Theresa May is currently engaged in a competition with Donald Trump to see which of the two of them can get away with the most lies. If she is in a competition with Trump, she’s narrowly in the lead. It’s the only plausible explanation for the Prime Minister’s curious lack of attachment to reality. It’s either that or she’s a sociopathic liar who has as much respect for the truth as Jacob Rees Mogg does for thrash metal music. Still, at least no one could accuse her of being secretly an agent for the Kremlin. Just being an agent for the Daily Mail, which is arguably worse.
Welcome to life in the UK in the 21st century. Welcome to this British state where Scotland was assured it would be respected and valued as an equal partner in the most perfect union of nations in the history of the multiverse. Only it has turned out that the British state and its political establishment are the world’s leading exponents of pseudocracy, government by lying. Because, sadly and tragically, Theresa May is by no means the only leading figure in the British political establishment for whom truth is at best a serving suggestion, she’s just more fluent at it than the rest of them.
Her lies are so frequent that for the most part they pass unnoticed. She lies so often that it’s highly likely that she no longer knows what truth means. For Theresa, the truth is whatever happens to have issued from her lips most recently. We are expected to have forgotten what she told us only a few weeks ago. So now a no-deal Brexit would be, according to Theresa and her government, an utter catastrophe. Yet it wasn’t that long ago that she was repeatedly intoning the mantra that no deal was better than a bad deal. She told us that Brexit was all about restoring the sovereignty of the British Parliament, yet she’s fought tooth and nail against allowing that Parliament any say. She said she wouldn’t call a snap election, yet she did just that because she thought she could increase her majority. She only lost her majority yet she’s continued as though nothing has changed.
On Monday morning she lied yet again. Theresa gave a speech in a ceramics factory in the Midlands of England. She stood in front of what looked like a big pile of chanties, clearly put there in readiness to receive the epic quantities of pish that were about to utter from her gob. Wouldn’t it have been awful, averred the Pee M, if politicians in the House of Commons had disrepected the results of Scotland and Wales’s devolution referendums. That’s why it’s so important that the result of the EU referendum needs to be respected too. There were referendums in Scotland and Wales in 1997 to establish devolution, and all parties respected the result. And she said it all with a straight face, which is one of the many faces that the great pseudocrat Theresa possesses.
In fact Theresa May herself voted against that referendum result that she claims she respected. She voted against the establishment of a Welsh Assembly after the referendum returned a narrow vote in favour of one, and then she supported the 2005 Conservative manifesto which promised the people of Wales another referendum in order to overturn the result of the first one. You know, what she’s currently claiming that the people of Scotland can’t ever get to do and what it would be a betrayal of democracy to do with respect to another EU referendum.
Interestingly, given that the outcome of the Welsh referendum in 1997 was so narrowly in favour of devolution and the mandate it produced was so fragile, then Welsh Secretary Ron Davies, together with other leading devolution proponents in Wales, including Peter Hain and Win Griffiths, set out to reach out to their opponents and build a cross party consensus. They realised that they had to bend over backwards to build consent for the new Assembly amongst those who had previously been opposed, as well as amongst those who hadn’t voted at all. This approach wasn’t always perfect, but it was successful. Two decades later opinion polls in Wales show that at most only about 15% of voters want to abolish the Welsh Senedd.
This is in very marked contrast to Theresa May’s hard Brexit takes all approach to dealing with the outcome of the narrow vote in favour of leaving the EU. She completely ignored remainers, the Scottish Parliament, and everyone who wasn’t a fully paid up member of the swivel eyed xenophobe wing of the Conservative party. Yet if she had embarked upon a conciliatory and inclusive cross party approach to Brexit as soon as she secured the Tory leadership, she wouldn’t currently be mired in the mess that she, and the rest of the UK, currently is.
Scotland has been betrayed and traduced multiple times by the Great British pseudocrats. There’s the infamy of 1979 when Scotland voted in favour of devolution by a margin almost exactly the same as the margin by which the UK as a whole voted in 2016 to leave the EU. The House of Commons had no great difficulty or remorse in deciding to over-rule the Scottish electorate on that occasion. Some referendums and some electorates are more important than others.
More recently Theresa May has used the Brexit decision as an excuse to undermine Scotland’s devolution settlement that was overwhelmingly approved by the electorate of Scotland in the referendum of 1997. She has displayed a marked lack of concern for the sensibilities of the Scottish electorate in the way in which she’s marginalised Scotland’s large pro-remain majority, the Scottish Parliament, and the result of that 1997 referendum. A result which was, let us not forget, confirmed and reinforced in 2014 when the opponents of independence assured us that there was no status quo, that by choosing to remain within the UK Scotland would be voting for stronger, better, and more powerful devolution.
We have in fact witnessed the exact opposite. This is a government which so frequently decides to over-rule the democratic will of the people of Scotland that it passes unremarked by that pro-British Scottish media which is theoretically standing up for Scotland within the UK. Although of course if it’s a story which doesn’t involve saying how bad the SNP is, it’s difficult to get the Scottish media interested. In the BBC’s lunchtime Scottish news they managed to report on this episode without seeing fit to mention Westminster’s unilateral overturning of the devolution settlement.
Whatever happens in the febrile House of Commons this week, we can be pretty sure that the British political establishment will continue to lie and dissemble, that Scotland will continue to be marginalised and ignored, and that the British nationalist media in Scotland will continue to focus their attention on SNPbad instead of highlighting anything that might risk producing an increase in support for independence. Welcome to the Great British Pseudocracy, where the truth is whatever suits the leader of the day, and the Union isn’t a union at all.
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