Credo in unum Deum, Toryatrem omnipotente – I believe in one God, the Tory Almighty
Scotland is facing its old enemy again, Britain ruled by the Tory party in all its ugly, nasty anti-democratic fervour. If people were not convinced that the Tory’s Poll Tax was imposed on Scotland by an alien government, surely the Tory’s dragging Scotland out of Europe will convince them.
How did the Tory party get this powerful?
Reasons to be cheerful
Thirty Tory MPs are under investigation for electoral fraud issuing from the 2015 election. Could that be a reason for a snap election?
Reneging on a promise on no General Election until 2020 makes no sense. The EU’s chief Brexit co-coordinator says as much. Guy Verhofstadt said there was “no guarantee the election of additional Conservative MPs at Westminster would give Mrs May more room for manoeuvre in the talks, as some observers suggest.” And Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel makes plain, no talk of EU association until the UK has paid all its debts.
Can May be acknowledging the result of negotiations will be thoroughly unpalatable? Does she expect the result might be draconian tax and VAT increases, and massive subsidies to industry to offset tariffs? Is she planning to stick a hostile neo-liberal system onto a defenceless society? Does she give a damn?
The more Tory MPs there are, the more the Tory government can tell the UK electorate to accept what is offered or it can lump it. And as for Scotland, it can take a hike. How can we stop the Tories rapacious onslaught? Well, we can refuse to be hapless victims.
Empire 2 – Return of the Tories
All politicians are prone to losing sight of where power should lie – with the people.
The weakest, the ones that resort to authoritarian rule to impose their goals, those that despise the electorate, always demand more power. To get it they rustle up a fearful enemy, and compose demagoguery about how only they can protect us.
When a politician asks for more power they should be given less. They want more power because they feel constrained by the democratic process. Too much power loosens the give-and-take of democracy. Excessive power sets a precedent; the new level of autocratic authority is the minimum, and so on, and so forth.
Tories accepted a faux majority in a yes or no, them-or-us, referendum on Europe. Much the same as the Tory party wins elections by how it does in in the Midlands, only 37% of England voted to dump Europe and the Europeans, (betraying 30,000 Gibraltarians into the bargain) though London stayed loyal to its money-making and international outlook. Nevertheless, the vote rekindled unhealthy longings for a lost empire.
Imagine the blood curdling outcry from the British right-wing press if Sturgeon accepted a 37% vote as all the support she needed to install independence!
Tories bumping their gums
Here’s the odd thing: Theresa May and the Tory party are in as much disarray as their opponents. Brexit is proving the predicted nightmare it always was going to be. This isn’t the first time in modern history that the Conservative party finds itself in the pleasant situation of facing a weak opposition. However, this time the SNP is at its zenith of popularity. To gain untrammelled control of Scotland Tories must crush the SNP.
Those were the days
Back in 1979 – when I first took notice of Westminster’s power – the Tories were in the ascendency, Labour was unelectable to no surprise, and SNP supporters were at each others throats.
1979 saw SNP MPs fall to two. SNP factions lay thicker on the ground than chewing gum on an Edinburgh city footpath.
The SNP’s ’79 Group had the brash Jim Sillars in charge with Margo MacDonald as cheerleader, and a very slim Alex Salmond as deputy. They were keen to move the party to the Left away from the baleful myth of it as a Tory offshoot. Their opponents could not decide whether SNP were ‘tartan Tories’ or red commies, so they called them both.
The Tory party was delighted to see their Scottish opponents weak and disorientated. With Sillars arrest for breaking into the Royal High School to make a symbolic speech against mounting unemployment, the electorate did not feel the SNP were fit to govern. All this happened when Tories were decimating Scotland’s main industries. It was a scorched earth policy.
Closures included Wiggins Teape Pulp Mill in Fort William, tractor maker Massey Ferguson in Kilmarnock, French car maker Talbot’s Linwood plant, Caterpillar in Uddingston, Singers in Clydebank, Engineers Burroughs in Cumbernauld, Plessey in Bathgate, Goodyear in Glasgow, Glengarnock Steel Works, and Monsato in Ayrshire, to name a few. Scotland watched on helplessly.
No wonder curious English today ask how Scotland will generate wealth if independent!
Paying the price
The Tories paid a heavy price for dismantling Scotland’s industries, and all but eradicating the Miner’s Union, destroying entire communities in the process. A key component of Scotland’s self-confidence was its ship building industry. By the time the new century arrived it was all but gone.
Opponents of Scotland’s progress will argue the roots of shipbuilding’s demise began decades earlier, but remember, we are dealing with a Tory party that has vowed to protect the British car industry with millions of pounds of tariff subsidies and grant aid, and there is not a single British owned car maker among them.
The contrary Tory credo is, save foreign car makers, destroy indigenous industry.
Scotland could vote Labour tomorrow and still get a Tory government. It did in 1979 and got Thatcher, as did two more elections in 1983 and 1987, despite her waning popularity and signs of being unhinged. In the 1983 election her party was so low in the polls she contemplated resigning.
Today Thatcher is still reviled by Scots. Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said, “Thatcher was the motivation of my entire political career.”
No one can blame the SNP for the current disintegration of the United Kingdom. Policies during Thatcher’s terms of office, and her successor the invisible John Major, weakened the Union. Leaving Europe puts the handles on the funeral casket.
The destruction of Scotland’s heavy industry awakened nationalist feelings for self-protection. History names Thatcher as “midwife of the Scottish parliament” so detested was she by Scotland. Thatcher was an arch-Unionist. So is Theresa May.
In 1979 the Tories were set against devolution in any form. They were against the Scotland Act and the first thing Thatcher did was to repeal it. We hear the same refrain again. Balsy Tories talk of reducing Holyrood to a local talking shop or closing it down. For some reason they think that will silence Scotland.
Losing by numbers
The SNP leader, the gauche solicitor Gordon Wilson, decided internal groups were toxic, and at the SNP’s 1982 conference ejected the ’79 Group including Alex Salmond. Tories cheered at the mess. Wilson’s action managed to reduce the SNP’s appeal even further.
At the 1983 general election the SNP held onto two seats and only 12% of the vote. Tories laughed all the way to the Treasury. The SNP had banished itself to the wilderness. But like the disillusion carpenter Himself, they arrived back more certain of who they were and what they needed to do to protect Scotland from the scourge of Tory aggression.
At that 1983 election the Labour party regained support in Scotland with 41 MPs but discovered once more they were ineffective against a Tory government in London, a situation that existed ever since Scotland accepted nanoscopic representation at Westminster in the days when Tories where Whigs, and Liberals really were liberal.
Labour in power in Scotland but not in England always finds itself impotent. When in power in both nations, a Labour party led by Scots, seems a terrible betrayal. A Labour party united with the Tories against Scotland – as now – is the assassination of a country.
Driving Labour’s thinking is Tory thinking
The immoveable conviction is, only the Union can keep Scotland safe. But safe from what? Certainly not Tory rule. Safe from Tory scorn and condescension? Here’s what senior cringer, Scots-born Sir John Junior wrote when editor of the Daily Express:
“The Scots are a male chauvinist race, and not any longer intelligent [except him] because most of the people have left Scotland. They are also a whinging people … they have made a mess of industry. They’ve buggered up ship building, they’ve buggered up the motor car industry … Margaret Thatcher was too damn good for you all. You resent the fact that she pulled you out of the shit you put yourselves into over so many years…”
Sir John forgets Scotland was under Westminster rule “all those years”.
Splinter groups and all Tory
The Eighties saw a split in Labour. They were in turmoil. Committed middle-of-the-road socialists and the ego-driven broke free to establish the Social Democratic Party, later to become the Lib-Dems. The MP Gerald Kaufman, a Blairite in the making, famously described Labour’s too left-wing manifesto as “the longest suicide note in history”. Historian A.J.P. Taylor averred on BBC’s Question Time that the Labour party “Would rise again; it always does”, he said laconically, which it did, but as a carbon copy of the Tory party. Very soon voters could not tell the difference between one party and the other.
The Nineties saw Scotland’s economy performing better than England’s, but by then Westminster had a welter of placemen in charge of quangos and institutions controlling Scotland’s politics and agenda. Many are still in place to this day.
Then in 1990 came a storm. Alex Salmond took over as SNP leader, erudite, combative, with a clear vision of what his nation needed to regain its dignity and to prosper. It was at that point that the SNP’s standing began to change for the better, and voters saw how a party devoted to Scotland could protect their rights and their society.
Where stands Scotland now?
Labour and other naysayers would rather welcome decades of Tory plunder and empowerment than vote for the one party that will protect pensions, a free health service, bus travel and education, the proverbial turkeys voting for an early Christmas. The Tories sense that mood and exploit it.
In 1988 Thatcher announced in the party’s Perth conference, “As long as I am leader of this Party we shall defend the Union and reject devolved legislature unequivocally!” [My emphasis.] Theresa May has those words memorised. “Now is not the time” says May, restricting free will and choice.
The Tory party sees the UK as a unitary state. Tories pay lip service to the existence of two nations, a principality, and a province. They seek a New World Order led by England and the USA which is actually an old world order that’s crumbling.
Scotland, proud of its independent history, hates being treated as a province of England. It faces its old adversary in battle. It has to retake ownership of Scotland soon or it will be destroyed by Tory isolationism and avarice, to a large extent. Changed days sees Angela Merkel take the lead to lecture the Tories about fair play, liberal values and human rights.
We are witnessing perhaps the most striking assault on the foundations of our traditional liberties in our lifetime. “Now is not the time” to reject those attempting to free us from that careening bus.