Sigh. Uggh. Sigh. Where’s a brick wall that I can bang my head off? Eh? What? Oh God. Uggh. Sigh. Wankers! Sigh. Uggh. … That’s British politics these days. I hope that you’re all enjoying the stability and security of the United Kingdom that Scotland was promised in 2014. There are precarious piles of nuclear waste contaminated with the bacterial contents of the bowels of a dead herd of mad cows which are more stable, and considerably better for your health too.
So, where we are now is that the House of Commons gazed upon Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson’s Brexit deal, and went – “Screw you.” Then they spent the day turning parliamentary procedure into a mechanical digger to dig a ditch for the Prime Minister to die in. This happened partly because he had decided to throw the DUP under the Brexit bus, and the DUP called upon some of their paramilitary pals and put a bomb under it. This, by the way, ought to be a lesson to Scotland’s unionists. For the British establishment you are disposable. Your protestations of loyalty, your obsequeousness, your toadying, it all counts for naught. Because the second that your interests stand in the way of what the British government wants, you will be abandoned. Your loyalty is not reciprocated, and one sided loyalty is indistinguishable from being taken for a fool.
This Commons defeat also happened partly because this is a Prime Minister who can’t be trusted not to use his deal to crash out of the EU without a deal anyway. According to this deal, the UK and the EU have a year in which to negotiate a free trade deal, and if that can’t be achieved then the UK crashes out without a deal. This is not a Prime Minister who can be trusted to negotiate in good faith, any more than you could trust Dracula to look after your prize winning collection of garlic plants.
And that, by the way, is one very good reason why it would have been double plus folly for the SNP to have supported it in return for an agreement on an independence referendum. If he’d got his deal through, this Prime Minister would have his early General Election, he’d be posing as the deliverer of Brexit and would win an absolute majority. Then he’d have no brakes on him making unreasonable and unrealistic demands on the EU, and would just take the UK out of the EU without a deal in a year’s time. It was the prospect of that happening which allowed him to get the Brextremists of the ERG on board. Then in the meantime the SNP would have been hammered in the General Election because they facilitated Brexit, which in turn would allow Johnson to say that Scotland didn’t want an indy referendum and go back on his promise to allow one.
Anyway. That’s not where we are, thank all the gods whose names can be remembered and those whose names have been forgotten. The Prime Minister’s untrustworthiness bit him in the arse today when the Commons voted to pass an amendment put forward by the former Conservative MP and one time leaver of government papers in rubbish bins Oliver Letwin to delay approving of the deal until the withdrawal bill implementing Brexit has been approved. This means that the Benn Act comes into play, which compels the Prime Minister to ask for an extension if the Commons hadn’t passed his deal by 11pm today. He’s now legally obligated to request the EU for an extension to Article 50.
For some weeks now, there has been speculation about how the Prime Minister could continue to insist that he wasn’t going to ask for an extension to Article 50 despite the provisions of the Benn Act. Perhaps he had discovered some clever loophole in the law? Perhaps there was an obscure measure hidden away in the bowels of Parliamentary procedure that would allow him to escape. We’ve now discovered that all along the clever plan was to scream like a baby and stamp his foot.
Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson has reacted to the passage of the Letwin Amendment with all the grace and good nature of a small child who has been told that it’s bedtime. Noooooo! Don’t wannnnnnaaaaa! You can’t make me! If he had an actual dummy he’d have spat it at Oliver Letwin. What passes for statesmanship in the UK these days is the Prime Minister saying that he’s not going to ask the EU for an extension and claiming that the law which compels him to do so does not in fact compel him to do so. Because words mean different things when you’re the World King whose entire life has been a rehearsal for your inevitable ascension to infallability. Possibly this is the real reason why the DUP has fallen out with Johnson, because they’ve only just realised that he doesn’t understand the distinction between being the Prime Minister of the UK and being the Pope.
The nature of the debate, well I say ‘debate’, was summed up by an exchange between the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford and the Prime Minister. The SNP leader remarked that Scotland had been shafted by this deal. Asked how the Prime Minister could justify himself to the people of Scotland in the general election after his government has ignored them and treated them as a second class nation, and whether he would respect the mandate given to the Scottish Parliament for another independence referendum, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson replied, “I hope that you’ll want to join with me in congratulating the English rugby team.” What. The. Actual …
Forget about your democracy Scotland, forget about a mature and grown up consideration of your future. Forget about being treated with respect and consideration by the government of the UK as an equal partner within the UK. England won a rugby match, and it’s simply jockanese anti-English racism of us to want to have a grown up discussion about the constitutional and political future of Scotland instead of congratulating an English sporting team for doing terribly well in a contest that Scotland has already crashed out of.
Still, the entire painful process during the Commons today was almost worth it because it allowed us to see the look on Jacob Rees Mogg’s face. He gave a very good impression of a man who knew he was about to fart very loudly in a very public place, and was equally sure that it was going to be a wet one. This was as he saw the Prime Minister’s chances of surviving the Letwin amendment go much the same way as the squillions of pounds he stands to lose when there isn’t a no deal Brexit at the end of the month.
We are now waiting to see if the Prime Minister of the UK will in fact obey the law and ask the EU for the extension that the Benn Act demands of him. That’s where we are now in this pile of nuclear waste ridden craziness that passes for a United Kingdom. We have a Prime Minister who believes that laws are a species of serving suggestion, and that binding resolutions of the House of Commons do not apply to him. The SNP’s Ian Blackford has warned Johnson that if he doesn’t seek an extension to Article 50, he’ll find himself in court. The Scottish Court of Session plans to review the case brought by Joanna Cherry on Monday if the Prime Minister hasn’t done what the law demands of him. It could very well send the letter on his behalf, and find him in contempt of court for not having done so.
The longer this sorry mess goes on, the more that any residual faith that ordinary voters in Scotland had that Westminster works in their interests shrivels up and dies. Every refusal that the Boorish one makes to obey the law is another knife in the back of the union. The gods alone, named and nameless, know what’s going to happen next week, but one thing we can be sure of is that yet more faith and trust in the UK in Scotland will die. Political sanity means independence.
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