The world’s most obsessional election leaflet is falling through Scottish letterboxes. A leaflet from a party with only a single policy, a single monomaniacal fetish, a sole idée fixe. That’s the single track mind of the Scottish Conservatives whose obsession is accusing another party of being obsessed. In the election leaflet from the Tories which dropped through my door this morning, the party’s entire policy on absolutely everything is saying no to a second Scottish independence referendum. And that’s it. That’s their only policy. This is an election leaflet from a party with a stalkerish infatuation, creeping along behind Nicola Sturgeon like a spurned lover crying nooooo!
There’s not a word about the hardest of unyielding Brexits into which the Tories are taking us all, very much against the express will of the Scottish electorate. There’s not a word about how Scotland would be a better place by adopting the Tory policies on the health service and education, policies which have seen the English NHS brought to its knees and the reintroduction of grammar schools and secondary moderns. There’s not a word about the record rise in foodbank use which has seen some foodbanks stripped of resources. There’s not a word about how many people driven to foodbanks are working. There’s not a word about how the numbers being driven to foodbanks continue to rise.
Of course there’s not a word about any of these things. It’s a lot safer for Ruth Davidson to present her party as a single issue protest group. Because if people start to think about what the Tories are actually doing then they’d realise that independence is by far the better option. There are certainly issues in the Scottish NHS, there are issues in all public services throughout the UK where total funding is set by a tax cutting Tory government which prioritises subsidies to the rich and the powerful. However NHS Scotland is by far and away the best performing NHS in any part of the UK. Voting Conservative because you’re unhappy with the management of NHS Scotland is like voting for a vampire because you’ve got issues with the management of your local blood donation service.
On Monday Ruth Davidson did another of her cheery cheeky photo ops, posing in a quad bike mobility scooter in the Trossachs, a machine designed to allow disabled people access to the Scottish countryside. At a price. That’s the same Ruth whose party is taking away the mobility cars of thousands of disabled people, 50,000 across the UK so far according to some counts. An able bodied woman poses grinning in a disability scooter in order to raise her public profile, giving her backing to a scheme to give access to a national park, her party deprives thousands of disabled people of the means of getting to the shops, of getting to work, of living an independent life. Because of the Tories thousands of disabled people won’t be able to use those disability scooters that Ruth so shamelessly posed in because they won’t be able to get out the house and earn the money that would allow them to have a holiday. That photo of Ruth grinning in a mobility scooter for her pals in the press sums up Tory hypocrisy in a single image.
Ruth doesn’t want us to consider Brexit in this election, despite the fact that Brexit is the reason that her boss has called it. She doesn’t want us to think about how her boss only called it for narrow party political reasons despite clearly stating seven times that she had no intention of calling a general election. Theresa May said far more clearly and far more unequivocally that there would be no snap general election than anyone in the SNP ever said that there shouldn’t be a second independence referendum. But Ruth only wants us to think about the SNP, not about the people who are taking Scotland out of the EU against the will of the Scottish people.
It has been said that those who have an obsessional criticism of others are revealing what they themselves lack. It’s a form of psychological projection. The Scottish Tories with their single minded focus on opposing another referendum reveal their lack of respect for the Scottish people and their lack of respect for democracy. They want the vote of 2014 to be preserved in ice forever. They don’t want the people of Scotland to hold them to account for the actions of Conservative governments since 2014. They claim that they want to hold the SNP to account but don’t want to abide by the same standards themselves. The SNP must be held to account, but the Tories want a free pass. Tory hypocrisy is an insult to our intelligence and our common humanity.
They’re exhultant today, because an opinion poll has been published which claims to show a huge drop in support for independence, down to 40%. It’s a poll which is wildly out of line with other recent polls, polls which were conducted later and which show support for independence hovering around the 49% mark. It’s a general law of life that anything that’s too good to be true usually is, and this poll is too good to be true for the Unionists. If it was a poll which showed that there had been a massive and unexpected rise in support for independence, a rise which was out of line with all other recent polling, and which wasn’t reflected in other polls conducted afterwards, the Unionists would be suspicious of it, and independence supporters would be right to treat it with caution. No matter how well polling is carried out, it’s a statistical certainty that a number of them will turn out to be rogue polls. It’s not an exact science. So I’m not too bothered by this poll. Even the BBC’s favourite polling expert John Curtice is suspicious of it.
So let the Tories and their Unionist enablers enjoy the polling straw they’re clutching at. It doesn’t distract from the reality that the Tories are fighting this general election on the single issue of opposition to another independence referendum, and even on the very best, most favourable polls they’re only going to pick up a handful of seats. The SNP is still on course to win a huge majority. It’s only in the warped world of the Scottish Unionist media where a party that wins an enormous majority of Scottish Westminster seats can be said to have lost the election. In the real world, it’s a reinforcement of the SNP’s existing mandate to hold another referendum, and that’s going to be a referendum on the Tories’ record as much as it is on Scottish independence. No wonder Ruth is so desperate to avoid it.
Audio version of this blog post, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-25th-april-2017
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