The secretary of state for temper tantrums

Yesterday I wrote a blog article in which I compared David Mundell, the Scotland Secretary, to a union fleg branded supermarket bag, flapping uselessly in the branches of a tree. I would like to say now that this remark was unwarranted and utterly uncalled for. Plastic bags do have a useful purpose.

It is being reported today that the Fluffy one disassociated himself from a group of rebel cabinet ministers who had threatened to resign if Theresa May does not take a no deal Brexit off the table. The reason he did so wasn’t because he thinks a no deal Brexit wouldn’t damage Scotland that much after all, it’s because he didn’t want to give the SNP an “easy win”. So there you have it. It’s far more important to the Scotland Secretary that he avoids doing anything that might assist the SNP than it is to stand up for Scottish interests.

It is universally agreed by everyone in Scottish politics who isn’t Ross Thomson that a no deal Brexit would be a disaster for the Scottish economy. It threatens to double unemployment and Scotland will be mopping up the consequences for years to come. You might think then that avoiding such a calamity would be the top priority for every Scottish politician who has the slightest degree of intellectual or emotional maturity. So again, not Ross Thomson then. But sadly, you’d be ignoring the kneejerk tribalism of David Mundell, who like his boss puts the interests of the Conservative party above the interests of the country he purports to represent.

David is not going to threaten resignation, because for weeks now the SNP, and independence supporters in general, have taken to referring to him as David Mundell who hasn’t resigned yet. That’s because both he and Ruth Davidson threatened to resign if Northern Ireland was to be treated differently in any Brexit deal from the rest of the UK. That’s what Theresa May’s deal is proposing, yet neither David nor Ruth has resigned.

So if David did indeed threaten to resign now in order to press the Prime Minister to take a disastrous no deal Brexit off the table, and then he actually followed through, he’d give the SNP that easy win the avoidance of which is his overriding political imperative. Because then the SNP would have the satisfaction of seeing him resign. There is some sort of a logic there. It’s the logic you’ll find amongst five year olds on the school playground. The truth is that the SNP would rather see him remain in office, because he’s totally useless at his job and is a walking advert for Scottish independence. The only person who thinks that David Mundell is effective at his job is David Mundell.

Heaven forfend that the Scotland Secretary might think that the best way to stand up against the SNP was by demonstrating that there is a strong and confident voice for Scotland within the UK. After all, if there was a way in which Scotland’s needs and concerns could be aired and responded to at the highest levels of the British government, if the British government could be seen to be forced into taking Scotland’s needs into account, then there wouldn’t be so much support for the SNP. If David Mundell had set out after the 2014 to ensure that all the promises and commitments made by the Better Together campaign of which he was a part had actually been honoured, then the SNP would be a whole lot weaker than it currently is. Because what really drives the Scottish independence movement is the unwillingness or inability of British politicians to hold Westminster to account for the promises it makes to the people of Scotland.

However the actions of David Mundell and his Scottish Conservative, and Labour and Lib Dem, colleagues in Better Together demonstrate that the most important consideration for British nationalist politicians is to keep Scotland within the UK. If that means damaging Scotland or harming Scotland’s interests, that’s something that they can live with. If that means ensuring that Scotland is silenced, that’s a price they are willing to pay. Fundamentally, the role of David Mundell is not to speak for Scotland in the British government, it’s to speak for the British government in Scotland. It’s important that we call him out for that.

It’s being reported in the British press that Mundell didn’t want to resign because he says that there’s a group of 35 SNP MPs who are actively working for no deal. Clearly, he’s not been paying attention. The SNP – and to be fair the Lib Dems and the Greens – have consistently opposed Brexit from the outset. The Scottish Government has produced a detailed plan which sought to minimise the ill effects of Brexit on the Scottish economy. It is simply incorrect to say that the SNP want a no deal Brexit. The SNP, like most people in Scotland, doesn’t want Brexit at all. There is no such thing as a good Brexit for Scotland, or for any other part of the UK. The arguments for an independent Scotland are easiest to make within the context of a UK which remains a part of the EU, or a UK which has a good deal with the EU. Despite the constant claims to the contrary from anti-independence politicians and the media, the SNP doesn’t hate English people, and it certainly doesn’t wish a no deal Brexit on the rest of the UK out of any animus towards the English.

But David is now saying that he’s not going to stand up to a Prime Minister who risking a no deal Brexit, because he doesn’t want to help an SNP which he claims is working for a no deal Brexit. Even by the standards of the five year olds who inhabit the yah boo sucks Scottish Conservative playground, that makes no sense at all. There’s British statesmanship for you. There’s punching above our weight. That’s exactly the kind of political immaturity and self-defeatism which has led to the UK losing what remains of its international standing and being reduced to a laughing stock, not just within the EU, but around the world.

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17 comments on “The secretary of state for temper tantrums

  1. Anne says:

    Paul, in the third paragraph should it be “mopping”? I know you like errors fixed early.

  2. […] Wee Ginger Dug The secretary of state for temper tantrums Yesterday I wrote a blog article in which I compared David Mundell, the Scotland […]

  3. Tol says:

    David Mundell has a purpose…just not for you.

    Mundell’s job is to gaslight Scotland and keep Westminster in power. His ‘useless muppet’ act keeps everyone distracted from arguing the real issues and successfully draws all the attention so everyone piles on “snack beard” eating, resignation threats….

    Mundell is dangerous…in the mould of Boris Johnson. He is part of a dastardly agenda hidden under buffoonery

    Want to beat Mundell….ignore his distractions and go straight for the heart of the issues. Mundell is not there to work for you…he is a buffer to the decision makers. Every political moment you waste on him only gives space to May and her policies.

  4. Robert Graham says:

    I have often wondered why the position of Secretary of State still exists after the reconvening of the Scottish Parliament ,it now seems to be a superfluous position.

    This article is beyond doubt the most useless ever to hold this position , its not difficult to attribute the sentence included in the Smith Commission , the little trap that has caused so much trouble namely the phrase ” Not Normally ” this has the grubby fingerprints of this spiteful worm all over it ,

    The way he conducts himself during Scottish Questions leaves a bad taste in the mouth , his every answer is laced with venom and spite , it’s baffling how he has been allowed to proceed in building his little empire in Edinburgh that will if allowed to will silence and neuter the Scottish Parliament , on this point I believe a grave miscalculation has been made and merry bloody hell should have been raised as soon as it was evident what was going on ,

    Many comments and good advice is being offered on many independence supporting sites let’s hope the advice freely offered is being absorbed and possibly acted on , no one person has all the answers but let’s hope collectively the independence movement can advise of the most positive route to take .

  5. Illy says:

    “Better Together demonstrate that the most important consideration for British nationalist politicians is to keep Scotland within the UK”

    Surely if that were the case then they’d be keeping their promises to Scotland, so that we wouldn’t *want* to leave?

    But no, they act like an abusive husband, who’s beating his wife to “keep her in her place” and hasn’t realised that both their names are on the house, but only his is on the mortgage!

  6. bringiton says:

    Baron Mundell of TweedleDumdale.

  7. astytaylor says:

    Replacing Mundell with a cloth bag would be a step in the right direction.

    • Millsy says:

      ”Have I got News for You ” memorably substituted a Tub of Lard for the absent Roy Hattersley . I would suggest a Union fleg coloured toilet roll-holder would be an apt replacement as the British Government’s representative in Scotland .

  8. Grafter says:

    Don’t care about the “UK’s international standing”, nor about it being the “laughing stock of the EU”. What I do care about is what we are going to do about being dragged down into the Brexit cesspit by the Land of Hope & Glory mob down south with increasing austerity and yet more wealth inequality, creeping privatisation and the removal of any meaningful powers we require to function as an independent nation. If push comes to shove do we have the balls to go out and buy a yellow vest ?

  9. May is on her feet in the Palace of Fools once more, offering to kick the can into the sunny Uplands of June, but repeating that No Deal will not be off the table.

    It reminds me of the terrifying MAD argument, Mutual Assured Destruction, the WMD deterrence excuse; if two Superpowers used their Bombs on each other, the world would die in the ensuing nuclear winter.

    May seems to believe that the EU 27 will be trembling in their boots with the threat of May pressing the ‘nuclear button’, and the UK leaving Europe in a hissy fit on WTO/No Deal terms.

    Scotland might lose 100,000 jobs, each family’s income reduced by thousands, our GDP cut by 7%, and Scotland held under House Arrest by the ‘English’ Border Force, but by the Chief, that’ll show those Johnny Foreigners whose Navy Rules the Waves!

    The EU 27 as the largest Trading Bloc in the Free World have been making preparations for No Deal for eighteen months now, and the Big International Players in the World’s economy are exiting England in anticipation of the Eurmageddon about to hit that green and pleasant land, basically, England.
    Gove doesn’t have enough wooden pallets, apparently.
    Jesu Christo.

    May seems to have lost her mind completely.

    I cannot believe that the powerful Oligarchy who fund the Blue Yellow and Red Tories Down There, and indeed their Lairdships, and Filthy Rich Up Here, are letting her away with this madness.

    The EU will not blink; I doubt whether they will agree to an extension, since the delay offers no alternative to May’s Brexit Deal madness.
    It recalls Humphrey Bogart’s excellent performance as the insane Captain Queeg in ‘The Caine Mutiny’.
    Queeg obsesses about missing strawberries in the galley while proving a coward in the heat of war in the Pacific.
    The Officers of the USS Caine (for May, the Cabinet) suspect Queeg to be paranoid, and consider relieving their captain on the basis of mental incapacity under Article 184 of Navy Regulations. (I’ve just Googled a synopsis of the Movie.)
    Oh for a Sanity Clause in UK Politics.

    We are heading for Stalemate, and No Deal.
    Get the YES flags out.

  10. Millsy says:

    Our ‘Sanity Clause* ‘ is independence – we hope !

    * ”But everbody know there aint no Sanity Clause !”- Chico Marx .

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