The UK has a government whose model for building a new relationship with Europe is trashing a bar in Benidorm while on a week long drunken bender. In Tory Britain in the 21st century the only boom industry is the search to find new synonyms for screw up. You may be familiar with the cartoon series Rick and Morty, in which mad genius scientist Rick takes his grandson Morty on adventures through bizarre and disturbing parallel dimensions. This is the dimension where things are so messed up that Rick took one peek before deciding that the dimension in which pickled gherkins are sentient made a lot more sense. Pickled gherkins have more of a spine than anyone in the Conservative party, and you can pick them out of your burger and throw them away because they taste boggin. Scotland is stuck with a bad taste in its mouth from the Tories whatever we do.
This Conservative government is quite possibly the most inept and clueless bunch of chancers ever to occupy high office. Even the many faceted disasterama that was the Labour government during the 1970s contained some highly competent and talented individuals, people who knew what they were doing and who were prepared to take responsibility for their decisions. However saying that Theresa May’s government is composed of second rate chancers on the make is insulting to second rate chancers on the make. Second rate chancers on the make can at least be contracted to a fading end of the pier theatre in a dying seaside resort where their pantomine performances are produced on purpose. Theresa May’s cabinet remain unclear on the distinction between pantomime villains and the Home Office, although they’re quite certainly doing that much at least on purpose too.
You would imagine, in a normal functioning country with a healthy and diverse media and an effective opposition party, that the collection of serial incompetents, big mooths and nae troosers, and vacuous airheads filled with the squeaky helium of Empire would be bumping along the bottom of the opinion polls along with the Flat Earth Liberation Front – which like the Conservatives is seeking an entirely fictitious form of freedom. But no. This is Ukania, the country which makes Donald Trump seem like a beacon of statesmanlike reason. In Ukania the official opposition is almost, but not quite, as incompetent, but is up against a barrage of irrelevance from a Brexit supporting media which views any deviation from the true path to red white and blueness as treason. They should be trouncing the Tories in the opinion polls, but instead they’re slightly behind the pickle party.
Meanwhile in Scotland, we have a media which is far more interested in finding things to attack the devolved administration for than it is examining the disaster into which the British government is taking us. A disaster, moreover, which people in Scotland voted against by a very large margin. Who cares about the Tories being clueless on Brexit except for the opportunity it presents them to destroy the devolution settlement when you can criticise the SNP for the fact that a baby box can be put on fire if you use it to stub out your ciggies while the wean is sleeping in it.
Reading the papers in Scotland is like being trapped on a runaway train that’s headed for a catastrophic collision with the buffers while the guys in the seats next to you spend all their time and energy complaining about how the buffet car isn’t fit for purpose because someone could lose an eye if you stand really heavily on a bag of cheese and onion crisps and burst it. That’s something else for Humza Yousaf to resign for. Just be grateful that the crisp packet isn’t bilingual in Gaelic or there would be a four page special in the Daily Mail about how Thatessempee is politicising potato based snacks.
This week, when it hasn’t been trying to deport people who have lived legally in the UK for over fifty years, the British government has been getting itself in a fankle about customs unions. Almost two years after the EU referendum, the British government is no closer to deciding what sort of trading relationship it can realistically attain with the EU. And time is running out. Instead the British government is still mired in the kind of magical thinking that even the Unseen University wouldn’t consider credible.
On Wednesday, during a meeting of the important members of the cabinet – so not Fluffy Mundell then – Theresa May’s favoured option of a bespoke model “customs partnership” was voted down by the rabid eyed mob. Instead the Brexiteers favour a so called Max Fac model, which sounds like someone at the cosmetics counter at Boots who sprays unwanted scents in your face making you sneeze, and is every bit as irritating. Maximum Facilitation would rely on technology to minimise border checks. Only there’s no technology which can do the job so it would have to be developed from scratch, even if the technology did exist it would be ruinously expensive and complex to implement and the UK hasn’t even started the most basic of preparations, and the EU has already ruled the proposal out so it’s not going to happen. But other than that it’s a great idea.
Not that Theresa May’s customs partnership is any more of a goer, the EU has already ruled that one out too. The UK is either fully outside the customs union, or it accepts all the EU’s rules. Those are the only options on the table no matter how much the British government screws its eyes and tries to visualise something different. Unfortunately for the rest of us, we are caught between reality and the unshakeable belief in British exceptionalism of the British nationalists in the cabinet. It’s all about to come crashing down on top of us, and when it does the British press will be full of stories about how it’s all the fault of the Germans for beating England on penalties.
Today, Thursday, there are local elections in parts of England. It would be great if the good people of England took advantage of the opportunity to give the Tories the kicking that they so richly deserve, but I won’t go holding my breath. It’s not just members of the cabinet who have an unshakeable belief in British exceptionalism. This is why so many of us here in Scotland want independence, because we’d like to live in a country with a realistic view of itself in the world. A country that aspires to normality.
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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