There’s been a bit of time now to digest the debate last night between Corbyn and Johnson. It’s only becoming more and more of an outrage that Scotland’s largest political party was excluded from a debate during which the future of Scotland was such a key topic. There was no one there who was willing to challenge either of the two party leaders when they stated that Scotland wouldn’t be “allowed” to decide its own future in the UK until such time as it suited them. Poll after poll has shown that Tory party members would be happy to sacrifice Scotland in order to secure Brexit. They’d be only too happy to trash Scotland in order to keep it within the UK. These are not people who have our interests at heart, and there was no one from Scotland there to point that out. We only had Jeremy Corbyn telling us that Scotland doesn’t deserve another referendum until it suits him.
The debate had only just started when Nicola Sturgeon was mentioned by name and SNP policies were attacked. Yet there was no right to reply except in a separate programme one hour after the end of the debate. Social media was full of British nationalists in Scotland crowing about the exclusion of the SNP. Yet it’s their own right to have their voices heard that they’re celebrating. It’s their own nation’s impotence that they’re extoling. Imagine having such a low opinion of your own country that you believe that denying it the right to democratic self-determination, denying it even the right to debate its own future on its own terms, is something to be proud of. Imagine having such a low estimation of yourself.
We can be certain now, as if there was any doubt beforehand, that there is no place in the UK’s political system for Scotland’s distinct political voice. The highlight so far of the UK General Election is two London politicians telling Scotland what’s good for it, having first made sure that there would be no one from Scotland there to tell them otherwise. The UK’s political priorities are England’s political priorities, anything else is unimportant, regional, parochial. Keep that sort of thing for your pretendy wee elections to your pretendy wee parliament. The big boys and girls in Westminster will make all the important decisions, and don’t you dare imagine that they’ll listen to Scotland’s voice in Westminster elections.
The debate itself only confirmed that neither Johnson nor Corbyn are fit for leadership. Johnson lied, dissembled, and distracted his way through the hour, talking over everyone else, in love with the sound of his own fnaugh-fnaughing. Corbyn missed open goal after open goal. There’s only one question that needs to be asked of Boris Johnson when the subject of his trustworthiness arises, and that is “How many children do you have?” It’s not a question that Corbyn is ever going to ask, even though it’s the easiest question in the world to answer for the vast majority of people, and the hardest one of all for Boris Johnson.
The Tories even proved their untrustworthiness during the debate. The Conservative Press Office took to rebranding itself as “FactCheckUK” for the duration of the debate, masquerading as a neutral fact checking organisation like Full Fact. It was a classic and blatant example of fake news, of Conservative lies, of deliberately misleading the public during an election campaign. Yet when challenged about it on the BBC Breakfast show the following day, the foreign secretary Dominic Raab claimed, “No one gives a toss about the social media cut and thrust.” Lie often. Lie blatantly. Lie confidently. And when anyone pulls you up for it, shrug your shoulders and say you don’t care. That’s the Conservative way.
We know the Tories don’t give a toss. They don’t give a toss about being found out to be liars. They don’t give a toss about the poor. They don’t give a toss about those whose futures and livelihoods are threatened by Johnson’s Brexit. They don’t give a toss about Scotland. The only thing that they give a toss about is raking in dark money donations from big corporations, offshore trusts, and Russian oligarchs.
In the wee interview section an hour after the debate had ended, during which other party leaders were given a few minutes in an arse covering exercise by ITV, we got the usual ignorance about Scotland masquerading as sharp political questioning by an ITV reporter who would struggle to find Scotland on a map. There was no awareness from the interviewer that Scotland might have a democratic right to determine its own future, that this UK General Election is an election for Scotland as much as for the rest of the UK, and that Scotland’s priorities have every bit as much right to a respectful hearing as England’s.
Jo Swinson got a noticeably easier ride than Nicola Sturgeon. Funny that. She was allowed to go on about the damage Tory policies do, without having to explain why she was so enthusiastic to support those policies just a few short years ago. The exchance was notable solely for yet another illustration, if we needed another illustration, of What Is Wrong With the UK, evidence exhibit number 802193. Swinson was asked whether she’d be prepared to use nuclear weapons. “Yes,” was the immediate reply.
Yes, the Lib Dem leader is quite happy to state that she’d evaporate hundreds of thousands of people in her pursuit of power. Yes, Jo Swinson has no questions about the utility of the UK nuclear so-called deterrent. Yes, the Lib Dems don’t question whether the UK is right to spend billions of pounds on weapons of mass destruction and keep them just a few miles away from Jo Swinson’s own constituency, the one that she doesn’t live in herself. The interviewer thanked her for her “brilliant short answer”. ITV doesn’t have any of those questions either. Trident is a weapon of mass destruction, a political device that exists purely in order to allow the UK to pretend to itself that it’s still a global power. But we’re not allowed to question anything about it, we are only invited to castigate those who point out that it’s morally bankrupt, financially ruinous, toxic, and useless. A bit like the UK, come to think of it.
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