Ruth Davidson, who’s abseiling all over the Tory party conference in Birmingham this week enjoying her fifteen minutes of relevance, has made the startling claim that the Conservatives might consider the SNP as potential coalition partners if the Tories don’t win an outright majority. There are a number of possible reasons why the Action Krankie has thrown the last apparent shreds of reason to the wind bags:
A) She’s delusional.
B) She’s desperate for a bit of publicity because self-promotion is the only thing she loves more than kick-boxing.
C) She has a vastly inflated sense of her own importance, and that of Scotland within the Union.
D) She is genuinely unaware that the SNP have a long standing policy of not voting on non-Scottish matters, and an equally long standing policy of voting against nuclear missiles and foreign wars and so aren’t about to prop up any UK government which needs support to get laws passed in England.
E) She is so lacking in self-awareness that she really doesn’t appreciate the visceral loathing that the vast majority of independence supporters have for her party. It’s a bit like Baron Frankenstein telling his house guests from the Guardian that the parade of peasants with pitchforks and torches is just the village fête.
F) She is genuinely clueless as a political strategist. No, really – dumb like soup, the kind without the pasta letters so you can’t even spell out the words HELP ME.
G) She’s paying back a wee favour to British Labour in Scotland by subtly associating the SNP with the Tories in order to shore up the Labour vote in Scotland and forestall SNP gains in the 2015 GE because even she knows that the Tories have fewer chances of taking a Labour seat in Scotland than there is of Gordie Broon getting through a political campaign without intervening frequently, each time for the first time.
H) All of the above.
My money is on H.
Back in the real world. For a given value of ‘real’. Sarah Smith is just after telling us on thon programme that no one watches but me and I only watch to mock, that Gordon Brown has thrust himself into the constitutional debate again. I wish she wouldn’t use that word in connection with Gordie. The notion of Gordon Brown thrusting himself is far too unsettling, and I’ve just eaten. I’ll never be able to look at a buttered scone in the same light again.
The thrusting in question is that Gordie has started a petition, asking us to pledge him to vow about the vow he made a few weeks ago of behalf of Davie, Ed, and the other one who’s even less relevant than Ruthie. It’s terribly clever, just like Gordie. It’s a meta-vow, a vow about a vow. It’s one of those terribly clever things that only Gordon understands – like he’s clever enough to understand the law of language that says if you lard your speech with incomprehensible greco-latin jargon phrases then you sound much cleverer than you really are. Because if you’re really clever then you know how to explain it in language that everyone can get. Except the offside rule, but that’s only because like somewhat over 50% of the population, I don’t give a toss and zone out as soon as the words foot and ball are uttered. Gordie loves his greco-latin jargon phrases, like “endogenous growth theory”. Which these days is how he has to say “I put an end to boom and bust”, so that people don’t titter.
Unfortunately Gordie’s latinate vocabulary problem has now jumped up and bit him on the steatopygia, because Gordie and the prono media – which is my new favourite word for the unionist media because it’s just a finger slip away from porno – spent the last few days of the referendum campaign telling all and sundry we were going to get federalism and devo-max. Gordie and the prono papers studiedly refuse to pin these latinate terms down like dead butterflies in a display cabinet so we could all have a good squatch and tut disapprovingly. And then we got a vow.
The big difficulty here is that terms like federalism and devo-max are not arcane and obscure phrases of holy writ whose correct interpretation can be determined only by those who have been annointed by the British Labour party with the power of infallibility, they’ve been a part of the common discourse of Scottish politics for many years longer than Gordie has deigned to pay attention. Most of us have a pretty good idea of what we think devo-max or federalism should mean, and these other notions don’t necessarily coincide with Gordie’s.
Any sensible definition of federalism would have a sensible answer to the Gagauzia Question. That’s the question – how come an autonomous territory of 140,000 people in the poorest corner of Moldova, the poorest country in Europe, can have their own national tv network but Scotland can’t? Any sensible answer to the question why income tax can be devolved at a rate of 15% but not 50% would have to give a sensible answer to the question of why all taxes can’t be devolved. Or at least as many as those enjoyed by a small municipality in properly federal states, never mind a Swiss canton. And these questions would have to be answered in language everyone can grasp, without resorting to latinate phrases that have no appreciable meaning. That’s not going to happen.
So instead of Lepidoptera caledoniensis thrawnbastertus having its tartan wings frozen in the Westminster box of dead butterflies, we’ve got butterflies flapping about all over the place. And the butterflies are saying things like, “Why does the ‘settled will of Scotland’ have to wait for England to have a conversation about devolution for Yorkshire,” or, “Show me a federation where the members don’t have their own telly network,” and, “Gordie, yer nectar’s mince.”
All this is going on even as the timetable for the enhanced devolution which has still not been defined or determined slips ever further down the Westminster political agenda. Yet this was the vow that Gordie swore he was going to ensure that the Westminster party leaders adhered to. It was a done deal. Now Gordie’s asking us to sign a petition to get Gordie to enforce the vow. Sadly he’d forgotten he was no longer prime minister. The done deal is done for and always was.
He’s belatedly realised that he’s the fall guy and his petition is a desperate attempt to make voters blame anyone but him for the impending debacle. Gordie asking us to sign a petition to get the Westminster party leaders to agree to do something he already got them to vow to do can only mean that Gordie doesn’t trust the very same people that he asked us to trust. Bet you he won’t explain that one clearly either.