Why would Boris Johnson or Michael Gove or anyone else be in a panic over the Union? What would be the cause of this panic? What is the threat to the Union which might have prompted such panic? Apparently, Yes polling 54% has prompted pant-wetting among those charge with preserving the Union. The same people who with contemptuous insouciance totally disregarded an actual 62% Remain vote and barely stopped to spit on numerous mandates from Scotland’s voters have been moved to panic by a very tentative opinion poll uptick in support for independence.
For a start, it’s just polls. Nobody has actually voted for anything yet. More to the point, there is no way they can vote. There is no process by which that 54% could be translated into a solid expression of democratic will even if the 54% were real and sustainable in the face of the kind of propaganda storm that the British state can launch with ease. There is no discernible reason why Boris Johnson should be concerned far less panicking. The Union is not in jeopardy. If Johnson had ever doubted this, Nicola Sturgeon has put his mind at rest on that count.
The Sweaties are troublesome, for sure. The whole devolution thing has gone frightfully skew-whiff and those SNP upstarts can be a dreadful nuisance and the Sturgeon woman, well, the less said about her the better. But it’s all under control. Plans for shutting down the devolution experiment are proceeding nicely. The SNP at Westminster is lumpen and lethargic and locked into a perpetual grievance mode with Ian Blackford popping up at intervals like an automaton to provide The National with yet another headline about how he’s ‘slamming’ the Tories for this or that and Pete Wishart looking more like part of the House of Commons furniture with every passing day.
In Edinburgh, meanwhile, it’s very much the ‘Nicola and Covid Show’ – a freakishly popular daytime soap opera that has pushed ‘Scotland’s Cause’ off the schedules completely and seems set to run for years. The Sturgeon woman has signed an exclusive contract and while her team keep promising fans new episodes of ‘Scotland’s Cause’ the production schedule for the ‘Nicola & Covid Show’ makes this highly unlikely.
Spotting a potentially lucrative gap in the market, numerous independent production companies have started churning out cheap knock-offs of ‘Scotland’s Cause’ some of which have gained a small cult following. It’s not yet clear what effect these amateurish efforts will have on the prospects for a ‘Scotland’s Cause’ comeback. But they could potentially cause some upsets in next year’s glitzy Holyrood awards as some of the judges appear to be mistaking then for the real thing.
All in all, then, there’s nothing for Boris Johnson to bother his tousled, muddled head about. Scotland’s Cause isn’t going back into production any time soon unless the fans get together to demand it. And that’s not going to happen because they are all too busy arguing about what actually happened in earlier episodes and what this or that bit of dialogue actually meant and where the various plot lines might go and who should play the lead and what they love about it and what they hate about it and which of the rip-offs might succeed and so on and so on.
So why is the ‘Great British Travelling Circus’ coming to Scotland? If it’s not because the people back at head office are fretful about the future of the Union, then why are they dispatching Boris the Clown to put on a few tightly stage-managed shows in the annexed territory? Well, what are circuses and clowns usually for? Entertainment! Distraction! Diversion! The Jocks hate it, of course. They are not amused any more by the antics of Boris and his clown-troupe, But while they’re busy booing and hissing at him – and hopefully worse? – the poor dupes aren’t paying attention to what’s going on behind them. The tour will generate hour upon hour of rolling news coverage. Boris will be shown either performing to admiring photoshopped crowds at invitation-only ‘public’ meetings behind the razor-wire of some military site or fleeing hordes of vicious, woad-painted separatist hooligans waving Saltires and sporting inexplicably large but undoubtedly telegenic SNP badges. Win! And win!
Boris Johnson isn’t coming to Scotland in a fog of panic. He’s coming in the customary bubble of British arrogance. He’s coming to put on a show. And it isn’t even for the benefit of the natives. This is for his audience back home. Viewers in Scotland get their own programme. Repeats of the ‘Nicola & Covid Show’. Yay!
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