David ‘Lord’ Frost is at it again. A couple of days ago he appeared on GBeebies News for an interview with Dan Wootton, an economic migrant who’s an oozing toxic combination of nastiness and self-regard doing a poor impression of Tucker Carlson on the Price Drop Channel of right wing politics. A few days previously Frost had published an article in the Telegraph in which he demanded that powers be stripped from the Scottish Parliament should the Conservatives win the next UK General Election. Of course the opinions of Scottish voters on the subject neither matters to him nor does he ask for them.
Frost wants Holyrood to be firmly put in its place as a forelock tugging glorified county council which must be forced to have no doubt about its lowly and subordinate status and prevented from having any ideas about being the parliament of an actual nation. There’s only one nation in the post-Brexit Britain of right wing Anglo-British nationalists like Frost, and that’s a British nation which is functionally indistinguishable from Greater England. The Scottish Tories immediately disavowed themselves of Frost’s suggestion, like a smiling guy reeking of weed telling kids to just say no to drugs before he launches into a disquisition about parallel universes. Apparently in one of those parallel universes the Scottish Tories are stalwart defenders of the devolution settlement, because it sure as hell isn’t this one, which is filled with victimhood claiming Tories who infest the comments sections of Scottish newspapers demanding the abolition of Holyrood, and a Conservative government and party which constantly seeks new ways in which to by pass and undermine a Scottish Parliament whose creation it vigorously and loudly opposed.
Frost appeared on Wootton’s show safe in the knowledge that he’d be getting soft ball questions from an interviewer who fully subscribed to the deluded British nationalist fantasy that the desire for Scottish independence is entirely a product of a scheming SNP using Holyrood to manufacture imaginary grievances and has nothing at all to do with the systemic and structural failures of the failing democracy of the British state which proclaims itself to be a voluntary union of nations but which acts like a highly centralised unitary state. And Frost knew that he would not be asked whether the Conservatives needed to secure a democratic mandate from the people of Scotland for his plan to roll back devolution. For a channel that is constantly railing against so called cancel culture it is striking how eager GB News and its presenters are to collude in the cancellation of democracy in an entire country. Nowhere was there any acknowledgement that the SNP, unlike Frost and the Conservatives, actually win elections in Scotland or that these supposedly ‘imaginary grievances’ can only gain traction if people see that there is substance to them. Frost’s ‘solution’ to political dissatisfaction in Scotland created by the failure of the British state to give meaningful expression to the status of Scotland as a nation is to unilaterally strip Scotland of such expression as it does have.
Frost insisted, and there’s every reason to believe him, that other senior Tories agree the SNP and Holyrood must be ‘constrained’ and claimed that since publishing the piece in the Telegraph he had received many private messages from Conservatives urging him to keep talking about undoing devolution.
But the mere fact that Frost has a platform is in itself emblematic of how democracy in the UK is failing and why so many in Scotland will continue to press for independence. He is an unelected politician appointed for life by a Prime Minister who was massively unpopular in Scotland representing a party which has not won an election in Scotland since before Frost was born who was given his position for his role in imposing a Brexit on Scotland which Scottish voters have consistently rejected at the ballot box both during the EU referendum and at every election since, yet here Frost is, with the arrogance and unmitigated gall to threaten Scottish voters with imposing upon them, without choice or consultation, the system of government he thinks is best for him and his party.
In just about all the reports about Frost’s sickeningly undemocratic plan to reverse devolution without even making a pretence of seeking a mandate from the people of Scotland there has been no mention of the fact that he proposes to do so on the say so of Conservative MPs representing English seats and thus unilaterally overturn a devolution settlement which has been confirmed by the people of Scotland in not one but two referendums, this coming from Tory hypocrites who constantly cite the need to ‘respect the outcome’ of referendums.
These same reports also grant Frost a stature and standing that he does not merit by referring to him as ‘Lord’ Frost. Frost got given his seat in the Lords by his crony Boris Johnson for negotiating a hard Brexit in bad faith with the EU, in the process trashing the reputation of the British government as a trustworthy and reliable negotiating partner and causing damage that will take decades to recover from. Surely it is long past time that Scotland has a conversation about the use of honorific titles bestowed by British nationalist politicians upon their cronies.
Titles are very much like money, they only have value as currency as long as people are willing to accept and use them. ‘Lord’ Frost, ‘Lady’ Mone and ‘Lord’ Foulkes are only lords and ladies if the rest of us are willing to indulge them in the pretendy noble titles that their pals have given to them for time serving, back scratching, or services rendered. They cease to have any value or meaning the moment that the rest of us recognise these ridiculous affectations for what they really are and stop using them.
By continuing to use these ludicrous titles we are colluding in the anti-democratic cronyism and corrupt patronage which has hollowed out accountability in British politics and destroyed public faith in the tattered remnants of democracy in the UK. Frost suffered no ill consequences for his disaster of a Brexit deal which Johnson’s successor is now timidly attempting to unpick. Instead he got a seat in the unelected upper chamber of Westminster and we are all supposed to pretend that he’s a lord.
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