On Tuesday evening STV broadcast its Scottish party leaders’ debate. Although the programme should have been more accurately titled the STV Some Party Leaders but not Patrick Harvie Debate. This meant we were treated to the Scottish media’s favourite kind of political show, a wee gaggle of Unionists ganging up on a single supporter of independence. Maybe one day Scotland’s broadcasters will understand that support for independence is not equal to support for the SNP, and that in the Venn diagram of Scottish politics, the SNP circle is a smaller circle than the independence supporting circle within which it sits. But we shouldn’t hold our breath, otherwise we’ll end up more blue in the face than Adam Tomkins screaming “It’s the law!”
We didn’t learn much that was new from the debate. Actually, we didn’t learn anything that was new. We learned that Ruth Davidson is a shameless creature who tries to defend the indefensible but we knew that already. We also learned that when she’s not banging on about her favourite anti-independence obsession she has all the substance of Donald Trump’s hair, which may explain why she’s recently taken to ripping off his political slogans. The Scottish Conservatives want to build a wall between the rich and the poor, and they’re going to make the poor pay for it.
The big news was that Nicola Sturgeon revealed that Kezia Dugdale once told her that she could support another independence referendum and drop her party’s obstinate refusal to consider independence as a realistic option for the people of Scotland. Kezia reacted like Tory MSP who’d been accused of appearing at a socialist rally denouncing the monarchy. Oh there’s Adam Tomkins being blue in the face again.
It’s not a surprise that Kezia once supported independence. She said as much herself prior to the EU referendum when she stated in the press that it wasn’t inconceivable that she could support independence, and cited a hard Brexit against the will of the people of Scotland as a circumstance which might lead her to changing her position. She’s since changed her mind back again.
There’s something about becoming a politician that means you can never admit to changing your mind. Theresa May has spent the last couple of weeks trying to pretend that she hasn’t changed her mind on key aspects of the uncosted Tory manifesto, but we all know that she has. She’s changed her mind because she’s a blowhard who collapses at the first sound of gunfire. Likewise, Kezia has clearly changed her mind on the subject of independence. There are no longer any circumstances under which she would consider allowing the people of Scotland to escape becoming drones in the slave army of the lizard aliens from the distant galaxy where Theresa May formulated her Brexit plans.
In the real world it’s OK to change your mind. I’ve changed my mind about Kezia Dugdale. I used to think that she was probably a nice person in private, but as leader of the Labour party in Scotland she was way out of her depth. Now I think that Kezia is probably a nice person in private, but as leader of the Labour party in Scotland she’s totally out of her depth.
I’ve changed my mind about Ruth Davidson too. To be honest, I’ve never had much time for Ruth Davidson. I despise her for saying that we should get over the Thatcher era because she can’t even remember it. Well I bloody remember it, and it was brutal. If we don’t remember the brutalities of the past, we’re condemned to repeat them in the future, and the future that Theresa May has in store for us looks like it’s going to be even more brutal and inhumane than the Thatcher era. At least during the 1980s we had housing benefit and foodbanks were unheard of. At least during the 1980s there wasn’t an epidemic of benefits sanctions. At least during the 1980s there were strong trade unions.
I’ve never had much time for Ruth Davidson because I have a very low opinion of anyone who believes that the entire point of the LGBTQ movement was “please don’t be nasty to gay people so that we can be reactionary Daily Mail reading bastards too”. The Tories were the main obstacles to LGBTQ equality because they were the party of stigmatisation and prejudice. They’re still the party of stigmatisation and prejudice, they’ve just changed the targets of their hatred. Now they focus on the poor, the low paid, the disabled, migrants, and the Scots. It’s not OK to support bigots just because the group you belong to is no longer a target of their bigotry.
Despite all that, I did think that Ruth Davidson was human, shouty and unpleasant, totally full of herself, possessing the political insight of an empty crisp packet, attention grabbing with a propensity to cheap photo opportunities and entirely lacking in any political substance, but human. However I’ve changed my mind, at least on the human part. Now I think that she’s an alien lizard person from that distant galaxy where Theresa May is formulating her Brexit plans.
Ruth the Lizard Alien is now trying to make out that the real issue here isn’t that she’s a lizard alien whose idea of standing up for the people of Scotland is to demand that we all bend over and offer up our arses as bicycle parks for the Tory government in Westminster. She’s trying to make out that the real issue is that Nicola Sturgeon revealed a private conversation to the public. That might be the case, if it wasn’t for the fact that Kezia had herself made her thoughts about changing the Labour party’s stance on independence known in that newspaper article. It can’t be comfortable being defended by Ruth Davidson. That’s like championing human rights and then finding out that Attila the Hen is a big fan.
The truth is that Kezia Dugdale changed her mind on independence, and then she changed her mind back again. Now Labour in Scotland is firmly behind the Conservative party and expects Scottish behinds to be used as bicycle racks for Tory Brexit plans, because after Brexit no one will be able to afford petrol anyway.
It’s fine to change your mind, but where politicians lose credibility is when they try to pretend that their changed position is the same position that they’ve always held. That’s dishonest. It’s precisely that kind of dishonesty which has reduced Theresa May’s predicted crushing majority to hung parliament terrority in some polls, and it’s the same kind of dishonesty that has reduced the Labour party in Scotland to irrelevance. Tomorrow we have a chance to show them what we think of them. Let’s vote to keep the Tories, and their little helpers, out.
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