Today, Thursday, the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called upon the British Government to devolve the powers to hold a legally watertight independence referendum to the Scottish Parliament. There has been, as yet, no official response from the Conservative government in London, but we already know that they’re going to say no. Saying no is the default position of Tories when it comes to Scotland. During the general election campaign Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson said that he’d return a request for a Section 30 order back to Nicola Sturgeon unopened. He’s not even going to do Scotland the courtesy of paying attention to the legitimate democratic demands of the voters of Scotland as expressed in that general election which he bases his own mandate upon.
In today’s Queen’s Speech in the Commons, the monarch will speak of her government’s determination to uphold the integrity of the UK. By which they mean the physical integrity, the political and moral integrity went out of the window a very long time ago. According to reports in various papers, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson has now decided to respond by adopting a different tone in his dealings with Scotland. He’s still going to keep us locked in the basement and refuse to listen to anything our elected representatives say, but now instead of sticking his fingers in his ears and telling us to piss off, he’s going to stick his fingers in his ears and tell us to piss off please. Which makes all the difference. Nanny always told little Alexander to say please and thank you, because that makes the working classes feel appreciated and listened to.
Other reports claim that faced with such a stark rejection of him and his policies north of the border, the Prime Minister is going to love bomb Scotland. That’s a deeply alarming development, as just about any woman who’s ever been loved bombed by Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson can attest. He just gets you pregnant and then pisses off and refuses to take responsibility for the child while penning articles in the Telegraph about the fecklessness of single mothers.
I seem to recall there was a good deal of love bombing of Scotland going on during the fag end of the referendum campaign in 2014, when the British nationalists were in a blind panic because they were terrified that Scotland was about to vote for independence. We got declarations of undying love, promises that we were a much cherished and equal partner in a family of nations, exhortations to lead the UK not to leave it. And how did that all work out exactly? Oh yeah. We were left holding the Brexit baby while the likes of Boris Johnson penned articles in the right wing press about how feckless Scotland is.
The issues that Scotland has with Westminster and the British state are not matters of tone, they’re matters of substance. They will not be solved by Boris Johnson suddenly discovering politeness in his dealings with a Scotland that has been treated with contempt for years, nor anything of import be changed by Boris Johnson practising more of those dubious charms upon a Scotland which has already shown itself to be immune to them. The faux-bumbling posh boy clown schtick might play well in certain circles in Englandshire, but for the most part people in Scotland see right through him. What we see is a conniving liar, a blustering bully, and an arrogant boor who oozes entitlement and privilege. A new script from a man whose entire persona is an artifice is still just that, a work of fiction.
Love bombing is what happens when Westminster realises that it has a problem in Scotland, and isn’t disposed to do anything of substance in order to solve it. It’s a cosmetic exercise, the modern equivalent of beads and mirrors for the natives and giving the chief of a small village of mud and straw houses the title of king. It changes nothing. Scotland isn’t going to stop being unhappy with the direction of British politics just because Boris Johnson starts to patronise us. His patronising politeness is just a thin veneer to disguise his entitlement.
Meanwhile the Labour party in Scotland have decided that they’re going to vote against another referendum in 2020 when it comes before the Scottish Parliament. In the wake of their electoral annihilation they promised that they were going to reflect and review, and rethink they way in which they do politics in Scotland. Which is pretty much what they promised in 2011, in 2015, and in 2016. The result of their period of reflection will be the same as it was before. Having reflected and reviewed, they will decide that it’s the electorate which is wrong. The problem with the Labour party’s branch office in Scotland is that it doesn’t understand the difference between a period of reflection and staring at itself in a mirror telling itself how fabulous it is.
Labour has decided that it’s going to devote what is left of its energy and reserves into reviving the cold dead and rotten body of the Federalism Fairy. Every time Scotland give the anti-independence parties a scare, we get the bones of the Federalism Fairy waved about like the executed corpse of a counterfeiter dangling from a gibbet, but as on all the previous occasions it will come to naught. It’s only the Labour party branch office in Scotland which ever talks about federalism. There is as much interest in the topic in England as the airtime given to the Camanachd Cup on BBC West Midlands. It’s not going to happen, no matter how often Gordie Broon intervenes for the very first time. Everyone knows it’s not going to happen. Even BBC Scotlandshire can’t work up much enthusiasm for it any more.
However Labour’s dangerous delusion is as nothing compared to what’s going on in the Conservative party in Scotland. The Jackson Carlaw Ruth Davidson Fan Club Successor Party has for its part decided that losing over half its seats in Scotland in an election campaign which they fought solely on the basis of opposition to another independence referendum is in fact an amazing victory for the forces of British nationalism. Despite the fact that every single Tory election leaflet, every single appearance on the TV, and every single poster told us that this was an election campaign about saying no to another independence referendum to the exclusion of all other issues, what’s left of the Tories in Scotland have decided that the election wasn’t really about an independence referendum at all, and that they won a resounding triumph.
There’s never been a greater display of political delusion in Scotland since Ruth Davidson was described as the next First Minister and Ross Thomson was hailed as a potential future leader of the Scottish Conservatives. However with their denial of what the people of Scotland so very clearly voted for last week the Conservatives have crossed the line between being merely delusional to being dangerous and delusional. Their delusion is threatening democracy itself. Scotland is being denied its democratic right, as expressed at the ballot box, by Conservatives who insist that Scotland is a partner in a union. But not so much of a partner that it’s for the people of Scotland to decide when they want to re-examine the partnership. The Conservatives have taken that role for themselves, and in the process have abrogated democracy in Scotland.
As the great Russian author Dostoyevsky said, “The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.” The Conservatives in Scotland have no respect for Scotland, and no self-respect because they’ve lied so often that they no longer know what respect means. But it’s not entirely true to say that they have ceased to love. They love their careers. They love their personal advancement. They love power. They no longer know the difference between what is good for the short term interests of the Conservative party and what is good for Scotland, and they no longer care – if they ever did. That is why they’re evil. The truly evil person isn’t one who does evil knowing it is evil, it is the person who no longer knows the difference between good and evil. It’s the person who denies democracy while telling us it’s for our own good. That’s the path to authoritarianism. That’s the path that the Conservatives want to take us all down. 2020 will be the year of telling them no.
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