So you remember all those things that were going to be safe only if Scotland voted No last year? How’s that all working out then. It would appear that the infamous vow wasn’t so much of a vow as a serving suggestion with ingredients that Scotland wouldn’t be allowed to eat on account of us having to make do with the crumbs from the Westminster table. The vow has been called a lie, but that’s unfair to lying. Telling the weans that if they’re good then Santa will bring them lots of nice prezzies is a lie. That’s a cute and cuddly sort of lie, but if you think that Gordie Broon is cute and cuddly you’re probably the sort of person who coos at the sight of slime and snuggles with snotters. So George Osborne then.
What the No campaign did was to tell Scotland that if we were good then Santa Westminster would give us lots of power prezzies. But Santa Westminster didn’t deliver, so that was a lie and if things were left to lie there then all it would be would be a lie. Only Santa Westminster didn’t just fail to deliver, he also came and took the Lego, smashed the Playstation and hid the TV remote control while telling us that the real message of Christmas was that Scotland should be excluded from voicing opinions on the North Pole. As if that wasn’t enough he made Rudolf into a venison casserole he served up to the bankers at the Mansionhouse dinner, and then slashed the incomes of the elves and other people on zero hours contracts.
This week another broken promise joined the increasingly lengthening list of broken promises of things we were assured would only be safe if we voted No, so Scotland voted no to discover that they weren’t safe after all. We were told loudly and often that the only way that the Royal Navy would commission ships to be built on the Clyde would be if Scotland voted No. Scotland voted No but the ship building is a no too. The Royal Navy isn’t going to commission the promised 13 new frigates after all, the order is to be cut to eight, and even that number isn’t certain. 3000 jobs on the Clyde are being put at risk so that Westminster can afford to pay for its weapons of mass destruction. The reduction is because the cost of Trident has soared by £6 billion, so real skilled jobs on the Clyde are to be sacrificed for the fantasy jobs at Faslane that only exist in Jackie Baillie’s imagination. The UK isn’t keeping Scotland’s jobs safe, it’s costing us jobs, it’s making us unsafe.
The UK is like a late middle aged man with impotence. He still strives for the glory days of his youth so he spends on expensive toys that he can’t afford and lets the kids go hungry to compensate for the fact that he can’t get it up any more. This is a country which is about to go to war yet again, not because British military intervention would actually make any real difference. A few more bombs from the handful of planes that the RAF can spare won’t change the outcome of the war in Syria. The reason that the UK is going to war is because it allows Davie Cameron to pose as an international statesman. It allows an aged superpower that’s no longer a power in its own living room to pretend that it still matters in a world where it’s long since been an irrelevance. The only thing that the UK can still get up is the Prime Minister’s tongue up the backside of the US President. It would be laughably pathetic if it weren’t for the fact that people are going to die.
Last week it was the closure of the steel works which were supposed to be safe if Scotland voted No. Then it was the closure of tax offices costing hundreds of jobs, the very same tax offices that we were told needed the UK to keep alive. And the scare stories told to pensioners about the risk to their pensions if Scotland voted Yes have turned out to be true, because Scotland voted No. Scotland’s budget is being slashed. The new powers are responsiblities without power. How many more promises will unravel before Scotland realises that we were had last year. But then the Unionist parties never had any intention of fulfilling any of their promises, they were promises and commitments in the exact same way that a junkie swears blind that they’re going to change when they’re faced with the prospect of their drugs being taken away.
They’re creating a wasteland and calling it a Union. Westminster’s strategy is to weaken and impoverish Scotland so that Scots will fear that we’re incapable of making our own way in the world. But it’s not going to work. We know who has their hands on the levers of macro-economic powers, we know who’s responsible for setting overall budgets. We know who has made Scotland’s MPs second class representatives. We know who has replaced good governance for Scotland with scare stories and fear campaigns. And we know it’s not Scotland or the Scottish government. But don’t worry, we’re still going to get control over road signs.
So it’s not technically correct to say that the vow was a lie. It was a farrago of fibs wrapped up in a tissue of tall tales, marinated in mendacity, fricasseed with fabrications, then delivered with a side order of cant and served up with larceny and an assault on common decency. They can tell us until they’re red white and blue in the face that they’ve delivered the vow, but we can see what’s being delivered for ourselves. It’s job losses. It’s the loss of influence in a parliament that is still Scotland’s too. It’s impoverishment. It’s war. It’s benefit cuts and poor wages. It’s insecurity and debt. It’s Apocalypse Vow. But it’s not an apocalypse for Scotland, it’s an apocalypse for the Union.
Barking Up the Right Tree has now been published and is an anthology of my articles for The National newspaper and is being published by Vagabond Voices press, who also publish Jim Sillars. The dug is in exhalted company. None of the articles collected in this book have appeared on this blog.
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