It’s not Project Fear, it’s Project Fact, said Davie Cameron as he threatened a gathering of students with mass unemployment and rampant debt if they vote to leave the EU. Although to be honest threatening students with unemployment and debt is like telling smokers that a 20 fags a day habit is risks cancer and will give you a nasty cough. While Davie droned on, most of the students sat there day-dreaming about re-enacting scenes from 50 Shades of Grey – the ones where an English literature student managed to get a job straight out of uni.
Nowadays going to university comes with a health warning on your bank account, except of course if you’re a rich kid like Davie. Study hard, save your money, and after several years of hard work you too can be homeless but still owe as much as having a mortgage and if you’re really lucky a job making coffee in a branch of Starbucks – a company which managed to avoid paying any corporation tax at all between 2009 and 2013.
Davie wasn’t threatening the students. He was just supplying them with facts, although not the cold hard facts of their impending penury due to Davie’s government’s policies. If you vote in a way that Davie doesn’t want your teeth will grow into fangs, your hair will fall out, and you’ll grow scales, so you’ll end up looking exactly like Iain Duncan Smith. The economy will tank, he said, although how he expects a graduate up to their neck in debt working as a coffee maker to notice or care was not addressed.
That’s not a scare story, it’s a fact, said Davie, who then went on to regale us with other facts. Like how it’s a fact that pigs are very romantic when you take them out for a second date, and how it’s a fact that we’re not having this EU referendum now because of a pissing contest between Davie and Boris when they were members of the Bullingdon Club at uni. Now the pair of them are pissing on the entire country.
Scotland got this all the way through the independence referendum when we were told, amongst other things, that we’d be wide open to threats from outer space if we dared to vote the way Davie didn’t want. None of Project Fear Mk 1’s fearmongering was a scare story either, that’s a fact. At least it’s a fact in the same way as it’s a fact that an independent Scotland would be the only country on the planet that was incapable of having any sort of currency at all, except possibly used curling stones which would be a real bugger to humpf out of your pocket in the checkout queue at Lidl. Only we wouldn’t be allowed to shop at Lidl either, what with us being expelled from the EU against our will and everything and only a vote to remain part of the UK could guarantee our continuing membership. So how is that working out then?
Another of Davie’s facts was the fact that during the fag-end of the Scottish independence referendum campaign he was quoted saying the following: “If Scotland does vote to stay inside the United Kingdom then all the options of devolution are there and are possible.” Except of course the options which Davie has ruled out, which is pretty much all of them. This is the man who said the morning after the independence referendum that the lesson to take from it was all about England, and then rushed to make Scotland’s MPs second class in the House of Commons. Meanwhile we’re still waiting for all the options of devolution which Davie grudgingly conceded to. 19 months later and the Scottish Parliament still doesn’t have a single extra power, but Scotland already has less influence at Westminster. Och who are we kidding? Scotland has no influence at Westminster at all.
It’s almost enough to make you vote for a Brexit just to piss Davie off, but then you realise you’d just be making Boris Johnson and Iain Duncan Smith happy instead. Sadly, the option of pissing all of them off at the same time is not available in the EU referendum. That’s British democracy for you. You get a choice between spoiled Etonian brats with a raging sense of entitlement. That’s what this EU referendum is all about really, two rich kids born with silver ladles in their voracious mouths.
The only real scare story about the EU referendum is that if Britain does vote to leave then it’s quite likely that Boris Johnson will be the next Prime Minister, and that’s enough to terrify anyone all by itself. But then you think that the alternative is likely to be George Osborne, and that’s equally the stuff of nightmares. The prospect of choosing between either of them is as appealing as being given a choice between sticking your private parts into a coffee grinder or using hydrochloric acid as a lubricant during sex. This is the main reason why the EU referendum campaign is not generating a huge amount of excitement in Scotland, which has pretty much already decided that we want to stay in.
Whether the UK votes to remain in the EU or to leave it, we’re faced with a future of privatisations, of poverty, low pay and debt, of right wing Tories from rich families lording it over us with their droit de seigneur, of a Labour party that couldn’t get elected if it was the only party in a one party state, and the absolute certainty that Scotland’s voice will never get a hearing in the corridors of power. In Scotland, we’ll always get governments that we didn’t vote for, and that’s a fact.
Mind you, if either George or Boris does become Prime Minister it’s also quite likely that they’ll become the very first Prime Minister of England, because Scotland will have waltzed off into the welcoming arms of Angela Merkel by then. So it’s not all bad. Our chance to escape this dystopian nightmare of a UK will come, and that’s a fact.
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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