For the first time since the 1920s, the UK cabinet has deigned to meet in Scotland. They love us so much that they visit us once a century. Not that they’re taking any questions from the Scottish public mind. Michael Gove will be there and they’re meeting in Aiberdeen, so he’ll have warned them that the Tories and their Lib Dem dangleberries are about as popular as second hand toilet paper. Which is why he had to run away south in order to find people who’d vote for him, and managed to pick up a very peculiar accent on the way.
We’ve already had a series of UK cabinet ministers popping up north of the border in order to make a dire warning about the terrible things that will befall us if we don’t have the Tories to look after us. They haven’t made any dent in the level of support for Yes, which keeps growing despite the scare tactics. So now they’re coming en masse.
Before we just had hit and run visits, now we have a multiple collision. But never fear, our caring sharing cabinet ministers will be fully protected by the airbags of the media and won’t shoot through the windscreen and end up prostrate in Union Street. It’s only Scotland which lies prostrate on Union Street, and that’s the way the Tories like it.
The point of the visit, obstensibly, was to big up the North Sea oil business. The real purpose was of course to tell Scots that we are too wee to run it all by our little selves. Small countries can’t cope with vast wealth you see, we need big countries to spend it for us. We’d just fritter it away on some square sausage pieces, a bottle of Irn Bru, rebuilding our shattered industries, and a sovereign oil fund. The wise heads of the UK know far better than we do how to make use of the bonanza, like spending it on tax cuts for millionaires, transport infrastructure for London, and benefit payments for people who’ve been thrown on the scrap heap by the UK’s economic policies.
Cameron claimed that the oil industry needed the “broad shoulders” of the UK to support it. That would be the same broad shoulders that barge Scotland’s interests out of the way then. His remarks must have come as a surprise to all those small countries like Norway which seem to be quite capable of managing a successful oil industry without the assistance of Etonian schoolboys.
The oil industry makes up a far larger proportion of the Norwegian economy than it does of Scotland’s, yet the Norwegians seem quite able to cope. And they make a far better fist of it than the UK does. Perhaps Norway has blessings which Scotland doesn’t have. Oh wait, it does. It doesn’t have its government chosen for it by Tories living next door or a Labour party that has to chase votes in Tory marginal seats in Sweden in order to form a government.
Wee Alistair Carmichael, who was invited to the Tory cabinet meeting so that he could make the tea, asserted that coming to Aiberdeen wasn’t a Tory stunt. Quite right Alistair, it’s another word that rhymes with stunt.
Naturally he rejected the repeated calls for Cameron to debate with Salmond, claiming that Salmond wants to make this about Scotland vs England. Cameron, the Prime Minister of Scotland, doesn’t actually have anything to do with the governance of Scotland apparently. At least not enough to make him stand before the Scottish people and answer our questions about why we ought to allow him to keep his job.
There is no logic to the Unionist argument. Either Cameron is Prime Minister of Scotland, and by virtue of that fact and no other he is fully involved in this debate – and that’s without considering the thousands the UK Government has spent producing a series of cabinet papers telling Scotland that we’ll be bombed by the RAF, have terrorists blow up our power stations, and be left lonely and friendless like the North Korea of Western Europe. Or we accept the Unionist position, and Cameron has no involvement in the governance of Scotland – in which case the man and his job are pointless and Scotland derives no benefit from being a part of the Union. So which is it Alistair?
Are we really better together with a distant bunch of privileged oafs who only see Scotland through the rearview mirror of a ministerial motor, which is tanked up on Scottish oil so it can drive off and leave us behind in a post industrial wasteland? That’s a far more vital question than the oil.
The answer is blindingly obvious. Except of course to Alistair Carmichael.