If ever you’ve never had the misfortune to have parents who have gone through a bitter and rancorous divorce, who many years later still nurse grudges about who said what to whom, who carefully nurture the memory of the dirty looks over the dinner table, the slights, the insults, the resentment, and the anger, then you don’t need to imagine it. You only needed to gaze upon the Conservative party conference.
There was, amongst the bile and the outright delusion, some deeply creepy stuff going on. And not just because Torydom en masse is creepy by definition, a collection of red-faced bigotry in blazers, wrapping themselves in the fleg because they’re not nationalists, nursing grievances about all those imagined slights from vile Europeans, and telling themselves that everything will be fine because we’re British and being British means being plucky and Vera Lynnish and never getting over WW bloody Two.
We were told by the Daily Record that Scottish Conservative MPs had, at the behest of Ruth Davidson, organised what they were calling Operation Arse in order to keep Boris Johnson out of power. Ruth is a vacuous attention seeker who trades on her personality and doesn’t have a political principle to speak of, other than a burning ambition and a deep rooted sense of entitlement. This is a description which could apply equally to Boris Johnson, only he’s better at it than Ruth is. That’s why Ruth hates him. There’s nothing an attention seeker loathes more than another attention seeker who is better at attention seeking.
Despite the fact that Scotland was assured that Scottish Conservative MPs were being elected as representatives of the Vote Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives for Ruth Davidson Party and that they’d vote as a bloc to do Ruth’s bidding. There’s at least one Scottish Tory MP who refused to take part in Operation Arse to keep Boris Johnson out of power, he’s just an arse. No one can have watched Ross Thomson’s fanboy crush on Boris Johnson without a little bit of their soul curling up inside and dying.
Never was a man-crush so mortifyingly obvious. Ross even stood stanning outside the doorway of the hall where Boris was due to speak as though he was a teenager waiting to get a glimpse of the star whose poster adorns his bedroom wall, as indeed he was. Ross posted a pic of himself on Twitter, shielding his hero from the massed ranks of the equally adoring right wing press, so he could boast about how he felt like the Scottish guy in the Bodyguard off the telly. Only without the suicide belt in the final episode, which ought to be a signal warning about what happens when you’re a faithful North British lackey who develops a crush on a Tory politician. Serves ye right really. And Ross’s reward for all this gurning fandom that even teenage girls with a crush on some mophaired lunk of autotuned uselessness would think was more than a wee bit cringey and over the top was to discover that he wasn’t even on the guest list. Ha. Ha. Poor Ross. It was like kicking a puppy. Only it was a hellhound puppy which deserved it.
It’s not just that Boris Johnson is useless. He does possess a form of talent. There is his obvious talent for self-promotion, a talent he shares with Ruth Davidson. This is, as pointed out above, why they hate one another. Each resents how the other is able to hog the limelight. But Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson’s real talent is to take ordinary harmless household ingredients and combine them into a truly noxious mixture. He could take a packet of hobnobs and a marigold rubber glove and turn them into a weapon of mass destruction. This is the guy who was able to poison the entire debate about Europe with an entirely ficticious story about a banana.
Despite gaining acres of coverage in the media, no doubt to the immense satisfaction of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson’s ego, his attention seeking overshadowed the real political development of that day. The DUP announced that they would vote down any EU deal that treated Northern Ireland differently from the rest of the UK. So that’s Chequers screwed. But the red faced blazer wearers didn’t pay much attention. No one is really interested in the concerns of far flung provincials, not when you had Boris and then Geoffrey Cox MP quoting Shakespeare and channelling a knock off Winston Churchill impressionist wrapped in a Union fleg on the White Cliffs of Dover.
Geoffrey was the warm up act for Theresa May’s Abba tribute act. She’d clearly heard about how cringemaking Ross Thomson’s man crush was and had decided that the British public needed something else even more embarrassing to purge the image from their minds. It’s the closest Theresa has ever got to performing a worthwhile public service. So she sashayed onto the conference stage like an end of the pier in a body brace. Not an end of the pier performer. An actual lump of wood propping up the end of the pier. It was time for Theresa’s big speech.
In Theresa May’s keynote speech, the Prime Minister had the unmitigated gall and audacity to accuse Nicola Sturgeon of a “betrayal of Scotland” over the fishing industry. Theresa knows a lot about betraying Scotland, because when your party promises Scotland that it can only stay in the EU if it votes against independence, that the permanence of the Scottish Parliament will be enshrined in law, that no changes will be made to the powers of Holyrood without Holyrood’s express consent, and then you go back on every single one of those commitments, you’ve betrayed Scotland. And if you go back a bit further then you discover that the Common Fisheries Policy which is so loathed by the fishing industry was negotiated by that same Conservative party which was only too happy to sell out the Scottish fishing industry in order to get some concessions from the EU elsewhere. Being lectured by Theresa May about the betrayal of Scotland is like being told off by Baron Frankenstein for wearing a borrowed suit.
So that was it for another year. The Tory party is still at war with itself. It’s still only interested in internal Conservative politics and egos jockeying for position within the party. As Theresa said herself just before her disastrous General Election, nothing has changed. We’re still staring a chaotic Brexit in the face. We’ve still got a government whose dereliction of duty amounts to criminal negligence. We’ve still got a government which is determined not to allow Scotland to have a say. The British state remains as dysfunctional as ever. That was the Conservative party conference, and they still don’t give a toss about you.
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