While certain sections of the British nationalist press in Scotland have been very insistent this week that it’s all over for the independence movement, back in the real world the reasons for Scottish independence just keep getting stronger. Brexit hasn’t gone away. Scotland being sidelined and ignored hasn’t gone away. This week has seen yet more reasons for independence being piled onto the stinking heap of putrid British politics, a heap which already rivals Mt Everest in height.
Theresa May is complaining that Jeremy Corbyn won’t come and speak to her about things that she’s already said she won’t do. One of the businessmen who was most vocal in his support for Brexit is taking his business to Singapore. Jacob Rees Mogg tells us that the only way to save democracy is to close down parliament. The Conservatives insist that it would be an attack on democracy to allow the people to have a free vote. Then a senior BBC presenter thought it was a serious question to suggest to an Irish government minister that the solution to the border question would be for Ireland to leave the EU and join the UK. That’s where we are now in the through the looking glass world of Brexit Britain.
There are only 62 days left until Brexit. That’s not enough time for Jacob Rees Mogg to get his tailor to make him a suit that looks like it wasn’t made for his dad. It’s scarcely enough time to get the council to come and pick up an abandoned mattress, certainly not if you are unfortunate enough to have a Tory council. There is, it must be said, little to distinguish Brexit from an abandoned mattress. It’s unsightly, unseemly, it leaves a bad smell, and no one will take responsibility for it. Certainly not those who actually dumped it outside our front gate. A gate which will soon require a visa to get through, at least once you get past the queue of lorries.
Jacob is terribly worried that the Parliament whose sovereignty he swore blind he was campaigning for might actually act like it’s sovereign. I seem to recall that all the way through the EU referendum campaign Jacob and his pals were insisting that it was an outrage that the sovereignty of the British Parliament be limited by Brussels and by treaty commitments that the UK had signed up to. It’s the God-given right of the UK to be perfidious, and promises made to foreigners needn’t be respected. Neither to promises made to Scotland, so we’re familiar with that one. This kind of guff sounds terribly plausible to Conservatives in Middle-Englandshire when it’s delivered in the plummy tones of someone for whom poshness is performance art. And that all by itself is one of the reasons why the UK is not fit for purpose.
However now that there are mutterings that MPs might wrest control of Parliament business from Theresa May’s minority government, and potentially use it to delay Brexit or even call for another referendum, Jacob is all of a sudden rather less keen on the sovereignty of Parliament. He wants to activate the Queen – which is a phrase that I’d never thought I’d hear. He wants Liz to make like activated charcoal and clear out the blocked bowels of Westminster. She can do this by suspending Parliament to prevent MPs acting like they’re a sovereign body. So now we know that Brexit is really about restoring the divine right of the monarchy. Most of us thought the royals already had been granted divine rights. At least as far as traffic offences are concerned.
Theresa May asserted this week that if Brexit fails to take place then people will lose all faith in politicians. Which only shows how out of touch she really is. That ship sailed a long time ago. The reason many of us want Scottish independence is precisely because we lost faith in politicians, and hope that with a written constitution in an independent Scotland we’ll be better placed to make sure that politicians are actually answerable to us. That’s certainly not the case in the UK.
She couldn’t help herself during PMQs. We may all be going to Hell in a handcart, there may be precious little time left, but there’s always time to get in a cheap gibe about Jeremy Corbyn – like she was a snarky blog writer or something. She sniffed, “The right honourable gentleman has been willing to sit down with Hamas, Hezbollah and the IRA without preconditions, yet he won’t meet me to talk about Brexit.” Yeah Theresa, but that’s because Hamas, Hezbollah, and the IRA knew what they were doing. And at least they took responsibility for the damage that they created.
The population of the UK now feels like it’s living in that movie where Bruce Willis went up in a spaceship to save the world from the asteroid that was hurtling toward it and about to destroy it. Only instead of Bruce and his derring do we have Theresa May and her derring don’t. We have Jeremy Corbyn who wants to hand knit a spacecraft from wool plucked by a peasant collective from the backs of ethically reared vicuñas. And we have Jacob Rees Mogg cheering on the asteroid. None of them actually want to prevent the asteroid striking us, they merely disagree on who should be in charge when it does.
It seems that at least one senior presenter on the BBC doesn’t want to blame anyone in the UK for the mess of Brexit. On BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Saturday, Helen McEntee, the Europe Minister in the Irish government was interviewed by the veteran presenter John Humphrys. John wasn’t too impressed by the recent warnings that a no deal Brexit might lead to the imposition of a hard border across the island of Ireland, a border which John seems to have forgotten only exists in the first place because the British partitioned Ireland.
John thinks that it’s up to Ireland to sort out the mess. He asked the Irish minister why Ireland didn’t just quit the EU and “throw its lot in with this country”. Because that worked out so well for Ireland the last time. The fact that John Humphrys, who let us not forget is a highly paid BBC presenter specialising in politics, thought that this was a serious question deserving of a serious answer sums up all that is wrong with Brexit. If Helen McEntee hadn’t been a polite and sensible Irish politician, she would have given him the only proper answer, which is, “Are you feckin mad, or stupid, or both?”
In the Anglocentric world of Brexiteers, there is no need to understand or even acknowledge the tortured history of Ireland’s relationship with Britain. The problems with Brexit are always the fault of others, and it’s incumbent upon other countries and other people to fix England’s problems for it. Back in the real world, 92% of the people of Ireland want to remain in the EU. It’s not Ireland’s job to sort out the self-inflicted difficulties created by the UK’s inept and selfish political class. As long as Scotland remains a part of the UK, that would be Scotland’s job. That’s Scotland in the UK for you. No say. No influence. But fully liable for all of the mess.
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