You can always tell when the forces of British nationalism in Scotland are feeling a bit unsettled. They wheel out the great sulker himself for a Broontervention. Broonterventions are a phenomenon that is unique to Scotland, and proof that Scotland can indeed achieve things that no other nation can achieve, in this case meddling with the very fabric of spacetime itself in a way that not even Doctor Who can manage. For no matter how often there is a Broontervention, it’s always for the very first time. Let’s face it, you have to be pretty desperate if you expect Scotland to believe that Gordie Broon is a perpetual political virgin in the great constitutional debate.
Unfortunately for British nationalists, even Broonterventions suffer from the law of diminishing returns. This might be the twenty fifth odd time that he’s intervened for the very first time, but this time round not even BBC Reporting Scotland could be arsed enough to work up much enthusiasm. Usually some fresh faced Reporting Scotland reporter plays the role of the starry eyed and eager companion to Broon’s Doctor Who as they embark together on adventures in the more fanciful reaches of the British nationalist universe battling the Cybernats. Now they’re telling him just to phone it in from his Tardis, which does after all double up as a phone booth.
It’s a sign of their sheer desperation after the galactofuck of this week that they’ve trundled Broon out at all. This was the man who, let us not forget, assured us all back in 2014 that he personally would ensure that the leaders of the major British parties would adhere to the promises that they’d made in thon Vow that got plastered all over the front page of the Daily Record. Sadly for Gordie, this is also the same week when the man who wrote the Vow came out in favour of independence, citing as his reason the fact that none of the British parties came remotely close to honouring it. Not that they ever had any intentions of doing so.
Gordie bears a large share of the blame for that. Far from working his wee socks off in order to ensure that the leaders of the British parties kept their promises and adhered to the Vow, Gordie pretty much buggered off after the referendum and was scarcely seen in the House of Commons. Since Gordie let us all down on what was a pretty major reason for Scotland narrowly voting to remain a part of the UK back in 2014, it’s difficult to understand why anyone thinks that he’s got any credibility left this time round.
We’d be pretty foolish to listen to the advice of a man who went chapping on doors in Fife during the independence referendum and told pensioners who answered the door that they’d have no pensions the morning after independence. This is a man who doesn’t have the slightest compunction about lying to people to their faces, and the man who did more than any individual to create the pensions crisis facing the UK. He’s certainly not going to hesitate before lying in a political speech. Until recently his sole political achievement was to be widely recognised as the worst Prime Minister in living memory. Only then Theresa May came along and managed to steal even that crown from him too, although Theresa doesn’t match him for egoistic arrogance.
Broon is still concerned to warn us that if Scotland goes for independence, we’ll suffer austerity until doomsday. We’re doooomed. Doooooooooomed. Even if that were true, and Gordie’s reputation for accuracy in such matters as about as good as his reputation for ensuring that the promises in the Vow were fulfilled, this would be worse than austerity until doomsday under the Tories how exactly? What Broon didn’t tell us was that with Tory austerity and privatisation, the low wage gig economy, and the destruction of civil, human, and employment rights that we’re threatened with in a hard Tory Brexit, doomsday will come first within the UK. With independence, Scotland could vote a government out of office for imposing austerity that only benefits the rich and better off. As a part of the UK, we’re lumbered with it and can do absolutely nothing about it. I know which of those two scenarios counts as doooooooomed, and it’s not the independence one.
What makes Broon’s intervention even more galling is that it’s his policies and his rampant use of PFI and failure to regulate the banks that brought about austerity in the first place. And now he’s got the unmitigated nerve to warn us about the dire consequences of independence using a report from a think tank that persistently recommends tax policies which benefit the richest in society while preaching austerity for the rest of us.
The real reason that Broon is opposed to Scottish independence is because this country is too small for his ego. No matter how horrific Conservative rule gets, no matter how we are damaged by Brexit, by the Tories shredding the social security system or opening it up to privatisation by stealth, no matter what attacks they make on the foundations of the devolution settlement, for Gordie independence will always be worse than British rule, because only British rule gives Gordie the fantasy of global influence that his bloated ego demands. The fact that British global influence is a fantasy is of no cosnequence to him. His own estimation of his ability is every bit as much a fantasy.
What we can be absolutely certain of is that if we are foolish enough to vote against independence again, Gordie Broon will do absolutely sweet FA to ensure that Scotland isn’t subjected to decades of British inspired austerity. He’ll slink off until the next time there’s a threat to the Union, or he’s got another turgid tome to sell, and then there will be yet another pointless and meaningless Broontervention. The only reason that the British nationalists keep trundling out this discredited has-been is that he’s the closest thing they’ve got to a respected statesman, which only illustrates just how low the British bar is. The only surprising thing about this latest Broontervention is that anyone in the Scottish media imagines that the rest of us give a toss about what Gordon thinks.
Whenever Gordie Broon opens his mouth on the topic of independence, and he’ll doubtless be wheeled out again and again over the months to come, just remind yourself what he said back in 2014, and recall how that turned out. That’s all you need to know about a Broontervention. But what it all comes down to is this, independence may be a risk, but it’s a risk that Scotland can manage and Scotland can control. Gordie would prefer we’re stuck with a Tory Brexit, a disaster in which we’re helpless to influence the course of events. Which do you prefer?
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