Without the slightest trace of irony, or indeed self awareness, the Tories have unveiled their new slogan. “We said No. We meant it.” Know who else meant it when they said no? Rape victims also meant it when they said no, but they’re still going to have to go into the details of their assault if they want to get child support for a third child. They can’t say no to the Tory intrusion into their trauma. They can’t say no to having a potentially unsympathetic DWP official going over the details of their assault. They can’t say no to identifying that a child is a product of rape.
The Tories have a nerve lecturing anyone on the meaning of the word no. Their gall is breathtaking. Without a shred of self-awareness the party of the rape clause have co-opted a slogan used to raise awareness of the sexual rights of women and to protest against sexual violence against women, and are using it in their tawdry little campaign to prevent the people of Scotland from having the right to say no to Theresa May. It’s revolting on so many levels. They’re taking a slogan used to empower and to give a voice, and are using it to disempower and remove the right to say no. And what’s most nauseating of all is that they probably didn’t even realise the connection, and even if they did they wouldn’t care.
It’s not just the shameless abuse of a slogan used to raise awareness of sexual abuse against women by the party of the rape clause which is offensive, although that’s a whole universe of wrongness all by itself. Their pithy little slogan conveniently brushes under the carpet all the myriad other things that the Tories didn’t mean in order to get that No vote that they did mean. And it’s not a short list. The only thing that means anything at all to the Tories is that they got the result that they wanted. They don’t wish to be held to account for all the many things that they said in order to get that vote and then conveniently went back on. There’s only side in this debate which has gone back on its word, and the Tories are their ground zero.
The Conservatives didn’t really mean it when they said that a No vote was the only way to ensure that the MoD would commission thirteen frigates to be built on the Clyde and keep the shipyards open. They didn’t really mean it when they said that a No vote was the only way to keep the jobs in the tax offices in Cumbernauld and East Kilbride. They didn’t really mean it when they said that a No vote would mean that the permanence of the Scottish Parliament would be enshrined in law. They didn’t really mean it when they said that a No vote was the only way for Scotland to remain a part of the EU. They didn’t really mean it when they said that a No vote would ensure continuing support for Scotland’s renewable energy industry. They certainly didn’t mean it when they said that a No vote would deliver Scotland the most powerful devolved parliament in the world. They didn’t come close to meaning it when they said that Scotland could lead within the UK and would be a valued equal partner in the most perfect family of nations that the world has ever seen.
Theresa May, the Prime Minister whose only notable talent is never giving a direct answer to a simple question that she doesn’t want to answer, didn’t mean it on any of the seven occasions when she did make a clear and explicit commitment and stated that there would be no general election until 2020. The woman who is saying no to allowing Scotland to have a vote on its future because she fears it will go against her is cynically holding a vote on her own future because the polling in England is favourable for her. Theresa May is always accusing all other politicians of playing games. Theresa doesn’t play games, at least not unless she’s made sure that she’ll win them first.
This is the election called by Theresa May so that she can crush all opposition, so that no one can protest, so that no one can resist, the blank cheque that an election victory will give her. Theresa has called this election to ensure that no one can say no to her. When the Tories said that the EU referendum vote was a mandate to restore the sovereignty of the Westminster parliament, they really meant that they were going to give their party leader and Prime Minister the powers of a dictator.
The only thing that Tories have ever meant is that they will lie, cheat and deceive in order to silence any opposition and to enrich themselves and their friends in big business. The only thing that Tories have ever meant is that they will cry foul and unfair at any attempt to hold them to account, to make them suffer the consequences for their lies and their dissembling. Vote Tory, vote to be held in contempt. Vote Tory, vote to be taken for a fool. Vote Tory, vote to surrender your fate into the hands of people who demonise the poor and punish them for the economic problems caused by the rich. Vote Tory, and vote to be a silenced puppet of Theresa May.
Well they’re in for a shock. Scotland will hold them to account. Just as in the Holyrood election last year, in this coming May’s council election, and in June’s general election, Scotland will return a majority of pro-independence representatives and will leave the Tories in distant second place. It’s not that Scotland doesn’t want a referendum. Scotland has never said that it doesn’t want a referendum, but by the ninth of June Scotland will have said three times, loudly and clearly, that we don’t want the Tories. We say No to Theresa. We say No to the rape clause. We say No to Ruth. We say No to being denied our say. We say No to a Brexit that we voted against. We say No to the Tories. And we mean it.
Audio version of this blog post, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wgd2-22nd-april-2017
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