This British Government is easily the worst for 100 years. It’s ideologically driven, determined to ram through the hardest possible Brexit despite the current crisis, yet at the same time it’s incompetent, incoherent, and chaotic. It combines laziness with arrogance, and is characterised by an overweening contempt for the public and a deep rooted sense of its own entitlement. Back in 2014 they promised us the best of both worlds. They promised us the safety and security of the UK. They’ve delivered a shitshow of privilege, of entitlement, and arrogant contempt for ordinary people, all while tens of thousands die as a direct result of the incompetence of a British Government that has failed in its most basic duty, the duty to keep citizens safe.
So it comes as no surprise that its first reaction to the news that Dominic Cummings is alleged to have repeatedly broken lockdown restrictions is to double down and to lecture the public as though we’re the ones who are in the wrong for being angry at the arrogant entitlement of an arrogant man which may very well have put others at risk. And this all at the same time that ordinary people are making immense sacrifices that the most senior members of the British Government don’t seem disposed to make themselves. Millions of us have had no direct contact with our loved ones for months, others have been unable to attend the funerals of their nearest and dearest, were unable even to be at their bedsides as they died. Yet none of these rules need be obeyed by the members of that British Government which is demanding that the rest of us do so. And it’s us who are narrow minded and petty for being angry at their entitlement.
It has now been a couple of days since the news broke that Dominic Cummings doesn’t believe that the rules that the rest of us have to follow should also apply to him. The initial revelation that he had travelled 260 miles to Durham from London with his wife who was suffering from Covid-19 in order to stay at his parents’ place has been followed by allegations that he made the trip twice, and that he and his wife went on a drive to Barnard Castle on the day of his wife’s birthday. It was the Second Cummings of Dominic.
Cummings and his pals in the British Government show every inclination of riding out this crisis on a wave of contempt, disdain and through the sheer force of their arrogant entitlement. How quickly we’ve gone from “we’re all in this together” to members of the British establishment can selectively rewrite the rules to suit themselves.
Yet even if he is forced to resign, nothing much will change. We’ll still be governed by public schoolboys whose first instinct is to lie and cheat, who insist to our faces that black is white and up is down. Their new slogan is Keep Lying. Stay on Message. Save Dominic.
Over the past few days there has been not a word from the usually perma-angry Scottish Tories. It seems that if they can’t find a way to cast themselves as the victims of vile Scottish nationalists that they have nothing to say. Yet they were very vocal when it came to demanding the resignation of Scotland’s chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood for a lesser breach of the lockdown regulations than was committed by Dominic Cummings. And not one of them has ever made the slightest hint of a comment that they could possibly be less than happy that during the worst global crisis in decades the British Prime Minister is for the most part nowhere to be seen. Not one of them has ever made the slightest effort to stand up for Scotland’s interests within this so-called union that they keep telling us is so precious. Perhaps that’s because they’ve never answered the question – precious to who? Maybe we should be kind. Perhaps the Scottish Tories aren’t hiding from the press at all. It could be that they’re all just off on a trip to Durham.
In the UK it’s now accepted by millions that this is a government that’s crap and inept. We are no longer surprised by revelations that the Tories are venal, liars, hypocrites, and incompetent. The press doesn’t bother to challenge the Prime Minister for not appearing in public more than once a week. During the biggest crisis that the UK has faced since WW2, our Prime Minister who fancies himself as Winston Churchill doesn’t lead. The closest he gets to Churchill is the nodding plastic dog that advertises insurance.
Boris Johnson doesn’t put himself at the forefront of the UK’s efforts to deal with the challenge facing us all. He pops up once a week at Prime Minister’s Questions and refuses to do his bloody job. Parliament is being recalled and MPs will be forced to crowd together on the backbenches just so that Boris Johnson can perform in front of a tame audience of howler monkeys baying support, because watching Boris Johnson in PMQs in a silent House of Commons in lockdown is like watching a crappy 1970s British sitcom without a laugh track. Yet that’s just fine with British nationalists. Because bunting, Vera Lynn, Captain Tom, and WW2 spirit.
The UK is fundamentally broken. It can’t be fixed. There is no superglue than can put the shattered pieces back together. There is no balm that can soothe public anger and rebuild trust and confidence in the institutions of Westminster. It’s all the more vital that Scotland must get out from under this crushing dead weight that’s killing our soul. We can’t afford not to plan and think about the kind of independent Scotland that we will be campaigning for once we come out of lockdown. History tells us that after a period of immense crisis, people want change, they don’t want to return to the status quo with all its inequalities. History also tells us that those who have planned and are organised are best placed to take advantage of that appetite for change. In Scotland, that’s the independence movement. Unlike the British nationalists, we can offer change, and we can offer hope.
And finally, because we could all do with some cheering up during these difficult times…
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