Never mind a screening of Braveheart, which in the cosmic scheme of things is as important as the crumb content of David Mundell’s beard, there’s stuff happening which really matters. Now, unless you’ve been hiding in a cave for the past two years, you may have noticed that the UK is just weeks away from needing to have a deal on leaving the EU that is acceptable to the EU, only with the two main UK parties having spent most of the past two years proving themselves incapable of reaching a deal with other parts of their own party, it’s still far from certain whether an EU deal can be reached.
Today, The President of the EU Commission Jean Claude Juncker made it clear that the EU cannot accept the British government’s Brexit proposals as they stand. He said that the Chequers proposals could be a starting point for a future relationship between the EU and the UK, but reminded the British government that it cannot pick and choose which parts of the single market it wishes to be a part of. He reiterated that the EU fully supports Ireland in its attempts to secure an invisible border and will not let it down.
Time is running out, so you’d think that if you were a grown up British politician who really did prioritise that national interest that you keep banging on about, that this would be the time to concentrate your efforts and energies on pulling your head out of whatever orifice it’s been stuck in since June 2016. Sadly, this is British politics we’re talking about here, so if you’re a member of the Conservatives’ European Research Group, the most important and crucial thing that the UK really needs right now is another Conservative leadership contest. Because there’s nothing more important than the internal politics of the Conservative party. Last night the ERG met to research the one thing it spends even more time researching than Brexit, which is researching how to get rid of Theresa May.
According to some reports, the ERG is planning to try and unseat May following the party conference next month. The meeting last night was described as febrile, with the sole topic of discussion how to best bring about a leadership election. It’s just a pity that they haven’t devoted a tenth of the time and energy that they have plotting against other Conservatives to actually coming up with a credible Brexit plan of their own. Their proposals for Brexit essentially boil down to the assertion that the EU needs the UK more than the UK needs the EU. But then we’re talking here about people who think that Boris Johnson would make a great Prime Minster.
The ERG’s proposals for the Irish border are equally fantastical, and largely consist of foot stomping that a minor little province and the concerns of the natives are being allowed to get in the way of Great British daydreaming. The ERG believes that the border issue can be solved with clever technological woo. They have no answer to the question of just how these technical solutions are going to be invented, built, and implemented in the few short months remaining between now and Brexit, when the British government has done precisely bugger all in the way of preparations so far.
Over the past few days, a particular Scottish Tory MP has been popping up on our TV screens in order to enthuse about his support for the ERG like one of thae wee nodding dugs in the rear window of a car. Yes, people of Aberdeen South, it’s your very own Ross Thomson, doing his bit for Britain by getting stuck into the mess that his Brexit obsessed party has made and making it even worse. Thanks Ross! In a time of national crisis we can always rely on you to pop up like a happy little puppy who only wants to show its owner how proud it is of the pee stain it’s left on the new rug.
The list of MPs who attended the ERG meeting last night hasn’t been made public, but at least four Scottish Conservatives are known to be supporters of the group. As well as Ross, there’s Alister Jack of Dumfries and Galloway, Stephen Kerr of Stirling, and Colin Clark of Gordon. All of them signed a letter from the ERG in February, calling on Theresa May make a “clean break” from the EU. A clean break is Tory party code for ripping up all the civil and employment rights the EU guarantees, and leaving the customs union, the single market, and reality so we can all go and live in a fantasy universe where the UK still has an empire and where people don’t think that Jacob Rees Mogg is a cross between a funeral director and the evil landlord baddie from a Regency costume drama. Ross Thomson didn’t sign the letter, but later released a statement saying that he had planned to, only he’d chewed up his crayon.
When the cohort of Scottish Conservative MPs were elected in the 2017 General Election, we were personally assured by Ruth Davidson that they were being elected as representatives of Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives™ and that they were going to vote in a bloc to defend Scotland’s interests within Theresa May’s precious Union. We were told that the Scottish Conservative MPs were going to be answerable to Ruth. And hasn’t that worked out well. We were treated to the sight of wee Ross on Channel 4 news this week cheerfully claiming that he was fully supporting both his leaders by plotting to undermine them.
Naturally the Scottish media is all over Ruth Davidson and her stand in Jackson Carlaw to explain why it is that Scottish Conservative MPs whom we were assured were going to stand up for Scotland within the Union and do their Remainer boss’s bidding are now enthusiastically attempting to bring about a Conservative leadership election and paralyse the party of government at the precise time that it needs to get its act together in negotiations with the EU in order to avoid a cliff edge Brexit. Oh no, wait. There’s an SNP bad story instead.
We’re being let down by the British political establishment. We’re being let down by the British media. The British state is a state of dysfunction in a state of denial. This is happening because we have a political class which can’t be properly held to account. That is the biggest argument for Scottish independence. In an independent Scotland with a written constitution, our politicians will be constrained in what they can do, and will be answerable to us, that’s what is really important.
Hope Over Fear Rally – I won’t be speaking at the rally on Saturday. There was an innocent mix up with emails which I was happy to clarify last night, but unfortunately it had slipped my mind that I have a family commitment on Saturday and so after all I can’t make it to the rally.
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