Gordie Broon’s been intervening again. This time he’s intervening in a doomed attempt to save his credibility, if not the carpets that he paces up and down on. Unfortunately for the clunking fistula, the Gordie Broon credibility ship sailed to the mythical land of media adulation quite a long time ago, struck the iceberg of self-deception, and is now rusting on the bottom of the ocean of self-regard, heavily encrusted by the barnacles of bluster. Not even all the balloons on the Labour benches in Holyrood could refloat it now. Gordie’s no longer sailing the ship of state, he’s peddling the pedalo of delusion.
Gordie would be the very last person to admit that his hastily cobbled together Vow was always as screwed as Peppa at a Tory party conference, but in his traditional haste to ensure that someone else takes the blame for his own failures, he has made a sideways admission that the only delivering his Vow has done has been to deliver Scotland into the pocket of the pig fanciers.
Despite serial claims from Labour politicians that the Vow has been fulfilled, Gordie now feels the need to point out that it hasn’t been fulfilled at all. This of course, is certainly not his fault. It never is. Nothing can dent the regard which Gordie has for himself, a regard matched only by his mythical status as a great statesman in Scottish media circles. The thing about a mythical status that has escaped Gordie’s notice is that it has no bearing in reality, somewhat like his Vow.
But Gordie is not to blame for the failure of a Vow whose success he swore blind he would personally ensure and take responsibility for. Oh no, it’s all the fault of those nasty Tories, the ones that Gordie worked his wee socks off to deliver Scotland to with his threats that you wouldn’t get your kidney transplant if Scotland voted Yes. Leaving Scotland prostrate and powerless before a majority Tory government elected by a mere 10% of the population, plugged in to a dialysis machine whose off switch is controlled by the Tories, that’s the kind of democracy that Labour told us we’d be better together with. Now we’ve got what Gordie wanted, only he’s unhappy to discover that he’s getting shafted along with the rest of us.
It was only by staying in the Union that the NHS was going to be safe, Labour said, as the NHS in England plunges into the worst financial crisis that it has ever seen, a crisis which is likely to have a knock on effect in Scotland. It was only by staying in the Union that Scotland would be able to guarantee social security and state pensions, said Labour. Pooling and sharing, repeated Gordie ad nauseum. There’s no pooling and sharing now, only social security pulling apart and shredding. It might be the Tories who are doing this damage, but Labour is to blame for delivering Scotland into their hands. That’s not a responsibility that Labour gets to escape from.
But the former prime minister who makes the invisible man seem like a bit of an exhibitionist wants us to know that it’s not his fault for believing that Tories would actually keep their promises when there was nothing to force them to do so and they have a history of duplicitous and underhand behaviour matched only by Gordie and his erstwhile chum Tony Blair themselves. Gordie’s blameless. In his own mind, if nowhere else.
Although Gordie has as much power to influence the Scotland Bill as a bacon sandwich has of resisting the advances of Davie Cameron. In his delusional state he still thinks he’s making policy. He paced up and down, wearing out the carpet, telling the press and his pre-vetting audience that he and Ian Murray propose giving the Scottish Parliament the clear and unambiguous power to top up what it pleases him to call, in the language of the Tory right, welfare payments. He is going to make it clear that the UK Parliament can’t have a veto over this. He’s going to achieve it by intervening in speeches to pre-vetted audiences, because that’s really going to make Davie Cameron sit up and take notice.
Gordie has no power at all. He’d have as much success if he attempted to achieve constitutional change through the medium of interpretive dance. This would at least have the advantage of being kinder on the carpet. All these dance steps he now thinks are so vital to ensure the future of the Union – maybe he could have performed them when he was actually in power, when he was Prime Minister. But when Gordie was Prime Minister he was far more interested in trying to prevent Scotland from having a referendum on independence in the first place and making sure we were the Cinderella who didn’t get an invite to the ball. That’s why Wendy Alexander got stabbed in the back.
What Gordie is complaining about now is that the Tories are using the non-progression of devolution for their own political ends. It’s unfair that the Tories should do that, it’s only Labour which has the right to use Scotland as a political football. After Labour used the consultations of the Smith Commission to water down the proposals as much as possible because all Labour was interested in was party advantage and not what was good for Scotland, they’re now complaining that the Tories are doing the exact same thing.
What Gordie meant by a modern form of Home Rule was a devolution settlement that suited the Labour party. As always, the desires of the Scottish population come a poor second to the desires of Westminster political parties. But never mind, yelling SNPbad! will substitute for having Scotland’s interests at heart. The Vow won’t deliver, because the Vow was always a lie. It was deliberately vague and deliberately unspecified so that it could be sold to the Scottish people as a modern form of home rule, as devo max, as the nearest thing to federalism possible, but still allow the Unionist parties to treat Scotland with the contempt that they have always done. Gordie’s not upset that the Vow has not been fulfilled, he’s upset that he’s been found out and his pedalo is peddled in ever decreasing circles.
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