Almost like the near evangelical figure of the post-socialist establishment icon Gordy Broon becoming closely associated with the words ‘being wheeled in to save the day for the Union’ our lovable cuddly Viceroy (becoming a more appropriate description by the day as it appears more and more evident, almost unbelievably, that Scotland is indeed one of the last of the colonies) David Mundell is now very much firmly associated with the phrase ‘ I’m prepared to be held to account for that statement’.
He was prepared to be held to account for the steaming pile of politically and economically impotent detritus which was the product of Smith and the Scotland Act, which he describes as “wide- ranging new devolved powers”, he was prepared to be held to account if Scotland didn’t receive fair financial treatment under the Barnett rules when his party bribed the stokers of racist and bigoted bonfires with your money in order to retain a slippery grip on power, he was adamant about that one, and not an extra penny did Scotland get allocated, and he’s now prepared to be held to account for the outcome for Scotland of what anybody else (who doesn’t see things entirely through the looking glass of a future spent snoring in repose on the red benches, between directorship lunches and weekends in Tuscany (mind yer passport Lord Davey, and your travel visa,) I bet he’s even picked out what his future title will be, Lord Mislead of Disinformation sounds about right, I digress), clearly recognises as a power grab by his robotic boss and her motley crew. Mundell’s interpretation though is that Scotland will receive a ‘bonanza’ of new powers as a result of his government’s actions. He’s the real life equivalent of a party sycophant in an Orwellian Ministry of Truth.
In years gone past holders of the job that he has could be described as Scotland’s representative in government, no matter party allegiance. George Younger, for one, was known for talking Thatcher out of some of her more punishing and character building schemes for Scotland, but this guy, Mundell, he is spineless, a career builder, and most definitely the government’s man in Scotland.
The problem is though, try as we all might, crying foul every time the Tory leadership trundle him out on a set of castors to mislead the general population by just simply stating that the exact opposite of the truth is correct in these situations, he doesn’t actually get held to account for anything. He can say what he likes, he can commit to whatever he wants, he can give birth to a thousand headlines in The Scottish Daily Depress or the Ruth Davidson fan journal, the incongruously named The Scotsman, and no one in the media pulls him up, or asks him to justify his comments, at all. That is the comfort that unionist politicians can take from their sponsors having full control of all of the major media outlets.
The Great Rock and Roll Swindle Act is set to repeal and disengage, in one foul swoop, the UK’s legislative connection with the European Union. Good luck with that one. It’ll take an army of Sir Humphrey Appleby’s, 50 CBE’s,35 OBE’s, an MBE or two, and the odd Knighthood to disentangle all of that. It sounds great in theory, just transfer all EU laws over in one bundle, put them into the UK’s bailiwick and then abolish or amend at your leisure. The problem is that EU legislation is so intertwined within the UK as a whole, and Scotland’s laws, that unpicking it all without, dropping the ball, or creating glaring gaps and anomalies will be like pulling blue M&Ms out of a vat of quick drying cement with a set of chop sticks. Who is going to pay for all of that busy work? You are.
The UK government is apparently going to continue to have “ongoing intense dialogue” with devolved government stakeholders. Really? That is comforting. Does this mean they will actually plug the phone line in to the wall for the David Davis hotline that was heavily publicised on the run up to the triggering of Article 50? Will there be actual dialogue this time, instead of delegations of Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish politicians being shepherded into Downing Street, photographed at a table, ignored for an hour or two and then sent packing back up the road again in a state of head shaking bewilderment at the arrogance and ignorance of their incompetent, flying by the seat of their breeks hosts? I wouldn’t hold your breath.
Nicola Sturgeon, and her Welsh counterpart, clearly recognise that the Keystone Cops and sundry circus performers of the Brexiteering influenced UK government see an opportunity ahead to limit parliamentary interference (yet another affront to democracy), giving themselves more decision making power, whilst at the same time snaffling up as much as they can of the returned powers from Brussels to use as they see fit, as bargaining pawns being an obvious use. Can you imagine how it will be when the Tories feel they have autonomy on much of this stuff, without having to run it through the Commons first? How scary is that thought?
The Scottish and Welsh Parliaments may well not give their consent for the ‘Great Repeal Act’, the EU (withdrawal) Act, but in the end London can, and will, over-rule them. Theresa May, with her slim majority, might amend her plans to appease the Corbyn led opposition, but Scotland or Wales won’t even register, at this point in time, as a threat. The widening democratic deficit, which ultimately will ensure that at some moment soon, in the not too distant future, Scotland will become an independent nation once again, is going to get even bigger.
Meanwhile we, in the independence movement, need to find better and clearer ways to get the message across to more of our fellow country-folk, seeing past the media spin, that the Tories, including the darling of the Scottish media, Colonel Ruthie, are doing nothing more useful than simply protecting their London bosses, and their future career prospects, by blowing smoke up into the crevice of the wider Scottish mindset, creating and fostering expectations and beliefs which are wildly,and damagingly, wide of the truth.