims to have become a man is pretending or deceiving herself.

We don’t learn words based on feelings in our heads. To claim that you are woman based on a feeling in your head is to have two definitions of “woman” one that you learned as a child based on shared objective characteristics and one based on feelings in your head. But why should anyone else accept your private definition of what a woman is?

But in the case of a woman who pretended to be a man in order to be a soldier, the truth is revealed when she is wounded, and the surgeon discovers to his horror that she is not a man. The truth is discovered even centuries later by an archaeologist who realises the bones of this warrior are the bones of a woman.

In nearly all cases we use words like “woman” without hesitation based on the physical characteristics available to view. This is the fundamental problem with transgender ideology. Transgender women don’t look like women. They look like men in dresses. To pretend otherwise mangles our shared language.

We don’t normally base who is or who is not a woman on genitalia but imagine the case of a transwoman in Victorian times successfully deceiving a man that he was marrying a woman. Perhaps he was blind or perhaps the dress code prevented him judging correctly. But on the wedding night he would to his similar horror discover that he had married a man. This likelihood of him saying heterosexual men love penises is vanishingly small.

This is the problem with transgender. We may go along with your pronouns. You can perhaps force us by law to call you the sex you think you have become, but none of us believe it and while you may be able to force me not to write this, you won’t be able to force me not to think it.


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Saturday 6 April 2024

Why is no one interested in politics?

 

The year 2024 could turn out to be one of the most monumental years in British politics, but no one is interested.

Labour could win 450 seats and more. The Conservatives could be reduced to 100 or even less. It is possible that the Lib Dems might be the opposition.


In Scotland it is reasonable to expect that the SNP will be reduced to less than 20 seats. After the past week things may be even worse for the SNP. There may come a point when enough Scots decide to punish the SNP by voting for the party most likely to defeat the SNP in each constituency. In that case the SNP could be reduced to single figures. Yet still no one is interested.

Because I write a lot about politics, I have a sort of crude barometer of how much people are interested. Last year when Nicola Sturgeon resigned and when the SNP had a leadership election and there were frequent new revelations, the number of my readers soared. This year the number has slowed, and I expect during the long summer until the Autumn election it will slow again. By the time of election day no one will be reading, and no one will discover the result of the election because no one will care.

Scottish nationalists have given up on the SNP because they rightly have concluded that it is not really interested in obtaining Scottish independence. This was the real damage of the Sturgeon scandal. It made her look like a fraud. She kept promising a referendum next year, but that was just to keep support for the SNP high, but there was never a legal route to a second referendum, and she knew it. She was promising what she could not deliver. But without the goal of independence why pay money into a fighting fund, why deliver SNP leaflets, why indeed support a rather second-rate Holyrood if it is not a stepping stone to freedom? Why indeed?

If the SNP is reduced to a handful of MPs it will turn into the Parti Québécois and everyone will conclude that neither Scotland nor Quebec will become independent. This puts the SNP back to the 1970s and 1980s. A second referendum won’t be a next year, nor will it be a generation away it will be over the rainbow in never never land.

This leaves us with right/left politics. Nationalism in Great Britain will be dead and there is no prospect of Northern Ireland joining Ireland partly because most voters in Northern Ireland don’t support it, but more importantly because Ireland can’t afford it and would require the UK to pay to lose its territory as some sort of reparation for 1000 years of being beastly to the Irish. This no doubt will happen after we have paid trillions to everyone who was descended from the slaves that the Royal Navy alone freed in the 19th century.

But there is no right/left politics, which is why we cease to be interested. There is just left/left/centre politics and no real distinction between the major parties.

There is rivalry between Conservatives, Labour and the Lib Dems, but like football teams they are all playing the same game and the rivalry is mainly tribal and the players care most about their wages and don’t give a damn about the fans.

There are two sensible political positions in a modern society, Blairism and Thatcherism. Socialism hasn’t worked anywhere, but there are a few societies such as the Scandinavian countries where a sort of social democracy works well. We know that Thatcherism works because it did work. Britain was more prosperous when she ceased to the Prime Minister than when she started, much more. Other countries which have pursued low taxes, free markets, free trade, and undercutting competitors have also been successful.

The Conservative Party is like a football team that gives up a winning formula called scoring goals in favour of one of kicking the ball into their own goal.

The British electorate should be offered a genuine choice. Give Labour a chance. If it makes a mess of the economy kick it out. At that point we need an alternative economic policy.

But perversely the Conservative Party having succeeded in the 1980s with Thatcherism and sometimes while pretending to be still Thatcherite have rejected everything that Thatcher stood for. People with Conservative views are rejected as candidates in favour of those with views that are indistinguishable from the Lib Dems and Labour.

It’s not only stupid. It’s undemocratic, because it makes elections pointless. We end up with rule by a sort of oligarchy of Lib, Lab, Con all in the centre while pretending to have democracy offering a choice. No wonder no one is interested.

There are this year different priorities. From the Scottish point of view, we need to defeat the SNP, so vote sensibly depending on where you live. There is no point voting Reform in Scotland as it won’t win any seats. There is lots of information available telling you who has the best chance of defeating the SNP so use it.

In the longer term we need to campaign for UK democracy to reflect the view of ordinary people rather than elites. The vast majority of Brits would vote to limit migration to 100,000 per year, send illegal migrants back to where they came from, and ditch woke ideas like critical race theory and transgenderism. But we have no chance of getting what we want, because the same elite rules no matter who we vote for.

We need to first lessen the power of Holyrood and then abolish it. If nationalism has been defeated it no longer has a purpose. If the UK is one country indivisible it does not need parliaments in pretend countries.

But more important of all we need voters to have a genuine alternative and for political parties to deliver what they promise. This can only happen when there is a choice.

I believe that bringing back choice to UK politics requires the Conservative Party either to cease to exist and be replaced by a Thatcherite party or far better for it to be taken over by true Conservatives with the One Nation Conservatives invited to join the Lib Dems where they belong.

A big enough defeat of the Conservative Party will bring about a realignment of UK politics. Perhaps then we will become interested again.


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Wednesday 3 April 2024

The SNP should be charged with wasting police time

 

I have very limited experience with the Scottish police, which is as it should be in a free society. They are invariably pleasant, polite and helpful. The police don’t stop you for no reason. They don’t come round your house or place of work without cause. If you are a law-abiding citizen, you have no reason to fear the police at all. This is what makes Scotland different from most countries.

The police do important work and I wish they were allowed to just get on with it. They have to conclude their investigation into SNP finances.  The have to investigate serious crimes like fraud, theft and false accounting and their job involves not merely investigating SNP politicians, some of their time has to be devoted to crimes committed outwith the SNP.


There are only around sixteen thousand police officers, which means in some parts of rural Scotland there is not a police officer at all.  

Then it's Polis this, an' Polis that, an' Polis, 'whoo's yer soul?"
But it's "Thin blue line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's "Thin blue line of 'eroes," when the drums begin to roll.

Well, the drums began rolling on Monday. There were more than three thousand complaints made to our thin blue line of heroes and each of them had to be investigated.

There’s been a burglary in Achiltibuie, the nearest policeman is in Inverness. It’s been the first burglary in Achiltibuie since 1877 and unfortunately a valuable stag’s head has been stolen, but the police officers in Inverness are all investigating complaints about J.K. Rowling.

There won’t of course be three thousand complaints every day, but there will be a few hundred. It won’t be long before we discover that the police in Scotland is solving still fewer real crimes.

An organisation with sixteen thousand employees having to deal with three thousand complaints in a day will paralyse it. Worse it is already clear that none of the three thousand complaints will lead to even one person being spoken to by the police, let alone arrested, tried and convicted.

The investigation into the SNP’s finances has become like Jarndyce versus Jarndyce, it ties up ever more resources in the court of chancery, but the people who brought the case in the first place are now dead and no one involved remembers what it is was about. Something to do with an escaped jaguar living in a tent outside someone’s mother-in-law. There was a fishy smell because someone failed to switch the fridge on.

Well, if all the millions and all the resources of Police Scotland cannot solve Jarndyce versus Jarndyce how can they solve whether it is a crime if one of the numerous fake Elon Musks on X said something from who knows where that was contrary to the Scottish hate crime law?

First Police Scotland is going to have to establish that a crime has been committed. But if you are not going to prosecute J.K. Rowling you can’t prosecute someone else for saying the same. If you are not going to prosecute the President of Iran for saying on social media something horrible about Jews or if you are not going to prosecute people for displaying swastikas at a demonstration because it depends on context, then anything anyone might write could in theory be exonerated by the context.

Once you let one hate criminal on social media get away with it you are going to have to justify why you go after another for saying the same. This is the folly of having Police Scotland police social media. You cannot arrest one person for burglary if you have decided that all the others committed no crime. We cannot be arrested arbitrarily.

But if that is the case Humza Yousaf your law has already fallen apart. The only people who will rightly be prosecuted will be those who shout insults in the street or physically assault Muslims, gays, transgender people or the disabled. But those people would have been convicted anyway prior to Humza Yousaf’s law.

We all have a ready-made defence. J.K. Rowling is rich and powerful and can obtain the best lawyers, but if they try to convict me my defence lawyer will point to the fact that Police Scotland said no crime had been committed when Rowling wrote what she wrote or someone else wrote what he wrote. But we have equality of the law in Scotland, you cannot arrest someone for a crime when you say the same crime was not a crime when committed by someone else.

But this means that not only have the SNP wasted police time with Jarndyce versus Jarndyce, it has continued to waste police time by creating a law that floods the police with complaints of crimes for which no one will be arrested. Worse still this leads to the Scottish population concluding that the police are incapable of solving crimes and that law is a lot of lies and nonsense.

The police have a difficult enough job keeping us safe, convicting criminals and generally doing an excellent job fairly and moderately. The SNP has not merely wasted police time it has turned Scottish law into a laughingstock.

If we cannot convict the SNP in the courts let us at least convict it at the ballot box. Get rid of these fools before they do any more damage.

Monday 1 April 2024

Dear Humza I wish to report a hate crime

 

I wish to report a hate crime. Not merely am I reporting one hate crime I am reporting five hate crimes under each of the protected characteristics.

Unfortunately, I was born with a blue nose. But not merely is my nose blue, the whole of my body is blue too. I may not look blue to you, but I identify as blue and in particular I identify as having a blue nose.


Recently my husband who has a tendency to wear white and green stripes took to mocking my blue nose. He called me a Hun and he didn’t use it as short for Honey. He thinks that blue people are worse than everyone else who lives in Scotland. He believes that blue people have smaller brains and that we are all lazy. He wants to round up all of the blue people in Scotland from the river Clyde to the North Sea and either kill us or deport us. I want police Scotland to come and arrest him instantly.

My husband also hates me because of my religion. You see I believe that in Antarctica in the year 500 BC there came a prophet who evangelised to the penguins. He taught the penguins how to read and write and they recorded his thoughts and wrote them down. Unfortunately, this book is little known, but I was able to obtain a copy and it is all true. But my husband keeps telling me that there were no people living in Antarctica in 500 BC and that my book is a lot of lies and nonsense. He keeps mocking my religion and telling me that my evangelist to the penguins did not exit. Worse he obtains penguin meat and hangs it up all around our house. But it is forbidden for me to be in the presence of penguin meat. Please arrest him.

I also have a disability. Unfortunately, I was born with two heads. Of course, if you look at me you won’t notice the second head. My disability is that I can feel the second head and I identify as two headed without anyone else being able to see the head. This is why I am so brainy and able to write so many articles. But my husband keeps mocking me for having two heads and he keeps telling me that all the two headed people in Scotland should be rounded up and deported as it is unacceptable to have such deviants living here. Why should he be allowed to get away with mocking my disability and expressing hatred for it. Please arrest him.

Unfortunately, I was born with a sexual orientation that my husband finds hateful. I am aliensexual. It means that I only want to have sex with extraterrestrials. I am not bothered if they are man extraterrestrials or woman extraterrestrials, but they have to be extraterrestrials otherwise I am not interested in going to bed with them. My husband thinks that my desire to sleep with extraterrestrials is sinful, not that I have sinned of course because I have been unable to find any extraterrestrials. But he mocks my desire and thinks that all aliensexual people in Scotland should be rounded up and deported ideally to the nearest planet. Please arrest him.

Unfortunately, although I was born female I have since transformed into an angel. This means that I am a purely spiritual being without sex or gender. I am a trans-angel. But my husband denies that I am a spiritual being and keeps telling me that it is impossible for a woman to become an angel. But it is possible because I feel like an angel and despite people being able to see my body, I know that my body does not exist, and I am living on a higher plane far above that of my husband. But he wants to kill all trans-angels and even though that is impossible because we are immortal, I really wish police Scotland would arrest him before he tries.

 

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Sunday 31 March 2024

Throwing away the ladder and other essays

 

I have concerns about Humza Yousaf’s hate crime legislation, but I don’t expect anything much to happen on April Fools Day or indeed in the months that follow.

I have been writing regularly for about twelve years and for the most part it has been trouble free. There has been the usual online name calling and one or two offline complaints.



I have been able to express whatever views I want about almost any topic. Freedom of expression has limits and I accept that. There are things that a sensible writer ought not to express. We all should sometimes check ourselves. Do I really need to respond to an insult with another insult? Could I perhaps be kinder in what I say? Perhaps I should moderate this or that opinion.

But within those necessary limits I remain determined to write with reason and passion and to argue for my views using logic and knowledge. What’s more I do not expect anyone to try to stop me. The reason for this is that Scotland will not suddenly change overnight from March 31st to April 1st. We are a free society now and we will continue to be a free society tomorrow and the months and years afterwards.

Scotland is a free society because that is what our history made us. We were not a free society in 1707 when we formed the Kingdom of Great Britain, nor I think did we become fully free until the twentieth century, but we are now. We expect to be able to read what we want, write what we want and say what we want. We expect the police to treat us fairly and for the courts to be honest and just. There is nothing Humza Yousaf’s SNP can do to change this expectation.

Of course, a free society can become an unfree society. But it will take a lot of arbitrary arrests, a lot of court cases and a lot of prison sentences for writing or saying the wrong thing or for possessing a book that the government does not like. If that happens, we will all begin to feel unfree. But it won’t, because if it did and we retained our right to freely choose our government then Scots would vote out those who took away our freedom.

So, I am not going to exaggerate the threat to freedom of speech. I think the danger is mainly theoretical.

I won’t be deliberately provocative, but I wish to use this moment to tell people about a collection of essays that I have published that is available on Amazon. It is called Throwing Away the Ladder and other Essays.

One of the problems with my type of writing is that it becomes very hard to find what I wrote many years ago. I had a small readership in the beginning. But I think many of my best articles are hidden away somewhere on Google and perhaps can be found if you already know the title, but otherwise you might as well be in a dusty library of old books without a catalogue.

I have collected thirty of these articles out of the approximately one thousand that I have written. I have deliberately picked articles that are not about Scottish politics and usually not about Scotland either.


Here you will find me expressing my thoughts with full freedom and without constraining myself by Humza Yousaf’s laws.

Of course I don’t hate anyone, but I cannot help it if someone objects to what I write and finds it hateful.

Anyway, if I find myself on a penal colony on St Kilda, there will still be these articles available even if Humza Yousaf finds a way to shut me down. I don’t expect this. I will continue as before. I will continue to believe in a free Scotland until I find myself searching for gannet eggs on the cliff of Conachair while waiting for the agents of the state to give me a dose of Novichok. Only at that point will I conclude that Scotland is not free. 

There will be no need then to throw away the ladder as I will be falling off the cliff.


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