Theresa May appeared before the House of Commons Liaison Committee this morning to speak about her Brexit plans. Committee members were keen to ask her what her Plan B was in the likely event that her deal would not attract the support of sufficient MPs in order to pass through parliament. Remember Plan Bs? There was a time when pressing politicians on their Plan B was all the rage, but that was before Brexit happened and the realisation that no one had a Plan A, least of all the Conservatives.
She was asked by a Conservative MP on the committee what she’d learned from the past two and half years. There are many accurate answers to that question. She could have said that having a Plan A before pressing the Article 50 button might, in retrospect, have been a good idea. She could have said that she now realised that the swivel eyed ideologues on the Tory right were never going to be placated no matter what she’d done, so she’d have been a whole lot more successful by pissing them off at the start of the proceedings and getting it over with. She could have said that she now realised that there are wood yards in the Midlands which contain planks which are less thick than David Davis, and which might have made a better fist out of negotiating with the EU. She could have said that she’d learned absolutely bugger all, which would at least have had the benefit of honesty.
Instead, in response to the committee members’ questions, Theresa said, “Wibble, wibble, wibble. I’ve been very clear. Bzzzt. Does not compute. Shhhhhhszzzz. Best deal for Britain. Ptang ptang whoop.” So we’re delighted that that has been cleared up. And to be fair it was the most reasonable and sensible thing that Theresa has said all week.
Certainly she didn’t say much that was sensible, interesting, or even truthful, when she made her flying visit to consult with the people of Scotland about her Brexit deal. Or to be more precise, her flying visit to pontificate at a group of unwilling and unwary workers in a leather factory in Bridge of Weir. People who’d just turned up for their shifts expecting to put in a day’s work polishing leather, only to discover that they were now being expected to polish the thick skin of the Prime Minister. And without any bonus payments, or even danger money for having to come close to such a radioactive politician.
The location of her visit was kept secret from the press until the very last minute, just in case some members of the Scottish public turned up expecting to be consulted. Even though it was Bridge of Weir on a wet and windy winter’s day which isn’t exactly the most bustling of places at the best of times, you could never be too certain. The National wasn’t one of those newspapers blessed with an invite to bask in the presence of St Theresa, because expecting that she was going to give answers to questions put to her by independence supporters was more of a miracle than anyone could expect.
There are precious few means for Scotland to hold Westminster to account as it is. Our media is overwhelmingly servile and submissive when it comes to Westminster. For the British government to refuse to give a press pass to Scotland’s single pro-independence newspaper demonstrates that the British government has no intention of engaging with that part of Scotland’s population which wants independence. They have no desire or interest in persuading us of the benefits of the UK. Instead they want to marginalise and ignore us. The reason for that is because they have no arguments to make. If the Prime Minister of the UK can’t make the case for this so-called Union, no one can, because there is no case to make. Meanwhile the UK continues its descent into a has-been state where democracy is respected in form but not substance.
What Theresa told us can be divided into two categories. That which was truthful, and that which made sense. Unfortunately the parts which made sense were not truthful, and the parts which were truthful made no sense. She told us that she’d negotiated the best deal for Scotland, which was a lie. She told us that the Scottish Government needs to stop talking about independence, which made no sense, since it’s only independence that can get us that best deal that Theresa can’t negotiate for us. In any event, the people in Scotland who talk most about independence are Theresa’s own pals in the Scottish Conservative party. If Theresa could tell them to stop banging on about independence and instead concentrate on making sure that Scotland’s voice was heard within her own government she’d actually be performing a public service.
Scotland has not been consulted during the Brexit process. The Scottish government has barely been kept informed, and that always after the event. At every stage in the proceedings Theresa May has treated Scotland with contempt and has taken this country for granted. Now she expects us to be fobbed off with a three hour flying visit to a factory conveniently located near enough to the airport to ensure that she need not spend a second longer than necessary to get a few sound bites for the evening news. That’s what passes for the respect agenda. That’s what passes for Scotland being a valued and much loved partner in a family of nations. This is Theresa’s precious union. It’s so precious that she doesn’t want to speak to any part of it that might tell her something she doesn’t want to hear.
Theresa May can’t talk sense because there is no sense to be had in a Brexit Britain. The truth is that Brexit is an English nationalist project, driven by right wing English nationalists, appealing to those who still dream of Empire and who have not reconciled themselves to the true position of the UK in the 21st century. It’s a project founded on fantasy and fueled by lies. All that is left for Scotland is to do what Theresa doesn’t want us to do, to keep talking about independence – but more importantly, to act on it. She came to Scotland to tell us that now is not the time. We’ll be telling you when the time is Theresa. The Brexit clock is ticking on your government. The time is coming very soon and no amount of thick skin in a leather factory is going to stop her feeling it.
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