It would appear, according to the bunch of torn faces collectively known as Scotland’s Unionist parties, that there’s only one sort of respect that needs to be demanded in Scottish politics. That’s the respect that independence supporting parties are required to show the result of the referendum in 2014. Funnily enough, there doesn’t appear to be any parallel requirement on the part of the Unionist parties to respect the promises and commitments that they made to people who would otherwise have voted for independence in order to secure the result that they’re desperate should be respected.
In the twenty months or so since the referendum, one after another the promises made by the Unionist parties have collapsed like support for the Labour party. But then, they never had any intention of fulfilling them to begin with. Unionist political parties don’t do promises because Scotland has no means of holding them to account. We can punish their representatives in Scotland, we can pandaficate them, but they sail on regardless and impose what they like on us on the back of their support elsewhere. When you hear a demand that you respect something, you can be pretty damn sure that those demanding the respect have no respect for you. Respect only flows one way in the UK. It flows the same way as oil revenues, as Scottish capital, as educated and skilled workers. It flows out of Scotland and never comes back.
So when you heard the Unionist parties promise that Scotland’s EU membership could only be safe if we voted to remain a part of the UK, that wasn’t really a promise at all. It was just a serving suggestion. When you heard the Unionist parties swear blind that jobs in tax offices and shipyards and steel fabricators would only be safe if Scotland stayed in the UK, that wasn’t a promise at all. It was just a fond hope. When you heard Labour and the Tories scare the elderly with nightmare stories about pensions and health care that could only be avoided if Scotland voted No, those weren’t promises or commitments. It was a work of fiction for illustrative purposes. When you heard Gordie Broon and Alistair Darling say that a No voting Scotland would benefit from the nearest thing to federalism possible, would get Home Rule which was the same thing as Devo Max, none of that was a promise or a commitment. It was just a statement of potential aspirations.
And when Davie Cameron said that he would show Scotland respect and understanding, well he was just taking the piss. Thinking that a Tory Eton boy is going to respect Scotland? Even people out of their trees on drugs don’t hallucinate that much.
The reason that the Unionist keep demanding respect for the outcome of the referendum is because they’re desperate to avoid a rerun. They’re desperate to avoid a rerun because they know that they will then be held to account for the lies, deceit, and mendacity that won them the last one. And they know that the next time there’s a referendum, they’re going to lose. You might think that in a normal universe where we were blessed with honest politicians who understood the meaning of morality, that the Unionist parties would understand that the best way to avoid a rerun of the independence referendum would be by not only bending over backwards to ensure that all the promises and commitments that they made during the Scottish summer of 2014 were fulfilled, but by going beyond those promises and commitments and over-delivering. They haven’t done that though, have they.
The Unionist parties haven’t come remotely close to fulfilling the promises that they made to Scotland in 2014. The pathetically inadequate Smith Commission which was then ritually disembowelled in the House of Commons was supposed to deliver Gordie Broon’s infamous Vow. But Gordie’s Vow remains far off and inaccessible in the depths of outer space, a bit like Gordie himself. The Unionist parties got their collective arses kicked by the voters of Scotland in May 2015 as we reminded them that we had expectations of them that they had yet to fulfil. The Unionist parties have responded to their ignominious defeat in May 2015 by ignoring it and pretending that it didn’t happen. All they do is to demand our respect but have no intention of respecting us. So they can go screw themselves and stick their respect where the sun don’t shine. That would be whichever rock it is that Gordie Broon has been hiding under this past year.
So if the Unionists want the result of the independence referendum repected, they can bloody well start by respecting it themselves. And that means that they deliver on *our* understanding of the promises that they made to us, not their own self-serving understanding. Because right now they’re demanding that we respect their understanding of statements that Alex Salmond made during the independence referendum, and expect us to abide by their understanding of what someone said in a personal capacity. Don’t know about you, but I didn’t promise that there shouldn’t be another independence referendum for a generation. No one told me that was what I was voting for, and I am buggered if Ruth Davidson or Kezia Dugdale is going to hold me to a commitment that I didn’t make just so they can save their pathetic parties from a justly deserved electoral oblivion.
If Ruth and Kezia want the result of the referendum respected, then they’d better start showing some respect themselves. Because I’m not seeing any. All I see are political parties that are trying to weasel out of the promises that they made, that cavil and complain, that have reduced Scotland’s representatives to second class status in the House of Commons, and which continue to ride roughshod over the express will of the Scottish people.
Because if the settled will of the Scottish people was as important to them as they claim that it is, we wouldn’t be getting Trident renewed, we wouldn’t be subject to Tory cuts, we wouldn’t be getting hauf airsed powers over income tax and control of bloody road signs and being told that it was devo-pissing-max. I’ll be the judge of that along with the rest of the Scottish people, not David Cameron. And we will be the judge of whether or not the Unionist parties have fulfilled their promises. The kicking that they’re going to get on Thursday ought to tell them that we don’t believe them. I’m not about to start respecting political parties that treat Scotland with contempt, and I suspect I’m not alone.
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