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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