David Cameron doesn’t think that the Scottish government will have a mandate for another independence referendum. That sentence would be a whole lot more accurate if it ended at the word ‘think’. Scotland rarely fires any synapses in the brain of our Prime Minister, and on the rare occasions that it does his neural pathways snap crackle and pop into a resentful awareness that Scotland didn’t go back to eating its Unionist cereal after the independence referendum.
It’s all the fault of the Labour party, says a wee voice in Davie’s head, the mental scab that overlies the memory of his speech the morning after the referendum when instead of placating Scotland he told us it had all really been about England all along. He doesn’t think that telling Scotland that its Westminster representatives were going to be made second class would be seen in Scotland as a punishment for daring to consider self-determination. He didn’t think that was only going to piss us off, that it was only going to make us refuse to get back into the shortbread tin and would only make us redouble our efforts.
Davie doesn’t think about that. It’s not his fault. It’s Labour’s fault for not persuading Scotland back into the fold. It’s the SNP’s fault for existing. It’s the fault of the Scots in his imagination who only exist as a stereotypical chip on both shoulders. So Davie Cameron doesn’t think. If he thought he’d realise that it was his fault after all.
Davie Cameron doesn’t think. He doesn’t think about the promises made that we could only be safe within the EU if we voted no. All he thought about was settling scores within the Tory party, about settling his succession battle. Which of his teenage pals is going to get his job, his ex-bestie Boris or his current bestie George. Davie doesn’t think that reducing British politics to schoolyard rivalries writ large is damaging, and if he did think about it he wouldn’t care. All that Davie cares about is short term political advantage, but he’s not alone in that. It’s how all the Unionist parties operate in Westminster. They don’t think about anything else.
Davie Cameron doesn’t think. He doesn’t think about the promises that were made and not kept. He doesn’t think about the jobs that were supposed to be safe, the shipyards that were supposed to be given orders, the tax offices that were supposed to remain open. He doesn’t think about the pensions that were guaranteed but which now recede ever further into old age, shrinking like the collapse of the vertebral columns of working class people forced to remain working until they’re in their 70s, their 80s, until they drop dead. Davie doesn’t think about that, because Davie inherited dosh from his dad that his dad had stashed away abroad. You don’t need to think when you’re rich.
Let’s not think about Home Rule. Let’s not think about devomax. Let’s not think about the nearest thing possible to federalism. Let’s not think about the fevered promises of Gordie’s vow made in the last days of the referendum campaign when Davie thought for a moment and thought he was going to lose. Let’s not think about those faux parchment promises that were phrased in vague terms so that they could plausibly be read any way that you wanted. Let’s not think that the Unionist parties entered into the Smith Commission determined to give away as little as possible. Let’s not think that the Tories undermined the resultant Scotland bill and rejected every single amendment made to it by Scotland’s own MPs. Let’s not think about how Scotland in the Union is powerless to affect its own fate. There must be some cereal somewhere.
Instead let’s tell Scotland that it’s got the most powerful devolved parliament in the world. That sounds good. That sounds plausible. That sounds as though the Unionists have fulfilled their promises only the promise falls apart because Scottish people think. And we think that devolution is a concept that exists only under the British imaginary constitution that Westminster makes up to suit itself as it goes along, that the Scottish parliament is the only devolved parliament in the world because other parliaments are autonomous and their autonomy is guaranteed by written constitutions. We have no written constitution in the UK, we have only the word of Davie Cameron and the Unionist parties. And we think that those are worthless. Not even worth the paper they’re written on because they’re not written down. Those are the promises and commitments of devolution. Davie doesn’t want us to think about that.
But we do think, and we think that telling us that the Scottish parliament is the most devolved parliament in the world is much the same as telling us that the Scottish parliament is the most Edinburghy parliament in the world, the most Holyroody, the most Scottish parliament in the universe. It tells us nothing. It tells us that Westminster is full of crap, full of broken promises, full of lies, full of itself. That’s the kind of realisation you make when you think. So Davie Cameron doesn’t think.
Davie Cameron doesn’t think. He doesn’t think because if he did he’d realise that Scotland doesn’t need the SNP to make a case for independence. Davie and the Unionists are doing that all by themselves. The mandate for Scottish independence derives from the actions of the Unionist parties and from Davie Cameron’s lack of thought.
Davie Cameron doesn’t think, but we do. Let’s think. Let’s think about the better Scotland that we can build if Scotland was in charge of its own destiny. Let’s think about the changes we can make. Let’s think about the injustices that we can right. Let’s think about the chasm of inequalities that we can bridge. Let’s think about using Scotland’s talents and skills and resources to invest in Scotland. Let’s think about a better country. Let’s think about independence. And on Thursday let’s think about voting for parties that will take us closer to that goal. That’s the power of thought. Thought planted an idea and it grew a nation.
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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