Yesterday we learned about the failure of Donalda McKinnon to restore trust in the BBC in Scotland, and the very same day there was even more evidence why this was the case and proof of BBC Scotland’s failure.
The new leader of the Scottish branch office of the English Nationalist Brexit Xenophobe Party, Vacant Carlot, refused to answer questions about his bosses’ new immigration policy. Not a single representative from the political organisation which is devoted to ensuring that Scotland must obey dictats which originate from Boris Johnson was willing to defend or explain the UK Conservative government’s changes to immigration policy. This is not unrelated to the fact that the new immigration policy has been roundly condemned by figures across Scottish business. That’s precisely what makes it newsworthy. Even the staunchly Brexit supporting CEO of the Scottish Seafood Association, the former Conservative candidate Jimmy Buchan, has warned that the changes to immigration rules will be catastrophic for the Scottish fishing industry. Yesterday other figures from Scottish business were queueing up to tell us how the new immigration rules are going to inflict serious damage on important sectors of the Scottish economy. And these are rules which are being introduced by the political party that preens itself as the party of business.
Yet we’re still waiting to hear from anyone in the Scottish Conservative branch office about why these new rules are a good thing. We’ve not heard from any of those Tories who are usually all to eager to appear on our TV screens and radio programmes in order to tell us just how vile the SNP is. And although we were told by a couple of BBC journalists that they’d asked for a statement but didn’t get one, no one from the BBC went and tracked down a Conservative politician on their doorstep, or even in Holyrood. Glenn Campbell didn’t hare about Fife looking for a damning quote. The interview sofas were as empty as the space where Annie Wells is supposed to do joined up thinking.
The Tories are all over the media like a peanut allergy whenever it comes to SNPbaddery, but when it comes to defending the actions of their own party they’re scarcer on the ground than a positive news story about independence on Reporting Scotland. Perhaps a public service broadcaster might offer the public which pays for it a better news service if it refused to allow representatives of political parties to appear when there is a story in their favour if they won’t also appear to defend stories which are bad for them. Just a thought. Otherwise what we get is a public service broadcaster which is used for a platform to condemn the actions of the Scottish government, but which is strangely silent when it comes to condemnation of the British government. Oh wait, that’s exactly what we’ve got.
We hear today that the Tory contingent in Holyrood is privately beelin’ about the changes to immigration policy. Not beelin’ enough to say anything about it in public, mind. Certainly not beelin’ enough to do anything about it either. Vacant Carlot was confronted by the press after First Minister’s Questions, but still refused to state the obvious – that the new immigration policy is bad news for Scotland. The man who used to make his living flogging auld motors couldn’t see any mileage in this mess. “It’s a work in progress,” said Vacant Carlot, adding that it was really all our own fault because we haven’t properly understood what is being proposed by UK ministers. Although he didn’t bother to tell us exactly what it was that we’ve all been getting wrong.
What he really meant by “work in progress” of course was that it was a work in progress to find some means of covering the collective arses of the Conservatives in Scotland. A new paint job to cover the rust, the lack of brakes, and the motor with a failing transmission. Vacant Carlot told us that he hopes to see the Prime Minister when he visits London in a few days time, and that he expected that we should have an immigration system which is appropriate for Scotland’s needs. By which he meant that he was going to beg Boris Johnson for some minor tweak which he could then sell to the Scottish media as a major concession.
The Scottish Tories had a chance to make an impact upon the policies of the UK party in the last parliament when they potentially held the balance of power. With fewer MPs, the Northern Irish DUP was very successful in extracting piles of cash and major changes in policy from Theresa May, but the Scottish Tories sat on their hands and did the square root of hee-haw. Now their reduced contingent has no power and no influence at all. Boris Johnson doesn’t need them, and he’s not in the business of placating Tories in Scotland – he’s in the business of placating the Daily Mail and the Express, and pandering to the worst excesses of right wing xenophobic English Brexiter nationalism.
As the DUP have learned to their cost, so the Scottish branch office of the English Nationalist Brexit Party is discovering. Calling yourself a “unionist” is merely another way of painting “mug” on your forehead and begging for your arse to be kicked. The British state will only protect your interests when they happen to coincide with its own interests. When they no longer do so, you’ll be betrayed. Some of those who oppose independence may call themselves loyalists, but British loyalty runs only in the one direction. Loyalty without reciprocity is indistinguishable from submission.
The vacant carlot that is the Scottish Conservatives is going to be filled with a lot more embarrassment before Boris Johnson is done. As far as he is concerned, their job is not to speak up for Scotland within the British government, it’s to speak up for the British government within Scotland – and to expect nothing in return. That’s what Britishness in Scotland really means. It means being taken advantage of, being taken for granted, and being humiliated and embarrassed. There’s going to be a lot more of that before Boris Johnson is done. Scotland is suffering in the process, and the Conservatives in Scotland are colluding in the damage. We need a media that’s going to hold them to account. We need a media that’s going to point out that a Scotland which isn’t treated with respect by the British government, a British government which routinely breaks its promises and commitments to Scotland, is a Scotland that’s being taken for a mug.
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