It is an accurate assessment of British politics that if the answer is Theresa May, then you must be asking the wrong question. Unless that is the question is, “Who is the British politician least likely to give a straight answer to a straight question?” Or possibly, “Which British prime minister is most likely to have her Madame Tussaud’s waxwork figure melted down in ten years time because people ache to expunge her memory from their consciousness?” Or even, “Who’s the prime minister who promised an impression of Margaret Thatcher but actually delivered an impression of comedy matron in a Carry On movie, one of the ones from the 1970s when they’d stopped being funny and were just sleazy and embarrassing?” But other than that, Theresa May is invariably the wrong answer to the wrong question.
The Tory party is teetering on the edge of explosion, which under normal circumstances would be a good thing. The problem however is that they’re hell bent on taking the rest of us with them. The entire UK is being held to ransom by a small group of far right Conservative MPs for whom the hardest possible Brexit is an article of faith. Negotiating with them is not possible. Compromises with them are not possible. These are people who have never changed their minds since Margaret Thatcher became leader of the Conservative party and they dropped any pretence of the paternalistic One Nation Conservatism of the first half of the 20th century. They were wrong then, and they’re still wrong now. Theresa May is staking her job on placating them, and to hell with what’s good for everyone else.
This is the Conservative party which says that it damages the national interest to release the UK government study which demonstrates that any form of Brexit is bad for the national interest. The biggest threat to the national interests of the UK is the Conservative party. They don’t give a shit about what’s best for most people in Britain, and they care even less about what’s best for Scotland. They’re pursuing a Brexit that will benefit only the rich and the well connected.
The cultist Brexiteers of the Tory right are sure as hell not trying to take the UK out of the protections afforded to ordinary workers and citizens by the human rights and protective legislation of the EU in order to transform Britain into a paradise of civil liberties and employment rights. They’re not taking the UK out of the EU in order to strengthen protections against the exploitation of working people by global companies. They’re going to destroy what public services remain. They’re going to sell out what public assets are left. They’re going to offer lucrative contracts to their friends in big business. For Scotland, the Union for the few means inequality for the many. The Britain for the rich means impoverishment for the masses.
But it’s what the people voted for! They cry. The people didn’t vote to see their real income fall. They didn’t vote for their children to live in penury. They didn’t vote to lose their jobs. They voted on the basis of lies told to them by liar in chief Boris Johnson, a man who isn’t even capable of being honest about what his name is. His full name is Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, and his friends and family call him Al. Boris is just a character that Al invented, a carefully constructed cartoon as a vehicle for his rampant ambition. So Al insists that Britain must be outside the customs union, outside the single market, and he insists that’s what people voted for. It isn’t. The people had a chance to vote for the hard Brexit of the Conservatives in June 2017, and they looked at it, they looked at Al’s alter ego Boris, they looked at Theresa May, and they stripped the Tories of their majority.
It’s not even that this government doesn’t know what it wants out of Brexit, what kind of Brexit that it would like to achieve. It would be bad enough if Theresa and her co-conspirators were simply clueless. But they do know exactly what sort of Brexit that they want, and they know that it doesn’t exist. They want a Brexit that allows Britain to leave the customs union, to leave the single market, to be free from all and any EU rules and regulations, but to still enjoy the exact same access to the EU for trade and services that Britain has just now. They want to restrict the right of EU citizens to settle, work and live in the UK, but for British citizens to have the exact same freedom of movement and settlement that they currently have. And they know that the EU will never consent to any of this. But facing up to that reality means that the Conservative party has to face up to the extremists in its own ranks. We’re being governed by cowards and liars.
Facing up to that reality means facing up to the truth that Britain isn’t special. Britain isn’t great. It’s just a middle ranking European country with a WW2 fetish about a plucky little island that stood alone. The hard line Brexiteers forget that Britain didn’t win the war all by itself. It only won because it was part of the Allies. The clue is in the name. If you want to win you need friends. All that Brexit is achieving is to destroy what friendships that the UK has left. This isn’t a plucky little island that’s punching above its weight. It’s an international laughing stock.
The question for us here in Scotland is just how bad does Britain have to be, just how low does the UK need to sink, just how much damage does the Westminster government need to wreak, for people in Scotland to realise that even a bad independence would be better than this shit. Just how bad do you think independence is going to be if you still think that it’s going to be worse than the multicoloured fuckstrosity that the UK is dumping on our heads. Right now we’re trapped in the back seat of someone else’s car crash. With independence we control the steering wheel. With independence we can have allies. With independence we can protect and defend those good aspects of the British state that the Tories are hell bent on destroying, the NHS, free education, public services, the social security network, a society that cares for the weak and the vulnerable.
We’re in for a rough ride, but there’s one thing we can all be quite certain of. However bad things get in the UK, however low this state sinks, however much national humiliation is heaped upon it, the Conservatives will protect themselves and their friends in the city, and Scotland – along with Wales, Northern Ireland, the North of England, and working class communities in the south – will pay the price of Tory hubris. It doesn’t have to be this way. Scotland has a way out. Let’s take it. Let’s learn the real lesson of WW2. Let’s protect those social gains and benefits that our grandparents won after the war. Standing alone and isolated doesn’t win you anything. Let’s connect Scotland to Europe and to the rest of the world.
The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.
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