Yesterday it was the Tory leadership hustings in Scotland, when Jeremy C-word and the Blond Bombsite competed with one another to say how much they love Scotland even though they’ve spent the past three years treating it with contempt when they’re not actively ignoring it. Then they competed to show off which one has more testosterone when it comes to telling Scotland that it can’t have another independence referendum. Ever. And then they competed to see who can put the most blame on the SNP for the constitutional bin fire which now passes for the pretendy precious union between Scotland and England. It’s all because, who knew, the SNP wants independence. In their treatment of Scotland, both Conservative leadership candidates have elevated gaslighting to official policy.
Jeremy really loves Scotland. He’s a democrat and he’s going to refuse to allow another independence referendum even if the SNP win an absolute majority in the next Scottish elections standing on a platform of a mandate for another referendum. Because he’s a democrat. When it was put to him that there’s already a mandate for one, he replied that’s because Holyrood is full of nationalists. It appears to have escaped the notice of a man who fancies himself as the next prime minister that the only reason that Holyrood is full of Scottish nationalists is because people in Scotland voted for them. Perhaps he thought that they were only there as cleaning and catering staff. Given the upper class entitlement that oozes from both Tory leadership contenders, this is entirely possible. Jeremy knows that Scotland doesn’t want another referendum because he has a great aunt in Aberdeen and when he comes to Scotland he talks to Tories. That’s far more important than any of that voting stuff.
As a democratic prime minister, Jeremy is only going to recognise democratic mandates when they happen to agree with what he wants. This is the special Tory definition of democratic. It just so happens to be the same definition of democratic used by North Korea in the official name of that country, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, but it would be tasteless hyperbole to point that out. However it is intriguing that the only politicians who feel the need to point out that they are democratic are the ones who are behaving in an authoritarian manner.
Not that it really matters what Jeremy thinks. Jeremy himself doesn’t really care what Jeremy thinks, which is why he’s now presenting the Conservative party with the diametrically opposite set of views on Brexit to the ones which he espoused during the EU referendum campaign in 2016. He’s also changed his mind of the circumstances under which he’d allow another independence referendum, as just a couple of weeks ago he agreed with Ruth Davidson that the SNP need to win an majority in Holyrood first. The difference is that he’s now seen opinion polls pointing to an increase in support for independence, and a majority in the event of Brexit, and he knows that the writing is on the wall for his UK. And that writing is not in the form of a North Korean propaganda poster.
Jeremy is allowed to change his mind when circumstances change, because he’s a democrat, but the SNP must forever be preserved in the aspic of statements made by certain SNP politicians during the 2014 independence referendum that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity, even though circumstances have radically changed. Because democracy. Or rather 민주주의, which is North Korean for democracy.
Of course, the reason why Alec Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon both expressed the view that the independence referendum of 2014 was “a once in a generation opportunity” was because of the extreme difficulty of any party winning an outright majority in a Scottish electoral system which was designed by the Labour party and the Lib Dems to produce coalition governments. In 2014, no one expected that the anti-independence parties in Scotland would implode, and no one who voted No in that referendum expected the mendacity, contempt, and disdain with which Westminster would treat Scotland in the event of a No vote. They certainly didn’t expect that within a few short years the UK would not only leave the EU, but that it might do so without a deal. The once in a generation opportunity of pro-independence parties winning an outright majority in Holyrood is now the new normal. The Conservatives, along with their 민주주의 enablers in Scottish Labour and the Lib Dems, have only got themselves to blame for that.
Mind you, the real reason that it doesn’t matter what Jeremy Hunt thinks is because Jeremy has no chance of actually winning this leadership contest. A poll of Conservative party members published this weekend gives the Blond Bombsite almost three times as many votes as Jeremy C-word. 74% of Tory party members are so detached from reality that they think that Boris Johnson will make a good Prime Minister. Only 26% back Jeremy. That’s what happens when you get the support of Ruth Davidson. Boris Johnson will take a victory by that huge margin as total vindication of a no deal Brexit. So much for Ruth Davidson’s much vaunted influence.
Ruth has been nowhere to be seen this week. Whenever her party is doing badly, or she might be faced with awkward questions, Ruth retreats from public view to spend some time washing her tank. It’s now so shiny that it’s being considered as a replacement lighthouse for the Bass Rock. That’s the closest Ruth is ever going to get to being a beacon. Her party is dying in those same polls that her bosses only ever cite selectively when they want to pretend that no one wants an independence referendum and the Scottish Tories are looking at near extinction in the next Westminster elections. Mind you, that didn’t stop Sarah Smith on Friday night’s BBC1 10 O’Clock News tell everyone that there had been “something of a resurgence” of Conservative fortunes in Scotland of late. Next week on BBC1, Sarah will present a package about the resurgence in Scotland of sightings of mammoths and the new found popularity of making human sacrifices in wicker men.
The boorish Johnson enjoys the kind of lead in an opinion poll which means that barring a miracle, we’re getting him as the next Prime Minister. Ballots to party members have already been sent out, and it is vanishingly unlikely that there’s anything that the Hunt campaign can do to make up the vast gulf that separates their contender from Boris Johnson. God help us. We live in a universe where Donald Trump is in the White House, Boris Johnson will shortly be in Number 10, and the UK is due to crash out of the EU with no deal at the end of October. The Johnson campaign has received over £800,000 in donations since November, overwhelmingly from rich individuals and companies which will benefit from Boris Johnson’s promise to reduce tax on those with high incomes and on corporation tax.
Boris Johnson is just as dismissive of democracy in Scotland as his competitor for the leadership. The only difference between Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson is one of presentation. With Jeremy it’s like sitting through a presentation from a middle manager who is hopelessly out of his depth but who is hell bent on making you watch his power point presentation based on a 1980s management book that was passed on to him by a friend in the Freemasons, whereas with Boris Johnson it’s a free form exercise in question dodging, anecdotes, and haw hummery. Boris Johnson is incapable of getting to the end of a sentence without it containing at least three hums, four ehs, and ending on an entirely different topic from the one it started with. This is what counts as charm to Tories.
The reason that Boris Johnson enjoys such a high level of support amongst Tory members is that only 27% of them believe that Jeremy Hunt would really force through a no deal Brexit, whereas 90% of them think that Boris Johnson would. For all that both candidates waffle on about how much they love the preciousssssssss union, all that matters to their party is the delivery of Brexit. The Conservatives don’t care that Scotland doesn’t want Brexit. They don’t care that Brexit will damage Scotland. They don’t care that a no deal risks catastrophe. 63% of them would be willing to see Scotland become independent if Scotland was to stand in the way of their insane pursuit of lost Great British glory and release from those whom they and Ann Widdecombe regard as the slavemasters of Brussels. They’re no longer the party of the union, they’re the party of Brexit and English nationalism.
Boris Johnson got a rougher ride from Scottish Tories than he has done so far in this campaign, with some questions about his personal life that he refused to answer. Scotland is probably the only part of the UK where he might not enjoy a hugely commanding lead over Jeremy Hunt. The Scottish Tories know that he is their kryptonite. He’s about as popular in Scotland as Vlad the Impaler at a human rights conference. But it doesn’t matter. Scotland won’t decide this election. Scotland’s views don’t matter to the Westminster Tories, and neither do those of the Scottish Conservatives.
It’s not a union when the views of one partner are ignored, sneered at, and dismissed, it’s gaslighting. And that in a nutshell is why Scotland is now on course for independence.
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