The road to Hell, blog posts, and post-referendum vows is paved with good intentions. Or at least that holds true for two items on the list, whether there were ever any good intentions in the vow is very much a matter for debate. In fact, it’s debatable whether there ever was a vow in the first place, because it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that it only ever existed in the febrile minds of Gordie and the editor of the Daily Record. More a ciao than a vow then, as it meant we could say goodbye to any hopes of substantive extra powers for Holyrood.
In the Peanuts cartoon strip, there was a recurring gag when Charlie Brown attempted to kick a football, one of those oddly shaped ones like Gordie’s heid, held into place by his friend Lucy. Whenever Charlie Brown went to kick the baw, Lucy wheeched it away. Yet Charlie Brown fell for it every time. He’s clearly a close relative of Gordie. Lucy was never going to let Charlie Brown kick the baw, just like Westminster was never going to fulfil the vow that Gordie assured us was a done deal. Snoopy won’t be doing his happy dance.
The debates in Westminster this week were obstensibly about extra powers for Scotland and the implementation of the infamous vow, however the debate was taken up almost in its entirety with arguments over English devolution. Predictably, proceedings descended into Labour and the Tories arguing over what was best for their own party interests. The only person who seemed shocked by this turn of events was Charlie, sorry, Gordie. This is because if anyone is going to break their word but pretend that they haven’t, it will be Gordie, and he’s not happy that others have trodden on astroturf he regards as rightfully his.
Despite his much heralded intellect, Gordie suffers from a very special kind of stupid, the kind that only highly intelligent and deeply vain people suffer from, people whose IQs are the square root of their egos. Gordie may be highly intelligent in getting a PhD about the early history of the Labour party, but he has the social intelligence of monkey wrench. He is, quite literally, a tool. People like Gordie get used by those who may not partake in his impressively large ego, his intellectualosity, and his ability to come out with phrases like endogenous growth devolution, but who are far more politically and socially shrewd. Lenin called monkey wrenches like Gordie ‘useful idiots’. Gordie was played, brought down by his own ego and the mistaken belief that he can out-think everyone around him. It’s the arrogance of the small town boy who was always the brightest in his class at school, and who thinks this means he’s brighter than everyone on the planet.
If I was ever a telly interviewer, there’s a question I’d like to put to Gordie – I’d ask him to name one, just one, policy he had implemented because it was the right thing to do, even though it had damaged his party’s chances of election and his own career. Bet ye he couldn’t answer, and this is why I’ll never be a telly interviewer – I wouldn’t let it go. Gordie has never willingly put the greater good above the interests of Gordie and the British Labour party, because in Gordie’s eye the greater good always, by an eerie coincidence, just happens to be what’s good for Gordie. Spooky.
Yet this is the same Gordie who wanted voters to believe that he, and the rest of the misbegotten Westminster party leaders, would put aside personal and party interests in order to fulfil a vow to the people of Scotland. And Gordie, being the tool fool that he is, probably genuinely believed that Davie, Ed and Nick would go along with what was good for Gordie. Davie Cameron looked at Gordie’s proposal for a vow, and saw a monkey wrench to stick in the devo-works. It is below the belt to cast aspersions on a person’s mental health – but you do have to wonder whether Gordie is just a bit of a nutter. Actually no. You don’t need to wonder, it’s really quite certain that Gordie’s contact with reality is at best tangential.
On Friday Gordie published an article in the Guardian. The focus of his upset was not what happens to Scotland under Cameron’s proposals for devolution, but rather what happens to Scottish MPs. Or more specifically, to him and his British Labour co-conspirators. They will no longer be able to vote on “English only” matters. And by devolving all income tax, Cameron has ensured that’s going to include the budget. At a stroke, Gordie, the Smurph and St Dougie the Creeping Jesus will be denied the possibility of cabinet seats. That’s the second classness that really bothers Gordie, not the second class nature of a hauf arsed devolution proposal that includes a random selection of tax raising powers but doesn’t include much else, and certainly not the ability for Holyrood to set up a Scottish nation TV channel.
However Gordie doesn’t need to worry, because there may not be that many second class British Labour MPs in Scotland after the next General Election. They’re all third class runners up, and there won’t be that many of them. The latest polls show that British Labour is about to experience its very own version of lemmingdom. Since the referendum the party’s vote share in Scotland has fallen off a cliff. In the most recent YouGov poll, the Scottish subsample shows that British Labour is – almost unbelievably – returning a lower vote share than the Tories. The Tories poll 20%, British Labour a paltry 19%. “Others”, those small parties and regional parochial parties too insignificant for YouGov to notice, have been polling over 50%. That’ll be the SNP and the Greens then. Although other polls do show Labour ahead of the Tories in Scotland – although not by much – all agree that the SNP and the other pro-independence parties are well ahead, and UKIP, the BBC’s favourite “other party” is nowhere to be seen.
The BBC is doing all it can to rescue the situation, and has decided quite arbitrarily that the SNP, the Greens, and Plaid Cymru will be excluded from the leaders’ debates scheduled for before the next General Election. It’s all that stands between business as usual and the prospect that pro-independence MPs will hold a majority of Scottish Westminster seats. That will mean that Westminster’s devolution proposals will be unlikely to secure a democratic mandate within Scotland, and will instead have to be imposed by English votes. English Votes for Scottish Laws, it was ever thus.
Magrit Curran better hurry up with her consultation of pissed off East Enders then. The only thing I don’t like about my new hoose is that Magrit is my MP – although probably only until May. The seat fell to the SNP in the 2008 by-election. I’m still waiting for my invite to yer consultation Magrit, by the way. I’d be delighted to tell you at length and in colourful detail exactly where things have gone wrong for you, and why it’s far too late for you to do anything about it. All that’s left for Magrit is to consult under a rock along with Wullie Bain and Ian Davidson.
Many years ago I remarked that Scotland would become independent, not because it was the expressed and settled will of the voters of Scotland, but because the Westminster parties would be incapable of putting the continuation of the Union above narrow party interests. That’s one prediction that looks like coming true. If only I had the same success with lottery numbers.
There will not be any more blog posts this week. The big move is on Tuesday, and I am currently surrounded by packing cases and I won’t have internet access until everything is reconnected in the new house. And I’m trying to give up smoking. With limited success, so I am really, really tetchy right now. Magrit, you have been warned.