Over the past few days the news has been dominated by Boris Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle in which one Conservative careerist fractionwit has been replaced by another careerist fractionwit, all of which has provided a very convenient distraction from the decision of this government of none of the talents to press ahead with clawing back the £20 per week uplift in Universal Credit from the poorest families in the UK. This is a move which has been universally condemned by anti-poverty groups and which has been described as the biggest benefits cut in modern history. The loss of a significant chunk of their income risks pushing hundreds of thousands of struggling families over the edge. Contrary to the stereotypes so beloved of the right wing media and the poverty porn of Channel 5, these are not all feckless wastrels who refuse to work and squander all their benefits on fags, hash, and cheap booze. Almost 40% of households which claim universal credit are headed by working people struggling in low paid jobs.
Naturally that hasn’t prevented Scotland’s six Conservative MPs from refusing to speak out against the move. Not one of them saw fit to speak up in defence of the poorest and most vulnerable families in their constituencies. Scotland’s sole Labour MP spoke out against the cut. The cut was also opposed by Scotland’s Lib Dem MPs as well as all the SNP contingent and the two Alba MPs. Only the Conservatives have no problem with punishing the poor in order to avoid raising taxes on the rich. It would be nice to say this was surprising, but we all know it isn’t.
The Tories were far more occupied with their boss’s reshuffle. On Friday it was announced that Scottish Tory MP David Duguid had been sacked from his position as a junior minister in the Scotland office. This won’t make any meaningful difference as it’s not like anyone had ever noticed that David Duguid had been a junior minister in the first place.
Yesterday there was much scoffing at the news that the post of Culture Secretary had been given to Nadine Dorries, an MP whose claim to be in touch with the cultural Zeitgeist rests mainly upon the fact that she once ate an ostrich anus on I’m a Celebrity Get me Out of Here, in an episode which was most notable for proving that the definition of “celebrity” could be stretched considerably further than an ostrich’s anus. Naturally she didn’t bother to inform the House of Commons authorities or the Tory whip that she was buggering off from the job she was elected to do in order to appear on a reality show for a lucrative fee.
Nadine Dorries bears approximately the same relation to culture as a yeast infection. She once claimed that “lefties” had ruined comedy, because apparently the racist, sexist and homophobic jokes of Jim Davidson and Bernard Manning represent one of the high points of British culture. She once wrote a novel which the Telegraph reviewer described as the worst he’d read in ten years. She has approvingly retweeted the right wing extremist Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, AKA “Tommy Robinson”. An opponent of gay marriage, in 2012 she claimed that she’d never met a gay couple who wanted to get married. It is thought by many that the only reason Nadine Dorries was promoted was because Priti Patel thought that it was only fair that someone else got a shot at being the most loathsome cabinet minister.
Less than twenty four hours in office and the Tory press was crowing that Dorries was planning a war on “crackpot” BBC programming. So we can expect a revival of the Black and White Minstrel Show and wall to wall Great British reality competitions in which contestants vie to prove who is the most patriotic based on how many ostrich anuses they can eat from a Royal wedding commemorative plate.
As if this government hasn’t already done enough to demonstrate that satire isn’t only dead but has been split into its constituent particles and shot into a black hole where it has effectively disappeared from this universe forever, on Thursday evening the Johnson administration published a list of those hitherto elusive Brexit benefits. Starring on the list is a return to imperial measurements. British state schools have exclusively taught the metric system since 1974 and in some cases even earlier so very few people under the age of 60 prefer imperial over metric. You have to be well over fifty to remember the time that the UK used imperial measures. And that is exactly the point. Still, don’t worry too much about the conversion between metric and imperial. An empty supermarket fruit and veg shelf is exactly the same whether you weigh it in metric or imperial.
The system of imperial measurements is hopelessly illogical. You might as well bring back Roman numerals. Still, now you can measure your car’s fuel consumption in firkins per furlong.
Many wouldn’t put it past Nadine Dorries to want to bring back the Roman Games too. Maybe throwing gay people to ravenous lions is one of the ideas she’s got for Great British programming on the BBC. It’s certainly what she’d want to do with any news or current affairs reporter who dares to criticise the Conservative government. The BBC will be well aware of that and the fact that the licence fee the BBC depends on now relies on the goodwill of Nadine Dorries, expect even more self-censorship and Great British propaganda from the BBC than we have seen already.
The only reason this is being done is to pander to the racist elderly English nationalist gammons who voted for Brexit and who are now the core demographic being courted by the Tory party. It’s not even necessary. There are no EU regulations preventing goods being labelled in imperial measurements, just as long as the equivalent in metric is also listed on the packaging. It’s the substitution of meaningless symbolism for the very real advantages of EU membership that Brexit has stripped from us all. Now that the Tories have taken us back to the 1970s perhaps Lord Lucan will be offered a government position in the next reshuffle.
Those who make policy in the present by appealing to the past only do so because they have nothing to offer the future. Blue passports, imperial measurements, empty supermarket shelves, Carry On movies on your Great British telly, and no freedom of movement, the Tories have taken us back to the 60s. So-called Global Britain is a sad, pathetic and insecure place harking nostalgically for a lost golden age that never was. There is no future in the UK, the Tories have demonstrated that themselves.
This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.
You can help to support this blog with a PayPal donation. Please log into Paypal.com and send a payment to the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. Or alternatively click the donate button. If you don’t have a PayPal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.