The Conservative leadership contenders are vying with one another to see which can be the most unpleasantly right wing, like an episode of Britain’s Got Unbalanced. Johnson loyalists are briefing against the insanely ambitious Rishi Sunak, telling the right wing press that the former Chancellor is a socialist. Saying that Sunak is a socialist is like describing Jeffrey Epstein as a philanthropist who was deeply concerned about the welfare of pubescent girls. Sunak’s campaign has replaced the last i in his given name with an exclamation mark in order to make Rish! seem like he has a personality, which has the unfortunate effect of making him come across like one of those teenage girls who replaces the dots on the i’s in her name with little hearts, but only if she is an obscenely wealthy and out of touch child who had spent the last three years plotting to assassinate her tap dance teacher. Rish! launched his campaign by confessing that his worst fault was his perfectionism, which might have been more convincing, although it would still have been cringe worthy, if he hadn’t at the time been sitting in front of a sign which spelled the word ‘campaign’ wrong.
At this juncture all any of them have to do to be ahead of the game is to point out that unlike Liz Truss, they can actually find the exit from a room which only has one door. That’s how low the bar is set.
One of Sunak’s leading supporters in the Scottish Conservatives is West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Andrew Bowie. Bowie is even more smug than Sunak is, which is quite remarkable since Bowie doesn’t have Sunak’s several hundred million pound fortune. Rish! is a man of the people, but only if the people can afford luxury yachts and their own private helicopters.
Bowie excitedly told the Times newspaper this week that one of the reasons he backs Rish! is that the Prime Careerist in waiting wants to introduce legislation allowing his government to ‘circumvent’ Holyrood because according to Tweedlesmug and Tweedlesmugger, ‘the SNP does not govern in the interests of the people of Scotland.’ Yes, it was actually a Tory party that imposed a hard Brexit on Scotland that Scotland didn’t want that said that. The Conservative party does not govern in the interests of the people of Scotland, a fact which the people of Scotland have recognised, which is why the Conservatives have not won an election in Scotland since the 1950s.
What Bowie is neglecting in his smuggery is that the only reason the SNP is in any position to govern at all is because the people of Scotland voted to put them there. Democracy in the UK has become so devalued that a representative of a party that has not won an election in Scotland for over thirty years before Andrew Bowie was born, can actually propose legislation to allow that party to overrule the Scottish Parliament because the people of Scotland obstinately keep voting in a way that Bowie’s party doesn’t like. It is not for the Conservative party to decide what the interests of the people of Scotland are, it’s for the people of Scotland.
The entire point of the devolved Scottish Parliament in the first place was to allow the British state to neutralise one of the strongest arguments for independence, which was that independence was needed in order to protect Scotland from Conservative policies and Governments that Scotland didn’t vote for. All the way through the 1980s and 1990s, the Labour and Lib Dem parties told Scotland that a devolved parliament could give Scotland the control it needed and would be able to mitigate damaging Conservative policies. We see now how hollow that promise is. Both Labour and the Lib Dems are determined to ignore Holyrood because the people of Scotland had the temerity to vote for a Scottish Parliament promising another independence referendum,. There is nothing that Holyrood can do to make up for Brexit and Holyrood is powerless against a Conservative run Westminster which is determined to unilaterally trash the devolution settlement despite all the fine words of 2014’s Vow.
Naturally this blatant affront to basic democracy has been met with howls of outrage in the Scottish media. Or at least it would have been outraged if it wasn’t so busy whipping up some SNP baddery about the Arran ferry or telling us how the next UK General Election cannot possibly be a de facto referendum, because reasons.
If the people do not believe that a governing party operates in their interests, they can vote against that party at the next election. That’s how democracy works in countries which actually have a functioning democratic system. In Scotland as a part of the UK a party that Scotland has rejected at the polls for seventy years and which has a mere six Scottish MPs can appoint itself the arbiter of what is in the interests of the people of Scotland, and that is just fine with most of the media in Scotland. Democracy in Scotland is broken and in no small measure that’s because most of the media in Scotland will hold power to account only when it’s Holyrood power.
All three of the major British nationalist parties are betraying Scotland. All three of them show by their deeds that they are British nationalist no matter how much they deny their own nationalism and try to make out that the only nationalists in Scottish politics are those who seek independence. All three of them collude to render meaningless the traditional understanding that this so-called union is a voluntary partnership of nations. Scotland, they keep telling us, has the absolute right to self-determination, but the second that it looks like Scotland might wish to exercise that right they find one reason after another to block the independence referendum that Scotland in a democratic election voted to have, and they keep finding spurious reasons for discounting that election result while hypocritically insisting that the outcome of the 2014 referendum must be respected – but not the promises and commitments that they made in order to win it. Scotland’s right to self determination in this UK is like being told by the British nationalists that we have the right to watch the TV whenever we want, but only after they have smashed the screen and hidden the remote control.
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