The dangerous fool


Colonial Governor Alister Jack was much to our collective intense disappointment not amongst those Tory MPs in Scotland who got his jotters along with Stephen Kerr, Kirstene Hair, whoever it was who was pressed into service as the stunt double for Ross Thomson, and the rest. This means he’s still gracing our airwaves and making the sort of comments that make it even more difficult to comprehend what this clueless creature is doing infesting our public life like an upper class public school boy on a gap year. Last week he was being interviewed on BBC Good Morning Scotland, natch, and was asked what his response was to the statement by Nicola Sturgeon that the UK was a voluntary union of nations.

His reply ought to have been plastered all over the front pages of the press in Scotland. It ought to have elicited a shocked reply and an intensive follow up from the journalists on GMS Scotland. Because what he said, after a bit of waffle about how fantastic and enduring the “union” was, was that he didn’t agree with that at all. He didn’t agree that the United Kingdom is a voluntary union of nations. Oh. So it’s an involuntary union. It’s a prison. It’s like the Hotel California, only in this case it’s a crumbling 1950s seaside holiday camp where you can check in but you can never leave. Scotland is doomed forever to a cold leaky chalet and some undercooked cabbage.

In one bumbling interview, poshboy Alister ripped out the very foundations of Scottish Unionism. Those are foundations that were in part cemented into place by a certain law professor of the name Adam Tomkins, whom Alister may be familiar with. But possibly not, as the only people he’s really familiar with are other poshos, and Adam’s a bit too common. Useful for a rich Tory, but not properly one of us, a sort of glorified butler really, serving up legal opinions that can come in handy.

Adam was a member of the panel of distinguished legal British nationalist brains who drew up a report called A Constitutional Crossroads: Ways Forward for the United Kingdom in the wake of the independence referendum of 2014. The report was later the basis of a draft bill that was presented to the House of Lords by Sir Jeffrey Jowell QC. The bill describes the UK in its fundamental principles saying, “the United Kingdom is a voluntary union of the UK nations and parts expressed through informed and democratic processes.”

This was also the description of the United Kingdom used by Tory peer James Douglas-Hamilton, addressing the House of Lords on the 1st of June 2015: “Let us never forget that the Union is a voluntary partnership of different nations.” Douglas-Hamilton used to do Alister’s job back when the Tories were trying to fend off calls for a Scottish parliament. The Tories lost that battle, they’re going to lose this one too.

In its report, The Union and Devolution, published by the House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution, the House of Lords agrees with Douglas-Hamilton’s description and in addition confirms that Scotland, as well as the other components of the UK, have the right to self-determination and independence. So totally not like Spain then.

Under the section “Support for the Union”, chapter 26 says: “This popular support [for the Union] is a vital element that underpins and supports the continuance of the Union. It is an essential characteristic of what a number of witnesses described as a voluntary union of nations. The UK Government and Parliament’s agreement to the holding of the referendum on Scottish independence acknowledged implicitly the right of Scotland to secede from the Union through a popular vote. Section 1 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 explicitly states the same right for the people of Northern Ireland. Although it has not been tested, it can be assumed that the same right exists for the people of Wales.”

What’s interesting in this paragraph is what it doesn’t say. It omits all mention of the largest nation in the UK, England and its right to self-determination. The underlying assumption appears to be that England already has it. This merely confirms that in the eyes of British nationalism, the UK is simply England writ large. The other parts of the UK might have the right to self-determination, but essentially as parts of the UK they are parts of a Greater England.

So what the First Minister said about the nature of the UK was actually the least contentious part of her speech from the point of view of those who describe themselves as Scottish Unionists – but who are really British nationalists pretending not to be nationalists at all. The characterisation of the United Kingdom as a voluntary union of nations is what underpins the claim of British nationalists in Scotland that their nationalism is better than other nationalisms – that would be your nationalism you Scottish separatist you – by virtue of not being nationalist at all.

In fact, it’s only if the UK is conceived as a voluntary union of nations that there can be any truth at all in the claim that the desire for Scottish independence is nationalism, but opposition to it is also opposition to nationalism in general as well as opposition to Scottish independence in particular.

The position espoused by Alister Jack is dangerously close to that propounded by the infamously Persil-phobic Manky Shirt Guy himself, Alistair McConnachie. Whose parents at least knew how to spell Alistair properly. McConnachie’s politics are those of the extreme right, marginal and beyond the pale for any rational democrat. This is after all a guy who was expelled from Ukip for denying there was evidence for gas chambers in the Holocaust and who has worked for the Orange Order.

Yet McConnachie gave a speech to the far right wing pressure group The London Swinton Circle, which claims to be dedicated to the promotion of “traditional Conservative and Unionist principles” on Thursday 18 June 2015, and told the massed ranks of gammonistas that the UK was a unitary state. Although now offically outside the Conservative party, the London Swinton Circle continues to be closely associated with leading Conservatives. Conservative MPs Liam Fox and Owen Patterson have been guest speakers.

Now we find that the Secretary of State for Scotland apparently holds the same marginal view on the nature of the UK as those on the extreme far right of British politics. That’s a deeply alarming development. Let’s be clear, I am not saying that Alister Jack is an avid political follower of McConnachie. I am not saying that he even knows or has heard what McConnachie has been saying on the matter. However what I am saying is that Boris Johnson’s government has normalised the politics of the far right and brought it into the mainstream of British politics, and that this Conservative government is using the arguments of the extreme right to deny the democratic right of the people of Scotland.

What I am saying is that Alister Jack is too stupid, privileged, and arrogant to understand how he is destroying democracy in Scotland and undermining that Scottish Unionism he professes to love. He’s consumed by his own ambition, his own drive for a power to which he believes he is entitled. This is what happens when you have governments that you can’t hold to account. You get a government of dangerous fools. You get governments which unleash the demons of fascism and which are enabled by useful idiots like Alister Jack.

Remember during the independence referendum campaign when Better Together assured Scotland that the only way that this country could protect itself from political extremism and anti-democratic forces was to remain a part of the sensible and moderate UK? Now we know the truth, it’s the UK which is normalising the far right, it’s the UK which threatens democracy. We have a British government which has destroyed the traditional understanding of Scottish Unionism, of Scotland as a voluntary partner in a union of nations, and replaced it with a quasi-fascist conception of a unitary state.

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26 comments on “The dangerous fool

  1. David Howdle says:

    I have the misfortune to live in Jack’s constituency. Do you by any chance have a sound file of him making his utterance about the union? I’d love to put it on our website

    • Welsh Sion says:

      David Howdle,

      Not *exactly* what you’re looking for, but keep your eyes and ears open for developments on YouTube.

      • David Howdle. says:

        Thank you.

      • Neil Anderson says:

        What the clucking bell is that automaton-come-to-life voice? That alone, is chilling beyond all reason. Then it quotes A Listless Jack-in-a-box saying “No. WE’VE said it is once in a generation and that generation isn’t passed yet.” when referring to a Scottish Independence referendum. Well, blow me down! Who is this WE he is quoting? Is it the Scottish tories? Did they say it was once in a generation? Or was it actually a personal opinion spoken by the then leader of the SNP and taken up by his team? I know the answer to that already, don’t bother answering.

        We are living in a time of continuous and instant re-writing of history. We consider these creatures to be fools at our peril. They are NOT fools, they know exactly what they are doing and – crucially – they PLAN AHEAD. Decades ahead. Witness the dismantling of the NHS and the welfare state.

        It strikes me that the independence movement (with the exception of the excellent Common Weal) do no forward planning whatsoever. Everything is about “keeping up the momentum”. There is no pause for reflection, regrouping or planning. Reaction seems to be the order of the day.

        It may be the time for the independence movement to withdraw for a time, and properly plan a strategy for resisting the forward momentum of the ultra-right in Scotland. We are many, and they are few.

        • Bob Lamont says:

          Presuming either side to be fools or merely reacting would be naive, nor should we assume the various opinions on a “better way” have not been fully evaluated.

          Your example of NHS/Social dismantling of decades ignores a key element of the Tory arsenal, a constant feed of propaganda enabled by a friendly media. Shifting public opinion to be less resistant to change has relied on the Tory con of “improved efficiency” and claims of NHS/Social extravagance, a tactic which sold off the family silver, but not theirs.
          The parallels with Brexit are similar. Folks who couldn’t care less about the EU in the 1980s had to be moved to a sceptical position before the final push to anti, key again, financial waste, written on the side of a bus. It will be a public loss, not theirs.
          Without that relentless MSM negativity, the NHS would not be getting dismantled, and the 2016 referendum would simply have never seen the light of day.

          Neither the Indy movement nor SNP can avail of such MSM support, quite the contrary, yet the movement itself has grown in strength to the point the establishment are become so desperate they threw their “antisemitism” schtick at Hanvey etc..

          Whitehall and the SO have a formidable army of strategists and propagandists on standby to exploit the slightest nuance to their advantage via MSM, and a Government as previously demonstrated, quite prepared to rush through changes to Law while your back is turned.

          SNP have shrewdly avoided being drawn by media questions on next steps, and we should not listen to the array of voices playing to the “divide and conquer” game of others.
          We have no need to withdraw, with pro-indy numbers rising and the establishment desperately clutching it’s “once in a generation” straw, there is no better time to continue to push. We will ultimately prevail.

  2. mogabee4 says:

    Third paragraph, first sentence could do with wee bit reworking!

    We are presided over by fools and no mistake but what is worse is no-one is holding them to account. That’s a dangerous position to be in.

  3. Bob Lamont says:

    Whenever I hear his no-name pop up, the subconscious kicks in with “Jack Shit”, similarly BBCS and “Bullshit”, there appears to be a common thread developing…
    A belter of a piece, but please now go enjoy time out with you and yours, we’re going to need you reinvigorated for 2020, it’s going to get “interesting’ and rather rapidly….
    And to all Duggers, including yourself, have a very Merry Christmas….

  4. Cubby says:

    “You get a government of dangerous fools”

    There is no doubt this government is dangerous and there is no doubt there are plenty of fools in this government but unfortunately they are not all fools. Especially that Rasputin like figure behind the scenes.

    Jack has of course just said what Nicola Sturgeon said about Scotland being held prisoner but where is the fake outrage that the Britnats poured out when Sturgeon said it. Nowhere to be seen. Jack has shown them up for what they are. Prison guards.

    You have been absolutely on fire in recent months with your articles. Great stuff.

    Possible correction 4th para down ” referendum in 2015 “

  5. bringiton says:

    The Tories are redrawing the constituency boundaries in Greater England.
    Scotland is to have one constituency where only Tory votes will be counted.
    At least that would leave them with a very thin veneer of democracy.
    Let’s hope Scots No voters waken up and realise that there really is a consequence for not having
    democratic accountability in your country.

  6. Craig Fraser says:

    Dear WDG. Spot on again. I regularly post the comment that ” The UK is an autocratic kleptocracy residing in the Westminster Government. With the power resting with the PM either blue or red.” I follow this with the UK “is a unitary state with the power again residing with the largest of the four units England holding sway over the 3 smaller units” Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland could all vote purple with pink stripes and England votes pink with purple stripes and we get what England votes for and will get worse. This normally elicits shrieks of derision from the Yoon brigade. Another analogy I make is this- how about all taxes/revenue raised in New Zealand are collected by a foreign country i.e. Australia – the Australian government send 75% of it back to New Zealand and spend the other 25% doing up Sydney Opera House and then run up a bill for the ongoing running costs which they again send to New Zealand Government? Have a good Christmas and New year. I feel so much better. Regards Craig

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

  7. Och, Paul, now that you have put them wise to this lie, I’m sure the following ProudScotsButters will be hot foot on the trail debunking Alister Union Jack’s Brit Nat comments and demanding that he resigns immediately.

    Brian Taylor
    Gordon Brewer
    Andrew Kerr
    Glenn Campbell
    Sally Magnusson
    Douglas Fraser
    John McKay
    Colin Mackay
    David Henderson
    Andrew Kerr
    The Hon Sarah Smith
    Gary Robertson
    Hayley Millar
    Gillian Marles
    Martin Geissler
    Ken MacQuarrie
    Donalda MacKinnon
    Tom Harris
    Magnus Linklater
    Catriona Shearer
    Sally McNair
    Andrew Marr
    Alex Massie
    Severin Carrell
    Tom Gordon
    Paul Hutcheon
    Andrew Neil
    Kirsty Wark
    Laura Kuennsberg
    Paris Gouteratis
    David Clegg
    Iain Macwhirter
    Alison Rowat
    Alan Cochrane

    Or maybe not.
    This is what we are up against. The Fourth Estate, Fifth Column.

    You are supposed to be on a break, Big K.

    • Cubby says:

      What’s so honourable about Sarah Smith?

    • Cubby says:

      Can I suggest that wee barsteward from Sky – wotshisname – James Mathews -isn’t it – should on the list. Remember he did the totally false interview with Hugh Gaffney ( booted out the other week as a Labour MP ) during the Union march for equal pay for women in Glasgow where they both kidded on Gaffney was a member of the public and slagged off the Scotgov.

      This guy is an ultra Britnat..

  8. yesindyref2 says:

    Scotland is held in the Union despite, as pinstripe in the Herald would put it I daresay, only 36.8% of the Scottish electorate in the GE voting for Unionist parties – barely an innumerate third – meaning over 63% were against or weren’t fussed about staying in the UK.

    And not forgetting that the Conservative and Precious Unionist Party (PUP – Potentially Unwanted Program), having fought on the single issue of “No No No, err, No to Indy Ref 2” got only 18% of the electorate in Scotland to vote for them.

    It’s understandable in the circumstances that the Society for the Preservation Of Rare Eccentricities (SPORE for short), have expressed considerable alarm and have slapped a preservative order on Jack, meaning he is no longer organic.

  9. David Agnew says:

    I remember one of these constitutional reports in the run up to 2014. It was, or so said Cameron, a positive case for Union.

    The big boffins for British-land huffed and puffed. Wiffed and Waffed and burbled that Scotland had been “extinguished” as a Nation but England remained. Wales nothing more than English property and Northern Ireland a mere Accretion. If you were to follow that argument to its logical conclusion, the Boffins for Blighty had decreed that the union was really Great England, but nobody had bothered to tell the Scots. I remember that man with 5 million questions, Thatcher fan boy and half man half digestive, David Torrance, say that the language was “unfortunate” but essentially true.

    When you deal with the likes of Jack or Mundell, you are dealing with a breed of obsequious unionist who believes to the bottom of their shriveled soul, that they are Northern English. They will never speak for Scotland, because to them its absurd that a mere region could issue demands to Parliament. The may on occasion utter the hated words “Scotland is a nation” but deep down, they don’t believe in it.

    I have always said of the Scottish tories that they are hostages to fortune. Never more so than now. They are going to try to open the floodgates to a political dogma that Scotland has always been repulsed by – the far right. They read too much into what support for Union they have, and assume its as right wing as they are. It isn’t. Sadly for unionists, they should never have let the tories be the final arbiters of what being British in Scotland means.

    Boris Johnson is the last PM of the UK. In time he will be known as the PM of England. And you just know that worthless little shits like Jack. Mundell and all the others, will pack their bags and immigrate. I’m sure they can find a tory who needs a Tartan foot stool to wipe the shit off the heels of their boots. There are no bigger tartan stools in Scotland than the tories.

  10. Ken2 says:

    Two Tories won by a few votes. The Borders must have poor internet or something.

    Tories lecturing Scotland not a good look. After being spectacularly outvoted. Never trust a Tory unionist after Thatcher, especially in Scotland. Demographics changing. Scotland going it’s own way.

    Elsewhere comparing vote share through the years without considering population growth. Percentage wise.

  11. Macart says:

    O/T – All the very best of the season folks.

    And here’s to a better year ahead for everyone.

  12. diabloandco says:

    Merry Christmas Paul and to all who believe in this wonderful country of ours – I don’t care if those who talk Scotland down have a lousy Christmas with food poisoning from undercooked turkey , hell mend them, my sympathy, forgiveness and understanding has well and truly run out.

  13. Bibbit says:

    Someone else always banged on about ‘One Nation’.

    Ahh, yes…

    ‘Ein Reich! Ein Volk! Ein Fuhrer!’

  14. rebelbreeze says:

    Penetrating analysis, go raibh maith agat.

  15. rebelbreeze says:

    Reblogged this on rebelbreeze and commented:
    Penetrating analysis of politicians’ quotations concludes with: “Remember during the independence referendum campaign when Better Together assured Scotland that the only way that this country could protect itself from political extremism and anti-democratic forces was to remain a part of the sensible and moderate UK? Now we know the truth, it’s the UK which is normalising the far right, it’s the UK which threatens democracy. We have a British government which has destroyed the traditional understanding of Scottish Unionism, of Scotland as a voluntary partner in a union of nations, and replaced it with a quasi-fascist conception of a unitary state.”

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