You can’t turn on the telly today without seeing some eager interviewer standing outside Westminster or Downing Street, sticking their microphone in the face of a random political passer by and asking them about the government’s Brexit deal. The cracks are already showing, not least in the rictus grins of the Conservatives. It’s that uncomfortable smile you get from an actor on a soap opera who knows that their character has been killed off by the writers but isn’t allowed to say so in public. This is it for them, this is when the Brexit pigeon comes home to roost. Having spent the past two years crapping all over the British body politic, now it’s going to crap on the Tory party.
The Labour party has said that the deal doesn’t meet their six conditions, conditions which were in an act of poetic justice which Labour isn’t usually capable of, determined by the pronouncements of the Brexists themselves. The SNP has said that as far as Scotland is concerned, this deal is the worst of all possible worlds. The DUP won’t agree to it as it treats Northern Ireland differently from the rest of the UK. A small group of Conservative remainers are expected to vote against because they still hope that there can be a second referendum. The Johnson and Rees-Mogg faction of the Tory party won’t agree to it because they won’t agree to anything other than an act of capitulation from the EU. Which is rather like King Harold getting an arrow in his eye and thinking he can dictate the terms of the Norman Conquest instead of going to SpecSavers.
It’s still possible that Theresa May’s Brexit deal can squeeze the votes it needs to get through Parliament. The vote is most likely to occur early in December. However the word possible covers all eventualities. It is possible that Ross Thomson can be interviewed on the telly without making you think that he’s the tragic victim in a charity appeal. It’s possible, but vanishingly unlikely.
Ross is currently one of those nutjob Brexiteers who is telling anyone who will listen that Theresa’s deal is a betrayal. The deal sells out the Scottish fishing industry which Ross and the other Scottish Tories pledged to defend. Pledging to defend every other Scottish industry, not so much. But on the fishing issue, they’re taking strong and stern action. Ross and the rest of Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservative ™ MPs have written a letter. OOoooooh. That will really show Theresa May that they’re a force to be reckoned with.
Theresa knows what the rest of us know. That the Scottish Conservatives will harrumph a wee bit for the benefit of the cameras, then they’ll do what they’re told and will put the interests of the Tory party before the interests of Scotland. Because that’s what they always do. If you think that you can vote for a Tory in the expectation that he or she was going to stand up for your interests and Scotland’s interests, you’d probably also think that you could use a solution of flesh eating bacteria as an anti-wrinkle cream.
The Scottish Government is concerned that Theresa May’s deal will leave Northern Ireland within the single market, putting Scotland at a serious competitive disadvantage. If special arrangements can be made for Northern Ireland, there is absolutely no reason why the same cannot be done for Scotland. The Government of Gibraltar has been allowed to see the terms of the deal, but the UK Government has refused to allow the Scottish Government the same courtesy. So much for a union of equals. So much for a much loved partner in a family of nations.
Nicola Sturgeon revealed today that Theresa May had offered to call the First Minister after the cabinet meeting, but refused to call before. So in other words the UK PM will only contact Scotland in order to lay down the law on a deal that had already been agreed between the Conservatives, but she refused to speak to Nicola Sturgeon before the cabinet meeting so that Scotland’s concerns can be factored into the discussions before a final decision is reached. There’s that respect agenda for you Scotland.
It’s not just the Westminster Parliament which has served Scotland poorly throughout this entire sorry Brexit process. In the week that it was revealed that Scotland’s contributions to the TV licence subsidise the BBC headquarters to the tune of over £100 million annually, it is a remarkable fact that not once during the protracted Brexit process has BBC Scotland, or STV for that matter, seen fit to produce a single programme, public debate, or documentary, examining how Scotland is going to be affected by Brexit. As Scotland’s interests have been lost in the mists of Westminster obfuscation and Tory and Labour wishful thinking, the Scottish broadcast media has done the square root of hee-haw to blow away the fog and promote public awareness of specifically Scottish issues. If you wanted an argument as to why Scotland deserves and needs a national public service broadcaster of its own, that’s it right there.
As a part of this so-called union, Scotland is being marginalised and ignored by the British political establishment, and the British media. That same media crows that Brexit hasn’t produced a surge in support for independence, without considering that this might not be unrelated to the fact that it would far rather search out the latest SNPbad story than seriously examine the effects on Scotland of the Conservatives’ destructive addiction to Brexit and Labour’s codependency.
The lassitude of the Scottish broadcast media is reflected in the country. There are still too many people in Scotland who have been sitting on their backsides these past two years telling themselves that everything will work out just fine, that “they” will never go through with a destructive Brexit that ruins lives, wrecks the economy, and turns the UK into the laughing stock of Europe. Well “they” will, because “they” don’t give a toss about you, about Scotland, about what any of us think about or care about. And one of the major reasons that they don’t give a toss is because too many of us let them get away with it.
Theresa’s Brexit deal isn’t a great deal. It’s not a big deal. It’s a deal which strips away the pretence that the UK is a country which works for everyone. It’s a deal which removes any doubt about the UK’s true place in the world – on the sidelines, marginalised and ignored, retreating into a bunting fuelled fantasy of empires long lost. You can’t eat bunting. You can’t sustain yourself on royal walkabouts and military parades.
What is a very big deal is the way in which the electorate has been lied to. What is a very big deal is the cavalier fashion in which the British establishment has brushed aside the Irish peace process and the promises made to Scotland during the independence referendum. What is a very big deal is the deceit of Westminster. What is a very big deal is that the UK is being taken out the EU and Scotland kept within the UK on the basis of lies. What is a very big deal is the way that Scotland has been treated during this sorry episode by those British nationalists who tell us that they love us. Now is the time for the Scottish Government to say that enough is enough.
UPDATE: 9pm 14 November 2018
The UK government has now released the entire text of the deal struck by Theresa May to leave the EU. Here’s everything that it says about Scotland.
There are 109 mentions of Northern Ireland, and 70 mentions of Cyprus. But there is not a single mention of Scotland anywhere in a document that is 585 pages long. That’s how much consideration this Conservative government has given to Scotland. Better together, eh.
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