Pick your poison (edited)

I have been looking at the persisting contenders for the role of British Conservative Party leader and British Prime Minister trying to make up my mind which was worst from Scotland’s perspective, and I am quite unable to decide. It’s like having a choice of what you want in your coffee – cyanide, botulinum, anthrax, strychnine or ricin. I’ll leave it to readers to choose how those are matched up with Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss, Kemi Badenoch, Penny Mordaunt and Tom Tugendhat. That’s about as good as the choosing gets.

I previously wrote in response to some rather premature announcements of Boris Johnson’s demise that we could not discount the possibility of him leading the Tories into the next election. As it transpired, the serial scandals became too much for even Boris’s famed capacity for survival. His ‘friends’ saw that he was weakened enough to take down so they followed the predatory instincts they have where others have principles and they duly took him down. It is worth noting in passing that perhaps the only occasion the Tories have exhibited any kind of organisation competence was the series of coordinated resignations which sealed Johnson’s fate. Although I may be giving them too much credit. It may have been no more coordinated than the feeding frenzy of sharks onto which my perception is imposing pattern.

Regardless, Johnson is gone. There will be rejoicing. Then the realisation will dawn that the frying pan has been vacated in favour of the fire. But it will not be Boris Johnson who leads the Tories into the next UK general election. How much difference might that make?

I have further speculated that, had Johnson still been Tory leader come election time he would campaign on an uncompromisingly right-wing ‘One Nation’ British Nationalist platform. That platform would include a substantial amount of Jock-bashing with promises to put the Sweaties back in their box and ‘make Britain whole again’. The ongoing project to undermine and sideline the Scottish Parliament and delegitimise the Scottish Government would be ramped up. The process of transferring power to Alister Jack and the UK Government in Scotland would be accelerated. Direct rule would be reimposed more emphatically than at any time in the dark history of the Union under the guise of ‘improved devolution’.

There is no reason to suppose that any of the candidates for Tory leader and British PM will approach the election any differently. Boris Johnson’s brand of British Nationalism sells in the key constituencies. By associating the securing of Scotland and preserving the Union with ‘making Britain great again’ all these candidates know that they can win votes in key constituencies in England. They also know that they have little to lose in Scotland. As has always been the case, they can get a mandate to do as they will with Scotland regardless of how we vote. And what they want to do is end the ‘Scottish problem’ by binding Scotland irrevocably to the Union with changes to the constitution.

My expectation is that in the run-up to the next UK general election candidates for all the British parties will be vying with each other to take the hardest line on Scotland. The contest for the Tory leadership is like a preview of that campaign.


Age is definitely taking its toll. Having published this I realised I’d forgotten the point I had intended to make. What I meant to say is that we should be concerned not only with who might win the Tory leadership contest and thus become British Prime Minister but with what power is wielded by the non-winners. The very fact of having been a contender affords a certain status. Even the ones knocked out early will be sure to have it mentioned every time their name comes up. They will forever be a one-time contender for the top job. Unless they acquire some better claim to fame by, for example, doing a bit of serial killing.

The further they get in the selection process the more power they are likely to wield after the matter is settled. Progress in the leadership contest is a measure of support within the party. Whoever the winner is, they cannot afford to either ignore or trust the runner-up.

With that in mind, I want you to imagine what looks like a likely outcome. Rishi Sunak as PM but with Penny Mordaunt calling a significant proportion of the shots. Actually, you could pick any pair of names you want from the remaining contenders and you get just as dire a prospect.

The media being as pathetically shallow as it is will focus almost entirely on the winner. It would pay us to keep an eye on the other runners.

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15 thoughts on “Pick your poison (edited)

  1. My hardening opinion is that we should ignore them and don’t fret about what they say to win votes in the Tory shires. Talk is cheap and we need to render their sound bites irrelevant.

    The only opinions we should be listening to are those of the Scottish people. Once the majority of the Scottish people support independence, then the game changes. The SNP then needs to take off the kid gloves and fight the Tories at their own game.

    This isn’t going away this time.


  2. How does that come about?

    The UK doesn’t have a constitution and the bunch of spivs who run the place couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery.

    All of these nightmare scenarios you keep coming up with only happens if we remain asleep.

    That is why I keep saying, we need to focus on getting a majority of Scots in favour of independence first and then we need to act PDQ to get ourselves out of this colonisation.

    We know what the Tories stand for and what they will do if they can get away with it. We don’t need them to draw us a picture. We need to make sure the horse has bolted before they lock the stable door.


      1. If one was not already familiar with the “constitutional graffiti” that is the Westminster Regimes asserting a novel new “sovereignty” over the Sovereign Scots in the Sovereign Nation of Scotland, then one might read the online version at this link:

        “European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020”


        and download the pdf file(s) here:


        Liked by 3 people

  3. Whoever gets the ‘top job’ there will not be a gnat’s nut to separate them in terms of their core ‘beliefs’ with number 2 and on their list of priorities being tax cuts for the rich, public services cuts for the poor and Brexit is forever and always.

    Top of the pile, however, is that Scotland, and all it’s resources, stays in ‘our’ Precious Union. The ‘verminous’ natives and ‘savages’ are a minor drawback for each and everyone of them.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I was working and living abroad when the consultative referendum on withdrawal from the EU took place. It was that outrage that woke me up and got me interested in Scottish politics.

    I’m not disagreeing with anything you say, we are yet again looking at Hobson ‘s choice when it comes to England’s ruling elite. Whoever wins will pursue the same policies as the predecessor. This is not a topic for debate, in my opinion.

    The point I’m making – the thing that keeps me awake at night – is not what the English establishment might do – but that Scots will again reject independence at the ballot box. That is my nightmare scenario. That worries me much more than what any Tory PM hopeful has to say to Tory voters.

    I think this may also be a reason for the SNP’s cautious approach. The fear of falling short at said ballot box.

    Asserting this majority should be our priority. That’s all I’m saying. If we have that it’s a different ball game.

    When this majority in Scotland seems assured

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There will come a point we will have to throw everything at it including the SNP and be prepared to accept the consequences if we lose. Eight wasted years of nothingness in making the case, tells me “now is not the time” if we want to win.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. With respect to your edit and in specific regard to the ‘Scottish Question’:

    I note that Penny Mordaunt has now used the “never” word in her efforts to outdo her fellow contestants. That doesn’t leave much room for any ambiguity and she will no doubt be held to that by the runners-up and their followers in the party should she win, a not unlikely outcome. On the other hand if she is a close runner-up or even third then she can claim that she has the backing of a substantial proportion of her party for taking that stance and can press the new leader to take a similarly hard line stance.

    The latter won’t, of course, be difficult given they are all putting their true 19th century colonial credentials on display. The point is that ‘denial of democracy’ is the new normal, if I may borrow that most ubiquitous of cliches.

    This is highest rung in a ladder of obstacles that have been put down to prevent Scottish self-determination being exercised since the last referendum.
    1. Theresa May: “Now is not the time”
    2. Ruth Davidson: “Majority of MSPs in Holyrood”
    3. David Mundell: “Majority of MSPs in Holyrood and Majority of Votes in Holyrood election”
    4. Some other Brit: “Majority of MSPs in Holyrood and Majority of Votes in Holyrood election – SNP only”
    5. Some other Brit: “Majority of MSPs in Holyrood and Majority of Votes in Holyrood election – SNP only and in both constituency and region ballots”
    6. Alister Jack: “40 years or more”
    7. Boris Johnson: “Now is not the time”
    8. Penny Mordaunt: “Never”
    At this point in proceedings we should bear in mind that this only occurred as David Cameron thought there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell of YES winning so he made the Edinburgh Agreement which involved the Section 30 being granted.

    However, we should thank Penny Mordaunt. Not for her honesty – that is an epithet too far to describe any Brit politician – but for her candidness.

    Some of us have always known this but it is incumbent upon all would be leaders of Scotland’s Independence movement to make this very clear to the electorate can be any doubt that “now is not the time” really means “never”.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Peter you are right about changing the constitution to bind Scotland.

    Remember the continuity bill. The one the SNP went to court on. The Tories changed the law while the case was live. The skulduggery will carry on.

    Not only that. If the GE is used as a plebiscite. The Tories will change the rules ,if they think the SNP might win. I am pretty sure they will have civil servants working on that.

    Sturgeon is so predictable. The Tories have no fear of her.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. There are no rules when it comes to a plebiscitery election. It only gets you the indisputable evidence that the Scottish people want independence. After that, it’s all politics and negotiations with no crib sheet to look up. I’m sure Sturgeon is very well aware of that.


    1. Precisely my point. A plebiscitary election is not the formal exercise of our right of self-determination that is required in order that independence can be restored. Neither is a “consultative and non-self-executing” referendum.

      Why would there be “negotiations”? What’s to stop the British state from just ignoring either of these pretendy referendums on the grounds that… Actually, scrub that! there is no reason why they should provide grounds.


      1. And they could do the same with a UDI. Whichever route us ultimately taken, it will always end up being decided by politics and negotiations.


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