Have the admirable traits of having courage, thinking for yourself and displaying personal integrity gone out of much of Scottish politics? Has the doing of the right thing for the people you represent, rather than what fits with your political ambitions, or following instructions from headquarters, become a fiction that only the naïve believe? Of course it has.
Earlier in the week the complete abandonment of any pretence by Westminster’s satellite branch office representatives at Holyrood that they have Scotland’s interests at heart, or even anywhere near the front of their blinkered minds, in failing to back the Scottish government’s motion (supported by the Scottish Greens) to seek protection of Scotland’s access to the European Union single market, clearly provided evidence that for them there is only one strategy that matters, save the union at all costs.
Brexit may result in Scots losing employment in their thousands, Scotland losing favourable access to markets it has traded in profitably for several decades, and the acceleration of the significant challenge to Scotland’s economy of an ageing working population once the tap is switched off to access to free movement of European citizens, but hey, nah, none of that matters. Those pesky nats might want independence, and they need to be stopped.
In the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote, which saw 62% of Scots who voted vote overwhelmingly for Scotland to remain a member of the European Union, they were all out there doing a bit of high profile preening of themselves about how the people had spoken, expressing their determination to protect Scotland from the ravages of the unfolding Brexitastrophe. That didn’t last.
It wasn’t long before the provincial darling of the new right was doing a stand-up routine at the annual UK party rally, which strangely didn’t involve a tank (wait until next year, there will be marching) or a coo wae horns, but did involve the usual elements of cringe which we all know and loathe, although I think she might have missed the one about us being tight. She’s destined for big things, but not in Scotland. One of Theresa’s brighter new starlets. she’ll maybe get a job holding Lord Farage’s jaiket whilst he mud-wrestles alligators to amuse his pal the Commander in Chief, or helping Boris load the boot of his sports car up with boxes of cheap Prosecco before the border shuts.
Then there’s the stateswoman-like representative of the most European minded European citizens of the world, we love Europe, vote Hillary, Europe Europe Party, who loves Europe so much that she doesn’t want to vote to help her country to stay in it. It’s all too hard, so we’ll just abstain says she. The spinning top which is Kezia Dugdale is becoming increasingly bewildering. Her “crystal clear” narrative on Scottish politics is so unclear that you wonder what the hell she’s going to say next. What are her actual views on anything? Does anyone know? Does she know? I worry that one day someone will find her sitting eating breakfast in the Holyrood canteen reciting the phrase “ Let me be perfectly clear, I don’t like poached eggs but I like my eggs poached” over and over again. Thinking for herself is not big on the list of priorities, following the Westminster party line is, by whichever one of the two sides of her party she is being instructed by at the time.
The man who is a winner (he is convinced that if he just keeps saying it, writing it down, and thinking it, that it will happen, maybe at the bingo) the winner Wee Wullie Rennie is still in the huff because Nicola Sturgeon has spoken to everybody else, and their auntie, apart from the winner Wullie Rennie, about their views on Brexit, and ways that Scotland can protect itself from the ravages of being hoyed out of the single market. The winner Wullie only found this out though because his local newsagent let it be known that he’d had a wee chat with Nicola one morning when he was taking the milk and bread in early, and gave her a few pointers. Winner Wullie has now taken to leaving scribbled post it notes headed “ Ways to be a winner on Brexit” on the First Minister’s chair in the parliament chamber. The cleaners are furious. However for Wullie, as the winner that he is, he sees everything as an SNP plot, and he refuses to look beyond that.
Here was the perfect opportunity, amid the chaos in these uncertain, and very possibly deleterious, times, for the leaders of these respective parties in Scotland to put the people they represent before self. To get behind a reasoned measured message of Scottish unity to the UK government, and beyond. A message to declare, following the people of Scotland deciding democratically that they should remain as citizens of the European Union, that their decision should be respected, and will be protected by those who serve the people.
It was never gonnae happen was it?
Scotland can do so much better.