Andrew Tickell’s column in the Sunday National is always a good read. Particularly so when he writes to explain legal situations and processes. But his take on Scottish politics also tends to be well-informed and thought-provoking. What strikes me about his latest article, however, is a point that he seems to have missed as he discusses the dynamics of the Scottish Tories in the aftermath of Jackson Carlaw’s humiliating removal.
Something I couldn’t quite put my finger on troubled me as I read Andrew’s attempt to answer the question of whether Douglas Ross is anything more than Ruth Davidson’s sock puppet. It was not until I noticed the very first comment that I realised what it was.
Even a sock puppet would have the intelligence to know that the union is deed [sic] …
I read that line and immediately thought it horribly wrong. We are talking about Tories. Hard-line Unionists and British Nationalists. Sock puppet or not, none of them is ever going to admit even to themselves that the Union is deid.
And why should they? The Union is presently not in jeopardy at all. The only thing that could threaten the Union would be an SNP administration in the Scottish Parliament determined to pursue the restoration of Scotland’s independence by any democratic means available. What we have is just the opposite. We have an SNP administration which has not only let the constitutional issue slide over the past six years but is seemingly intent on reassuring the British establishment that the SNP will not resume its role as the political arm of the independence movement in the foreseeable future.
Why then would even a remarkably stupid sock puppet suppose the Union to be in its death throes? What do Douglas Ross and Ruth Davidson and Boris Johnson see when they look at the state of the Union in Scotland? Because it is that perception which will inform their current manoeuvrings and manipulations.
The problem with Andrew Tickell’s analysis is that it assumes a future in which the Scottish Parliament is functioning as before and Douglas Ross (possibly with Ruth Davidson’s hand up his arse) stepping into the same role as was briefly and unsatisfactorily filled by Jackson Carlaw. But is that what the Scottish Tories and their bosses in London actually envisage? Or should their current manoeuvrings and manipulations be analysed as preparation for a significantly situation?
British Nationalists do not think the Union is finished. They do not operate on that basis. They operate of the basis that they are winning. They have every reason to suppose that their plans for Scotland will proceed. They have no reason to think otherwise. Whatever the Ross-Davidson duo is being prepared for it is not business as usual.
The British political elite is assuming a Scotland in which the locus of politics has moved from Holyrood to Queen Elizabeth House (left). The British state is planning on a future in which the centre of political authority in Scotland has shifted from the Scottish Government to the UK Government in Scotland. Whatever Douglas Ross and Ruth Davidson are up to at the moment, it is with this in mind. They are being deployed for a role in the transition from devolution to direct rule from London.
Ross and Davidson serve a regime which is in the process of perpetrating what is effectively a coup d’état in Scotland. We must try to understand their behaviour in the light of this realisation. We must ask ourselves how a parcel o’ rogues might once again deliver Scotland to England-as-Britain. We must wonder what role they might play in the process of taking annexation to absorption. We should consider what might be their reward.
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