Theresa’s listening exercise

Theresa May is on tour in what she fondly imagines to be a listening exercise, or at least what she thinks we will be fooled into thinking is a listening exercise. She’s visiting Wales and Northern Ireland in an attempt to sell her Brexit deal. Scotland is supposed to be in line for a patronisation soon. Or more accurately, another patronisation. Theresa will wheech in, do a tour of some business establishment owned by a Conservative friendly businessperson, while staff look on wordlessly. She’ll smile her rictus grin at the cameras, mouth a few platitudes about getting the best Brexit deal for Scotland, about how it’s not the time for another referendum Scottish or otherwise. Then she’ll give non-answers to questions from the press, if at all, and will promptly wheech off again. Job done. You’ll have had your consultation Scotland.

It’s a measure of the disconnect between the Prime Minister and the public, indeed the rest of the world, that she imagines that this sort of manufactured exercise in walkaboutery is actually meaningful in any sense. It provides the form of listening to the people without any of the messy content of actually listening to the people. If she really wanted to hear what the people have to say, she could do that. She could allow another referendum, but she’s not going to do that because if she did and people voted not to leave the EU after all, she’d have to resign. In Theresaland, people are only allowed to voice their opinions when their opinions happen to be what Theresa wants to hear, which is why she doesn’t want another Scottish referendum either.

This pointless meet n greet n run away is precisely the opposite of hearing what the country has to say. It would be a far more productive use of everyone’s time if Theresa went off on one of her walking holidays and spent a fortnight chatting to some sheep deep in the countryside of rural Somewhereshire. We’d all get a break from her, and Theresa would have a receptive audience for a change. An audience which wouldn’t contradict her.

It’s not just that Theresa May doesn’t want the public to have a say, she doesn’t want the House of Commons to have a say either. She had to be dragged screaming and kicking into allowing MPs a meaningful vote on her Brexit deal, and did her utmost to try and make the meaningful vote as meaningless as just about anything that ever comes out of Ross Thomson’s gob.

She has fought tooth and nail against the legal attempt to get a European Court of Justice ruling on whether the House of Commons can unilaterally put a halt to the Article 50 process, without the permission of the rest of the EU. At every step along the way the British government has spent hundreds of thousands of pounds in legal bids to halt the proceedings, to no avail. That ECJ ruling is due today, Tuesday.

Despite a vote being passed in the House of Commons telling the government to release the full legal advice that it has received on Brexit, Theresa has refused to do so. Instead her government has released a brief summary, which satisfies none of the opposition parties. The offer to release the summary was made by David Lidington, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, in an attempt to get the motion calling for a full release to be withdrawn. The motion wasn’t withdrawn, and passed unanimously after the government decided to abstain.

This, let’s not forget, is the same government that says it’s pursuing Brexit in order to restore the sovereignty of the British parliament. We now have a British government which claims to be working to restore full powers to the House of Commons, which is deliberately ignoring a binding vote taken by that same House of Commons obliging the government to do something it doesn’t like. That’s British sovereignty for you. If this UK government isn’t prepared to pay heed to a binding vote taken by the House of Commons, Scotland, you’ve got nae chance.

For a woman who says she wants to listen, Theresa is doing a very good impression of someone sticking her fingers in her ears and screaming la-la-la-la at the top of her voice. Which to be fair is still more meaningful than anything Ross Thomson has to say. There comes a point when a refusal to listen, a determination to plough on regardless, crosses the line between strength of character and resolution and enters into pigheaded delusion. Theresa May and her hapless government crossed that line quite some time ago.

Meanwhile the only serious government in the UK is the Scottish one. The Scottish government has published a 20 page report detailing the effects of Theresa May’s Brexit deal on Scotland. A Scotland which, let us not forget, voted to remain a part of the EU by a considerably larger margin than it voted to remain a part of the UK. Theresa’s deal makes every person in Scotland £1610 worse off – worse than the economic hit that Better Together claimed we’d get if we’d voted for independence in 2014. It shows that investment in Scottish industry will be 7.7% down compared to what it would be if we retain full access to the EU’s single market and customs union. Theresa’s much vaunted end to freedom of movement will have a severe impact on key parts of the Scottish economy, especially tourism and the health and care sectors, which rely on workers from EU countries. There is no guarantee that existing environmental standards will be maintained, and in fact they can’t be if the UK seeks a free trade deal with the likes of the USA or Australia.

In every aspect, Scotland is worse off because of this Conservative government. We were promised the safety and security of the UK, but all we receive is economic uncertainty, job losses, and years of future negotiations between a weakened UK and the EU with no certain outcome. We have a UK government that governs by threat, by intimidation, by fear, and by scare stories. We have no voice in this so-called Union despite being told very recently that Scotland, a constituent member, a founding member, of the United Kingdom, is a valued and equal partner in a family of nations. Instead, all our futures, all our wellbeing, all our opportunities are sacrificed on the altar of a xenophobic foreigner-fearing English nationalism that wraps itself up in a Union fleg so it can pretend to itself that it’s not nationalist at all. Those Scottish Conservatives who said they’d speak up for Scotland within this fictitious union, they’ve decided that their role is to speak for the UK government in Scotland, not to speak for Scotland in the UK government.

We’re reaching the end game now. The end game for Brexit, and the end game for this supposed United Kingdom. One way or another there’s going to be a vote, whether that’s a General Election or a second EU referendum, and if neither of those happens soon, there will be a Scottish independence referendum. When that vote happens, Theresa May and the Conservatives will be made to listen. That’s going to be a listening exercise that really counts and really means something. Theresa is not going to like what the people of Scotland have to say.

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30 comments on “Theresa’s listening exercise

  1. James Mills says:

    Theresa May’s all singing , all dancing – but not listening – Roadshow will not be visiting a place near you – not ever !

  2. Robert Graham says:

    That more or less sums up the whole pointless visit Paul.

    I remember Nicola Sturgeon being asked her impression and comments after a meeting with Mrs Mayhem , she simply laughed and said well i am as wise as i was when i walked through that door behind me , what was finalised Who knows ? .

    That statement sums up this PMs whole persona baffling to everyone , no wonder the negotiations were so long and muddled , does anyone know what this woman is on about ? .

  3. James Draper says:

    She’s in Glasgow tomorrow Paul (Wednesday)

  4. Andy Anderson says:

    Very well put Paul. Spot on. Looks like December 11 for the rejection of the draft EU Withdrawal Bill and then it will be interesting. The EU must be dismayed, I know I am. If she worked for a private business and did this appalling farce she would be sacked for incompetence. End up on Universal Credit!!

  5. Whitburnsfinest says:

    I’m actually kind of hoping she sticks around till we have indyref2. Then she’ll be remembered as the PM who lost her majority and had to cosy up to theorangeordr to desperatelycling to power, the former remained who presided over the total disastrophe that is Brexit AND the PM who ‘lost’ Scotland. As sort of unholy trinity of failure, if you will.

  6. Wonderful, Paul.
    Perhaps Big T will have a photo op kissing Supermom Ruth’s baby?
    She certainly won’t be mingling with Hoi Polloi, or addressing a packed Usher Hall.
    My theory is that her colleagues are humouring her in her Last Days, rather like Thatcher’s tortured exit.
    If these fat bloaters at WM can just string Joe Public along for a few more weeks, Christmas will halt everything, and they can all retire to their mansions and deck the halls.
    One thing is certain. The UK is dead.
    I wonder what Blue Tory business she will be flushed through, as press ganged serfs are ordered to abandon their workplace and pose like chookies while May tells them what a precious Onion we are in?
    It’s like witnessing the mental breakdown of the Brit Establishment, isn’t it?

    • Whitburnsfinest says:

      Heh. Truth. She’ll kiss Ruth’s baby then have a wee talk to herself in a garden shed in rural Aberdeenshire. Thereafter we can consider ourselves consulted. Consulted and #blessed (insert facepalm here)

  7. Daisy Walker says:

    She’s doing exactly what they want of her, continually kicking the can down the road, continually muddying already muddy waters.

    No Deal is the outcome they want, but at the last minute, so there is no time for a PV or an IndyRef2.

  8. Macart says:

    There must be a woodshed hidden in Glasgow green we’ve all missed hearing about.

    No, I don’t think she’ll like what most Scots have to say about Brexit, deal or no deal. But then, if there’s one thing we should have learned over the past four years? It’s that neither she, her party, or indeed the vast bulk of Westminster MPs give a monkey’s what the population of Scotland thinks.

    Her stopover in Scotland is purely for show. It’s a pointless nonsense. It’s lip service. It’s marketing. It’s typically Tory.

    She wants a debate with ooohhhhh Jeremy Corbyn on telly t’boot. A debate between Brexiteers on whose Brexit is bestest. Both are too damn cowardly to involve anyone else or any other view in this debate, which should speak volumes on its own really. This is their idea of listening, of choice. This is their idea of partnership and family. This is their pooling and sharing. This is the reality of better togetherness.

    People want a real choice on their future? Want to have their opinion actually matter? Then you know what to do by this point.

  9. benmadigan says:

    Don’t see the point of PM May wooing the (sic) public.

    Wouldn’t her time be better spent wooing the MPs in Westminster?

    For the series “yes dear, what can I do for you to guarantee your vote?”

  10. fairliered says:

    Is she coming to Scotland to tell us her Brexit deal is the bestest ever, or to ask Fluffy why he hasn’t resigned yet?

  11. robert harrison says:

    That’s why the national not been allowed there because they fear what the national would ask of them may is what englanders are at there most cowardice hiding away so not to be under scrutiny and banning those who will hold them to account no wonder the English are sick of her as well that cowardly personality she shows makes them look even weaker as there country’s leader.

  12. Clive Scott says:

    Where and when in Glasgow? I’ve heard a dozen eggs don’t cost much in Lidl’s these days. Best ones are past the sell buy date.

  13. Fillofficer says:

    She’ll be holding fort at the louden tavern no doubt, truly loyal supporters
    Who else would want to listen to her inane soundbites
    Hopefully this is her farewell tour

  14. benmadigan says:

    here’s where she’s going – according to the Guardian . Couldn’t get much vaguer

    “The prime minister will visit a factory near Glasgow and speak to workers and employers about the agreement, telling them: “It is a deal that is good for Scottish employers and which will protect jobs.”

  15. manandboy says:

    Theresa’s Tour has everyone shaking their head. Not for the first time.
    Enter Vladislav Surkov. He is the political architect of Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
    Surkov’s political theories are known as Sovereign Democracy, the overall aim of which is to remain in power.
    Surkov is the reason why Putin has been at the top in Russia for so long.
    Theresa May is a disciple of Surkov because the British Ruling Class have decided to retain power in the UK through successive and ongoing Conservative governments.
    Sovereign Democracy is founded on controlling the minds of the national population. Specifically, by denying them any real information so as to confound and confuse them. Here in the UK under May, no one but no one knows what exactly is going on or where the UK is headed precisely. Uncertainty is a key ingredient in Surkov’s political strategies. Hence why we have it now in the UK. May is applying Surkov’s ideas here.
    The goal is to remain in power. For this group of Tories that means power at Westminster, but also Colonial power, hence preserving the Union as one of May’s priorities.
    Understanding Surkov is to understand May.

  16. grafter says:

    “Surkov is the reason why Putin has been at the top in Russia for so long.”. Not true. Putin is the most highly trusted and respected political leader in the world today. The majority of Russians endorse this view. The British ruling class do not require Tory administrations to extend their monopoly of power, They also have the Labour party to rely on for this ongoing corruption of democracy just as the American aristocrats have the Republican/Democrat charade across the pond. The odious May and her little band of Tory war mongering thugs will stop at nothing to hold on to power.

  17. Macart says:

    ‘Chancellor says UK will be worse off under all Brexit scenarios’

    Who knew?

  18. Macart says:

    Advocate General’s opinion on the ECJ case due first week December.


  19. susan says:

    Do Conservatives of any description appear in real public situations? Is it democracy when the UK government is too frightened to appear before the people? Soft dictatorship.

  20. Macart says:

    This might just be a false rumour, but I hear there’s been a run on eggs in Glasgow supermarkets overnight. 😉

    ‘Course it might just be there’s going to be a lot of omelettes, artisan quiche and egg rolls eaten in the next couple of days.

    In other news…

  21. Luigi says:

    Aye, must be quite an operation, getting the dear leader in and out of hostile territory (occupied but still dangerous) without mishap. I wonder if he who hasn’t resigned yet will suddenly emerge from the nearest rock when May finally makes an appearance. 🙂

  22. Craig P says:

    It is hard to imagine a Conservative leader visiting Scotland without being reminded of this classic image:

  23. To all you infidels on here, I prayed to Zeus, the Greek God Head Honcho, who’s also in charge of clouds and rain, (not a lot of people know that) for the heavens to open up and drench this Charm Offensive on its whistlestop visit North.
    My prayers have been answered.
    I hope they get soaked.
    I wonder which factory near Glasgow she’s popping into?
    Singer’s in Clydebank?
    Hoover in Cambuslang?
    Polaroid in the Vale of Leven?
    There are so many to choose from.
    Her arrogant ‘Scotland voted in 2014’, and returned 13 Blue Tories last year, rant at the Despatch Box todasay at PMQ confirms what we all know.
    Back in your box, vanquished colonists.
    I note that Boris sat with the Blue Tory Scots contingent this morning.
    Hubble bubble…

    I don’t care how we achieve it now.
    Include us out, England.

  24. Muscleguy says:

    Just a note, while the hearing in the ECJ was on Tuesday the ruling will not be until Dec4. Though the UKGov’s brief risked the displeasure of the justices by failing to address the substantive issue and simply put forward a plea that the case be dismissed because they don’t like it.

    There is good authority that the justices did not look impressed at all. This was the Advocate General of Scotland Richard Keane again, the man who in the Brexit should be decided in parliament case had to admit the Sewel Convention and the idea of not overruling the Scottish Government were just tissue thin lies and they will do to us what they want, when they want, how they want. Even the supposed enshrined permanency of the Scottish Parliament is nothing of the sort.

    We thus need out of this union where we are derided, dismissed and given promises they know they cannot keep, let alone a future govt we didnae vote for.

    When the interconnector between Aberdeen and Norway is finished and post Indy we decide we can ell our excess power to whoever we like and the French who are thinking of taking out a lot of their nuclear plants might also decide post Brexit not to supply blighty any more then they might find they really, really lurve and respect us, really.

    Since the French and Japanese have withdrawn from the two proposals to build new nuclear plants in England rUK could well find the lights going out. I wouldn’t want to be poor doon sooth, with a Tory government they may well start burning poor people to keep the lights on. I wouldn’t put it past them once they repeal the human rights legislation.

  25. Andy Anderson says:

    A good bit of reporting and analysis regarding the PM’s grand tour from the MSM and others. Universal agreement is that it was a waste of time. Mind you anyone with a brain knew this before she wasted more taxpayers money.

    Instead of the usual Xmas repeats on TV this year we can stop watching Mary Poppins and instead watch Westminster demonstrating to us how not to run a country or indeed behave in a professional way. Their disgrace is turning into our comedy show.

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