The nightmare is chapping at the door. The ultimate worst case scenario, everything that Better Together told us back in 2014 that only a No vote could protect us from is in the street, peering in through the windaes, about to get in. Boris Johnson as Prime Minister presiding over the hardest Brexit imaginable. It’s almost upon us. The next few weeks are going to be defining ones in the history of Scotland. The election of Boris Johnson would be the bilingual Gaelic language sign on the road to independence that tells us there can be no going back, because there is nothing to go back to. If Boris Johnson becomes leader of the Conservatives, it means that the UK which Scotland was told it was voting to remain a part of has, to use Johnson’s own widely condemned words, strapped a suicide belt around itself.
It’s not just that Johnson is a liar and a cheat. It’s not just that he is a serial wick dipper with a history of treating women with contempt. It’s not just that he makes blatantly racist statements. It’s not just that he has consistently lied about the EU. It’s not just that he has been a global embarrassment every time he holds public office. It’s not just that he has no principles other than the advancement of his career. It’s not just that the only thing larger than his ego is his sense of entitlement. It’s not just that he could beat Donald Trump in a narcissism contest. It’s not just that he demands a fantasy Brexit without any concern for jobs, for the economy, for its effect on ordinary working people. It’s not just that he has no constructive plan, only a destructive one wrapped up in a Union fleg. It’s not just that you can list all those failings and shortcomings and the career of the boorish Johnson sails on unimpeded, which all by itself points to a deep and intractable structural failure at the very heart of the British political system.
It’s all those things and more. It’s all those things plus the fact that he is happy to stir up the forces of far right populism and ally himself with Steve Bannon’s attempts to poison the well of European politics. Boris Johnson is dangerous. Boris Johnson is how fascism will gain entry into the centre of the British establishment, as a “character”, masquerading as a cheeky chap as he stirs up racism and xenophobia while cutting public services and privatising everything that’s not nailed down.
There are rumours swirling around Westminster that the hard line Brexists could make a move against Theresa May within the next few weeks. They already have the number of MPs they require in order to trigger a leadership election, they’re only holding off because they’re uncertain that they have enough to topple May. Here we are, weeks away from the deadline when the UK needs to have a serious and credible proposal on Brexit to present to the EU in order not to crash out with no deal in March, and both the Conservatives and Labour are far more interested in settling political scores within their own parties than they are in avoiding the looming cliff edge.
I’m certainly not going to get upset over the Boorish one’s use of a metaphor that others might find distasteful. It’s very easy to sit back, snarkily and sarcastically demolishing the claims of politicians without offering any solutions yourself, it can be amusing and entertaining to play with words and to make ridiculous comparisons for comic effect. It is after all what this blog specialises in. The difference however is that I don’t want to be Prime Minister, and I don’t get paid £275,000 a year for it. That’s what the Daily Telegraph pays Boris Johnson for allowing him to use their newspaper as a platform for his political ambitions, polluting the body politic with his opportunistic careerism. His suicide vest column appeared in the Mail on Sunday, which no doubt has also paid him handsomely and which profits on the clicks, page views, and increased publicity which the controversy has generated for them. But what Boris Johnson doesn’t do is to tell us what he would do with the power that he so blatantly craves. That’s what is really offensive. Boris Johnson and Gordon Brown are very different in so many ways, but both of them are defined by an all consuming ambition to get to the top of the British political pole without having the slightest idea of what to do once they get there. What’s really offensive is that the politics of the UK are determined and defined by those who crave power for power’s sake.
Theresa May, her Conservative Brexist opponents, and the Labour party, none of them have a plan for Brexit. Not one of them. That’s offensive. That’s what the media and the public should be getting upset about, not about a boorish careerist’s boorish choice of boorish words. What’s offensive is that the grouping of far right Conservatives who seek to bring down Theresa May’s government at a time of political uncertainty, as the Brexit clock is ticking to midnight, are still unable to agree on an alternative plan. What’s offensive is that even now, even at this time of crisis when time is running out, British political parties are still incapable of putting the interests of the people of the UK before their own naked political ambitions.
What’s really offensive here isn’t that Boris Johnson compared Theresa May’s Brexit strategy to strapping on a sucide vest, the real offensiveness is that over two years after the Brexit vote those who pushed for an exit from the EU still have no coherent plan. What’s offensive is that the people who in 2014 promised Scotland that we’d be safe and secure within the UK and the EU, that we’d punch above our weight as world leaders, that we’d be valued partners in a family of nation, leading from within, are now assuring us that there will be enough food, that medicines will be stockpiled. What’s offensive is that they’re telling us that contingency plans are being made to deal with social disturbances. What’s offensive is that the Labour party is tearing itself apart over the definition of anti-semitism when it’s the definition of leadership that they really ought to be worried about.
And what’s most offensive of all is that this shower of selfish careerists who substitute their ego for principles are telling the people of Scotland that we have no right to a vote on their mendacity and lies. The countdown is not just ticking away on Brexit, it’s also ticking away on the UK itself. Scotland will have its say, and when it speaks, the self absorbed British establishment will be in for a rude awakening. They’re going to discover that they can have their Brexit, or they can have their UK. They can’t have both. There’s only so much offensiveness we can take.
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