I detect a decidedly dismissive tone in reports of and comments on Douglas Ross’s ‘big speech’ to the wee bit of the British Conservative & Unionist Party (BCUP) to which he was permitted access. Which is understandable. Ross would require a miraculous makeover just to make the grade as a nonentity. There are many ways in which a person can be small. Douglas Ross seems intent on exploring all of them. To paraphrase William Shakespeare, nothing in Douglas Ross’s political life might become him so much as the leaving it.
While emulating his Tory bosses and affording the man neither respect nor attention, however, we should heed what he says. Not, I hasten to explain, for any intrinsic worth that his words might possess. We should note what Ross says solely because he can usually be relied on to reflect the thinking of those whose thinking might matter. Being devoid of any ideas of his own or even a considered personal perspective, he can do no other than parrott what has filtered down to him through multiple layers of aides, assistants, apparatchiks and lackeys. He won’t be entrusted with any confidential material, of course. He’s far to low on the Tory party totem-pole for that. But he likely to be privy to the general mood of those who rule over us courtesy of voters in another country.
When he says “I’ve got no problem with bypassing the Scottish Government” we would do well to take note. He’s only saying he’s got no problem with bypassing the Scottish Government because he has been made aware that those several tiers over him have no problem with bypassing the Scottish Government. He can’t be referring to himself bypassing the Scottish Government. Those decisions are way above his pay-grade. He is saying only what he’s allowed or instructed to say. Or what he supposes will please Boris Johnson should he ever get to hear of it.
Ross has also been equipped with the spin to put on this bypassing of the Scottish Government – actually bypassing the democratically elected Scottish Parliament – in the obviously forlorn hope of disguising the contempt of Parliament and democracy itself. As ever, we are expected to believe that the British state’s intentions towards Scotland are benign and even beneficent. Whatever they do, it’s for our own good. So if they cut a few corners we really shouldn’t complain. Even if it’s entirely contrary to our democratically expressed wishes, we’d be ungracious not to suck it up and stay silent.
None of this is new. The goodwill of the British state is a pretence as old as the Union. What is notable in Douglas Ross’s barely coherent ramblings, however, is a ramping up of efforts to portray the Scottish Government as the enemy of Scotland’s people. Whatever misfortune may befall us, it is the fault of the devolved administration. The British state is only stepping in because we need to be rescued from the functioning of our democracy.
Ross informs us that Michael Gove and others in government are “very keen” to ensure any money that goes from the UK to Scotland is “fully audited so we know exactly where it’s spent”. Which is clearly meant to imply that the small part of Scotland’s revenue which is returned to us having been purloined by the British exchequer is not presently “fully audited”. The irony of a British Tory insinuating malfeasance by others will not be lost on many in Scotland. Ross continues,
And if that money as we believe is not getting where it’s most needed then we need answers to that, and ensure that the money gets directly to the places who need it and will utilise it to the best ability, and that’s why I always think the SNP are crying foul here to say that the shared prosperity fund or some of these new funds shouldn’t go directly to council’s.
I’ve got no problem with bypassing the Scottish Government if that money is going directly into local communities who have been asking for years for funding from the Scottish Government and have been ignored.
Scotland has two government’s and the UK government is one that wants to invest directly in local areas.Douglas Ross tells Tory conference he has ‘no problem’ bypassing Scottish Government
Part of the purpose here is to provide the British media and British Nationalists in general with a plausible justification for the evident contempt for the Scottish Parliament and blatant attempt to undermine the devolution settlement. It doesn’t have to be a credible excuse for being complicit in what cannot honestly be characterised as anything other than anti-democratic and anti-Scottish. It’s just something for them to say as they cheer on the dismantling of Scotland’s democratic institutions and obliteration of our identity as a nation. If the story had to be convincing they wouldn’t have chosen Douglas Ross to tell it.
The main purpose, however, is the eradication of Scotland’s distinctive political culture. This too is hardly new. It was predicted as a consequence of a No vote in 2014 and began within hours of the result of that referendum being known. What may be indicated by Ross’s words is a greater explicitness and a tone which fair reeks of a seething hatred for the Scottish Parliament. Or rather, for the distinctiveness which it represents. The trouble with the Scottish Parliament is that it’s just not British. Ross is quite open about the british state’s intention to rectify this. With devolution and the regrettable tendency of the Scottish electorate to elect MSPs from Scottish (non-British) parties the grip on Scotland afforded England-as-britain by the Union has been loosened. That grip must be restored. The wishes of Scotland’s people are not a consideration.
One might reasonably expect that the Scottish Government would respond to this malign with well-justified anger. By which I don’t mean the over-rehearsed outrage which we get from Ian Blackford. I mean genuine anger – accompanied by action to counter this assault on our democracy by an increasingly foreign power. What we get is SNP MSP Neil Gray’s limp flapping at Ross and his bosses with a damp hankkie. To describe this response as pathetic is to lend it a force that is entirely unwarranted. As a response to what is being done to Scotland the response of the Scottish Government is pitifully ineffectual. It is grotesquely inadequate. It’s all tired puff and bluster with absolutely no action taken.
The British political elite is embarked on a project to eradicate all that is non-British and fully, irrevocably incorporate Scotland into the ‘Great Britain’ imagined by Boris Johnson. and our own Scottish Government is doing nothing to defend us against this British Nationalist onslaught. It is as incredible as it is intolerable that this British Nationalist project should have been permitted to progress as far as it has. There has been no effective resistance from our elected representatives and popular resistance is so fragmented by factionalism and atrophied by inaction that it barely registers.
The British political elite to which Douglas Ross is a sad pretender is emboldened by the pusillanimous procrastinations and timorous pandering of the Scottish Government as well as the resounding absence of large-scale public protest. Ross himself is promoted to harbinger of Scotland’s doom – doubtless the most significant status he will ever achieve. The Union empowers the British ruling elite to do as it pleases with Scotland. What pleases the servants of that elite right now is that a final solution be implemented for the ‘Scottish problem’. The longer we fails to properly resist this attack the more difficult it will be tu turn back the tide of British nationalism
threatening PROMISING to sweep away forever the Scotland that we know along with all hope of the Scotland to which we aspire.
I want to know what Nicola Sturgeon intends to do about this.
What is she prepared to do?
What are you prepared to do?
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6 thoughts on “What are you prepared to do?”
Alas! We have not only the likes of MSP/MP D.Ross chomping at the bit against Scotland, we have the Scottish Media doing the same thing.
There is not a single day goes by, without The (Glasgow) Herald putting out some anti SNP story.
It never resists the chance of turning a Westminster created problem against the SNP and blame Edinburgh, for problems created by London.
Then we have many on the comments sections with their anti Scotland views, who never hold the London regime to the same criticisms they throw at SNP and the Scottish Parliament.
Everything is always Edinburgh’s fault!
The fact that Eddinburgh doesn’t have the powers it should have, seems a bonus point to these folks!
As for SNP responses, as you point out, it is just not good enough.
The YES movement deserves far better than what SNP is presently giving us.
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We need a show of strength from the Yes movement. The Saltire Strikes Back is as near to ideal as you’ll get. But it has to be huge.
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Reblogged this on Ramblings of a now 60+ Female.
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“The YES movement deserves far better than what SNP is presently giving us”
Looking at it from another perspective…the Yes movement as you yourselves declare, has always been aware of the mass of influencers working against the SNP/Scottish Government as a matter of unionist ‘principle’ and bias. You KNOW the SNP/Scottish Government has been battling alone for the last 18 months with the hands tied behind its back limited resources you KNOW curtails its effectiveness at the best of times. The Scottish Government are now realistically in the worst of times where its limited resources, budgetary and workforce, were depleted as was that of any organisation due to pandemic related consequences. It has suffered loss of strength across the board in practical terms – which is totally unacknowledged – and bizarrely has been expected by some in the Yes movement to ‘perform’, uniquely, at maximum potential when in reality it has not possessed that physical potential.
So now, rather than the Yes movement giving any consideration to that reality, and somehow forgetting the reason why, even in more stable times, it was accepted and acknowledged that much of what it would like to achieve was always beyond its powers and resources – and that the Yes movement was fighting for Scotland to obtain those lacking resources – you are again witnessing the British state and its considerable allies ramping up another hugely more dangerous attack on the SNP/Scottish Government – AND – instead of getting behind it; instead of acknowledging as ever that it cannot do it on its own – instead of calling out the British state to the Scottish public – you choose to instead sit back on the notion that the SNP Scottish Government should be GIVING you what it is you want. It should be doing everything on its own when it is knocking its pan in all the hours God sends to try and keep the country afloat in hellish circumstances with everything working against it.
So when it comes to the greatest time of need – which we always knew would come much harder than in 2014 – instead of engaging with the Scottish public again, as we all did in 2014 – you are going to sit back and attack the SNP/Scottish government along with the likes of Douglas Ross.
“The YES movement deserves far better than what SNP is presently GIVING us”? Is that what the Yes movement is now all about? Complaining that it is not ‘GIVEN’ everything? You can’t be bothered any more doing a bit of GIVING yourselves again? Isn’t that the point? That when the very worst comes along – that we do what we KNOW those who we need and who need us cannot do it by themselves? When we KNOW they can’t spin a gazillion plates on their own?
If you truly and seriously want an independent Scotland – we have to take on some of the heavy lifting when we KNOW FINE WELL others for the moment are not in the position to do that. But your answer is to not rise above the distractions and minutiae and prejudices, not to accept the BIG moment for what it is – but to cower away and continue the navel-gazing petty bickering and time-wasting ‘fun’ things like another demonstration, another carp, another complaint and whinge ‘Oh but why are they not giving us, giving to us, doing for us, giving us this, giving us that so that we don’t need to really face the most difficult time we knew would come”.
Scottish history repeats itself. When it comes to the big serious crunch – it’s down to the same thing. An allegory from Denise Mina’s latest book – where the history books are filled with the squabbles of the supposed Great Scottish men obsessed with ‘What’s in it for me and who is going to do it for me?” Self-fulfilling prophecy. Pah!
No excuses. We’re all sick of them.
The SNP are supposed to be the Scottish Independence Party. Forgive me if I’m wrong but, didn’t we lend them out vote on the promise of a referendum in return?
Wasn’t that a manifesto pledge?
I’m not just talking about the last election, am I?
It was also promised in the last election manifesto as well, wasn’t it?
We don’t want to be given any more kicking the can, crap legislation and shit excuses. We want what we were promised and nothing less.
Your way with words is impressive. If only they didn’t read like the words of an accomplished Party spin doctor…
When I say we deserve more than what we are given, I mean I demand SNP do something about getting us Independence, and to stand up to London rule over Scotland.
I don’t think that is asking too much of Party that says it is committed to Independence!
Instead, the SNP went out of its way to stop UK leaving EU, even tho that was never going to work, as England’s politicians, who are the ones that mattered, decided on Brexit.
Instead of using that circumstance for getting Independence, SNP threw that opportunity away.
The 56 MPs should have walked out of the House of Commons after June 2016.
There is no way this Union could have continued for long, if all but 3 of Scotland’s MPs had walked out of House of Commons, and stayed out.
We are all very much aware of the limits on the present Edinburgh Parliament and Scottish Government.
We are also very well aware of how the UK regime is trying to exploit that.
But all we are ever getting from SNP leadership is waffle, and more waffle, and they are trying to do everything by the rules set in London, which we note, as seen in 2014, rules London see fit to ignore whenever it suits it, but expects us to follow, regardless!
Scotland is supposed to be “Equal” to England in this Union, and if so, why should we be needing to ask London permission for anything? England didn’t seek Scottish permission for its hard Brexit.
The present SNP approach is getting Scotland nowhere, and those who defend its strange reluctance to push against the UK Govt both on Independence, and a range of other issues, are actually playing into the hands of the UK Govt.
They are the ones who are holding Scotland back, not the YES movement.
We will defend the Scottish Government against the pro London lot when we need to, but in turn, we do expect them to defend Scotland, which at the moment, they are not actually doing too much of.
That approach of SNP has to change, both for the sake of SNP itself, and for Scotland.
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