Male pattern Westminsterness

In Thursday’s papers we were told that Davie Cameron will not resign if there’s a Yes vote in September’s referendum. Which doesn’t really come as much of a surprise, seeing as how shamelessness is part of the job description of a UK Prime Minister. Friday saw reports in which Cameron challenged those who said he should never have permitted the referendum to take place – as though it were somehow within his power to prevent it. He may arguably have had the legal authority to do so, but politically it would have been impossible to refuse. There is no written constitution in the UK, and no constitutional prohibition a la catalana on an independence referendum to give Cameron a fig-leaf of democratic respectability. A refusal would have guaranteed Scottish independence in short order.

But really the announcement was made because Davie doesn’t want to give us any ideas about getting rid of him as a favour to our friends in England, which would be a demonstration of practical solidarity of the sort Labour can only dream about. It’s a wee side effect on the side of the independence medicine bottle – warning, may cause the permanent loss of a Prime Ministerial career. Like male pattern baldness only you can laugh at it without feeling you’re a bad and shallow person.

Unless your hair is already a fading memory, like mine, in which case baldies are fair game too. Once you’ve learned to embrace your inner Kojak as well as the one on your heid, you have licence to mock those who are still hoping they can comb their hair a bit differently in the hope no one will notice that Iain Duncan Smith is sneaking up on them. Which to be fair is a genuine reason for having nightmares.

So Davie’s keen to rule it out, although short of a hair transplant he’s stuck with the unrelenting march of his male pattern balding. But he won’t be resigning. And I believe him. He’ll be sacked by the rest of the Tory party instead.

Scotland’s Prime Minister is in a bind of his own creation. Which is what makes it genuinely funny and a whole lot more wounding than cheap cracks about hair loss. He’s damned if he says he would resign, and damned if he says he won’t. Politically, the second is merely the lesser of two evils as far as Cameron is concerned. But not by much. They’re both pretty evil.

Scottish independence is not the same as Her Majesty’s Goverment graciously granting independence to a colony. It means losing 32.2% of the UK’s area and 8.3% of its population to a peaceful and democratic movement which has just told the Westminster Parliament that its system of government so irredeemably crappy that we want no part of it and are swapping it for a new system that offers a better prospect of doing what the electorate tells it. That’s not just a slap in the teeth, it’s a broken jaw.

Then there will be the embarrassingly urgent problem of Trident. The French are going to be smug. The Russians will gloat. The Americans are going to be reminded that British state incompetence isn’t confined to Johnny English movies. The pure affrontment.

And even more urgently still for a Conservative PM, UKIP will be enjoying the bounce from electoral success in the Euro elections in England, and there will be the little matter of EU related negotiations to enter into. Whether Scotland is inside or outside the EU by the date of independence, Cameron’s still going to have to sell a reduction in UK voting powers and influence to an increasingly fearful and dubious back bench. And then there’s the thorny topic of negotiations with Scotland over divvying up the UK rebate. The rebate agreement lasts until the EU Financial Agreement expires in 2020, until then it’s likely that other EU member states will prefer not to reopen the can of worms, and hope Holyrood and Westminster can sort it out between themselves. Afterwards it’s open season on the UK’s special EU concessions. And Davie’s got a promised in out referendum on the cards. Not looking good is it.

In terms of blows to national prestige, this is all a very big deal. As Chairman of the Board of UK PLC, Cameron has ultimate responsibility for the fact that a significant chunk of his shareholders really dislike their country being referred to by a metaphorical reference to a business. Because Cameron is not our boss, he’s our servant. We’re campaigning for a country where politicians cannot lose sight of that fact. For Westminster public accountability was never more than a rapidly receding speck on the far horizon, which has now vanished off into the Magic Kingdom where the federalism fairy sups tea with the redistributive elves of the Union and the Scottish goose still happily lays golden eggs in a Treasury battery farm.

According to Cameron all of the above is less important than his commitment to hold an in out referendum on Europe. Placating UKIP voters is more important than Scotland, which is why Davie is willing to go head to head with Nigel but not with Alicsammin. We’re just not worth bothering about. Not a good message to persuade Scotland to vote no, but it’s a sign of just how weak Cameron’s hand is that it’s the best he’s got.

This has all come to pass because staving off the issue of Scottish independence, at least until Davie was safely esconced in the House of Lords, would have required opening up hundreds of other issues which are really best avoided if you’re a Westminster Parliament. A firm offer of something approaching devo-max from all three main parties as a second option on the ballot would mean opening up issues of Treasury accountancy to public view. It would mean dealing with the West Lothian Question, the Barnett Formula. And it would also require coming clean about the true state of central versus regional spending within the UK. People in the rest of the UK would also discover the extent to which they subsidise London and the South East, and would be unlikely to be as happy about it as Boris Johnson is.

Instead of facing up to these long standing and deep rooted problems in the structure of the British state, Westminster did what it always does, it went for the short term fix that promised an easy result. Let’s batter Alicsammin into submission once and for all. Only a minority of Scots supported independence according to all the polls, and the same polling consistently showed that Scots ranked issues like wages and employment, education, health and housing far above constitutional matters in order of importance. How could they not lose?

But they misjudged it badly, and now the Yes campaign is gaining momentum and the polls are narrowing. The campaign strategy hasn’t worked, its credibility is in shreds, and they’ve only just realised they’ve been fighting it the wrong way round all this time. They should have gone for positive before negative, then people might have paid more heed to the scare stories. Now few believe a word they say.

But it’s too late now. Even if they do manage to rescue a No result, it will be a pyrrhic victory. Independence is on the horizon and getting closer. It’s going to be the death sentence on Cameron’s career, whether he resigns or not. No wonder he’s losing his hair. There’s no rogaine for the Westminster Parliament.


I only posted this so that Bugger the Panda could feel smug…  and because the weather is crap so the dug didn’t get a long walk around the park.   



0 thoughts on “Male pattern Westminsterness

  1. Had they played the positive card from the get go….look at what Scotland has brought to the UK. List its achievements, its successes, the commonalities of identity. Trade, Science, music, art, sport. How it helped bail out “British Banks”. It would have been very difficult for Salmond.

    Instead they went for something bizarre. Britishness as a magic cloak that hid how wretched it was to be a Scot. Britishness as a soothing balm for 300 years as a failure in the eyes of the world. Slowly but surely they split Scotland off from Britain and presented the Union as a giro cheque.
    Instead of proud Scots but proud to British brigade, coming to the defence of Scotland and its reputation within the union. They lined up, every man jack of them, to defend the unjustifiable and call it the voice of prudence.

    Their fear of their Union ending, didn’t lead them to the sunlit uplands were they could defend it as something that was “righteous”. They didn’t appeal to the mystic cords of memory or the better angels of our nature. They did none of these things, but jumped into a deep dark hole and started digging. They’ve been digging ever since.

    Its reached the stage that frankly, not even an intervention by God could compel me to vote no and accept Britishness again. That moment has passed.

    Its obvious that Cameron will have to resign. He can’t stay in post. He won’t want to leave and doesn’t think its fair that he should leave. He is the prime minister of the United Kingdom. Those two words encompass Scotland. That he felt that he couldn’t defend it, as it would be a rallying cry for independence has never really been taken on board by unionists. The prime minister of the UK cannot be seen to defend the UK because of his unpopularity. That is astonishing when you think about it. Instead its been left to the bottom drawer of the UK main parties in Scotland to rally the troops. Johann Lamont who thinks self determination is a little thing and raising taxes empowers poor folk. William Rennie who thinks bedroom tax was a way to improve social mobility. Ruth Davidson who thinks 8 out 10 households in Scotland contribute nothing to the success of the UK. Ultimately these champions against self determination are led by Alistair Darling. A man whose mono-brow twitches so fiercely one would think an angry caterpillar is about to devour his face. This man who projects his utter failure as chancellor; and the subsequent plundering of the UK tax payer to bail out bankers, as a boon of Union. He went on to project this onto a hypothetical Indy Scotland and gloated that it could not have failed as massively as he did and still bail out the banks. He would warm to this theme as he separated Scotland from the Union. Transforming Britishness from composite identity to a magic cloak that we were allowed to wear from time to time. He would even Invite George Osborne; the man who wept at Thatchers funeral, to come to Scotland to tell it what a spectacular waste of time it was.

    That unionists wouldn’t attack this position and defend Scotland’s reputation, frankly has left me holding them in contempt. I know that we will have to find it in ourselves to live with one another after the vote – yes or no. They are after all, Scots and fellow countrymen. But there is always going to be that bad taste in the mouth and a feeling that you have been let down badly by them.

    I finish on a line I have found myself using a lot of late, but given events and those still to come, it seems apt. Yes or No – The Union loses.

      • Thanks for compliment, but I wouldn’t dare compare myself with Wee Dug – I just had a full head of steam that day. I wouldn’t have the time to maintain and keep a blog – so posts will have to do.

    • I hear anger, the same anger we all feel, and I have never felt British but I get really angry when I hear my people being done down in what passes for debate in MSM through out Britain. David Cameron is a waste of time as a Prime Minister but what can you expect from someone for who is like withw hat it was with Gordon Brown, just a tick in the box, no idea what being Prime Minister actually involves.

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  4. Well that was a wee surprise – there was I expecting to be kept hungry until Monday while you enjoyed a weekend of pleasure and lo and behold…..!

  5. Aye, not to be to biblical about it, but over the years they’ve sown the wind, and now they are about to reap the whirlwind.
    Hell scud it in tae them.

  6. In the event of a YES vote, I can’t see Cameron being allowed to resign. He’ll be in place until the the negotiations are over and then he’ll be toast. They cannot be seen by the international community to refuse to negotiate, or behave badly in the negotiations.Who would take on a job with the prospect of nothing but being absolutely hammered by the UK press no matter what.

  7. I will not defend David Cameron. In my opinion, the leader of a government which implements evil policies is himself evil, and some of the Tories’ policies are evil. However, I would not consider his resignation (or replacement following a leadership challenge) as a possible bonus following a Yes vote, as I have no reason to believe that his successor (Boris?) would be any better. Also, the sins of the present government should not all be laid at Cameron’s door, as other Tories (notably IDS) share the responsibility for the Tories’ misdeeds.

    Perhaps this is a case of ‘better the devil you know’, or else better the devil who signed the Edinburgh Agreement, than one who might be tempted to repudiate it.

  8. Cameron won’t resign,he will be hung,drawn,quartered before he has a chance.remember he signed the white paper.

  9. Cameron wont miss the money. After all his MPs salary of £66,000 topped up with his “former prime ministers allowance” of £115,000 is chicken feed to him. (And yes Blair, Broon and Major still collect that as well!) For Cameron it is all about power. Power to help out his failing banker pals and those “captains of industry” that we hear about.

    Without that power watch his former pals turn on him like rabid dugs.

  10. The English people wonder why nobody luvs them……and we’re the ones with the chips on oor shouders…..;)

  11. See what you have done Paul?,I take it that you are aware that you have created a new word, and that it is getting national attention, the word? —alecsammin—!.

    • I started writing it as alicsammin because Johann Lamont always says it like it’s one word. Unionist politicians and the UK media seem to think that the word means “Scottish independence”. It’s just another of their problems with the Scottish vernacular.

  12. Slightly o/t. As a “anything that runs on rails” enthusiast, would be nice to see some photos of your progress with the tram project. Are you scratch building your own track for this?

    • No. I tried to do that, but have no experience with model railway building and went through three attempts which only resulted in costing a fortune and making me swear a lot. Now I’ve learned why model tramways are a specialised hobby. So now I’m building the track with standard Peco track pieces. Bugger tight radius curves. I’m building up the sides with cork sheeting to embed the track, and will be using Busch flexible cobblestone sheets and wet and dry sanding paper to make the road surface.

      I’ll post some photies later.

  13. I think it was an Alvin Hall programme years ago where he gave someone a handful of money and told them to put it in the bin to get them to understand that whatever their particular spending addiction was, this was what they were actually doing. I often wonder if that’s what BT and No supporters should be confronted with. They have literally thrown the UK in the bin. I agree with the Dug that they could have run a far more positive campaign instead. Just how long did they think they could keep this up before people started to ask questions especially when they contradicted themselves so that only the hard of thinking can now believe what they are saying. No wonder they are frightened to be in Scotland any longer than is necessary to deliver their latest threat or warning.

  14. I tend to the view that the existence of the referendum itself has been the situation that has forced their self-disclosure. They didn’t run a positive campaign because when they examined their ‘reasons for the Union’, they discovered that they did not actually have any positive ones – that is positive when looked at from Scotland’s point of view. Faced with this uncomfortable truth they did what they have long since been programmed to do by the nature of their Westminster careers – they lied. The more their lies were resisted, the angrier they got and the more disastrous their statements became, until… Well, that’s where we are now. By September they will be truly deranged – and we will vote YES by a significant margin. (We’d better because the next default position after a ‘No’ vote will be to try to legislate to make another referendum impossible, for it isn’t that they do not learn from history – they think that they do – but it is always the wrong lessons.)

  15. Well I only took a peek in here on the off chance, and yes! there is a post.
    It’s hard to see David Cameron leading the Tories into the 2015 election after a YES vote, as if nothing had just happened. Surely the reality of the situation will have sunk in long before then.

  16. Correct, Scotland’s land mass is about one third of the UK’s however if you include Scotland’s territorial waters , the UK will be reduced in size by just over 60%.

    • It’s definitely not a night for joined up thinking. Eurovision is on! That’s a gay Holy Thing that is. I’m cheering for the Austrian drag queen with a beard.

      I was telling an English relative of the other half earlier today that if Scotland gets independence we could have our own voting block in Eurovision and give each other douze points each year.

      Of course we’ve already been told by Better Together that we’d not be allowed entry. But I’ve covered that here.

        • Wonder what Herr Hitler would have thought about this European result ?.
          WOS got a mention 5 mind ago on BEEBScotiA. …nearly choked on me toast!.

  17. I embraced my inner Kojak years ago.

    Who loves ya baby? 😀

    The smell of fear from Cameron is palpable. UKIP have him worried and the first test of his premiership is ten days off. Hence the he man hairy chested talk on Europe. UKIP do any better than third choice in percentage terms he knows his coat is on a shooglie peg. The killer blow would be a loss in the referendum. As you say they misjudged the tactics and the Scottish electorate badly and he’s looking at a double fail. Should be an interesting May.

    Breaks oot lollipop and sits back. 🙂

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