It’s a dog’s life

According to Wednesday’s Herald, a group of “experts” on devolution have said that there should not be another independence referendum for at least fifteen years. So that’s us telt then, the experts say no. Mind you, at least one of the experts was a fully paid up member of the nawness faction during the referendum, so the fact he’s saying no again counts as consistency, not as news per se. The reason that the period of fifteen years was chosen was because that’s a generation as measured by teenage pregnancy, or the approximate life expectancy of a mongrel dug. It is immensely flattering that unionists think a wee ginger dug made such a contribution to the independence debate that they want to make sure he’s popped his clogs by the time there’s another. But this dug is going nowhere.

The whole generation thing originates in an off the cuff remark made by Alicsammin. Since the UK media and Unionist parties persuaded themselves that Scotland was really voting for alicsammin in September 2014, they feel it’s only right and proper that everyone else in Scotland ought to suffer from the same delusion. They fondly believe that the country rejected alicsammin by 55% to 45% and so the Unionists are quite determined that Scotland shouldn’t have a chance to vote for alicsammin again until alicsammin’s asbo has expired. However since the rest of us thought we were voting for or against independence, a large number of us don’t feel bound by alicsammin’s conversational comments.

I certainly don’t – no one asked me if I was agreeing not to want another independence referendum for a whole mongrel. I don’t recall placing my X in a wee box marked YES in answer to the question: “If it’s a No vote to alicsammin do you agree to shut your gob and tug your forelock until your dog has died and then at such time as a Tory government deigns to allow Scotland to have another referendum because by participating in this referendum you are conceding any rights to an opinion?” I’m sure that wasn’t the question.

The basic principle here is that it’s not for Davie Cameron to be telling Scotland when we can have another referendum, we’ll be telling him. That’s what this democracy lark is all about after all. And let’s not hear any of that guff about respecting the will of the 55%, because as I have previously argued – if there’s going to be another referendum it will be because there is no longer a 55% whose will must be respected.

The truth is that while we may quibble with the experts’ timing, we shouldn’t have another independence referendum for a good while yet, for simple tactical reasons. If we have a referendum too soon, and without a material change in circumstances, the Yes side would lose, and that really would set back the cause of independence for a generation. A proper generation and not just a teenage pregnancy one like you get on all the poverty porn programmes on the telly. That said, Scotland should definitely have another independence referendum – but only when the Yes side knows we’re going to win it. In the meantime, with a majority Tory government, we’re in for a dog’s life.

A week is famously a long time in politics. Fifteen years is an aeon. Fifteen years ago a modem was the height of internet speediness, we had animated gifs instead of video streaming, Facebook and Twitter hadn’t been invented, and social media meant putting an advert in the classifieds in the Evening Times. There was no alternative media in Scotland and we relied almost entirely for our news on Reporting Scotland and the Daily Record. Not surprisingly Labour was utterly dominant, people didn’t giggle every time a Liberal Democratic MSP was interviewed on telly, and idea of independence was the preserve of a marginalised SNP which was struggling to find a place for itself.

All sorts of things could change between now and 2030, none of which will be reported on Reporting Scotland if they’re any good for Scottish independence. Although by then the Tories will have privatised the BBC and outsourced Scottish programming to Serco and we’ll get getting wall to wall reality shows about poorly paid security guards in hi-viz jaikets chasing shoplifters, and an investigative programme in which the last person in the country who hasn’t had their benefits sanctioned is hunted down with hounds – so pretty much like the telly is just now then. However if there’s still a Reporting Scotland in 2030 you can be sure that it will still be doing a sterling service telling us about the important things that happen in Scotland, that would be the murrdurrs, the fitba, something about waiting times in hospitals and how it’s all the fault of the SNP, wee cute kittens and mair fitba.

Back in the present day, the programme has just won an award for being the best Scottish news programme. No seriously. Reporting Scotland has won the RTS Scottish TV award … Aye that’s what I said too … It’s really the “Thank fuck Scotland voted No” award. And they wonder why the traditional media is rapidly losing credibility. Perhaps the RTS has a category for news programmes that try to present the Daily Record in video form, or the best presentation of Labour press releases. Or maybe it’s because you can now get an award for finding new and inventive ways to say SNP bad. Someone ought to tell Kezia Dugdale.

A whole lot of things can change long before the fifteen years are up. There’s the EU referendum looming, there’s the impact on Scotland of five years of durrty Tory basterts. There’s the still unanswered question of a devolution settlement. And there’s a Scottish Parliament election in a year’s time. Scotland can’t tie its constitutional hands for an arbitrary period of time just to keep discredited politicians happy. It’s not for them to be telling us, it’s for us to be telling them. And we will tell them when we’re good and ready for another independence referendum.

We’ll be good and ready for one when Yes is certain to win it. It will be when Scotland is sick of the dog’s life we live under the Tories and a British Labour party determined to ape them. We’ll be good and ready for it when the 55% is no longer a 55%. That’s not yet. But the clock is ticking on the dog’s life.

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Sitting uncomfortably

Are you sitting comfortably? This past week has given us a few significant news stories. There’s the Royal Navy whistle-blower who has revealed that weapons designed to blow up half the planet and turn the other half into a radioactive wasteland are a disaster waiting to happen. In another example of rank insanity the Labour party in Scotland continues on its descent into self obsessed madness, although it had snapped the elastic band of nutjobbery quite some time ago. Now it’s twanging the ends on its forehead thinking that Ken Macintosh is the great new idea. Meanwhile the Tories are about to embark on an all out assault on our civil and human rights, introduce a snoopers’ charter and cut off the legs of the unemployed in order to teach them to stand on their own two feet. What passes for business as usual in this Great British northern province then.

So what’s the big story that has got the metrocommentariat appalled and disgusted? Dennis Skinner had to get an SNP person to budge along a bench. It’s an outrage. He’s a pensioner. The SNP upset an old man. The basterts, setting their beach towels on House of Commons benches like German tourists. Uppity Scottish people demanding front row seats and wanting to be noticed. Where do they think they are? They should stand at the back of the chambers in reverent silence while the lizard aliens who are in charge make all the decisions. It’s always worked like that before.

Mind you, if Davie Cameron really is a lizard alien you do have to wonder why he chose that face for his human form. He should have gone for something less shiny and smug and more believably human. Although to be fair, he was comparing himself to Boris Johnson and the dead fish eyes of George Osborne, and by those standards he’s really done rather well.

But back to seating arrangements. Dennis Skinner is 83 and still sits as an MP. The only other people who continue in their jobs at that age are popes and African dictators. No one could ever accuse Labour MPs of infallibility, although many have accused them of kleptocracy – but never, it must be pointed out, Dennis Skinner. Dennis is a good man, but he’s condemned himself to a fate worse than political death. He thought he was breaking the rules, but the establishment just rewrote the rules so that Dennis and his toothless yelled protests became a part of them.

A long time ago, back when there was still a Labour party in Scotland, Dennis used to be a real radical and a proper rebel with a yell. Then he became a Labour MP and over the course of the decades evolved into a tame pet of the British establishment. Dennis has taken upon himself the invaluable task of representing a peculiarly British safely contained and institutionalised awkwardsoddery. He has become the kind of revolutionary that revolves nothing except a children’s roundabout of ritualised protest, it goes nowhere and serves only to amuse those who think they’re the grown ups.

Dennis sits on a front bench in the House of Commons and shouts out protests which allow the establishment to feel like they’re really democrats and that freedom of speech is alive and well in the United Magic Kingdom of austerity. But everyone knows that Dennis has no sparkly wand and that nothing ever changes. That’s how he can be described as a national treasure. He’s become a faded red thread in the fabric of the cloth he once wanted to rip up. When a rebel has his own recognised place in the institution he’s rebelling against he’s no longer a rebel at all, he’s just a species of court jester with worse jokes. He becomes the subject of the cruellest taunt you can make at an auld rebel: “The sowel, he means well.”

It’s because Dennis is a token rebel who changes nothing that he’s now the darling of the British right wing press. When the Daily Mail is leaping to his defence you know he’s no real threat to the established order but instead is a part of it. The British establishment is using Dennis as a stick to beat up on a group of MPs who really do threaten to change things. That’s a bit of a come down – from the Beast of Bolsover to the neutered pet of the Tory press.

Dennis Skinner sits on his front seat bench as a warning to the 56 SNP MPs. Dennis in his special place railing against the institution that has institutionalised him should act as a permanent reminder of the fate the SNP’s 56 need to avoid. They must not become co-opted and their protests ritualised and neutered. They must avoid becoming the tartan trimming in a Great British pageant. Westminster subverts those who seek to subvert it by demanding adherence to its rituals and its ancient traditions which were for the most part invented by Victorians in a fit of archaistic window dressing.

The SNP’s MPs should sit wherever they damn well please, they should clap and cheer and have no regard for the childish and silly social rituals that underpin Westminster, because otherwise they become co-opted by them. They become Dennis Skinners, a part of an institution that isn’t fit for government and a justification for things remaining as they are. They must never forget that they are not there to become a part of the Westminster furniture, they are there to act as a Scottish noise up in a cosy British establishment old boys club. They are they to annoy, to upset, to be a permanent thorn in the pink and flabby flesh of the lizard people.

But far more importantly Scotland’s MPs must never allow the real issues to be swept under the Great British tapestry. Things which, it shouldn’t need to be pointed out, are far more important than fox hunting or seating arrangements. They are there to shout and scream that the fabric is rotten and is woven out of the threat the Tories pose to our human rights, the demonisation of the poor, the axe that’s being taken to the benefits of the vulnerable, the dangers of a nuclear missile programme mismanaged by muppets, the permausterity of government by the bankers for the bankers.

Scotland’s MPs are there to resist and to point out that alternatives are possible. They are there to weave a new story. They are there to make sure that none of the representatives in that parliament are ever sitting comfortably.

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Unleashing the dogs of woe

It says a lot about the priorities of our Tory overlords that one of the first votes in the Commons is to be a vote to legalise the barbaric cruelty of tearing apart creatures they don’t control with creatures that they do control, taking blood stained pleasure from pain, and garlanding themselves in the entrails of entitlement. It’s not just the intrinsic repulsion that anyone with a basic capacity for empathy feels towards the braying proponents of ritualised cruelty to animals, fox hunting is a metaphor for the Conservatives’ view of the lower orders. Davie Cameron’s government seeks to unleash the dogs of woe on all of us, and that has a lot to do with why fox hunting excites such strong passions. We are all foxes now.

Over the past few days there’s been a lot of will they won’t they about whether the SNP will oppose the Tories’ attempts to reintroduce fox hunting in England. It’s the classic example of an England only issue, and was even cited as such by Nicola Sturgeon during the election campaign when she was explaining why the SNP would vote against privatisation in the English NHS. Currently the SNP is the only party which is taking a party line on the issue of fox hunting. All the other parties treat it as a personal vote, and allow individual MPs to vote according to the dictates of their own consciences. The SNP should do exactly the same.

A majority Tory government puts far bigger issues at stake than the rights of foxes, like for example the rights of human beings, the assault that is about to begin on the poor, the disabled, and the disadvantaged. But fox hunting is the traditional pursuit of the British upper classes and their implacable belief that they are born to rule, that they have the right to ride roughshod over anything and anyone which gets in their way. Fox hunting symbolises all of that, and that is what makes it such a powerfully emotive issue.

Standing up for foxes means standing up against the right of the Tories to ride roughshod over humans too. Good politics means recognising the power of symbolism. The SNP stands for an alternative to austerity, for opposition to Trident, for a new way of doing things. Opposing fox hunting is a symbol for that. It means standing up for the powerless against the powerful. Opposing fox hunting sends a message to the left in England that Scotland hasn’t abandoned them, that we’re not just looking out for ourselves. That we care. It’s the symbolism of solidarity with a small ginger canine.

It doesn’t matter that ripping apart foxes with the teeth and claws of dogs is a hoary old British tradition. It’s torture, and torture is not culture. There are no great constitutional issues at stake here, although the Tories and their allies will try to pretend otherwise. What passes for a British constitution is a set of practices and precedent which the ruling classes make up as they go along in order to advantage themselves. Scotland’s representatives in the House of Horrors should do exactly the same for Scotland’s advantage. And defending the rights of foxes in England does bring advantage to Scotland – because it makes us friends and allies on the English left.

Nicola Sturgeon said during the election campaign that Scotland would work to bring progressive politics to the entire United Kingdom. This is a cost free way of achieving that, a small sign that Scotland will make its mark. We’re all in this Union together, and it does Scotland no favours to be in a Union with a country whose legislators don’t understand the difference between torture and culture. As long as we are in this Union, as long as Scots travel the world and are confused with “the English” because the rest of the world doesn’t appreciate the difference between England and the UK, then Scotland has a moral duty to prevent the Conservatives from making England a laughing stock and an affrontment in the eyes of the world.

The SNP have yet to make a decision on how their 56 MPs will vote on the matter, but it won’t be long before Cameron introduces his bill to prevent Scottish MPs from voting on English only issues. He’s already announced his intentions to introduce legislation soon, so what does Scotland stand to lose by taking a moral stance on fox hunting while Scottish MPs still can? If the SNP abstains, the chances are that the barbaric practice will be legalised. However if they vote against there are enough Tory rebels to give the foxes a running chance of escape.

If the SNP were to vote against the legalisation of tearing living feeling creatures limb from limb with a pack of dogs, Fleet Street would scream in unison that the party was interfering in English affairs, like it was a bad thing to be opposed bone crushing bloody pain and gratuitous cruelty to animals. Daily Mail editorial writers would have apoplexy, although to be honest that’s normal for them, the Torygraph would thunder its disapproval, the Times would tut furiously, and the Guardian would be crushed between the weight of their last remaining liberal sentiments and their instinctive hatred for the SNP.

Scottish voters would look on the ensuing collective harrumphment of outraged outdated unionism and say, “Ha ha. Good!” Ensuring that fox hunting stays banned, upsetting the Tories, and pissing off the UK media all in one move, that’s a result. That’s a good day at the office that is. They have their blood sports, and we have ours. Ours are a lot more fun, and don’t involve ripping living creatures apart – except metaphorically. Making the Tories angry and upset is, in part, what we elected all those SNP MPs for. The 56 are not there to make life easy for the defenders of barbaric traditions and the UK’s OK yahs of privilege. So let’s make things uncomfortable for them. I want to see Jacob Rees Mogg cry. Let’s unleash the Scottish dogs of woe on him and the other upper class proponents of pain and privilege.

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How to kill a coyote

You can’t kill the Coyote. Throw him off an electoral cliff so he plunges into a deep canyon which is impossible to climb out of, crush him under a boulder of votes, run him over with the on-coming Caledonian Express, he’ll still pop up again in the next scene of the Labour cartoon, eternally dooming the party to comedy failure. Jim Murphy has crawled out from underneath another rock, saving his skin by just three votes in a confidence motion at Labour’s Scottish HQ, but he has resigned anyway. Just not yet. In a wee while, next month. He has to hang around for a bit longer so that he can pretend he’s got a shred of dignity left.

Jim won the vote of confidence by 17 votes to 14, which in a fundilymundelicious irony works out at 55% to 45%. But his three vote majority was not quite what it seemed. Jim voted for himself, he also secured the vote of a former member of M16 who now sits in the Lords and who was controversially drafted in at the last moment because Labour has only got one lonely MP left. The surprise nominee is a long standing ally of Jim’s. After those two entirely predictable votes are discounted, really Jim won by just one vote, and that was Nicola Sturgeon’s.

Jim did get the support of Ian Lonely Murray, Scotland’s sole surviving Labour MP. But that was only because the Red Panda realised that as long as Jim stayed in post then he’d avoid most of the flak. Apart from him, Jim’s political passing is mourned only by the plethora of parody accounts on Twitter, who will now turn their attentions to Ian.

So Jim had to go, but not just yet, because a succession of prominent figures in the Labour party south of the border had stated that the party was the party of working people, and the voters of East Renfrewshire sacked Jim from his job. According to the papers, Jim’s resignation has thrown the party into turmoil, which does kind of make you wonder what it’s been in up until now. Something that comes out of a bull’s bum, I’m guessing.

Although I wasn’t present at the meeting, I’d put money on Jim being told that he could have a nominal victory in his vote of confidence, but only on condition that he resigned. It’s that manufactured dignity thing. It looks better in the papers, and allows both Jim and Labour to save a wee bit of face. Right up until Saturday morning Jim gave every indication that he was going to cling on to the post of leader like a dog turd on a leaky wellie without the slightest care that he was going to tread crap all over the party shag pile in the process. He was determined to remain leader even though he knew there was huge opposition against him. Jim showed no inclination to care that he was tearing apart the shattered remnants of the Labour party in Scotland. Yet by Saturday evening we were being informed that Jim didn’t want to divide the party. Uh huh. That’s so in character isn’t it. I strongly suspect that Jim was given no choice – resign or the party would resign itself to giving him the boot.

In a bitter resignation speech, Jim blamed everyone but himself for Labour’s woes. It was the fault of the SNP. It was the fault of the Tories. It was the fault of the voters for not listening to Jim. It was the fault of nationalisms everywhere, including in Tuvalu. It was the fault of previous Labour leaders for leaving abruptly. It was Johann Lamont’s fault for not standing up to Jim constantly briefing against her. But mostly it was the fault of Len McCluskey and the unions for wanting Labour to be left wing.

Jim’s not going to resign like previous Scottish leaders have resigned, before he goes he’s going to work on a plan to reform the party. Mind you, Jim was the one who came up with the plan to reform the party after it was trounced in the 2011 Scottish elections, and that hasn’t exactly worked out well for them. Mostly Jim’s plan will be about getting one over Len McCluskey. Jim thinks it’s wrong that Labour in Scotland can be dictated to by a guy sitting behind a desk in London, although he only objects when it’s a trade union desk, not when it’s the desk of a Labour front bench politician. Some London desks are more equal than others. So Jim’s plan will be to take the last of labour out of Labour, and then hope and pray that Scotland’s voters will vote for the nothing that is left.

Jim’s not going to stand for Holyrood next year – “It’s time for me to do something else,” he said, like maybe finish his degree. But in the meantime he’s off to enjoy a well deserved break somewhere where there’s far less infighting, strife and fundamentalist hatred than the civil wars which are consuming the Labour party in Scotland. Like Syria.

Jim’s tenure as leader of Labour in Scotland ended the same way as it started, with Jim insisting that he knows better than everyone else. If the Labour hierarchy reward Jim’s failure with a peerage, it will be their final death sentence and the party will never recover. Not that their prospects are looking great as it is.

So Jim’s going to come up with a plan which he’s expecting the new party leader to implement. At the same time however, this new leader, whoever he or she may be, will – according to Jim – have complete freedom to take the party in whatever direction they choose. Like for example choosing to take the party in a direction not determined by Jim and his hauf-airsed plans which were responsible for getting them into this mess in the first place.

It’s not going to be easy to find a credible new leader, as Labour’s gene pool is small and rapidly drying up. The choices are not inspiring, just when the party needs a leader with superhuman abilities. There’s Kezia of course, and James Kelly – a man who makes Iain Gray seem warm and human. Whoever it is will not only have to repair Labour’s tattered and threadbare rug, they’ll also have to scrub out the crap trodden into it by Jim. And all this in time for the next Holyrood elections in May next year.

We’re witnessing the end of days for Labour in Scotland. The party was founded as a tool of the labour movement, and it was killed by those who came to believe that the labour movement was just a tool of the Labour party. Not even Wile E Coyote himself could survive that one and live to run another day.

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Resistance is fertile

So the Cameron one has deigned to bestow a visit upon the little Scottish people, who are decidedly unimpressed with his munificence. Caledonian ingrates. Davie promised, nay swore blind, that he’d look at proposals for further devolution. What more do those Pictish types want eh? David Cameron is actually going to think about Scottish devolution, and according to the fervid UK media, that’s pretty much a guarantee that he’s going to offer a new devolution settlement and kill Scottish nationalism stone dead again. In fact it’s cast iron and as solid as a vow from Gordie Broon, because that worked out so well for them the last time. Gordie promised all sorts of amazing super-powers, although the only one which materialised was the power of invisibility, and he kept that one for himself.

Mind you, a promise to look at something isn’t quite the same as a promise to commit, get married, and settle down and get a Labrador puppy together. I might promise to go out on a hot date with a guy who gets fantastic write ups in the papers as god’s gift to gorgeousness, but upon discovering he’s Jim Murphy and the gorgeousness exists purely inside his own head then the date going to end at the soup course, with the soup over Jim’s expansive head. In fact that’s pretty much what happened when Jim invited the voters of East Renfrewshire out on a five year engagement.

Despite the rejection, Jim’s not taking no for an answer and is now stalking the Scottish body politic like a creepy ex-boyfriend with a wilted bunch of flowers he got from a BP garage in Neilston, begging us not to leave him and swearing blind that the next time he won’t let us down. Although at least some of that Gordie Broon magic has rubbed off on him, and he’s acquired the power of invisibility too.

The big difference between Jim and Davie is that there’s no way that anyone, not even Alan Cochrane, can get away with claiming that Davie is approaching the topic with an open mind. Alan was on Sky News today complaining that the SNP had won too many seats, and causing his fictional memoirs to be remaindered in bookshops. Alan was convinced that he’d single handedly defeated the forces of Alicsammin last year, and now those same forces are not only scoffing openly at his literary efforts, his beloved Union is at greater risk that it ever was and likely to end up unloved and unwanted in the bargain basement along with Alan’s book.

To be fair, very few people in Scotland have an open mind where Davie is concerned, we’ve all seen how the Tories operate. We remember that in 1979 the Tories promised that if Scotland voted no to the limited home rule offer in that year’s referendum that they’d give us something “better”, and that something better turned out to be Maggie Thatcher. The trauma of that event caused a mutation in the Scottish genome leaving the Scottish electorate with a genetic immunity to the blandishments of the Conservatives. This means that the only person in the whole of Scotland who might qualify as open minded is the Secretary of State for Wibble, Fluffy Mundell, and his mind is only open because he’s never learned how to do up the buttons at the back of his head.

So given this not insubstantial history of prior disappointments, the press headlines that the Tory government is open to considering the transfer of substantial new powers to Scotland are wishful thinking in much the same way that you can plant a feather and wish it would grow a chicken.

What’s going to happen with Davie’s promise is that Etonian eyes will glance upon the politely worded requests from north of the border, fulfilling Davie’s media promise to look statesmanlike and like he gives a toss about Scotland, and then an Etonian gob will say “bugger off” in private, before making a public announcement to kick the entire topic into some committee of Andrew Dunlops from which it will never reappear. Expecting the Tories to come out with a substantive devolution offer is like expecting UKIP and the DUP to have a float at a gay pride march complete with a semi naked Nigel Farage and Ian Paisley Junior doing a pole dance. But that’s just silly as Nigel wouldn’t be seen dead dancing with an East European immigrant.

The Conservatives will never consent to substantial devolution for Scotland even though that’s about the only thing that has half a chance of keeping the Union together. Davie Cameron is incapable of thinking beyond the next election, by which time it will be Boris Johnson’s problem and Davie will care even less than he does at the moment. You wouldn’t think that was actually possible, but it is. The Tories think of Scotland like a colonial possession, it’s a place to go hunting shooting and fishing, which gives them somewhere to host their nuclear warhead small penis compensators and lets them indulge in the fantasy that British nationalism is a better kind of nationalism than any other nationalism because it’s not a nationalism at all. That, and acting as a reservoir of natural resources and skilled labour, is Scotland’s place in the Union. Our job is to make other people feel better about themselves.

But last year Scotland planted a seed of self-determination and discovered that resistance is fertile. Contrary to common belief, self-determination isn’t solely about independence. It’s about defining your own role and identity for yourself. Scotland hasn’t voted for independence -yet – but that doesn’t mean that we can’t have self-determination within the United Kingdom for the time being. Scotland and the people of Scotland should be the ones to decide what role Scotland will play within the UK, not Davie Cameron, not the Tories, and not the Fluffellymundelly. Scotland will have greater powers sooner or later. No matter what delaying tactics Cameron employs he will not be able to withstand the tides that Scotland rides. His delays and obfuscation only make Scotland’s demand and determination even stronger. Their resistance makes Scotland’s determination more fertile and a thousand more wild bluebells flower independently.

And that’s why we returned the Gael force of 56 SNP MPs to Westminster. The message they have for Westminster is that it is not up to Westminster to tell Scotland who or what Scotland is, Scotland will tell Westminster. They no longer define us.

They better listen.

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The Secretary of State for Mundellirium

So we’ve got a new number two in the Scotland Office. And he is, by all accounts, a number two who has been dropped on the head of the Scottish body politic from a very great height. It’s a bit of a surprise that the Tories have done it really, because being crap is about the only thing that David Mundell is capable of doing unassisted.

The new number two is Andrew Dunlop, who was an advisor to Thatcher when the poll tax was being devised and imposed on Scotland. Dunlop is reputedly one of those who were instrumental in creating the tax which made the Tories look like tools. Apart from starting the process which destroyed the Tory party in Scotland, Dunlop is best known for abusing his council car park pass to avoid paying £7.50 a day when he went off to London to advise Davie Cameron.

Davie chose him because he wanted someone with a tried and tested reputation in Scotland, but he couldn’t have chosen anyone who had a lower standing in Scottish public opinion if he’d picked the Duke of Cumberland. Originally Davie had wanted to select the Duke, but was put off after discovering he’s been dead a long time. A bit like the Tories in Scotland, come to think of it.

Dunlop is not an MP, and now Davie Cameron is giving him a peerage so he can impose even more unwanted Tory policies on Scotland all over again. Because that worked out so well for them the last time. But Davie Cameron, for reasons best known to himself, believes that the unelected Lord Placeperson of Patronageshire is exactly the guy who’s needed to restore Scottish faith in the Westminster system. The Tories have already got a whole harrumph of out of touch Scottish Tories on the benches of the Lords, but it behoves the Cameron to create a new one, especially designed to get up the noses of Scottish opinion like a very persistent snotter that is out of reach of the most persistent digging finger. The Tories have clearly been taking lessons from the Labour party in Scotland in how to turn a deaf ear to Scottish public opinion.

Davie hopes that this will compensate for the mundellirium which will otherwise characterise Scottish Questions in the Commons, as even with the ritual SNP bashing non-questions from the red panda, the blue panda will be left stunned and confused by all the other Scottish MPs. To be honest, it’s not difficult to stun and confuse David Mundell, who permanently bears the shocked and surprised expression of a man who’s just realised that even though he is the last man on the planet, the last woman still won’t touch him with a bargepole.

Giving us Thatcher’s little minion to look over us is an example of Davie’s respect agenda. People who are more in touch with Scottish opinion would call it a taking the piss agenda. But then Davie is so out of touch with Scottish opinion that even Jim Murphy is more in touch than Davie is, and Jim reads the Scottish runes in a basement illuminated by a burned out lightbulb and while he’s wearing welding goggles. But Davie has a Tory majority and doesn’t need to care what Scottish voters think, although if he thinks this appointment is going to help him save the Union he probably also believes that Katie Hopkins is an ideal choice for the post of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

So the question is – in his handling of the Scottish question is Davie arrogant and high handed and annoying us all on purpose, or is he merely spectacularly stupid and ham fisted and making a number two situation even worse? Although it has to be said that those two propositions are not necessarily mutually exclusive. In fact, given an examination of Davie’s previous incursions into Scottish affairs, it’s a running certainty that they’re both equally true.

We’re getting another incursion tomorrow. Davie’s coming to have a wee word with Nicola the day after a cross party committee at Holyrood took a long hard look at the Smith Commission proposals and said that they were in fact pretty rubbish to begin with, and have got increasingly rubbisher as Westminster gutted them. Despite the fact that the Smith Commission is losing credibility quicker than Jim Murphy is losing union support and Kezia Dugdale can say “SNP bad”, in his mundellirium, our new Secretary of State for Unwanted Torydom still thinks that this is a final settlement for devolution. It’s the charming naivety normally associated with a stuffed panda, so pretty much what we’ve come to expect from David Mundell then.

He pretty much alone in this opinion, just as he is alone in the opinion that his government can abolish the Human Rights Act and the Scottish Parliament will roll over and say, “Well that’s OK then. Here’s the other cheek of our arse, you can kick that too.” Back in the real world it’s hard to say what has a longer life expectancy, the Smith Commission proposals, Jim Murphy’s career, or a scrofulous mayfly with dysentery.

It is thought that Nicola is going to present Davie with a shopping list of Scottish demands when he visits Embra the morra. How Davie responds will determine whether there will still be a United Kingdom in a few years time. Some in his party are calling for him to make a definitive offer of full fiscal autonomy to kill off the demands for independence once and for all. But we’ve heard the one about killing Scottish nationalism stone dead before.

Wee Paddington Panda Mundell swore blind just a few days ago that the Smith Commission proposals were all that was on the table, so an increased offer from Cameron will just make him appear mundellirious and confused again, but that’s par for the course with our new Secretary of State for Promotions Above His Paygrade. In the weeks and months to come he’s going to become increasingly bemused.

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The prince over the twatter

Not that anyone believed that the Royals were really politically neutral anyway. The only other institution which has an entire department of the BBC devoted to fawning over it is the Labour party in Scotland. They’re deep in mourning over at Pacific Quay. Following the party’s annihilation at the polls last week, rumour has it that John Boothman is writing letters in spindly black writing to government ministers asking for a state funeral to be presented by Nicholas Witchell.

The letters were all written between 2004 and 2005, when Alistair Darling was Scottish Secretary of State. But the Prince Over the Twatter didn’t write to Alistair, he only wrote on topics he cares about, like Patagonian toothfish, the albatross around his neck, murdering badgers, and homoeopathic medicine. This tells us all we need to know about how much he cares about Scotland, but then he’s not exactly Prince Popular here. Seems like the feeling is mutual. Alistair must have been gutted, because he’s the brown noser’s brown noser, and he positively leaps at the chance to fawn over arch Conservatives, as he proved at the Scottish Tory party conference.

The main thing to come out of these letters however is that they are very like the telly coverage of the Royal wedding or the birth of a Royal sprog. Deeply boring, narrow in focus, and entirely predictable, rather like the man himself. Shame really, because we were promised explosive revelations. The last time that a major hype failed to live up to expectations was Labour’s election campaign. Possibly Jim Murphy’s name was redacted from the Spider Memos. It would explain a lot.

Apart from telling us that we don’t need no stinking badgers, another subject of immense concern to the man who talks to plants was the UK’s sufficiency in vegetables. You’d think he only needed to look at his own courtiers and hangers on the realise there was no real shortage there. As long as we have a Royal family, the UK will never be short of brainless ornamental hardy perennials. We have Jim Murphy for that sort of thing too, although he’s more of a persistent weed which you can’t get rid of even after dousing East Renfrewshire with electoral paraquat.

We won’t get to see any other letters written by Charles, or any other member of the Royal family, to the government. The government changed the law so that any letters from Royals are exempt from the Freedom of Information Act. The Royals have a legal right to lobby government ministers on any legislation which has an impact on their own interests, financial or otherwise. But we’re not allowed to know about it. We just have to pay for it.

Right now there’s a slew of bool moothed nonentities on the telly defending the right of Charles to write to the government in an attempt to get laws changed to suit himself or to tout for jobs for his pals. He’s got just as much right to write to government ministers as anyone else, the bool mooths brown nose. Which must mean that any random punter who writes to a government minister about Nissen huts in Antarctica has an equal right to a detailed personally written and signed reply which covers every point raised in great detail and isn’t just a form letter giving the brush off… Oh, wait.

The bool moothed ones tell us that the letters merely show how informed Charles is and how good it is that he’s expressing concern. Which makes you wonder why successive governments fought toothfish and badger claw to keep them secret. They’re simply the sort of concerns anyone who reads the Daily Telegraph or the Daily Mail might have, said a bool moothed type, answering the previous question. They’re not the sort of concerns that anyone who reads more widely than the right wing press might have. The fact we’re faced with a future head of state whose world view is determined by the contents of the Telegraph and the Mail is something of a worry, and not just if you’re Scottish.

The bool moothed apologists have not noticed the irony that they’re defending the supposed neutrality of British institution which is anything but neutral on the BBC, another British institution which is supposedly neutral but which isn’t. We’re living in Narnia, a land of make believe where story telling passes for news. And that’s precisely why a significant number of us want independence – so we can live in a grown up country.

I want to live in a country where we don’t have to fight long and expensive legal cases in order to discover what a future unelected head of state is lobbying for. I want to live in a country where the public broadcaster reflects the discussions and opinions of the public, it doesn’t seek to form them or channel them in pre-approved directions.

We’re stuck with Prince Charles, at least until independence, but we can do something about our other not so neutral British institution before that. Despite the many shortcomings and the obvious bias of the BBC’s McTernan spider memos, we need a publicly funded broadcaster. The Tories are about to embark on an all out assault on the principle of public funding for the BBC, and that’s why we need to ensure that broadcasting is a devolved matter. Then we can have a public broadcaster that really does reflect the views of the Scottish public, and protect it from the Tories at the same time.

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