Why I still have a problem with the cause of Scottish nationalism

With  the question of Scottish independence once again topping the lunchtime news, I have to say I really do not know what to think about that.  To be fed up with UK  politics is quite understandable at the moment: anyone even vaguely aware of the political situation can see what  a catastrophic mess the country is now in. But the Scottish nationalists think that Scotland’s route out of that mess  would be to break it away from the rest of the UK. It could then rejoin the  EU on it’s own.

I’m sorry, but I have to say that really strikes me as hypocritical, if not downright selfish. First, the SNP  are obviously using Brexit as an excuse to further their own long-term goals; they can see how dire Brexit will be for the UK, but rather than assisting the campaign to  get the whole country back into the EU, they just think in terms of their own plot of land. Membership of the European Union is founded upon the philosophy that everyone ought to work together, across national borders; so isn’t splitting from one union to join another hypocritical?

Second, if Scotland did become independent, Labour would lose all it’s voters north of the  border, and the UK would probably  be  stuck with perpetual tory rule. The SNP know this, yet despite claiming to be left wing are willing to abandon anyone not in Scotland to suffering under the tories in order to achieve their own aims. True left wing politics is surely about seeing yourself as part of a society and caring about other people, not abandoning others to achieve your own personal goals.  After all, Marx famously wrote about the workers of the world uniting. How can we unite  with ever more borders being erected? The working class in Scotland might be ok, but they would  have abandoned their counterparts in the rest of the UK, who have exactly the same grievances with the Tories as they do, to get there.

That’s why I still have a problem with the cause of Scottish  nationalism. Obviously the whole country is up shit creek right now, but you don’t solve  it’s problems by splitting one’s own small area off  from the whole: that’s  precisely the ‘logic’ (and I use that term loosely) which underpinned Brexit. Both are manifestations of nationalism, leading to humanity dividing itself into ever smaller, ever more adversarial  blocks; and both are as bad as the other.

Locally made rap videos

Dom sent this video to me earlier. I was a bit bemused at first. Why would he send me a video of a rap song about brushing one’s teeth? But then I noticed something interesting. The scenery in the background looked familiar, and I realised the video was filmed up at North Greenwich, just south of the O2.

Just don’t ask

This evening basically finds us in the same position we were in this morning: there may well  have been  Russian  interference in the 2016 Referendum, only we can’t say definitively that there was because nobody bothered to find out. So despite compelling evidence that Brexit is a Putin-backed scam, we still can’t ask for it to be annulled. After all, that would make the tories look ridiculous: they announced the referendum in the first place, and they were the ones then forced to implement it’s moronic results when it backfired in their over-privileged faces. If  russia was found to have interfered in  the referendum, it would have made them look even worse. So what do they do  when confronted with the distinct possibility that they allowed Russia to meddle in uk internal affairs, leading to the biggest constitutional upheaval in decades? Just don’t ask whether Russia interfered.

Google Maps will show accessible places

It seems Google has had a good idea. According  to this technology blog, their map app will soon have a function which will show Wheelchair accessibility. If you activate it, it will highlight things like accessible loos, wheelchair entrances, lifts etc. Bloody good idea if you ask me – at  least it shows that some of the big companies still have us cripples in mind, and that we haven’t been totally forgotten about in these days of crisis.

Then and now

I just came across this article in The Independent, remarking upon how drastically things have changed in the UK since 2012. ”The 2012 Olympics brought Britain together in pride and unity – look at us now.” I know what they mean – eight years might as well be another lifetime.  So much has changed since then, not just nationally but also for me personally, that it feels rather uncanny. I’ll always feel inordinately proud that Lyn was involved in that spectacular summer; a summer which the  entire country, it seems, will be looking back upon with fondness for years. ”Of course, it’s easy to look back through rose-tinted spectacles at what was really a brief moment in time, a glorious few weeks of sunshine and sporting prowess. From our current vantage point, the 2012 Olympics seems the antithesis of Brexit Britain, representing a period in which we were united, not divided, and when the phrase “national pride” didn’t conjure images of blinkered, hard-right jingoism.”

That I was not only here in London for that event, but my then-partner actually performed in it’s closing ceremony, fills me with  pride beyond words, and probably always will.  Lyn took it in her stride, yet to me it is astonishing. It was an event which brought us all together, and thanks to Lyn I was there. The 2012 Paralympics allowed the UK disability community to shine as it had never done before. The fact that Lyn passed away this April really drives  home the difference between then and now, for me at least: with my move to Eltham, it feels like I’m living another life. Things seem darker, both for me personally and for the country generally.

I’ll always cherish my memories of my life with Lyn with intense fondness; not just those of 2012 but so many others. She always told me not to look back but forward, that there is always the potential for even better things to happen. Yet now,  with  the country and the world as it is and the most amazing person I’ll ever meet no longer here, it’s hard to maintain that optimism. Having such a personal link with London 2012, losing the friend I associate most with that amazing event, really drives the distinction between then and now which  others are also noting, home

Great name for a scooter

I need to report the most amusing thing I’ve seen in days. I was just up at my local mobility shop, asking about my next powerchair service (note to parents: they’ll email me). Rather sillily for such a shop, there’s quite a big step to get in, so I had to wait outside and beckon the lady through the window to come out and help me. (Should I be concerned that, when she did, she greeted me with the words ”hello trouble”?) Waiting for her, I looked at the big powered scooters they sell, mostly to old people (real cripples drive powerchairs –  they’re far  more versatile  and practical). Through the shop window, I spotted the name of one of the big ones, and instantly  started laughing my head  off: it  was called The  Clarkson.  LMAO.. I wonder whether that petrol-headed nonce knows he’s now a granny-mobile! What a great,  great name for something that thinks it’s fast, but is actually quite  slow and annoying.

Strange times indeed

We live in strange, strange times. I  just got back  from Charlton, having been invited  there to give a speech at an end of term awards ceremony at school. That went really well, and after it I decided to pop in on Paulo, still living temporarily at Lyn’s bungalow. He’s sorting her things  our ready to hand it back to the council.

That place holds so many memories. This  time last year, of course, I was still living  there, waiting to get my own place. Lyn and I had split up  the year before, and she was waiting patiently for my to get my own place. I was just in the very living room where I remember eating countless meals with Lyn, or lying on the sofa on countless evenings watching tv while Lyn composed in her studio. This  time last year, things were almost as they had  been for the last nine. Lyn had a nasty cough, but I expected she would be fine and that I would be visiting her there for years to come after I moved out.

Yet now that studio is quiet, there is  no tv, no more meals at the table. Things seem to have   changed in the blink of an eye. most heartbreaking of all, Lyn is gone. As I was discussing with Paulo, it’s uncanny how the vibrant, wonderful person we remember  has suddenly become just a memory in so little time.

It’s not just happening with us too. Everything seems to be changing this year, so  that old certainties seem to just be evaporating. There is so much grief, so much worry, so much loss:  Paulo has lost his aunt too, just as I lost Yaiya. In less than a year, that bungalow in Charlton has gone from being the long term home of my ex partner,  where she established herself and built her life as a musician, and the place I spent nine warm, loving, wonderful years with the most incredible person I’ll ever meet, to a dusty shell ready to be handed over to  it’s next tenant. In a way all my memories and associations of that place will  get wiped and it will become somewhere else; somewhere I can’t visit. I find that very sad indeed, yet also disturbing how swiftly the change came.

Trump’s bull is dangerous

I defy anyone to read this and not conclude that Donald Trump is nothing but a deranged idiot who doesn’t know what he’s talking about. In a speech yesterday,  Trump said the European Union was ‘formed in order to take advantage of the United States’

“The European Union was formed in order to take advantage of the United States,” he said. “Formed to take advantage of the United States. I know that. They know I know that, but other presidents had no idea.”

I think there are two quite obvious conclusions to be drawn from this:  first, trump is trying to present himself as some kind of wartime president, valiantly defending America  from numerous enemies.  Hence trading partners aren’t just seen as competitors but overt foes. It’s absolutely crazy, and sends international discourse in a very dangerous direction.

Second, it’s clear farage has trump’s ear and has been plying him with bullshit. Why  else would he think that he  knows things which previous presidents did not, when in fact Trump is probably the most stupid moron ever to enter Washington. How can America put up with such embarrassment?

I need a mask

I know I’ve said this here before but I think it’s worth repeating: I have nothing against wearing face masks. Like any intelligent person these days, I realise that they are the only way of getting humanity through the pandemic. The problem is, that puts me in a bit of a predicament. As I wrote here, they’re  not the easiest of garments for me to put on or take off, and as they cover my face they’re likely to get soaked with dribble. That, in itself, may defeat the point of  putting one on in the first place. Nonetheless that  doesn’t make me any  less responsible than anyone else, and I have friends with CP in a similar quandary. I’m  therefore currently trying to think of solutions. I need to find something which will cover my lower face but which I can put on or take off easily. Some sort of mask or balaclava, perhaps? I’m open to suggestions.