There are few certainties in life, just death, taxes, and a Labour party that promises that it’s going to listen to the people of Scotland when it’s out of power. There’s also a Conservative party that keeps claiming to be speaking for the majority in Scotland despite the fact that its vote share has been stuck in the 20th percentile for the past couple of decades, but that’s not so much a certainty as it is a delusion and a failure of basic arithmetic.
The Labour leadership has been making overtures to the Scottish electorate again, in much the same way that you keep getting text messages from your creepy ex telling you that they’ve changed. After taking you for granted during your entire relationship, after ignoring what you wanted and only when you threatened to leave managing the most basic lip service to your needs, Labour now wants Scotland to know that it’s listening to us, and that it wants our trust back.
Speaking at the Labour party’s virtual conference, New Leader Keir Starmer did he mention he’s the New Leader with capital letters and everything and that he’s not Jeremy Corbyn, said that he didn’t think that the values of the people of Scotland had changed. And this would be true. It’s just that the values of the Labour party did. Scotland still sees itself as a European nation, the Labour party now accepts Brexit. Scotland wanted greater powers for Holyrood, whether independence or the devo-max promised to us by Gordon Brown, and we got a Labour party which was even less willing to devolve new powers after the indyref of 2014 than the Tory party was. That would be the indyref when the Labour party stood shoulder to shoulder with the Tories, gleefully grinning outside a branch of Asda in Falkirk after David Cameron leant on his pals who’re the heads of supermarket companies to issue a statement claiming food prices would be higher in an independent Scotland. That one image was Labour’s Scottish epitaph, the physical embodiment of their betrayal.
Labour is now promising to listen, just as they promised to listen and to reflect after their defeat in the 2007 Scottish elections, just as they did following their defeats in 2011, the route they suffered in the General Election of 2015, their losses in 2016 and 2019. Yet here we are with a Labour party still promising to listen and showing no sign at all that it has learned any lessons except a burning resentment that the Scottish votes to which it feels entitled have gone elsewhere.
Meanwhile the Conservatives continue to trash any residual faith that people in Scotland might have had that Scotland’s interests can be met within the UK. Despite the Conservatives claiming that they’re the only ones who are standing up for the interests of the agricultural sector, it has been reported in The Times that the real prime minister, Dominic Cummings, has instructed Conservative MPs not to support any amendments to the Agriculture Bill which is currently passing through the Commons. I seem to recall the Leave campaign during the EU referendum demanding that the UK should ‘take back control’ so that unelected bureaucrats could no longer tell British government ministers and MPs what to do, and here we are with an unelected bureaucrat telling British government ministers and MPs what to do.
If passed with no amendments the bill ensures that ministers will be able to enforce lower food standards in the interests of doing trade deals. The UK doesn’t welcome migrants, asylum seekers, or refugees fleeing wars and brutality amply weaponised by the British arms trade, but it will welcome chlorinated chicken with open arms. It opens the floodgates to food produced to lower standards, which is less safe to the public, and which undercuts domestic agricultural producers. There’s your global Britain for you.
Just a few months ago, in news you may have missed what with the apocalypse and everything, leaked emails from Tim Leunig, an advisor to Number 10 and a close associate of Dominic Cummings, suggested that the UK really doesn’t need an agriculture sector at all. This is the same man who also reportedly once suggested that the British Government should pull all state support from “failed Northern cities” and should encourage their inhabitants to move south.
Agriculture forestry and fishing makes a larger proportional contribution to the Scottish economy than it does to UK’s. Food and drink represent the largest single export sector in the Scottish economy. The Conservatives’ new bill risks significant and lasting damage to that sector. They will happily sacrifice Scotland in order to extract some advantage for their pals in the City of London. The Conservatives have no one’s interests at heart except their own. They represent the politicisation of selfishness, the elevation of greed to a religion.
The performance artiste with the stage name Boris Johnson couldn’t be less popular in Scotland if he’d run naked and maskless down the fresh meat aisle in Morrisons and then done a dump at the checkout while screaming about a post he’d read on Facebook from his uncle that proved that the virus is all a lie. Meanwhile Douglas Ross is far too busy opening his gob and putting his foot in it to be an effective Saviour of the Union™. So now the Tories are looking to Rishi Sunak to save them and their precioussss union – by which they mean Scotland’s incorporation into a unitary Brexitland with its chlorinated chicken, its third rate genuine Scotch whisky made in India, and its union flegs plastered on everything. This is because Rishi has spent the past few months spaffing borrowed money around and the Conservatives are hoping that no one in Scotland will realise that we don’t need the UK Treasury to borrow money for us when we could just as easily do it for ourselves. However Rishi’s reputation as the Tory Santa Claus is about to come to an end when the furlough system ends soon and people start to lose their jobs. And all this just as we reach the crunch point in the Brexit process where the absolute best possible outcome we can hope for is a crappy deal that will still do massive damage to an economy that’s already been battered by the lockdown.
So we have a Labour party that always promises to listen when it’s in opposition but which never seems to manage to do anything about it or to show any concrete evidence that it’s actually heard the voters. We get nothing but repeated mouthings about a federalism fairy that never comes close to flying. We have a Conservative party that’s hell bent on the hardest possible Brexit and which will sacrifice even their traditional support base in Scotland in order to do so. Remember when opponents of independence used to promise us that they’d make a positive case for the union? This is where it is now.
The purpose of this blog is to make a positive case for independence, to attack the pretensions of British nationalism, and to formulate arguments which will help to persuade no voters, undecideds, and soft yes voters to support independence. It’s also to boost the morale of those of us who are already involved in this campaign. I do not provide this platform to allow people to attack others in the movement with whom they disagree. Other people might choose to use their platforms to do so, I don’t.
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