Watering the dead plant

Theresa May didn’t speak in the Commons on Wednesday as the House debated whether to rule out a no-deal Brexit. Her voice had given up on her, which is what happens when you say nothing repeatedly for over two years. The quality of a what a person says is proportional to the amount of time that person listens to the opinions of others, and Theresa May has never knowingly listened to another opinion in her entire life. So instead Michael Gove made the government’s case for her, because he’s possibly the only person in the entire Conservative party less capable of consensus building than Theresa.

Michael habitually adopts the lofty tone of a man who firmly believes he occupies the moral high ground even though he’s stuck in the glaur at the bottom of a cesspit of his own creation. There is not a second which goes by without Michael managing to project the impression that he is so very very pleased with himself and all his works. There’s only one opinion which is important to Michael Gove, and that’s Michael Gove’s very fine conceit of himself. As the Victorian intellectual John Ruskin once remarked, a man who is so wrapped up in himself makes a very small parcel.

The gist of the speech was that fault of the failure of Theresa May’s deal lay with everyone except the Brexiteers and the Conservative party. It was the Labour party’s fault, it was the SNP’s fault. It was the fault of remainers and the EU. The only people whose fault it wasn’t were the people who had created the disaster in the first place and that Conservative government which had consistently ignored all other opinions except Conservative and DUP opinions and which had set out from the outset to pursue a hard Brexit based on Theresa May’s inflexible red lines and her fixation on immigration.

After spending much of his speech oozing the slimy snideness which is his main selling point and insulting everyone on the opposite benches, the man who along with his Conservative colleagues bears much of the responsibility for the mess that the UK is currently in called on the other parties to work together with the government to clear it up. It speaks volumes about the character and quality of this sorry excuse for a government that at a time when cross-party engagement is vital, they chose a man to speak who only knows how to insult, belittle, and sneer. At one point he refused to give way to the SNP’s Joanna Cherry, who was doubtless about to correct him on a point of fact. It’s because Michael said people had had enough of experts that we’re in this mess.

Unsurprisingly, he failed to make any on the opposition benches warm to the government’s position, but then that was never his purpose. Michael Gove’s purpose is now and always was the furtherance of Michael Gove’s career prospects within the Conservative party. He was playing to his own back benches with an eye on the Tory leadership election to come.

The motion put forward by Michael Gove on behalf of Theresa May says that says the Commons will not approve Brexit on 29 March if there is no deal, but it notes that no deal remains the default legal position unless both the UK and EU ratify an agreement. It’s a sign of the weakness, indeed chaos, of the government and its abject loss of authority that Theresa May has signalled that she will allow the Conservative party a free vote. If she succeeds in getting her motion passed by the Commons, there are, unbelievably, even at this late stage, suggestions that Theresa’s deal could be brought back to Parliament a third time, like repeatedly watering a dead plant in the hope that it will blossom. That’s why she is still refusing to take no-deal off the table. She’s still playing the same game as before, trying to run down the clock in a game of Brexit chlorinated chicken.

The Speaker accepted two amendments to the government’s motion. Both are as mired in confusion as the Government. One amendment is the so-called Malthouse Compromise, which calls for a short delay to Brexit in order to give the government time to prepare to leave without a deal. It would then offer the EU a “standstill” agreement until 2021 while a magical solution is worked out and some unicorns can be recruited to staff the cake shops along the Irish border. The EU has already ruled this out. The fact that this amendment is even being considered tells us just how divorced from reality Brexit has become. The Tories like it because it’s the only amendment that both wings of their divided party could pull behind. Speaking in favour of the amendment, Damien Green said that the House should just ignore the fact that the EU has already ruled it out. Because unicorns and cake.

The other amendment is the Spelman amendment, put forward by the Conservative remainer MP Caroline Spelman. This amendment would rule out a no deal Brexit under any circumstances and at any time. However late on Wednesday afternoon and under pressure from Conservative whips, the Conservative MP announced that she was going to withdraw her own amendment. An irritated Speaker then replied that it had already been tabled and other MPs could move it instead, but Labour didn’t seem that keen. The Conservatives don’t want this amendment to be voted upon as it will split the party and could lead to the resignations of cabinet ministers. The fact that it’s the only amendment which has any basis in reality is a secondary consideration to the party political interests of both Labour and the Tories. This nasty little episode all by itself illustrates how unfit the two main political parties are as parties and as a government.

Meanwhile there are reports that certain Brexiteers in Leave.EU and Ukip are lobbying right wing governments in Italy, Poland, and Hungary in an effort to get them to use their veto against any extension of Article 50. According to reports a group of Conservatives went to Poland last week in order to lobby the far right Polish government against any extension. So much for “We want the British parliament to be sovereign.” Now we have Nigel Farage and the Brexists begging the EU for help to leave the EU. There’s a word for conspiring with foreign governments in order to damage the interests of your own country. It’s not a pretty word.

The Brexit debates overshadowed the Chancellor’s Spring Statement. The SNP’s Kirsty Blackman intervened to emphasise the damage that a no deal Brexit would do to the economy. She asked the Chancellor for full Barnett consequentials for Holyrood in order to help Scotland cope with the Conservatives’ ruinous policies, and she raised concerns about financial sector assets being moved abroad. Finally she asked for an easing of visa constraints in order to help Scotland attract the immigration it needs. The Chancellor sniffily retorted, “Scotland gets its fair share, and precious little thanks we get for it.” Westminster takes Scotland’s money, gives us some of it back, borrows for things we don’t want or need and lands us with the bill, then demands that we’re grateful for their kindness.

In the end the Commons voted narrowly in favour of the Spelman amendment that Spelman rejected. Even though the Conservatives were furiously whipping against it, by 312 votes to 308 the House voted to take no deal off the table under all and any circumstances. By a majority of four votes the Commons voted to take something off the table that will remain on the table. By itself this amendment won’t change the law, but it’s yet another blow to what little remains of the authority of a Theresa May who is doggedly persisting in watering her dead plant.

We then saw the ludicrous spectacle of the Prime Minister voting against her own motion because she refused to accept the amendment.  Despite all the attempts from the Conservatives to strongarm their remainers into voting with the Prime Minister, she lost by an even bigger margin than before.  Then she stood before the Commons and said that nothing much had changed.

The next step is for an extension of Article 50.  We have a government which has lost all control, but which is continuing as though nothing has happened.  How much longer can this farce go on for?

There’s precious little thanks for Scotland remaining in the UK. There’s precious little thanks for Scotland sacrificing its future and its opportunities on the altar of British nationalism. All we get is contempt, disdain, and a complete ignoral of our needs, our desires as expressed through the ballot box, and our future. We can either keep watering Theresa’s dead plant of British nationalism, or grow some fresh green shoots in a new Scottish state.

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45 comments on “Watering the dead plant

  1. Robert Graham says:

    That should be on a billboard in every town and city in Scotland anyone know of a current crowdfunding effort planed or in progress so we can get behind this .
    This is something that would waken up dithering and unsure Scots it’s straight to the point, this is the way things are and not how many imagine it actually is .

  2. It’s been quite a day. We had the Scotsman Gove insulting the SNP with no input from Mr Speaker for being an arrogant arse. His Scottish citizenship will be the first of many to be revoked on our independence. We had Anna Soubry being insulted by Gove who ended up looking even more stupid than he already did, while she then pointed out that Spelman was worried Tories might actually vote for her amendment and get punished by May – because in a free vote, the only tories allowed to vote freely are the Scottish ones voting against Scotland

    And in another ordinary day in the Scottish Parliament, the Labour party vote against increasing Carers Allowance because they are for the many, not the people who provide love, support and care for their loved ones but don’t get paid a wage for it

    Now we have May unable to see that Brexit is dead, she insists on croaking away as if it’s everyone’s fault except the tory party’s. Corbyn sounds as pathetic in response as usual.

    If anyone left in Scotland really thinks (as Ian Blackford gets booed by Unionsts yet again) that these soulless idiots represent us, then please take yourself off and find yourself a home amongst them. We cannot meet your needs.

    • deelsdugs says:

      And on a different but similar vein Molly’s mum, one Tory MSP is objecting about the protection of beavers in Scotland. That was all that was needed to take it back to the drawing board…one Tory MSP opposing the decision…and they just had to do it.

  3. Little green shoots are appearing all around us.We just need to water them and grow stronger and more confident.Soon we will outnumber the weeds.

    • Welsh Sion says:

      I know it’s a different metaphor – and I initially wrote this as a dedicatory fable to the late Margo MacDonald, but I still hope it resonates and conveys a powerful message of support for you in Scotland. I hope also that you will enjoy it.


      44. (of 60.)

      Reverend Caledonia and the candles

      Reverend Caledonia had officiated at St. Alba’s church for many years. The minister came into his church one morning, shivering. It was a cold morning and Reverend Caledonia, being rather elderly tended to feel the cold more than most. That morning however, he felt the cold outside more than usual – and he felt it in his church too. Something was not right, and Reverend Caledonia knew it.

      Now, not only was Reverend Caledonia’s church colder than usual that morning, the minister felt sure that it was darker too. He looked around him. It was then that Reverend Caledonia’s gaze fell on the altar. He immediately saw what was wrong: his big altar candle, a venerable MacDonald taper which had served him and his congregation for a good many years had seemingly disappeared.

      Reverend Caledonia hurried over to the altar, fearful that someone had stolen the MacDonald candle. When the minister arrived at the candlestick which held the candle, he realised what had happened. Far from being removed, the MacDonald candle had in fact completely melted and had gone out. Only its burnt and frayed wick and a small pool of wax remained as testimony to its former glory. Reverend Caledonia realised with a heavy heart that it would not be possible to relight the MacDonald candle.

      When Reverend Caledonia took in this dreadful news, he fell to his knees and began to sob deeply and audibly. He began entreating God to give safe passage to the soul of the MacDonald candle. Now you may think this kind of behaviour a little bizarre – to feel such profound grief for something seemingly inconsequential and inanimate as a candle. But you have to appreciate that Reverend Caledonia was a very sensitive man. In all the years he had been the minister at St. Alba’s he had developed some sort of affinity or connection with his altar candle.

      The MacDonald candle had indeed come to symbolise, in true Christian fashion, “the light of the world,” and it (or as Reverend Caledonia had personalised the candle over the years, “she”) had given off light and warmth during his many services at St. Alba’s. Reverend Caledonia knew that his congregation had also appreciated the light and the warmth the MacDonald candle had given off – and they too would miss that when they learnt that she was no more.

      When Reverend Caledonia realised this fact, he sobbed all the louder. No other candle would (or indeed, could) replace the MacDonald candle – she was truly one of a kind.


      But Reverend Caledonia was also a very practical and resourceful man. After a few minutes of silent contemplation, he dried his eyes and blew his nose a couple of times. He got up off his knees gingerly and started to smile.

      He knew what he had to do and what his parishioners would expect him to do. So Reverend Caledonia began to light a number of little candles all over the inside of St. Alba’s church. Now, as individual, little candles they could in no way compare with the MacDonald candle – she was truly unique. They also lacked the experience she had in serving Reverend Caledonia in his services. But Reverend Caledonia also knew that the combined strength of the little candles – their joint giving of light and warmth – would help dispel the darkness and gloom inside St. Alba’s.

      The little candles would also gladden the hearts of Reverend Caledonia and his parishioners.

      And so it was that Reverend Caledonia, realising this little miracle of deliverance, again fell to his knees on the altar steps and gave thanks to God and expressed his gratitude for the work of the MacDonald candle. He also thanked God for inspiring him to continue her warm and joyful message through the medium of the little candles.

      It would be a fitting tribute to the work previously carried out by the MacDonald candle and he was happy to be a facilitator in that process.

      Parables for the New Politics 

      • Kenzie says:

        Just one point Sion. Presbyterians – of whatever shade – do not pray on their knees. Mush Tamam, as the Arab would say. 🙂

  4. Mark Russell says:

    It’s like watching turkeys arguing over gas or electric ovens, how much basting is preferable and what contribution they should make towards the cost of dinner.

  5. Macart says:

    “Scotland gets its fair share, and precious little thanks WE get for it” Uh huh!

    Not entirely sure he’s thought that statement through.

    For instance. Who is this WE he’s speaking of? I mean, if Scotland is considered something other and something separate. Aren’t we part of the bestest onion in the history of onions? Apparently not. Apparently there is a WE that’s not an US too. So much for lead with us, please stay etc., etc.

    Who knew?

    • astytaylor says:

      “WE, your Imperial Masters”

      Sometimes i wish one of them would just come out once and scream it.

    • markrussell20085017 says:

      Hi Sam – yeah, that was a wee nugget in yesterday’s pantomime – one wonders what today will produce. But actually, I can appreciate his sentiment. This will likely be unpopular with readers, but England is primarily undergoing a crisis of identity thanks to Brexit and unfortunately tribalism has become fashionable again. The attitude towards the EU can be easily translated to the Irish or Scots – who they see as having a disproportionate amount of power and influence and a hindrance to their democratic wishes. They have a point, do they not?

      Scotland has its own Parliament and Government – and representation at Westminster. Yet it only has approximately 10% of the total population in Britain. England overwhelmingly voted to leave the EU – a move supported by their two principal political parties – and whilst it could be argued that the Scottish MPs should represent their constituents’ views – to thwart the will of a majorityis profoundly undemocratic.

      The only solution out of this mire is for the Scotland to withdraw their MPs from Westminster and unilaterally declare independence – if they wish to retain EU membership. Perhaps an election can be held in Scotland quickly to settle the question of retaining a Union with England or the EU. We cannot have both. Ireland should be unified.

      That means there will be a customs and immigration border between England and Scotland. It will be easier to manage and implement than a border in Ireland for many logistical and political reasons.

      The electorate in England would welcome such a move, particularly in the prevailing climate. Bite their hands off.

      • Macart says:

        The greatest trick ever pulled… etc Mark. The con of Westminster parliament, was that it was always England’s de facto parliament through sheer numerical advantage. Those who ran the show and brought about the treaty of union saw no problem with disbanding a parliament for England’s population because of this. They never foresaw a time when Scotland’s population could (or would) consider dissolving the treaty.

        Their greatest problem? Two sets of laws and the fact that Scotland’s parliament was never dissolved. It was prorogued (discontinue a session of (a parliament or other legislative assembly) without dissolving it.). That parliament was reconvened in 1999.

        Because of our popular sovereignty, no Scottish government can act without the specific mandate of the majority of the population.

        The second they do have such a mandate? Well… 😉

  6. Keith Roberts says:

    Facebook playing up with you too Paul, errors blocking sharing…

  7. Alba woman says:

    Watching channel 4 news ……a sense of hysteria prevails in the HOC……Teresa May sits hunched and totally exhausted. Defiant somebody said…..mad more like….she is prepared to sacrifice her health ..a very precious part of life..

    It looks like the endgame for Teresa and co…..is to push her deal or no deal through the time limit request to the EU…the Tories really have given us the realities of Westminster rule….ruthless ideological self interest.

  8. Carol Sadler says:

    I’ve been able to post personal things on f/book,but it won’t let me share this or twiiter posts.

  9. uno mas says:

    Michael Gove, the runt of a litter of one.

  10. JGedd says:

    Feel close to hysteria myself. We have lost all words to truly express the colossal tumshieness of the UK parliament. Spitting Image could have had a field day with these caricatures of human beings who are the supposed representatives of the electorate. It appears our politics exists now only to provide sport for cartoonists abroad.

    May will get her deal unless we simply slip helplessly over that cliff at the end of March. She looks at us evilly while she calculates how little time is left and gloats over the sheer ineptitude of her opponents. ( Calculates, too, how much money hubby has made out of the financial free-for-all speculators have enjoyed. Don’t feel sorry for Theresa. )

    No extension to Article 50 will save us from the harm that is coming – the EU is not persuaded that such an extension would be of any use so is not disposed to allow it.) It’s now being suggested that this scenario is the one May and her team always wanted. Gamblers know that you don’t lose if both your options are the only winning ones. No deal or May’s deal were always the preferred options.

    The only way to stop it would be to revoke Article50. We know that this can be done without the permission of the EU. If the WM opposition were not as dysfunctional as the Tory party, they might, even at this late date, realise that they could organise – with the help of the SNP – to pull the cord on the last remaining parachute they have and go for revoking Article50.

    Hope Scotland can escape the smash into the pavement. ( Not optimistic. )

    • Steve says:

      500% agreement from me..

    • Port Jim says:

      It is illustrative of how divorced from reality they are, in their squalid little UK bubble.
      The EU has said that the negotiations are over. If “we” don’t like the deal, the article 50 notice must be withdrawn. Anything else requires the unanimous agreement of the EU, and I doubt that will be forthcoming – god knows where they found the patience to thole us this long!

  11. Susie says:

    I can`t post this article to FB either – getting desperate are they??

  12. Susie says:

    I can`t post this article to FB either – getting desperate are they?? Anyone else having problems with political posts?

    • weegingerdug says:

      It’s not just political posts. It’s all posts. Facebook has been down across several countries for much of the day.

      • deelsdugs says:

        I was beginning to think Facebook had been reeled in with anything, across many countries, that was remotely political…was it not John Ruskin who turned architecture into political, religious and moral debate?
        Well, that’s the take with what we’re studying in the ‘The Seven Lamps of Architecture’…and my, he’s hard work.

  13. Welsh Sion says:


    Fluffy on the BBC:

    Speaking to the BBC, the Scottish Secretary David Mundell says: “The Cabinet should now act on the will of the House – that is to deliver our exit from the EU with a deal.”

    “The prime minster has my full support in that,” he adds.

    When asked if he should be sacked for not voting with the government, Mr Mundell said: “If you vote against the government, as some ministers did, you resign and accept responsibility for doing that.

    “I did not vote against the government.”


    Yep. He hasn’t resigned (yet). Quoi de neuf, pussycat ?

    • Robert Harrison says:

      Yet rumours flying around Mundell is looking at getting the boot from his position in the cabinet for abstaining in the no deal Brexit vote.

  14. Daisy Walker says:

    If we step back from the Westminster drama today… exactly what has happened?

    The can has been kicked down the road again, tomorrows vote is unlikely to make things any clearer.

    As soon as a Deal, or No Deal is declared the SNP will have something to define and kick against.

    As long as it is not, they cannot, or will not depending on your view.

    The only vote that would bring clarity – is revocation. Cancel Brexit… and all of the unionist parties at WM are playing a blinder at keeping that off the voting table. And its not like the SNP down there haven’t explained it to them in simple language.

    Both Terrible May’s deal and no deal – save the billionaires from the tax haven legislation, by preventing ECJ adjudication. They can live with either – though no deal enables the firesale of all public assets to their buddies.

    Both will lead to a degree of chaos, which in turn will enable WM to declare a state of emergency and close Holyrood.

    Meanwhile suspicious packages were sent to different locations in the UK, including Glasgow, apparently from the ‘IRA’.

    And we haven’t even sent Police Scotland’s Black n Tan’ 2.0 over there yet. Why on earth would terrorists on any side of the divide in NI have an issue with Scotland… they never used to during the troubles.

    • Eilidh says:

      Per the imperial broadcasting corporation it was sent to a Army Recruiting Officer at Glasgow Uni. Why would we have one of them working there mystifies me.

  15. velofello says:

    Enjoyed your wee parable Welsh Sion. Regards Mundell “I didn’t vote against the government”, is similar to what is happening in rugby nowadays at rucks – don’t block the ball at a ruck and be penalised, just time your roll away to perfection.

  16. bringiton says:

    All the Brexiteers needed to do to get an extension vetoed would be to go to Spain with the DUP in tow and exclaim no never,no surrender as far as Gibraltar goes.
    That would guarantee the required result from Spain.

  17. Steve Ashton says:

    Spinal evolution?
    Scientists were stunned last night when an odious slimeball appeared to exhibit some of the behaviours commonly associated with vertebrates. Observers were astonished when the utterly spineless lickspittle appeared to grow a pair and actually had the temerity to act independently – which was previously considered impossible for such a cringing mental vacuum. Along with several others in the House, the previously servile sycophants actually managed to avoid doing exactly what they were told to do. Subsequent analysis suggests the errant behaviour was not due to the development of a proto spinal system, but rather could be explained as a continuation of the creature’s permanent confusion exacerbated by the heat and generally febrile atmosphere in the House. “Even an amoeba occasionally appears to develop spinal characteristics when overheated, although we thought it was beyond this particularly tepid specimen. His abstention was a genuine surprise but we do not expect this kind of rebellion to become the new normal for the most docile sycophant ever discovered”. This prediction was later proved accurate when it was confirmed that Mr Muddle had not yet resigned. Errata… that should be Mundell.

    • There he stood, outside the tent, looking in: all he had to do was unzip his flies, pull out his enormous Johnson and let go with a fireman’s hose deluge of pee which he must surely have been holding in for several years now.
      He is there to serve Scotland’s interests, surely?
      But yet again, the Hirsute Faced One ‘hauds it in’, and like the other Red Blue and Yellow Brit Nat ProudscotsButs, abdicates his responsibility to serve the people by ‘abstaining’.
      He must have a prostate the size of a beach ball by now.
      Holding on to his two grand a week plus exes plus a tied ‘cottage’ means more to a Unionist Scot than the welfare of their fellow Scots.
      He’s crawled back into the tent and will be pissing out from now on in, a relentless torrent of yellow rain designed to drown Scotland in a stench of SE Oligarchy poison.
      The man’s a political whore.
      Now’s the time, guys.

    • Steve ashton says:

      It has since been confirmed that what many mistakenly thought may have been a spark of rebellion was in fact a small damp patch of shame as the four cabinet ministers spent so much time trying to find their arses with both hands (and failing) that they then failed to find either of the lobby doors before they closed….

  18. Steve says:

    We can’t all always have what we want so you will have to compromise and abandon your principles so Theresa can get what she wants.

  19. Robert Graham says:

    Serious Question ,

    What function does Fluffy perform ,

    what is he for ? ,

    This article is presently constructing a parallel government in Edinburgh ,why is the freely elected Scottish government allowing this competing administration being set up without question and why is it not being questioned in our parliament .

    Playing Westminsters game will result in failure, because as we have witnessed recently Britannia waves the rules every single time, they can’t ever be trusted , every single move and the outcome of each move Nicola Sturgeons government will make has been anticipated If We Play by their rules , IF ! . Time to use our rules I believe .

  20. It’s not British nationalists, they should be known as English nationalists.

  21. Daisy Walker says:


    Just been catching up on todays WM votes (14/3/19)…. and they had the chance -with 15 days to go until Brexit – to vote to hold a Peoples Vote…

    But no. Labour said, ‘now is not the time’…. and the ‘leaders’ of the People’s Vote – Alastair Campbell (Tony Blairs bestie) also said, ‘now is not the time’.

    When the PV Group sprouted up, I said then, they were a Tony Blair regroup band – one of Peter Mandelson’s relatives is in there somewhere in the background… and their purpose was to keep a No Deal Brexit firmly on track (by infiltrating within the ranks of the PV and ensure it never happened) and try to split IndyRef 2 votes with confusion over what flavour of EU membership would be best.

    The left cheek of the establishments arse, very definitely there to triangulate and serve its establishment masters.

    I don’t believe Nicola Sturgeon walks on water, or has all the answers, but her ‘path of least resistance support of PV’ – really spiked their guns with regards the second part of that plan.

    Meanwhile the clock runs down. and for the Royal Family, the Aristocrats, the owners of Banks and Newspapers, who’s ill-gotten gains now rest in tax havens (which is just the way they like it) – No Deal or Terrible May’s deal both deliver protection from the ECJ and its tax haven laws, and a degree of chaos, which in turn leads to a declared state of emergency, which in turn means the closure of Holyrood.

    I really really hope the EU do not allow any form of extension to A50, not even a day. The can kicking has almost certainly been overwhelmingly intended to prevent clarity so that the SNP cannot fire the starting pistol, and to ensure they are off ‘tax free’ on 29/4/19

    On the plus side – how could anyone vote for any of these Unionist WM parties ever again after this utter shambles.

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