In an interview for Borders Television, in special episode of See It’s Me Street brought to you by the letters F and U, the Governor General of the North British Colonies Alister Jack addressed the natives. All through this crisis we northern barbarians have been deprived of the wisdom of the Great Tousled Haired One, the White-Elephant of the nation, and have longed for instructions from his pith helmeted representative in these benighted lands. Well, we mutht thuppothe that it’th called pith. Or at least, that’s how Jackie Boy looks at it. In his fond imagination, there’s an entire country full of loyal North Britons who hang onto his every word as though we were estate workers incapable of any action without orders from our green wellied laird.
Jack used his address to his subjects to insist that the village elders of Holyrood must not get above themselves and dare think about either lifting coronavirus restrictions or keeping them in place until such time as the British government does likewise in the rest of the UK. Because it would be wrong and separatist for rebellious Caledonian tribespeople to make decisions that are in their own best interests. What’s in the best interests of the natives is what the Colonial Office tells the natives to do. Anything else is just not civilised and would be a symptom of unBritishness that will not be tolerated. It would make Michael Gove come over all slimy. Or at least slimier than usual. It would make that vein on Dominic Raab’s forehead throb more obviously than usual. It would make Priti Patel smirk, and you won’t like that at all. Oh no. Any deviation from the incompetence, malign neglect, and herd-immunity-oh-no-that’s-never-what-we-had-in-mind-at-all of the British state will not be tolerated.
The man who is supposed to be representing Scotland at the highest level of the British government has been silent so far during this crisis. And for that small mercy we should be grateful. We’ve enjoyed several weeks of not being patronised, spoken down to, and ordered about by a clueless rich idiot who only enjoys his lofty position because he allows other rich and well connected Tories to use his estates for holidays. It is a measure of his utter uselessness that even David Mundell had a higher public profile, and David Mundell’s public profile would struggle to get over a roadside kerb.
When Scotland’s care homes were being told that they were not allowed to order vital PPE from suppliers in England on the orders of Public Health England, where was Alister? When Scotland’s self-employed were worried about the catastrophic loss of their incomes, where was Alister? When Scottish workers were terrified that they might not be able to pay their rent or their mortgages, where was Alister? At no time during this crisis has Alister Jack ever spoken up to defend ordinary people in Scotland and to fight for their corner within this British state that he’s always telling us that we need. Not one single word. Not one single syllable.
The British state does what is in the best interests of the British establishment and if that means Scotland’s needs are prejudiced that’s simply for the greater good and we have to suck it up. Yet the second that he thinks that his precious so-called union might be threatened by a Scotland that does what’s best for Scotland, up he pops like a red white and blue puppet. Alister’s job is to defend the interests of the British state in Scotland, the interests of Scotland within the UK – not so much. Well, I say “not so much”. What that really means is not at all.
Just the other day Alister told Good Morning Scotland that it was important that businesses get going again soon because “what we learned from previous analysis of recession and depression is that poverty kills.” Every single day for the past decade Tory imposed austerity and the poverty it has created and magnified has killed. Yet there was not word of complaint from Alister. Yet the second that he thinks that there’s a threat to his own interests and his own wealth, there he is lecturing us on the evils of poverty. The hypocrisy is breath-taking, even by the standards of the Conservatives in Scotland.
Alister wants us to come out of lockdown as soon as possible because he’s thinking first and foremost about business interests and what’s good for the economy not the people. However a Scotland-only decision about when it’s best to come out of lockdown might suggest that we’re not all in this together after all. Alister said in his short interview with Sesame Street, sorry, Borders Television, that the virus doesn’t respect borders, and neither does the economy. Yes, he actually said that. It will be useful to remind him of it when he’s trying to tell us that Scotland shouldn’t become independent. The SNP get slaughtered in the press for saying anything remotely related to independence during this crisis, but it’s just fine for the likes of Alister.
Naturally the interviewer didn’t think to ask him any difficult questions – like asking him if he thought that the Scottish government wasn’t capable of making a decision that’s best for Scotland, or asking him why he thought that Scotland should come out of lockdown if the Scottish government and Scottish public health bodies didn’t think that was the correct decision for Scotland. It’s not just human beings who are dying during this crisis, it’s basic journalism and holding the government to account.
There’s plenty in Alister’s short statement that ought to have provoked some serious and hard hitting questions from any journalist who was interested in doing more than providing a rich and privileged idiot with a platform from which to spout his entitlement. This is a man whose ideological attachment to the British state is so great that he would rather that Scotland remains in lockstep with the rest of the UK even if the evidence shows that Scotland’s situation is different and merits a different response.
If there is evidence that the lockdown can safely be lifted in Scotland but not elsewhere in the UK, Alister would prefer that Scottish workers can’t get back to work, and the economy can’t start to return to normal, as that’s better in his eyes than people in Scotland realising that there might ever be a time when Scotland could do things differently. Alister would prefer that Scottish workers lose their jobs and their livelihoods rather than risk any threat to his precious so-called Union. That would be bad enough, but it would be even worse if there were evidence that it’s not safe for Scotland to come out of lockdown when the rest of the UK comes out of it. Alister would prefer that people in Scotland risk their lives and expose themselves to the risk of catching a potentially lethal infection just in order to prove his Better To Die Together point.
Just because he talks with a posh voice doesn’t mean we don’t hear that he’s speaking bollocks. The days when cut glass posh accents led Scottish people to their deaths are over Alister. What is really worrying Alister is that his party and his government’s appalling handling of this crisis is putting his preciousssss at risk. There’s Alister there, who has done sweet FA for Scotland during this crisis, telling us that we need to do what’s best for the Conservative party and not what’s best for Scotland. He’s not just incompetent, he’s dangerous.
And finally, because we could all do with some cheering up during these difficult times…
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