“Well that was totally unexpected and absolutely no one could have predicted that it would happen. I never saw it coming,” said the guy who walked out into the middle of the M8 during rush hour and was run over by a fish lorry. That’s pretty much the response of Scottish Conservative supporters to the news that Theresa May’s government has sold out the Scottish fishing industry in order to secure some progress during the Brexit negotiations with the EU. This is a development that everyone who isn’t a supporter of the Scottish Conservatives was warning about. You can’t trust a Tory with a Scottish interest. They’ll only either sell it, betray it, or shoot it. Or sometimes all three. Just ask Bambi’s maw.
The fishing industry is important politically and psychologically in Scotland. As a contributor to the UK economy it’s pretty dwarfish and the UK’s Brexit team thinks dwarfish is a type of mackrel, a wet fish they’re using to slap Scotland about the face. There was never the slightest doubt that the Westminster government would sell out Scotland’s fishing communities in order to gain some traction for negotiations on matters that they actually care about – like the right of the City of London to keep money laundering for obscenely wealthy Russian kleptocrats, or selling bombs to the Saudis so that they can drop them on Yemeni hospitals.
The little cohort of Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives™ at Westminster are doing a not entirely convincing impression of impotent rage. They’re going to bring down Theresa May’s government if they don’t get their way, according to some of the headlines in a British nationalist press that for once isn’t able to blame the SNP for what has happened. If only the Tories had poisoned the fish stocks with Novichoks, then they could run story after story about Thatalicsammin having a telly show on RT. Instead they have to put up with Adam It’s The Law! Tomkins looking like he’s chewing a wasp, which to be honest isn’t that much different from the look on his face every time he tells Holyrood that everything is illegal. However back on planet Earth we all know that there is as much chance of the Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives™ voting down Theresa May as there is of Nicholas Witchell taking a dump in the Queen’s handbag.
It now transpires that no one in the Scottish Conservatives was told in advance that the government they support was going to sell them out on the issue that saw many of them elected – the promise that Scotland would regain control of its fishing grounds after Brexit. However since the only one of them who enjoys cabinet membership, David Mundell, the Secretary of State for Stuffed Toys and Gutted Fish, wasn’t even invited to the UK Government’s Brexit planning talks, it wasn’t exactly earth-shatteringly unexpected that no one in Westminster could be arsed enough to keep Ross Thomson in the loop. The great Russian writer Tolstoy once wrote that when we dig down into the very deepest and darkest recesses of the human psyche, we discover unpleasant little things that ought to have lain there unnoticed. He was clearly thinking about Ross.
The Tories broke the only significant promise that they had made to Scotland during the general election of 2017 as soon as they were elected when they backed proposals for Westminster to seize control of the devolved power over fisheries from Holyrood, and now they’ve broken it again because the EU will retain control over fishing quotas during the transitional period after Brexit. Only it’s much worse, during that period the UK will not be involved in negotiations to set quotas, it will only be “consulted”. As a member of the EU the UK is at least involved in the discussions to set fishing quotas, now the UK’s representatives won’t even be in the room when their future is debated. So now they know what it feels like to be Scottish. The UK will remain fully subject to all EU rules and regulations, but won’t have any opportunity to vote on them. How’s that taking back control working out for you?
But the UK will be consulted in the same way that Westminster consults with Holyrood over Brexit, so that’s OK right? But not to worry, Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives™ are now promising that after the transitional period they will definitely absolutely positively pinky promise honest to God deliver on it after Brexit when they have ensured that Holyrood can’t do anything about it and they won’t have any leverage on Theresa May. See? Sorted. You can trust the Tories. Bambi’s maw will vouch for them.
Some Tories are trying to salvage a little piece of dignity from this slap in the face with a wet fish from their own government by pointing out that the SNP want Scotland’s fishing industry to remain subject to EU fishing regulations. And that would be true. The difference however is that the SNP want Scotland to have its own voice and vote in EU matters as a member state in its own right, which means that Scotland would be involved in the negotiations and would have a vote and a voice in setting fishing quotas, and wouldn’t settle for a crappy deal as a squid pro quo for allowing the City of London to keep flogging financial products and luxury properties to dictators who’ve made all their money by theft.
The Tories promised that Scotland would regain control over its fishing grounds because they said that the current situation didn’t allow Scotland a say, but what they’ve actually delivered is even worse than the current situation. It’s a bit like a plastic surgeon who says that he can make you more handsome with a nose job, and then he amputates it. The Tories have cut off Scotland’s nose to spite the EU’s face.
The Tories took a bad situation and made it worse. Now the nearest thing that the UK has to a fishing policy is the fact that Michael Gove looks like a startled goldfish. Scotland would find that a dead goldfish stood up for it more effectively than Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives™. It’s time Scotland treated the Tories like a dead goldfish, and flushed them away.
The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.
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