One by one the pillars of support for the Union have been removed. Now all that’s keeping the UK up is the hot air of the Unionist parties and their media friends. The latest pillar of salt to dissolve in the crocodile tears of the Unionists is the pledge to build Type 26 frigates on the Clyde. During the referendum campaign we were told that 13 Type 26 frigates were to be built on the Clyde, but only if Scotland voted to remain a part of the UK. Then Scotland voted no and within months five of the vessels were mysteriously sunk and Scotland could only look forward to building eight of them instead of the originally promised 13. Now we’re told that a decision to build even the reduced number of vessels is to be indefinitely delayed.
Mind you, you can be certain that the contract for the ships will be trotted out as a firm commitment before the next independence referendum. And you can be equally certain that if Scotland is stupid enough to vote No again the ships will disappear in a puff of Better Together smoke the day after Westminster gets what it wants. Ships the the MoD promises to build on the Clyde are like the Flying Dutchman, mythical and doomed never to make it into port because they never get built in the first place. If you ever sight another Unionist leaflet promising their arrival you can take it as a sure fire portent of impending disaster. For the Union, at any rate. The promise of ships on the Clyde is the ghost of a Union, a bedtime story with no substance.
Scotland was told repeatedly during the independence referendum that the Clyde shipyards depended on MoD orders in order to stay open, and that only by voting No could we ensure that the shipyards had a future. Scotland voted No and the yards don’t have a future anyway. The shipyard workers were sold down the river for a Union fleg and a Tory government that Scotland didn’t vote for.
The shipyard betrayal is the latest verse in the dirge that mourns the burial of the promises made to keep Scotland in the Union. The only promise that Better Together made that they actually kept was that Michelle Mone moved out of Scotland, or more accurately, flounced out. Oh no. I tell a lie. They also promised that if they won the referendum they’d spend the next couple of years crowing about it and demanding that yes supporters respect the result. But that’s only because Scotland’s Unionists don’t know what respect really means. You don’t get to demand that the result of a referendum is respected if you don’t want to respect the things that you promised and committed yourself to in order to win the result that you wanted. That’s not respect, that’s a demand for slavish obedience.
Scotland doesn’t do blind deference any more. We don’t bow down before our imperial masters and give them carte blanche to do what they like. Respect cuts both ways or it’s no respect at all. If the Unionist parties expect us to respect the result of the 2014 referendum, we expect them to respect what they promised us. We expect no Brexit. We expect the nearest thing possible to federalism. We expect the 3000 jobs in the tax offices to be saved. We expect EVEL to be abolished. And we expect that none of those things are going to happen, so we expect no respect and we expect to give none in return.
That’s what Ruth Davidson doesn’t understand. She fought the Scottish election on the back of a buffalo and a promise that she was going to hold the SNP to account. But you only have the moral authority to hold others to account if you yourself have abided by your own promises and commitments. Ruth Davidson holding the Scottish government to account is like Elizabeth Bathory taking the moral high ground and saying, “Well yes, I might have slaughtered hundreds of peasant girls and bathed in their blood, but at least I’ve never received a parking ticket.” Our Conservative government that Scotland didn’t vote for is a stranger to morality, truth, or basic human decency.
Meanwhile Labour is reduced to pleading impotently for the Tories to play fair and then abstaining when it comes to a vote in the Commons. Asking the Tories to play fair is like asking the Russian Doping Test Agency for a positive drug test on a Russian athlete. But the burst balloons of Scottish Labour will always find some way of taking a swipe at the SNP in the process. Today on social media erstwhile director of the Better Together campaign was reduced to claiming that the SNP never wanted any frigates built on the Clyde anyway, as if that would make the Tory betrayal all OK even if it were the truth.
Mind you, not that you’d know any of this if you were relying on our national broadcaster or its privately owned competitor to keep you informed. Neither the BBC’s Reporting Scotland nor STV news saw fit to broadcast a story that undermines any residual trust Scots have that the Unionist establishment should keep the promises and commitments it made in order to defeat the case for independence during 2014’s referendum. Murrdurrs, fitba, the pishin rain and cute wee seagulls were all considered far more important stories. Reporting Scotland decided instead it was going to focus on how the Scottish economy hasn’t grown and how the lower oil price has screwed us, anything to help reinforce the message that Scotland is too wee and too poor.
Today’s news is just the latest in a long line of lies and betrayals. It’s now at the point where we can look on every promise of the Better Together campaign and state with certainty that it’s going to be broken if it hasn’t been broken already. It’s for all those shattered promises, all those commitments that lie in the dust, all the lies, all the deceit, all the breaches of faith and breaking of trust, that’s why we’re going to have another independence referendum. It’s too late to save the Union. That ship has sailed.
Audio version of this article, courtesy of @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/that-ship-has-sailed-wee-ginger-dug-20th-july-2016
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