Well that turned out to be one hell of a way of sorting out the Tory party leadership, didn’t it. Rarely in history have schoolboy spats had such serious consequences, but that’s what happens when you pick your Prime Ministers from a muddy puddle of Etonian entitlement. Now Davie has had to resign and the story of his leaving office didn’t even manage to make it as the lead story on the main evening news. That’s what you call a screw up of truly pig penis proportions.
Scotland now faces being taken out of the EU by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the tousle haired quasiclown who hopes that acting the Cicero quoting buffoon and pressing the water bulb on a comedy flower to skoosh the press with his pish will cover up for his rampant ambition. It is of course entirely possible that Boris won’t win the Tory leadership, but if he doesn’t win it he’ll only temporarily loan the post to some other right wing Tory while he does a Gordie Broon and plots and backstabs from the sidelines. Boris only fought the EU referendum campaign in the first place in order to get his ample behind into the PM’s chair and take over from Dave. He’s not going to give up on that. Boris wears his overweening sense of entitlement like Donald Trump wears a fake tan and disguises it less convincingly than the Donald disguises his hair loss.
Now Scotland is looking from the prospect of another independence referendum to the prospect of a Borissy Brexit Britain and back again, and isn’t finding it too difficult to decide which is the more attractive. It’s not a difficult choice really, given that a representative sample of people reportedly take less than one second to choose an overripe mess of unbagged and decaying dead goldfish over a Britain with Boris as boss, even if that’s not a nice way to describe Michael Gove. Admittedly representative samples haven’t had a good week, just ask any of the polling companies that were forecasting a Remain win.
Following the EU referendum, the United Kingdom has become a deeply ugly place. And it wasn’t exactly a winner in a fluffy dog show beforehand. Overnight, with the outcome of just one referendum, all the old certainties have dissolved in an acid bath of red white and blue patriotism which substitutes flag waving for fact and bunting for bona fides. The supposed financial safety of the UK is as much a thing of the past as credible leader of the Labour party, and the pound that they kept telling us during the last indyref that we wouldn’t be allowed to use is now tanking faster than Ruth Davidson at a photo-shoot.
Britain is as popular in Europe as a Scottish nationalist at a UKIP meeting. Brussels is keen to expel the UK as quickly as possible and is in no mood to do Britain any favours. Northern Ireland is seriously considering a referendum, and might just opt for some form of unification with the Republic. The economy is in crisis, and both Labour and the Tories are in turmoil. The Tories are more concerned about their leadership campaign than leading the country, and Labour is descending into one of its all too frequent bouts of internecine warfare. And while all this goes on Cameron and Osborne, who created this fine mess in the first place, are nowhere to be seen. These are the people who condemned Scotland’s referendum for being divisive and unnecessary.
It looks like we’re going to have another. Here in Scotland we at least have the possibility of making for the life rafts. Social media is full of people who voted No to independence last time who are now saying either that they’d vote Yes next time, or they’d think seriously about it. It’s now more certain than it ever was before that there is no future for Scotland in this United Kingdom, a state in which Scotland’s views are in a permanent minority that can be permanently ignored. Britain could only function as an incorporating union as long as Scotland and England politically wanted broadly the same things. That’s not been true since the 1980s. England only voted for this government in the first place after the Tories used the Scots as a bogeyman to scare them. Scotland can’t remain in a state where our only function is to frighten Middle England for the benefit of the Conservatives.
The possibility has been aired of a reverse Greenland, of England and Wales leaving the EU while Scotland and Northern Ireland remain, but all remain a part of a United Kingdom. It’s based on the idea that Greenland left the EU while retaining its constitutional ties to Denmark. But Greenland has considerably more self-government than Scotland or Northern Ireland, and there’s no sign that a right wing dominated Tory party with UKIP looking over its shoulder is going to make any accommodations that will allow a part of the UK to remain within the EU.
Meanwhile the Unionist remainers complain that the old stole the future from the youth, because older voters in England and Wales were disproportionately more likely to vote to leave than younger voters. In the aftermath of the Scottish referendum those same complainers tutted and harrumphed at Scottish independence supporters who had pointed out a similar pattern in the independence referendum.
For UKIP and the Tories, taking back control stops at Berwick. Scotland is to be controlled. Today the press and social media has been full of Kippers and Tories arguing that Scotland can’t possibly be allowed the self-determination that they insist on having for themselves. Britain is broken, and they’re the ones who broke it. They tell us that when Scotland voted in September 2014 we knew full well that there was going to be an EU referendum, but we remember Ruth Davidson swearing blind that it was vanishingly unlikely that her party was going to win a majority. We remember the polls before the 2015 election and the commentators in the press who discussed nothing but a minority government or another coalition. The rewriting of history is in full swing as the British establishment realises the monumentality of its own cock up. But we remember.
No more Etonian playground fights substituting for government. The only solution is another independence referendum. We should bide our time, prepare our ground. But this is our chance. It’s unlikely we’ll get a better one. Britain’s screw up is our opportunity. Indyref2 is on.
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I’m now taking advance orders for Volumes 3 and 4 of the Collected Yaps. For the special price of £21 for both volumes plus £4 P&P you can get signed copies of the new books if you order before publication, scheduled for mid-July. Covering the immediate aftermath of the independence referendum until the Yes campaign’s destruction of the Labour party in the 2015 General Election, it’s a snarling chronicle of Scottish history.
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