Amidst all the hoo, the ha, and the Borisoid crikeys about the EU referendum, there’s another date with destiny that’s being overlooked. Time is running out for the UK and Scottish governments to reach agreement on a financial settlement to underpin the Scotland Bill. No agreement, no bill, and the Smith Commission is deader in the water than the Marie Celeste. Gordie promised safer faster change, but the only movement on this vessel is from the rising bilge water that’s going to send it to the bottom of the ocean of lies.
The promises that were made if only Scotland voted against independence have long since been falling one after the other like the guys in the red shirts on episodes of Star Trek. And just like the red shirted guys on Star Trek, the broken promises don’t even rate a name check in the credits. They’re beamed down in a blaze of shimmering lights for their moment of glory then get devoured by the tentacled monster of Yooneron even before they’re able to utter the words “You’ve been conned.” Then they’re unmourned and unmissed and never to be mentioned again as Captain Cameron and his lizard alien companion Osbornion warp off for another adventure while wee Kezia bleats that the dylithium crystals cannae take the SNP.
Monday’s Star Trek red shirt was the announcement that the insurance and financial services company Scottish Widows would be moving its headquarters out of Scotland. That’s the same Scottish Widows that threatened to leave Scotland if we had the temerity to vote for independence in 2014. They’re leaving anyway. This development has, so far, failed to rate a mention on the Scottish news programmes that plastered the company’s indyref threat all over the telly screens just 18 months ago.
This broken promise comes on the heels of a litany of broken promises. Remember your granny was told that she needed to vote no so that pensions would be safe? Well your pension isn’t safe. You’ll be working until you’re well into your 70s, and if you’re reliant on the state pension just remember that some Tory arsewipes are already calling for it to be contingent on you doing unpaid work for it. This is the Britain your granny voted No for, a Britain where the elite will squeeze profits from the lifeblood of the poor. Work until you drop. This is Britain where you live to work, you live to make money for rich basterts who already have got more than they can possibly ever spend, more than you or your family will ever earn in your whole lives.
Remember when Gordie Broon swore blind that the NHS would only be secure if Scotland voted No? Well it’s not safe. Just ask a junior doctor in England. The only reason Scotland’s not facing a similar NHS crisis is because the Scottish Government is diverting funds that should have been spent elsewhere into propping up NHS services because Scotland’s total budget is being slashed by the Tories that we didn’t vote for. And then Labour complains about “SNP cuts” when the cuts are only happening because Labour campaigned to expose Scotland to the full chilly blast of the mad privatisers in the UK Tory party and the Labour right wing.
Remember when they told us that it was only by voting No that we could be certain of remaining a part of the EU? And now they drop an EU referendum on us, timed to dominate the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish elections, so our own issues will be drowned out in the raging sea of Tory euro obsessions. Want a serious discussion of education policy in Scotland? Forget it. The telly only wants to talk about Boris Johnson and his clownfaced bid for career advancement on the back of a referendum that no one in Scotland asked for except David Coburn.
Scotland may well be dragged against its will out the EU into a mid-Atlantic dystopia without the Human Rights Act, without workers’ protections, without any checks on the megalomania of Westminster. Welcome to the respect agenda where respect means being ignored, sidelined and cold-shouldered.
Remember all the wonderful superpowers that would be coming our way? The nearest thing to federalism possible, super devo max, home rule. Scotland was going to be the most devolved country in the world. And it was all going to happen in an instant after the No vote with a wave of Gordie Broon’s sparkly wand. Yet here we are 18 months later and the only power that Scotland has actually got is the power of invisibility. No one in the UK Government can see that we’re here.
Against this backdrop of the serial evaporation of red shirted promises that turned out to have a shorter half life and are more poisonous than plutonium, came the negotiations on a financial settlement for Scotland. Despite the solemn promise enshrined in the Smith Commission that the financial settlement underpinning Scotland’s superdooper new powers would cause no detriment to Scotland, the Westminster Government interpreted this as as much detriment as it could get away with. Which it hoped would be quite a lot of detriment. They were relying on Scotland’s new powers of invisibility in the UK media in order to get away with this, and the UK media have by and large obliged.
Greg Hands, the Tory negotiating on behalf of George Osbornion’s lizard lair, took hands off negotiations to an entirely new level when Mr Hands went off on holiday as the talks were threatened with stalement as the deadline loomed. But then it’s only a Scottish deadline, designed to give Holyrood MSPs a chance to debate the settlement before the Scottish Parliament dissolves for the elections in May, and what with Scotland having the power of invisibility Greg couldn’t see that.
Are you feeling respected yet? Are you feeling loved? Do you feel that Scotland is a valued partner in a union of nations? We’re valued and respected in the same way that the invisible man is, standing in the corner of the cabinet room and no one knows we’re there.
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