Well that didn’t last long did it. There was Nick Robinson of the BBC and OOooooh Thattalicsammin doesn’t answer questions fame telling us all how the Chequers agreement meant that there would be no more excuses for the EU in the Brexit negotiations, and now we find that the only excuse is the British government itself. And a pretty sorry one at that. Not 48 hours after peace broke out in the warring Conservative cabinet, David Davis went and resigned in a Brexitty huff. David Davis is ex-SAS. He’s been trained to take people out. Mostly, it seems, himself. Not so much Brexit as Dickshit. He is the UK government minister for exiting, but he was only able to exit himself. It’s like a really crap episode of Love Island.
It is wrong to remark on people’s appearances, but you can help but look at David and wonder if he’s the bastard offspring of Benny Hill and some street furniture, only without the political nous. What makes it all the more farcical is that Davey has only gone and resigned from a job that he wasn’t doing over a deal that the EU is going to reject anyway. He had two years and an entire department of hand picked civil servants to figure out something workable. But all that is exiting are the clowns responsible for getting us into this mess. They’ve been agitating for an exit from the EU ever since the UK joined it. They’ve had forty years to come up with an exit plan, and yet here we are, the clock is ticking, Brexit day is months away, and they haven’t even been able to do a deal with one another. There’s as much clarity from the Conservatives on Brexit as you will find in closed coffins in a windowless crypt buried deep underground. Which not coincidentally is where the Conservative cabinet sleeps during the day.
Still, he did write a resignation letter, which is the first document on Brexit that he’s actually managed to produce. It wasn’t a very long letter, but it’s still considerably more detailed than anything that he’s managed to negotiate with the EU. The letter was petulant and snarky, so exactly like the attitude of Brexiteers to the EU then. David helped to trigger Article 50, created utter chaos, has no position on Brexit beyond stamping his foot and demanding that Germany will keep importing cars, negotiated absolutely nothing workable or coherent, and now he’s off in a huff as though he’s the victim here. And now he can pretend that the disaster that’s about to befall us all isn’t his fault. This is all about covering his own arse within the Tory party.
Boris Johnson was pure beelin that someone else in the Tory party was putting their career before the good of the rest of us, because that’s supposed to be his job. So the very next day he resigned as well. It’s a sign of just how bad relations have got within the Conservatives that Theresa May’s office announced his resignation before Boris even had time to write his resignation letter. That’s because Tories devote more time to writing about their own career plans than they do writing proposals that the EU is actually going to accept.
Donald Trump is arriving for a visit on Friday, and at this rate there will be no one left to meet him at the airport. This is quite possibly the only positive to come out of this entire sorry debacle. Can Ross Thomson resign too now please? Pretty please. There’s that old saying, would the last person to leave please turn out the lights, but in Ross’s case the lights were turned out a very long time ago.
There are three months to go until the UK needs to put its final and acceptable proposals to the EU, and the Conservatives would prefer to force a leadership contest within the Conservative party, a contest which takes three months. Meanwhile a woman in Wiltshire has died after being exposed to a nerve agent, and the government is blaming the Russians. So according to our government, there’s a foreign power killing innocent British citizens in quiet English towns, the entire UK is staring at the precipice of a calamitous no-deal exit from the EU, the devolution settlement is in ruins and the Irish Peace Process is threatened like never before. That same Donald Trump who is arriving for a visit on Friday is tearing up world trade settlements and sparking off a global trade war at the very time that the UK is faced with leaving the EU without a deal. And what’s the priority for the Conservatives? Spending the next three months arguing about the party leadership.
Meanwhile the Labour party is equally divided and equally clueless on the subject of Brexit, and the only reason that no one is demanding that they be held to account for it is because everyone is transfixed by the Tory pantomime. Labour are naturally calling for a General Election, presumably so that they can abstain on that as well. Their own leadership is sadly lacking. At PMQ’s on a day when the Prime Minister had lost her Foreign Secretary and her Brexit Secretary, Jeremy Corbyn was still unable to make an impression on a Prime Minister whose operating system was stuck in a nothing has changed, nothing has changed, loop.
On Monday there were reports that representatives of Theresa May were “reaching out” to the SNP for support. So that will go well. Perhaps before realising that she was going to require the support of the SNP she shouldn’t have trashed the devolution settlement and took it upon herself to unilaterally rule out a future independence referendum. Mind you, Ruth Davidson did take time out of her busy schedule of avoiding questions on the Dark Money scandal in order to release a statement supporting the PM, and blaming the SNP for wanting another independence referendum.
The truth is that neither a Conservative leadership election nor a general election will solve anything at all. Despite everything, in the rest of the UK the Tories are still ahead of the opposition in the polls. The problem with British politics is too deep rooted. It’s a problem of British nationalism’s unrealistic and fantastical view of its place in the world, a view based in nostalgia for an empire and great power status that has long gone. It was the Prime Minister of Denmark who said that there are only two kinds of European country, those which realise that they are small countries, and those which don’t realise that they are small countries. Scotland is the first, the UK is the latter. They say that politics is the art of the possible, but what’s possible depends on what is realistic.
The only way that this problem can be solved is either by the cancellation of Brexit and the acceptance by British nationalists of reality, which is hardly likely to happen, or with a Scottish independence referendum which will allow Scotland to forge its own path, a path based on a realistic and accurate understanding of the world and our place in it. The independence movement needs to stop talking about the best time for an independence referendum, and start talking about the dire necessity for one. The British government isn’t going to get us out of this mess, we need to get out of it ourselves.
In the history books of the future, this period of British politics will be described quite simply as, “Oh my God. What the actual … !?” Followed by string of emojis of aubergines and crying faces.
Mapa Gàidhlig na h-Alba / Gaelic Map of Scotland
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