According to a few recent opinion polls, the Tories are gaining ground on Labour in the battle to become the second largest party in Holyrood. Well, I say battle, it’s more like a slanging match between two drunks outside a pub over who gets a taxi that’s already gone. Before the last Tories in Scotland, nestled safely in their ironic Scottish Resistance T-shirts in a reservation in some douce wee suburb, get too excited, there’s not much of a Conservative revival going on in Scotland.
The people of this land are not being converted to the attractions of Davie Cameron’s smugging at Prime Minister’s Questions as he , neither have they sunk themselves in the swamplike embrace of the oozing oleaginous Osborne. Neither are they succumbing to the martial arts of Ruthie, who has decided that Scotland needs to be nagged back into subservience from the top of a tank. Scotland’s overly noisesome minority of Tory commentators have convinced themselves that Ruth Davidson appeals to the masses. No really, she’s very popular amongst people who are totally out of touch with the rest of the country, so naturally she’s going to do well.
Ruthie’s main claim to fame is that she likes to pose for photo opportunies while perched on a tank like her idol Thatcher. In her recent propaganda, sorry, interview with a Scottish newspaper, she claimed that she wanted to combat child poverty in Scotland. Coming from a person whose party has presided over the greatest damage to children’s opportunities since Herod slaughtered the first born, this was a bold claim indeed and not one the Scottish media is inclined to press her to clarify. Perhaps Ruth wants to give every Scottish child their very own tank.
Conservatives crying crocodile tears for the poor and marginalised is as convincing as Labour’s concern for numeracy. What’s really going on is a barefaced attempt to persuade the more die hard Unionists amongst traditional Labour voters to switch to the Tories instead. But when the future of the Union is embodied in the Tory party, when the Union stands for demonising the poor, for militarisation, for enriching the privileged, then the Union is already dead. Vote for Britain if you’re a selfish bastard who wants to bow down before your lizard overlords isn’t a very appealing proposition.
Ruthie is standing as a list candidate for the Lothians, having fled from Glasgow where she can’t be sure that she’d scrape into Parliament on the paltry number of votes she managed to secure last time. That’s how appealing Conservatives are to the mass of voters of Glasgow, as appealing as a dose of diarrohea. Although that’s unfair to diarrhoea as at least it’s in the running, which is a lot more than you can say for the Tories in Scotland. They are so unappealing, in fact, that they are unlikely to gain a single constituency seat anywhere in Scotland.
Scotland’s Tory commentators have a great track record in telling the masses what is going to be popular, in the same way that the Clangers is a gritty and realistic documentary about the challenges of everyday life for soup dragons on distant planets.
They confidently told us that defeat for Yes in the independence referendum was going to kill nationalism for a generation and we’d be back to politics as usual. By which was meant the politics of taking Scotland’s Tory press seriously. After that failed to happen they said that Jim Murphy was going to revive the fortunes of the Labour party, and they claimed that the scoffs and guffaws from the Yes movement were a nervous tic to cover our deep fears. Then when our scoffs and guffaws turned out to be straightforward mockery, their explanation for the continuing popular support for the SNP was that Scotland’s masses have been seduced by a swivel eyed cult which is motivated by an irrational hatred of all things English. The Torysplainers of Scotland are so far up an Egyptian river that they think that the crocodile headed god Sobek would make a great Tory list candidate for Central Scotland.
The Ancient Egyptians really did worship a crocodile headed god, who embodied all the nasty, aggressive, and animalistic qualities you might expect of a cold blooded reptile who thought nothing of devouring your young and ripping the weak limb from limb. The name Sobek is an ancient Egyptian word which means, loosely, “the penis”. In hieroglyphic inscriptions Sobek is described by the epithets “he of the pointed teeth, the lover of robbery”. The only reason he’s not standing for the Tories on the list in May’s elections is because he’s already the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.
The much heralded Tory revival in Scotland has been a long time coming. It’s still not on the cards, what’s actually happening is that Labour’s support is collapsing more quickly than ageing Tories are dying off. The apparent success of the Tories in not plummeting to their doom is success at staving off doom in the same way that a man dangling from a crumbling cliff edge has successfully grasped at a crocodile penis. He might not plunge to his doom quite as quickly as the Slab beside him who is sliding into the depths like Jackie Baillie on an inflatable banana boat, but he is not being successful by any normal definition of the word. He’s still going to get his hand bitten off.
But then we’re dealing here with Scottish right wing media definitions of success and failure, and according to the Scottish media the most electorally successful Scottish government since the reestablishment of the Scottish Parliament is actually its greatest failure. Even the right wing Scottish media has to concede that the SNP are going to win the next election with an absolute majority in a parliament designed to prevent absolute majorities, and the consavants are reduced to bigging up a party that just might crawl into a very distant second as the real winners. Sobek the lover of robbery might even cry a few crocodile tears over their treatment of truth.
BARKING UP THE RIGHT TREE Barking Up the Right Tree has now been published and is an anthology of my articles for The National newspaper. You can submit an advance order for the book on the Vagabond Voices website at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993
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