Why? The ‘King of Questions’! We surely all can agree on the necessity of a good reason for any course of action.When assessing any proposal the first question asked has to be ‘Why?’. There is little point in proceeding to the ‘How?’, ‘When?’, ‘Where?’, ‘What if?’, ‘What then?’ etc. until and unless it has been determined that there is sufficient cause to be doing a particular thing. Although some preliminary consideration of the last of these – ‘What then?’ – may be involved in answering the question, ‘Why?’.
Why remove Boris Johnson? I mean, apart from the fact that he is a thoroughly odious individual. I find all British Prime Ministers objectionable. It is only a matter of degree. Johnson may be a particularly unpleasant example of the breed, but he is the product of the British political system. There seems no reason to suppose that the same system will produce something markedly better. Remove Johnson and all we get is a different kind of objectionable.
So, why remove Boris Johnson from his present position? For the satisfaction of humiliating him, perhaps? That does seem a bit petty. And does anybody who has observed Johnson over the last few years get the impression that he has any capacity for embarrassment? Might we reasonably expect that being thwarted in his ambitions would leave him feeling humiliated? Angry? Yes! Indignant? Certainly! A deep sense of injustice at being denied that to which he is entitled and feelings of contempt for those who have failed to discern his greatness? Absolutely! But humiliation? I don’t think there would be any room for that.
No departing tears on the doorstep of No. 10 for the bold Boris! Barely controlled rage and barely coherent ranting would be the order of the day. Demented railing against the fools and knaves who brought about his downfall would be his parting shot. All rounded off with a Schwarzenegger-channelling “I’ll be back!” that would seem like a cheering promise or a chilling threat depending on the politics of the listener.
Why remove Boris Johnson? I guess that depends on what you hope to achieve. What you priorities are. I, for example, want Scotland’s Remain vote honoured and Scotland’s rightful constitutional status restored. So, I have to ask myself how these ends would be served by removing Boris Johnson. After some reflection, I have to conclude that they would not be served in any way at all.
Brexit is going to happen regardless of who is British Prime Minister. Nobody who might revoke Article 50 is in line for the job. Anybody who proposed to revoke Article 50 either won’t get the job and wouldn’t be able/allowed to stop Brexit if they did. So, removing Johnson cannot result in Scotland’s democratic will being treated with anything other than the total contempt shown by the British political elite to date. Removing Johnson changes nothing in that regard.
Would removing Johnson do anything to help me see Scotland’s independence restored? I don’t see how. It is not Boris Johnson alone that is determined to lock Scotland into the Union. It is the entire British establishment. Remove Boris Johnson and he will be replaced with another British Nationalist. Because all the candidates for British Prime Minister that there are now or ever could be are British Nationalists.
Removing Boris Johnson doesn’t serve my purposes at all. I get nothing out of it. Scotland gets nothing out of it. The imposition of Brexit goes ahead. The denial of our right of self-determination continues. The anti-democratic abomination of the Union remains.
So, why does Nicola Sturgeon want Johnson removed? Obviously, her priorities cannot be the same as mine. She cannot be seeking to achieve the same things as me. We’ve seen that this is a forlorn and foolish hope. Whatever else she may be, Ms Sturgeon is most assuredly not foolish.
From the First Minister’s own comments and those of an SNP spokesman, it seems that the ‘Why?’ of removing Johnson is to put in place a caretaker PM who will “secure an extension” to the already ludicrously protracted Brexit process and then call a UK general election. Which is where the ‘What then?’ query kicks in.
This is all very well if your priority is, not to have Scotland’s democratic choice respected, but to put off for a while longer the major deleterious impact of our Remain vote being ignored. And only if the 27 real EU nations agree. There being not the slightest reason why they should, as the only ‘deal’ on the table will be no more acceptable to the British parliament with a new Prime Minister than it was with the previous two.
Our First Minister’s concern appears to be to avoid Scotland being dragged out of the EU without some kind of ‘deal’ and maybe to get some kind of a ‘deal’ that isn’t a ‘bad deal’. Although she will be allowed no role in negotiating this ‘not a bad deal’ even supposing the EU deigns to reopen negotiations. There being not the slightest reason why they should, as there is no discernible possibility of a deal which will be acceptable to both the EU members states and British MPs – who want nothing less than that the EU should abandon its very core principles to accommodate Little England’s xenophobic prejudices.
The problem I have is that there is no ‘deal’ – good, bad or indifferent – which negates Scotland’s Remain vote. The First Minister and her colleagues have put considerable effort into telling me how a No Deal Brexit is unacceptable and how a Bad Deal Brexit is unacceptable, but I have heard no attempt to explain to me how any kind of Brexit can possibly be acceptable when Scotland voted so decisively to Remain part of the EU.
Taking it for granted that I will meekly accept British contempt for Scotland’s democracy, the First Minister’s other objective in removing Boris Johnson is to bring about a UK general election. That may happen. But it would happen even without removing Boris Johnson. He wants an election. He is, with good reason, confident that the Tories will win that election. Or, at least, be in a position to form a government with the help of others determined to “get Brexit done”. The electoral arithmetic is, to say the least, problematic. But it seems certain that the only way an election might resolve anything is by returning enough Mad Brexiteers for them to be in a position to thumb their noses at the sane people.
If there is some credible permutation of the electoral numbers which leads,directly or indirectly, to Scotland getting what we voted for in 2016, I have yet to see it. Or imagine it!
Why remove Johnson? Maybe, and it’s a very big maybe, to get an extension. Maybe to stop a No Deal Brexit. although that is always the default and so, ultimately, unavoidable unless something unimaginable intercedes. The SNP gets more MPs in the election. But to do what? It’s undoubtedly better to have as many as possible actual Scottish MPs from an actual Scottish party. But what can 56 oreven 59 do at Westminster that 35 can’t?
Perhaps they might be in a position to force the new Prime Minister to concede a Section 30 order. But that is a remote chance, at best, given the generalised dominance of anti-democratic British Nationalism in British politics. And, as anyone who has thought about the matter will be aware, getting a Section 30 order may be only the start of the problems. But this is what Nicola Sturgeon wants.
Why remove Boris Johnson? From my personal perspective as a Scottish nationalist, it serves no purpose at all. From the perspective of the First Minister it may allow her to sweeten the toxic pill of an imposed Brexit with some kind of ‘deal’. And it may allow her to pursue her stubborn commitment to the Section 30 process regardless of the potential consequences and the gross insult to the sovereignty of Scotland’s people.
Can somebody explain to me how this constitutes progress? Can somebody explain why I am supposed to get excited about the prospect of removing Boris Johnson? Can somebody explain what I, or Scotland, gets out of this exercise? Or is it all worth it so that the opposition parties can squabble over who gets to wear Boris’s considerable scalp on their belt?
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