Rebellious Scots to shush

Faced with the realisation that they’ve broken the precioussssss union, the Conservatives have now come up with a master plan to save it. They’re going to use tax money paid by Scotland in order to tell Scotland how great it is being ignored by Westminster. That’ll see off those pesky nats, because sticking union flags on things is well known for its power of persuasion. Just ask Tesco.

According to reports, Theresa May called a special meeting of the cabinet in order to tackle what is being described as the greatest threat to the union since, well, the last time the Tories cocked it up. The only reason that there is a threat to the union, although those of us of a Scottish independence persuasion prefer to describe it as an indy opportunity, is because the governments of Theresa May and her predecessor David Cameron have systematically treated Scotland with contempt. And when they’re not actively treating Scotland like a recalcitrant child, they’re ignoring it.

If the Conservatives were really serious about tackling this existential threat to the precioussssss, you might think that the very first thing they’d be addressing is their own attitude towards Scotland and their own behaviour. You know, the root cause of the problem. But no. The only reason there’s an issue here is, according to the Tories, because Thatessempee keeps pointing out that if Scotland was independent, it wouldn’t get governments which ignore it and treat it with contempt. Or at least not for very long.

So having treated Scotland and the preciousssssss like an abused dug for the past few years, what’s really getting the goat of the Conservative party is not that they’ve suddenly seen the light and realised that their behaviour is unacceptable. Oh no, they’re fine with the way they’ve behaved. They’re perfectly OK with the fact that throughout this entire Brexit process the needs of Scotland have been marginalised and ignored. They’re cool with the fact that they’ve used Brexit as an excuse to undermine the devolution settlement.  They’re quite mellow about having traduced all the promises that they made as a part of the Better Together campaign in order to get Scotland to vote against independence.

What’s getting them upset is that someone has been calling them out for bad behaviour and they have belatedly realised that the consequences are coming home to roost. It’s a bit like a bank robber complaining that they have to go to jail because the polis gave the newspapers and the telly news their description and not because they robbed a bank. The real villains here are the people calling out the villains.

The UK government is claiming that it is only spending some £100,000 annually on “promoting the union” out of an annual budget for promotional activities of £440 million. Presumably this £100,000 doesn’t include the £750,000 annually that David Mundell spends on spin doctors, the money that the Scotland Office spends on advertising, or the ever increasing bloat of a Scotland Office that does less and less except act as the voice of the Conservative government in Scotland and an advertising agency for all things Yookay. And which is funded out of money that would otherwise go to the Scottish government to be spent on public services in Scotland.

The amount of public money which the Scotland Office spends on spin doctors has gone up a whopping sevenfold under the Conservatives. According to figures obtained by SNP MP Deidre Brock, the amount that the Scotland Office has spent on spin doctors and public relations has risen from £108,439 in 2010/11 to £757,868 in 2016/17. In addition, the Scotland Office also spends a fair wodge of dosh on advertising on social media. In the month of March 2019 alone, the Scotland Office spent almost £11,000 on advertising on social media. According to an investigation by The Ferret, a previous social media advertising campaign by the Scotland Office was targetted at small business owners in David Mundell’s constituency. A cynic might imagine that the Fluffy One was using public money in order to secure his own career.

The Conservatives are already doing their damnedest to promote the union to Scotland, and it’s not working. The reason it’s not working is because the Conservatives are doing even more to destroy it. They’re putting up pro-UK posters in the living room with one hand, while with the other they’re undermining the foundations of the house.

The Tories call themselves the party of the union, but they act as the party of British centralism. That was fine for decades, because unionism in Scotland rested upon the comforting myth that Scotland was a voluntary equal partner in the United Kingdom. That was, and is, the defining belief of Scottish Unionism. Scotland, they tell everyone else and themselves, is not a colony. Scotland was an enthusiastic participant in the British Empire. Scotland, they assert, was never a possession of the Empire but rather a partner in doing the possessing.

Unfortunately, this was never the understanding of the union that was current amongst the Anglocentric British establishment. The belief in England was always that the UK was simply Greater England. The UK consisted of England and those lesser nations which had been compelled by one means or another to throw their lot in with England.

When there was an Empire to exploit, the different Scottish and English understandings of the union were unquestioned and unexamined. After the dissolution of the Empire the disconnection could easily be ignored while there was no Scottish Parliament to articulate Scotland’s political sense of itself, and while Scotland and the rest of the UK both swung between voting Tory and voting Labour. The cracks only started to appear after the demand for Scottish self government arose in the latter part of the 20th century, and only grew wider after Tony Blair’s government introduced an assymetric form of devolution.

The cracks grew wider still during the independence referendum and its aftermath, when the parties forming the Better Together campaign turned their back on the Vow and complacently thought that the No vote meant a return to business as usual. Scotland was back in its box, and could be ignored once again. But the independence movement born during the referendum campaign ensured that the lid of the box was kept loose.

In order to keep Scotland tied to Westminster, we were told that it was only because of the UK that we were a part of the EU. The message that leaving the UK meant leaving the EU was central to the Better Together campaign. Scots were taught that their country was poor, semi-bankrupt, and dependent on the largesse of a kind and benevolent UK. But this only provoked an unexpected reaction in England, when England started to grow resentful at what it saw as Scottish privilege that English voters were being told they paid for, privileges which were being lavished on ungrateful Scots.

All this simmering discontent with the union metaphorically exploded with Brexit. The Conservatives brought about a referendum on EU membership in order to tackle internal Tory disputes between the Europhile and Europhobe wings of that party. After a defeat in the EU referendum that the then Prime Minister David Cameron had neither expected nor prepared for, his successor continued to treat Brexit as an internal matter for the Conservative party.

Despite the fact that the vote to leave won only a very narrow victory, Theresa May set out to placate the extreme europhobes on her back benches. She set out entirely unnecessary red lines, and the definitions of soft and hard brexit were moved ever further in one direction, in the direction of right wing Brextremism and ever further away from what Scotland could accept. This was only exacerbated after Theresa May lost her majority in the General Election she had promised not to call. She continued as though nothing had changed. The only difference was that now she required the support of the DUP.

Heavily remain voting Scotland was ignored, along with all the other remain voters in the UK. The proposal from the Scottish Government for a differential treatment of Scotland along with Northern Ireland never even got a reply. The Conservatives had never been happy with devolution, and leapt upon Brexit as their opportunity to recentralise the UK. The Brexit vote gave them a convenient excuse to undermine the devolution settlement and grab devolved powers for Westminster, all the while mendaciously claiming that they were giving Holyrood more powers.

What really happened was this. When devolution was established, the new Scottish Parliament was given control of all powers of government except for those which were explicitly to be reserved to Westminster – such as broadcasting, international relations, defence, the social security system, most tax powers, the constitution, etc. All other powers were devolved. However as a part of the EU, a number of these functions were exercised by EU institutions. In essence, these powers were still Scotland’s, but they were being held in trust for Scotland by the EU. After Brexit, Westminster took it upon itself to decide unilaterally which of these powers it was keeping for itself, and which it would allow Holyrood to keep. And then David Mundell told us that we had no grounds for complaint because Holyrood was getting extra powers.

Thanks to the Tories and the consistent way in which they have placed the interests of their party before the interests of Scotland and before the interests of the UK, the devolution settlement is being undermined, and Scotland is facing the prospect of crashing out of the EU without a deal.

The UK is indeed under immense strain.  On the one hand the Tories have created an England which is resentful of what it sees as Scottish privilege, and whose Brexit supporters would prefer to see Scotland go than to give up on Brexit.  On the other hand the Tories have created a Scotland which is resentful because it is being wrenched out of the EU even though the Conservatives told Scotland that the only way to remain in the EU was to vote against independence. On top of that, Scotland is seeing its precious devolution settlement being undermined and traduced and no longer has confidence that it will be able to continue in its current form in a centralising post-Brexit Britain.

All this is the creation of the Conservative party. They did this. This is their doing. In pursuit of their own short term party interests the Tories dug into the very core of the union between Scotland and the rest of the UK and destroyed its foundations. The cracks are wide and growing ever wider. The chasm between the Scottish and English conceptions of what this so-called union means cannot be papered over with some union flag posters and a spot of rebranding. It won’t be bridged by blaming the SNP and the Scottish independence movement.

A cosmetic exercise by the Tories won’t succeed in propping up an edifice which they themselves have brought to the point of collapse. You don’t save a structurally unsound building with a lick of paint and some new wallpaper. It’s too late to save the UK. The Tories have exposed its true nature. They are the unwitting midwives of Scottish independence. Because of the actions of the Conservatives themselves, there’s now far too many rebellious Scots to shush.

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27 comments on “Rebellious Scots to shush

  1. […] Wee Ginger Dug Rebellious Scots to shush Faced with the realisation that they’ve broken the precioussssss union, the […]

  2. If the Tories really wanted to save the Union they could start by diverting the hundreds of thousands of pounds in ‘advertising’ and servicing Mundell’s ego to actually doing things to improve life in Scotland. It would go an inch or two towards reducing the poverty that Westminster governments have produced in Scotland.

    ‘Fur coat and nae knickers’ thinking from Westminster.

  3. Margaret Noakes says:

    Hope this is one for the Wee Ginger Book.

  4. Paul, we’ve been told by our Imperial Masters, through the cipher of their obliging little Fifth Column of Scottish Collaborators, that there will be no more Independence nonsense.
    Don’t you read the ‘papers, sirrah?

    Don’t you watch the nightly BBC Scotland is Shite broadcasts, and realise that there are only really bad things happening Up Here?
    Half six, every night. Bad Bad Scotland, and it’s the BadEssEnnPee’s fault.

    Do you not heed Tom Gordon, Mike Settle, Glenn Nightly Nightly Campbell, David Clegg, Torcuil Crichton, Toodle Oo The Noo, Kirsty Wark, Andrews Marr, and Neil, That Dick Leonard, Neil The Mesh Findlay, Ruth The Mooth, Hirsute Two Faced On The Verge of Resigning Mundell, Paul 26 Frigates Sweeney, It’s The Law, We Are The People Loyal Sons of William Professor Two Jobs Adam Tomkins, Political Failure The Queen’s Eleven Murdo Fraser, Big Chubby Miles Briggs, the Blue Tories’ Health Spokesman, Jackie Abacus Baillie, Ian Gray the Sandwich Man, the idiot in the three piece Butcher’s Apron Suit, the darling of the Blue rinse ladies of Morningside, Ian Murray?

    There is no appetite for a second Scottish Independence Referendum, as is repeated week after week on Hang On A Minute Just To Be Clear What you are saying Sheload of New Powers after Brexit Gordon Brewer’s Joke Politics shows, by a steady line of appearance money lackeys, from Marcus Linklater, through Margaret Curran, to Andy McKie, and the Tea Lady.

    What you are being fed is a lie by the evil Yes Movement that over 60% of Scots citizens are not prepared to be dragged out of the EU by our Neighbours to the South.
    It’s all in your heads, all several millionof you.
    It is a mass delusion, hysteria, and will not be allowed by Jermy Hunts and Corbyns, or Boris the Bus Builder.

    After all 1 million Scots residents voted to Leave, so that’s the matter settled.

    The rest of you can just feck off, get back into your box, and let England get on with ruining Scotland, and continuing to rape its resources for the greater good of England and the Empire.

    Ruth, Willie, Dick, any of you.. come out, come out wherever you are.
    I dare you to defend England’s Imperial assault on Scotland now.
    Thought not.

    • Why does the Scottish Government, with the consent of the sovereign Scottish people, repeal the Treaty of the Union of the Scottish and English Parliaments and give England the freedom to do whatever it wants,

    • WM says:

      Jack I am still here, you are awfully hard on these people.

      • Not hard enough, wm.
        Just tune in to Reporting Scotland any night, wm.
        May has a war chest to crush Independence, Heralds the Herald.
        Our media are a Fourth Estate Fifth Column under orders from London and New York.
        It is not paranoia.

  5. Daniel Dominick says:

    My reasons for wanting independence

  6. David Agnew says:

    The Scottish Tories have and always will be, hostages to the fortunes of their pay masters in London. Scottish labour are the Scottish sub branch party of the UK party. The tories have always been the English sub branch party in Scotland. And it was ever thus.

    They can carp. They can whine. They can try to create a stir on various subjects they think the SNP are vulnerable on. But all it will take is one week of Boris Johnson or that other useless fucker, Jeremy Hunt wafting on about what Scots can and cannot do, then the Scots Tories can just sit back and watch their fortunes get flushed away like the big giant turd they are.

    As the horrors of a Boris Premiership begin to sink in, Army Mascot Hon. Col Ruthless Ruth will vanish from sight as will the tories. desperately hoping no one wonders what the stink is, and realise they still have a tory on the heel of their shoe. Because all know what happens when you find a lump of shit on the heel our shoe? Thats right, we scrape it off. Its high time we scraped the tories of the heel of Scotland’s shoe.

  7. Anybody know where Ruth is hiding oot?

  8. Movy says:

    ‘The Conservative Party… did this. This is their doing.’
    100% correct – and they’ll never shush me!!!

  9. panda paws says:

    “But this only provoked an unexpected reaction in England, when England started to grow resentful at what it saw as Scottish privilege that English voters were being told they paid for, privileges which were being lavished on ungrateful Scots.”

    surely it an entirely expected reaction, at least to anyone with an iota of sense. Years of austerity where they are suffering and then they are told, Scots have your money and that’s the only reason they have free prescriptions, no tuition fees, free social care etc. I think I’d be resentful too if it were true. Which of course it isn’t.

    • weegingerdug says:

      It was unexpected to the Tories. Who of course don’t have an iota of sense.

    • Bob Lamont says:

      The notion Tories were surprised by the reaction of their propaganda in greater England presumes they had not and still don’t wargame every conceivable outcome. Blame diversion is key to what has kept them in power, ToryMk2PLC in the wings to deny reversion to the normal Labour fallback being a prime example of how they manage to preserve power while being perceived as punished.
      Building resentment against others to deflect attention is the Tory MO, as true of the 1992 GERS concoction “proving” Scotland a financial basket case (influencing not only Scots), as was/is the sustained propaganda driving Brexit.
      It is the fault of Scots or the Europeans or immigrants, etc., etc., the electoral majority of England forever the victim of “others” causing their condition, rather than the continued power and financial advantage of the few.

      I suspect the only “unexpected” was the success of SG in delivering benefits to Scots despite purse strings being strangled amid a barrage of negative propaganda.
      Resentment remains a useful if dangerous device for the Tories to deflect criticism, but their problem now is Independence demands rising in Scotland, being equally supported in England for quite opposite reasons.
      Negotiating that minefield is answered in the only way Tories know, throw money at a massive propaganda campaign which avoids unveiling their lies.

  10. Welsh Sion says:

    Translation to follow – unless anyone gets there first or decides to use Google Translate.

    Brexit yn rhoi “pwysau” ar berthynas llywodraethau ôl-ddatganoli

    11 Gorffennaf 2019 am 16:12 Diweddarwyd am 16:35

    Mae’r berthynas rhwng llywodraethau’r Deyrnas Unedig dan straen, a dyw hi erioed wedi profi’r fath bwysau o’r blaen.

    Dyna farn Pete Wishart, Aelod Seneddol SNP a Chadeirydd Pwyllgor Dethol Materion yr Alban yn San Steffan.

    Yn ystod dadl yn Nhŷ’r Cyffredin i nodi 20 blynedd ers dechrau datganoli, mae’r Aelod Seneddol wedi rhybuddio bod “yn rhaid i bethau newid yn sylweddol” yn wyneb Brexit.

    mae wedi galw am berthynas cydradd rhwng llywodraethau’r Alban, Cymru, Gogledd Iwerddon – pan fydd ganddyn nhw lywodraeth – a San Steffan.

    “Dyw’r berthynas rhwng y llywodraethau ddim wedi bod o dan y fath bwysau erioed,” meddai. “Mae Brexit wedi eu herio, a bron a bod wedi lladd y berthynas yn llwyr…

    “Er bod datganoli wedi newid dyw’r ffordd yr ydym yn trafod ddim wedi newid. Ar lefel is – rhwng gweision sifil, er enghraifft – mae’r pethau’n dal i fod yr un peth.”

    “Ewyllys y bobol”

    Un o’r rheiny a gyfrannodd at y ddadl oedd Aelod Seneddol Sir Fynwy, David TC Davies, ac yn ystod y sesiwn mi rannodd ei deimladau am ddatganoli.

    Mi wrthwynebodd Cynulliad i Gymru yn refferendwm 1997, ond bellach mae’n teimlo na fyddai’n gwrthwynebu’r sefydliad “yn iawn o gwbl”.

    “Mi gollom,” meddai’r Ceidwadwr, “ond fel democrat roeddwn yn teimlo ei fod yn bwysig parchu ewyllys pobol Cymru.”

    Mae David TC Davies o blaid gadael yr Undeb Ewropeaidd ac yn credu y dylai canlyniad refferendwm 2016 gael ei barchu.


    • Andy MacNicol says:

      From Google translate:

      Brexit puts “pressure” on the relationship of post-devolution governments

      11 July 2019 at 16:12 Last updated at 16:35

      The relationship between the UK governments is stressed, and it has never experienced such pressure before.

      That is the view of Pete Wishart, SNP Member of Parliament and Chair of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee at Westminster.

      During a debate in the House of Commons to mark 20 years since devolution began, the MP has warned that “things have to change significantly” in the face of Brexit.

      it has called for an equal relationship between the governments of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland – when they have government – and Westminster.

      “The relationship between the governments has never been under such pressure,” he said. “Brexit has been challenged, and almost killed the relationship…

      “Although devolution has changed the way we negotiate has not changed. At a lower level – between civil servants, for example – the things are still the same. ”

      “The will of the people”

      One of those who contributed to the debate was Monmouthshire MP, David TC Davies, and during the session he shared his feelings about devolution.

      He opposed an Assembly for Wales in the 1997 referendum, but now feels that he would not oppose the organization “right at all”.

      “We lost,” said the Conservative, “but as a democrat I felt it was important to respect the will of the people of Wales.”

      David TC Davies is in favor of leaving the European Union and believes that the outcome of the 2016 referendum should be respected.

      Source: governments

      • Welsh Sion says:

        Diolch / Thank you, Andy MacNicol.

        As a professional, I wouldn’t use GT in my daily work, but I hope that this shortcutting exercise has proved useful (in relation to the contents) for yourselves in Scotland.

        With permission and where I think a Welsh language article may interest you, I’ll continue to supply you with them (and a translation – when I have the time.)

        Cofion got=rau / Best wishes,

  11. Alasdair Buchanan says:

    It is not coincidence that the beefing up of the Scotland Office and the obscene PR budget can be traced back to the introduction of Andrew Dunlop to the Scotland office. As I said at the time “the brains behind Mundell’s mouth”
    It is obvious the PR budget is being used to conflate and deliberately obfuscate the rolls of the Scottish Government (Holyrood) and the Scotland Office (Mundell) , thereby creating a deliberate ambiguity in favour of the Scotland Office. This is now being extended to direct funding on projects which in the recent past would have been channeled through Holyrood.
    A current example would be The £395 million Borderland project with Mundell and the Tories taking all the glory……… …..except it covers £200million of expenditure on projects south of Carter Bar and the Scottish Government at Holyrood is contributing £85 million to the project.
    We will see much more of this deliberate
    obfuscation adopted by the Scotland Office which has been specifically designed to undermine the status of the Scottish Government at Holyrood.
    Additionally and much more sinister is the return of Baron Andrew Dunlop to the Scotland Office to review the systems underpinning the Devolution settlement.
    We are already aware that “malign” and “dysfunctional” just about describes the current arrangements .I have little hope that the Dunlop review will improve matters.

    • Alasdair, I take no comfort in the fact that Mundell will be kicked out in 2 weeks time, and the swivel eyed Unsteady On His Feet Loon will get the gig.
      This should be fun.

  12. frogesque says:

    Blue Tories aye, but don’t forget their Red and Orange Better Together bedfellows.

    Lie, bribe and cheat, all of them will sell Scotland in a heartbeat.

  13. Mary Miles says:

    Thank God the majority of Scots now know that Independence is the only way forward. It always has been, Brexit or not. From Tasmania I am on every march in spirit and long for the day Independence is declared. Thank you for all your work towards Independence Paul and Wee Ginger Dog! All our ancestors will be smiling.

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