On the anniversary of the independence referendum the leaderene of the Scottish Tories informed us that she has a vision. Ruthie’s had a dream, a bit like Martin Luther King’s but without the imagination, the humanity, or the inspiration. Some leader’s dreams are grand dreams, dreams of a better nation, dreams that inspire a people, but Ruthie’s dream is a small dream, more of a dwam really. It’s a dream of a shortbread tin wrapped in a Union fleg. Ruthie doesn’t ask for much, or more precisely, she doesn’t ask for much from the Westminster establishment. From the Scottish people she asks a great deal, she asks for us to put up and shut up and eat up whatever stale cereal we’re served, without complaint.
Ruthie is still bumming up the hauf-airsed powers of the new Scotland Act as proof that the British establishment takes Scotland seriously, even those those powers were gleefully described by her own stuffed toy Scotland Secretary as a trap for the Scottish Government. Look, she says, look at all the fabulous things we get due to the generosity and goodwill of the UK Government! Scotland can even have control of road signs, at least as long as you don’t put them in Gaelic because then Jackson Carlot is going to complain.
It’s perfectly reasonable for the Tories to complain about any public manifestion of Scottish culture and they’re doing so because they’re proud Scots. After all it’s a well known fact that road signs in Gaelic cost ten million quid per letter and have to be accompanied by a harpist, and that’s really dangerous on a narrow road with passing places like the A9. Besides, if people in Scotland realised that we have languages and a culture of our own, then they might just start imagining that we’re more than just a region of North Britain. And that would never do. Scotland striding into a future confident and self-assured in the knowledge of its own nationhood creates uncertainty, the sort of uncertainty that Tories don’t like. That would be the kind of uncertainty that makes it more certain that Scotland won’t ever be governed by Tories.
Scotland’s facing a future of uncertainty and that’s a bad thing says Ruth. Although it’s just the uncertainty caused by the prospect of independence that’s a bad thing. The much greater uncertainty caused by a Brexit that’s the fault of a selfish Tory party and that Scotland doesn’t want is merely a potential. That’s good uncertainty, because it’s the kind that makes it more certain that Scotland will still get Tory governments irrespective of the fact that all Ruthie’s posing on a buffalo that’s driving a tank still can’t make her party into a potential Scottish Government.
Anyway, the modern Union is a partnership, says Ruthie. It’s a partnership between a Scottish population that refuses to vote Tory, and a Tory government in Westminster which we didn’t vote for that tells us what to do. What we have now is a modern partnership, totally different from the bad old days of the 1980s when we had a Tory government in Westminster which we didn’t vote for that told us what to do. That’s why Brexit isn’t a cause of uncertainty even though that Tory government in Westminster still doesn’t have a plan A. Because it’s a partnership. It’s an opportunity to forge a new Scotland in partnership with a Tory government that we didn’t vote for telling us what that new Scotland is going to look like, a Scotland where our civil and employment rights depend on authoritarian Conservatives unconstrained by any opinions originating from the Scottish electorate. How anyone could possibly confuse that with the bad old days when Scotland didn’t have any say in its own future is quite beyond Ruth. It’s a flexible and loose fitting Union she says, as Scotland is strangled by a xenophobic and isolationist Tory ideology that a large majority of people in this country hold in contempt.
This is a modern and forward looking partnership where the people of Scotland make their views clear at the ballot box, and Westminster shrugs its shoulders and says suck it up. Then they lecture us for daring to create uncertainty. The future that Ruth looks forward to is a future where Scotland is forever condemned to constitutional navel gazing while we beg for crumbs from the Westminster table. This Tory government that we’re in partnership with doesn’t even think that Scotland merits a pissing hour long news programme of its own, and yet we’re expected to put all our faith and trust in it to determine our life chances and opportunities and those of our children and grandchildren.
Ruth’s vision is as contentless and substance free as the Vow that was signed by her boss back in September 2014. She’s promising nothing, just vague waffle that will convince no one. She claims the Union is evolving, but constitutional evolution in Scotland within the Union consists of Scotland’s demands remaining unmet. It consists of the Unionist parties perverting the democratic aspirations of the Scottish people into short term party political gain. That’s the arrogance and hubris that destroyed the Labour party, and it’s the same arrogance and hubris that ensures that the Tories will forever be a minority who only enjoy prominence because they have support in the rest of the UK.
Anyway, argues Ruth, there’s no mandate for another referendum. The fact that the SNP clearly spelled out in its manifesto just a few months ago that a Scotland being dragged out of the EU against its will would be a trigger for a second indyref, then went on to become the largest party by far, and that together with the Greens there is majority support for the policy, that’s all irrelevant to Ruth. It’s wrong of Scotland to seek to hold the Tories to account.
There’s a line in the sand here. Says Ruth. No, here. No it’s back here now. Oh wait, no, it’s just over there. But it’s definitely a line in the sand and there can be no crossing it. There will be no second referendum in this modern partnership, because one side in it gets to dictate what the other side gets.
Then the tide of a new referendum comes in and washes Ruth’s line in the sand away, and there’s nothing she can do to prevent it. Ruth isn’t presenting a vision, she’s telling us her fantasy.
Audio link to this blog post, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-19th-sept-2016
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