Sorry for not having blogged the past couple of days, but I’ve been having internet issues. Virgin Cable’s online service check thingy insists there’s no broadband issues in my area, but I’m constantly getting DNS lookup errors. Fingers crossed it’s sorted now.
Onieweys, it’s not like there’s a whole lot going on in the world of Scottish politics. Well, nothing except the usual duplicity, double dealing, and downright deception of the British nationalist parties in Scotland. There’s the Labour party, which during its recent party conference voted to support a second vote on the EU, but when the matter came before the Scottish parliament, Labour abstained. Labour in Scotland can’t possibly vote the same way as the SNP, and that particular policy of Labour in Scotland takes precedence over anything that Labour says at a UK level. It’s reassuring to see Labour standing up for Scotland’s interests. That’s reassuring in the same way that it’s reassuring to walk home from the bus stop in the middle of the night after you’ve just seen a slasher movie at the pictures and there’s some weird guy wearing a Freddy Kruger mask behind you following your every step.
But not even Labour can match the sheer and utter hypocrisy of the Conservatives. The hypocrisy high jump is the only political sport where the Tories set a high bar. Despite their constant and repeated assertions to the contrary, despite campaigning in fishing communities in the North East claiming that their Tory Brexit would defend and protect the Scottish fishing industry, for a second time the Conservatives are preparing to sell out the interests of Scotland’s fishing communities.
The defence of Scottish interests comes a long way down the Conservatives’ list of priorities, far below their interest in promoting the history of the trade union movement in securing employment rights. Expecting a Conservative government in Westminster to prioritise Scottish interests and concerns is a bit like expecting Elizabeth Báthory, who bathed in the blood of hundreds of slaughtered Transylvanian peasant women in the belief it would preserve her youthful good looks and vitality, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_B%C3%A1thory to launch a range of cruelty free cosmetic products.
None of this should come as any surprise. The only surprising thing is that there are still people in this country who are prepared to believe Conservative assurances. But then this country also has newspapers which print articles hailing Ross Thomson as a rising star of the Scottish Conservatives, which is a bit like hailing the hard hitting political nous of George and Zippy from Rainbow. Sadly Ross doesn’t come with a zip on his gob. However to be fair, Ross does represent a party which also contains Annie Wells, and compared to her luminosity even a tin of matt black paint the bottom of an unlit coal mine is going to shine.
The fishing communities of the Scottish North East are one of the few parts of Scotland where there is potentially majority support for Brexit. It’s a part of the country which accepted Scottish Conservative assurances that the party would prioritise Scotland’s interests and wouldn’t bleed the country to death so that Michael Gove could bathe in it in order to preserve his political vitality. That support is based on the belief that Brexit will take Scotland’s fishing waters out of the control of the European Common Fishing Policy and restrict or prohibit access to Scottish fishing waters for EU fishing boats.
This support is despite the fact that it was the Conservatives who created the situation which so many in the Scottish fishing industry are so desperate to escape. Ted Heath sold out the Scottish fishing industry in the 1970s when he allowed unfettered access to Scotland’s fishing waters to European fishing boats in return for access to the then EEC. He did so because his government believed that the move would benefit the larger fishing boats then used in English fishing ports, and was prepared to accept the loss of up to half the jobs then existing in the Scottish industry. https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/heath-knew-policy-would-kill-fish-fleet-1-634422
This support is despite the fact that the rest of Scotland has been warning that the Conservatives sold out the Scottish fishing industry before, and they will not hesitate to do it again if they believe they can secure some advantage elsewhere. Putting your faith in the Conservatives to defend you means you’re acting like those teenagers in the Freddy Kruger movie who are staying in a cabin in the woods and decide to go out to investigate when they hear a horrible noise outside in the middle of the night. You’ve seen plenty of these movies by now, you ought to know what’s going to happen. It’s exactly the same with the Scottish Conservatives. We’ve seen this movie before, and it always ends in a horror story for Scotland.
Reports this week, which have not been denied by Theresa May’s government, claim that yet again the Conservatives are getting ready to sell out the Scottish fishing industry. The Telegraph newspaper has reported that Theresa is preparing to allow EU fishing fleets access to UK waters in order to secure the Brexit deal that might just save her political neck. The UK has already conceded that EU fishing boats will have access to the waters around Scotland – the richest fishing waters in Europe – during the transition period which lasts until 2020. This new proposal aimed at securing a Brexit deal will allow them access in perpetuity.
This will leave the Scottish fishing industry in an even worse situation than the one that they currently dislike so vehemently. As a member of the EU, the UK was able to participate in discussions about the terms and conditions of the EU Common Fishing Policy and had a vote. That was already a poor set of circumstances for Scotland, which doesn’t have direct representation but has to rely on UK ministers who know little about Scotland and who care even less. After Brexit the Scottish fishing industry won’t even have that much. The UK will have no role in determining the terms and conditions of the EU Common Fishing Policy.
The rest of Scotland is trying to resist the temptation to scream “We told you so.” But that’s what happens when you put your trust in the Tories. They assure you that they will rescue you from a bad situation, and then they make it even worse because they won’t hesitate to sell you out for their own advantages elsewhere. They did that to the Scottish fishing industry in the 1970s, and over 40 years later they’re doing it again. The Tories sold out Scotland on the way into Europe, and they’re preparing to sell out Scotland on the way out of it.
If you want to be defended by politicians, you need to ensure that those politicians are directly accountable to you. It really is that simple. The only way that the Scottish fishing industry can be defended is by the government of an independent Scotland.
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