The Bah Hah Men

The National is reporting that the Scottish Conservatives are urging whoever becomes the next Tory PM to undermine the devolution settlement even further than this UK government has done already. Ruth Davidson’s acolytes seek to run a coach and horses through the Scotland Act, and to unilaterally overturn the will of the Scottish people and the promises and commitments that they themselves made to Scotland as part of the Better Together campaign in 2014. We shouldn’t be surprised. The Conservatives opposed devolution in 1979. They opposed it in 1997. They still oppose it to this day. Now this minority party seeks to impose its will on the whole of Scotland on the back of the votes of MPs from elsewhere in the UK. A Scotland within the UK is a Scotland that will do the bidding of the Tories, whether Scotland consents or not.

This week the 13 Tory disgraces who misrepresent Scotland in Westminster signed a letter to all of the candidates for the Conservative leadership asking them to commit to ruling out another independence referendum, and to by-passing Holyrood by spending money directly on devolved matters, money which would remain under the control of the UK government. The plan would require Westminster making a unilateral change to the Scotland Act, despite pledges made and already broken that no Westminster government would ever make changes to the Scotland Act without the express consent of the Scottish Parliament.

It is an extraordinary development, yet one which with the exception of The National has passed largely unremarked in the overwhelmingly British media in Scotland. This letter represents an effective coup by the Scottish Conservatives. It is nothing less than a brazen attempt to subvert Scottish democracy. The people of Scotland voted for the devolution settlement in the referendum of 1997. In the referendum of 2014 the people of Scotland voted against independence because they were assured that they were voting for stronger devolution, for the entrenching of Holyrood’s powers.

Yet here we are, just a few years later, and Ruth Davidson’s little band of political toddlers are desperately trying to overturn the will of the Scottish people while telling us that we must respect the result of the referendums of 2014 and 2016. It’s funny that in Toryland it’s only the losers who have to respect the result of referendums. The winners don’t have to respect the promises and commitment that they made in order to win them. You might just think that the winners being held to account was more important in a country that calls itself a democracy, and you’d be right.

This letter must be seen in the context of this week’s news that there are to be two new “UK government hubs” in Scotland. David Mundell girned before the press cameras with a big key like one of those you give to a teething toddler, and announced new offices for a greatly increased UK government propaganda presence in Scotland. The Tories are adopting the Tesco approach to Scottish government, to plaster union flegs on everything in the hope that it will make people love them.

This new investment which the Tories seek to control will not be, despite their claims to the contrary, “extra money”. The Conservative party and its membership is already unhappy about what it perceives as unfair expenditure on Scotland, and a Boris Johnson Prime Minister who thinks that a pound of public money is better spent in Croydon than in Strathclyde isn’t going to authorise a vast new tranch of cash for Scotland. One way or another, the funds that the Conservatives seek to control directly will come out of the Scottish budget. This is nothing less than a direct assault on the principles of the devolution settlement.

The reason that they’re doing this now is because the Scottish Tories know that their MPs are a bunch of one hit wonders. The British media in Scotland likes to present their election in 2017 as the emergence of the new British Beatles, destined to change the paradigm and usher in a new era. But really they’re the Baha Men, the Scottish Tories are the ones who briefly let the dogs of British nationalism out with their repetitive and singleminded drone. Pity they forgot about animal control.

The Scottish Tories, at least those amongst them who possess some connected neurones, know that too. They do private polling. They can see the results of public polling like the rest of us. They know that come the next Westminster election in Scotland they are facing an extinction level event. It’s not just Ross Thomson who’s going to be known as SNP Gain. The Tories know that they’re facing losses in the next Holyrood elections too. And most of all they know that they’ve got the prospect of a deeply unpopular Conservative Prime Minister who is going to force a no deal Brexit on an overwhelmingly pro-remain Scotland. You can bet your last penny that if and when Boris Johnson becomes the next Prime Minister, Ruth Davidson and David Mundell will be denying that they were ever opposed to him and will sook up to him with the strength of an industrial vacuum cleaner. They’ll enthusiastically back whatever Brexit he foists upon us, irrespective of the damage it does.

The political fall out from that event will shape Scottish politics for decades to come, and not in a way that’s beneficial to Ruth Davidson. She knows that. Ruth Davidson has many negative qualities as a politician, but she’s not that stupid. So her party is desperately levering the political clout that they’ve got while they still have it, because they know that this is the highest their tide will ever flow. This is their last chance.

The Scottish Tories have realised that their much vaunted plans for Ruth Davidson to become the next First Minister are as much of a fantasy as Gordie Broon’s prognostications of a Scotland that would enjoy the next best thing to full fat federalism if it voted against independence. They need a Plan B. Since they have no hope of ever taking control of Holyrood through the ballot box, they seek to control Scotland by subverting and undermining the Scottish Parliament. The Scottish Tories want to return Scotland to the powerlessness of the 1980s, when the country was prostrate and helpless against the worst excesses of Thatcherism. Only this time it’s going to be worse. It’s going to be Brexit and Boris Johnson or one of the other Bah Hah Men of the Conservative leadership contest.

What sort of country do you want Scotland to be? We need to ask that question now, because the Tories are determined to ensure that Scotland will soon not have the luxury of asking itself the question. Scotland can either look to its own future, or we’ll get the future that Boris Johnson and the Tories see for us. That will be a future of Brexit, of British nationalism, of a hollowed out Holyrood, of austerity, and of submission.

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30 comments on “The Bah Hah Men

  1. JSM says:

    Reblogged this on Ramblings of a 50+ Female and commented:
    Over my feckin’ dead body!

  2. […] Wee Ginger Dug The Bah Hah Men The National is reporting that the Scottish Conservatives are urging whoever becomes […]

  3. You’re on a roll, Paul.
    To quote Malcolm Tucker in the unmissable ‘The Thick of It’, the new crop of Dim But Nice Tory Boys and Girls appear to be so dense that light bends around them.
    There is no hope if Scotland doesn’t vote YES this time.
    9000 Posh Rich ProudScotsBut Tory Pensioners are going to pick a PM to rule over us.
    Demockracy, not democracy.

    Yes there is now a Brad New Military Barracks in Edinburgh, and our unquestioning hacks and broadcasters say nothing.
    Fifth Column Fourth Estate at it collaborating best.
    What do we want? Independence. When do we want it? Right now.

  4. Bob Lamont says:

    On the button, again…

  5. panda paws says:

    “the next Tory PM to undermine the devolution settlement even further than this UK government has done already”

    If they try it might I suggest that All Under One Banner becomes All Manning One Barricade. The subversion of devolution could result in Civil War. High stakes indeed.

    • It’s getting that serious, Panda.
      I refuse to be ‘ruled’ by England any more.
      Come out come out, wherever you are, Davidson.
      Your country, England, needs you, as a car park attendant at Dover.

    • Therapymum says:

      I would join that! I campaigned for devo twice and it was hard won. There is no way I would let the unionist cult demolish it without a fight.

      I knew we were in trouble after the EU ref, when Fluffy came out with the sentence that the relationship with Scotland would have to change. Since then:
      1. we found out about the development of the Hub, but no-one in the press to my recollection questioned it,
      2. the devo settlement has been unilaterally overturned by WM with ne’ry a cheep from the press or the unionist parties,
      3. we have been taken to court to subvert the will of 80% of the Scottish Parliament,
      4. we have been ignored & humiliated at WM while making sensible compromise suggestions,
      5. humiliated by having to ask for a section 30 which was sidelined, &
      6. Scots voters humiliated over the strength of the vote for the EU elections which have been comprehensively ignored by a WM run by wealthy, self serving, mostly Male, white idiots, though the women are just as bad.

      High stakes indeed! It’s horrible sitting on the sidelines & feeling out of control, useless & hopeless. I do hope our faith in the FM is justified and she has something up her sleeve, otherwise we will be overrun by events and the duplicity of the Tory Party.

      • We are at phoney war, Therapymum.
        They can only push us so far.

        When a Scots Brit Nat politician speaks, they are spokespersons for their English Masters, doing the conqueror’s bidding, betraying their fellow Scots citizens.

        Likewise the Scots scribes and broadcasters who give them column inches and air time.

        We are at war, and Brexit would destroy Scotland. It’s that bad.

        Mundell Davidson Murray and Rennie are now officially enemies of the Scottish people.

        I challenge any of them to deny that they work for the English Parliament, and the English Parliament’s interests.

        If Brewdog can arrange it, I’ll debate this alarming treachery with any amount of Bittter Together Quislings, live on TV, as an alternative to the laughable BBC Propaganda Unit’s Blue Tory ‘Leadership’ Debate, which is on no relevance to any one apart from the 160,000 well Off Blue Meanies.

        Strong language, I know.

        But it has come to a sorry pass, when we let Mundell and the ‘press collaborators stage a imperialist stunt like this.

        And they wonder why the Dead Tree Scrolls’ readership is plummeting.

        We are at war.

  6. Anne Martin says:

    I’ve always known that the Scottish Tories are a shower of bar stewards, but this really is beyond anything! Really, really scary now!!! 😱😱😱😱😱😱

  7. bringiton says:

    Those Labour supporters who voted Tory in the last GE to keep the SNP out are now about to reap what they sowed.
    No more “devolution”.
    It is either Scottish rule or London rule,Holyrood or Westminster,social democracy or English Thatcherism.
    The clouds of obfuscation are clearing.

    • Welsh Sion says:


      I think it’s worse than that, and WGD alludes to that too. What the other countries/regions outwith the south east of England and what the Tories are wont to call (‘their’) Home Counties will be governed by an arrogant collection of know-nothings, care-lesser, arrogant and ignorant tossers in equal measures – and unless we self-serving, tax avoiding selfish millionaires, then as far as they’re concerned, we can all trudge down to the local food bank and ensure our kids line up to sweep chimneys or go down (the newly-re-opened, newly-privatised) coal mines.

      I say ‘worse’, coz at least Thatcher had a plan and didn’t want us outside the Single Market. This lot have no idea and no conscience as to anything. And they intend to be exponents of pure, undiluted English nationalism in tooth and claw. That could only be terminal for your country as well as mine. Unless we get out now.

      Positively shuddering here at the thought of what could possibly happen next – and I’m usually an optimist.

  8. Thank you Paul. So deeply, madly angry these days it helps a bit when someone else puts it into words- brilliantly.
    Jings – we really have to hit back hard now. Yesterday was the last straw for me: nIghtmare stuff.
    Mundell! Mundell, especially, simply MUST be voted out at next election. Mundell- snivelling about Boris was truly nauseating. Take your pick: Uriah Heep/ Gollum?
    It would probably need Tolkien’s imagination to reproduce how disgustingly creepy he now is.
    Sorry for rant but I am so angry about that stupid key and that insulting, cynical totally unacceptable building/colonial office.
    Keep writing !
    Come on Scotland… enough is enough!!

    • bringiton says:

      In Blundell’s constituency,it is not so much what they want as more what they don’t.
      They are Britnats who view Scotland as being far too insignificant to ever do anything of value.
      So….they will continue to elect the Mundells of this world.

    • Bob Lamont says:

      Mundell’s tenure has been embarrassing awful, but reflects the trad London central style of Tory politics of which the entire country is sick to it’s back teeth. Add the complete screwup over Brexit and incoming “tax-cut” St Boris to the mix, even Mundell is staring at becoming a historic artefact.

      Putting Johnson in charge may seem a way of re-uniting Conservatives and re-invigorating electoral support, but the calamity which follows will consign Conservatism to the backwaters come the next GE. Even “man and boy etc Conservative” constituences like Mundell’s are not immune, the electorate will switch rather than be represented by a minority party.

      There is a rammy coming for sure without the illegalities proposed by Mundell and Co., handing a loaded weapon to a suicide jockey is not going to end well..

  9. No more independence referendums. A referendum for the Scottish people to exert their Sovereignty, as confirmed in the Westminster Government in July 2018, and tell the Scottish Government to REPEAL the Treaty of the Union of the Scottish and English Governments
    .It also confirmed that the ENGLISH Parliament was sovereign, not the BRITISH Parliament.

  10. Pogmothon says:

    This is a bit of subject but I think still pertinent.

    Strangely enough the BBC archive of The Andrew Marr show 24-Mar-2013.
    In which Boris Johnson is forensically dissected by Eddie Mair.
    Is “currently unavailable”.

    How strange who would have thought that such an honest, open, transparent company as the BBC would lose the recording of an interview. Which shows the potential new PM warts and all.

    Is there anyone out there who is more I.T. savvy than me and can help with this ???

  11. Welsh Sion says:

    Pogmothon, John et al.

    Google is your friend:

    • diabloandco says:

      Blimey! we could use a few more Eddie Mairs , someone not scared to take the bull(shit) by the horns .

      Paul , you articulate the fears I have had for some time – I’m not sure whether to thank you or not..

  12. Interpolar says:

    Thing is, even if Wastemonster were to pull all this extra money our of its pockets as to be supplementary to the current Scottish budget, it would surely still undermine the principle of the Devolution Settlement, as do Cameron’s City Deals, which should not be provided from London, but administered exclusively through Holyrood. In principle.

  13. A. Bruce says:

    Excellent analysis Paul. This is extremely scary stuff and must be addressed strongly by the Scottish Govt. . Davidson , Mundell and their cohorts want to overthrow the lawfully elected govt. and Parliament of Scotland. As Gordon Ross says today, “this coup is actually treason by any internationally understood standards……..In previous times she would be tried and beheaded along with her co-conspirators.”

  14. Pogmothon says:

    Welsh Sion

    Tapadh leat

    Google is NOT my friend. Oops is my paranoia showing.

    And here’s me so trusting of the west monster as well.

    Unfortunately it occurs to me that in every nation that has regained their independence from the umpire blood was spilled,
    Even Gandhi’s passive attempts were not immune to the bully boys.

    I really fervently hope it’s only my fear for my family and people that’s getting out of hand.
    But I’ve seen the witches cavalry, crokepark, the GPO, and O’Connell street.

    Please let me be wrong but the current situation seems to be laying the ground for some Spanish style democracy, or will we be the one’s to bring in “Argyll Law”.

    Please let the transition be quick and painless

    Alba Gun Aonadh

  15. Kangaroo says:

    Does anyone have a copy of the “Letter”?

  16. Macart says:

    “It’s time to choose”

    Yes. It is about that time. Some might say long past it and some might say it was always going to take a ‘Boris’ event to clear the wossiname from some folks’ eyes. Fairly sure Mr Johnson isn’t a warm, fuzzy, family of nations kinda guy. Regardless, this is pretty much where those political practises I’ve mentioned a time or two were always headed. A ‘Boris’ for PM and oh boy… what a cabinet he’ll have.

    As for Scotland’s branch office bench warmers? No. No, they didn’t believe in devolution. They weren’t big on the Claim of Right, or popular sovereignty either.

    I’m guessing they don’t like the idea of the public being their boss. 😎

  17. Doris Edwards says:

    I fear an ‘accidental’ no deal brexit on 31 October followed immediately by a declaration of a state of emergency and the suspension of devolved parliaments. I hope I am wrong.

  18. Cubby says:

    Scotland has a faux democracy. Always has. That’s why independence is needed. Devolution is insufficient – devo max or devo micro – it doesn’t matter.

  19. astytaylor says:

    Bring on Boris, and all the associated toxicity.
    (A Trump-Johnson nightmare tag team, etc.)

    Jesus wept. (And he’s no the only one).

    We can do better than this, Scotland.
    Much much better.

  20. steelewires says:

    Paul, since the SNP are being what Jason McCann calls “extreme centrists” by their being reasonable to the Westminster Elite and the English nationalist media, are you prepared to advocate that the independence movement be taken out of the hands of the SNP, and a People’s Referendum be conducted by the YES movement leaders before Brexit happens?

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