The above is an amalgam of two Latin phrases I cobbled up in an idle moment. Status Quo is “as things were before”, and Quo Vadis is “Whither goest thou?” Sums up Westminster.
Well at least we know where Scotland should be going; Nicola has challenged Party members to start canvassing support for another Independence Referendum. The Unionists and their media pals – we don’t have many- are carping away about how the Summer Independence campaign has becoming the Autumn one. It wasn’t a great summer, weatherwise, but we managed to convincingly win another Scottish Parliamentary Election, that’s three in a row, plus the EU Referendum. However the fact that David Cameron called that one five weeks after the Devolved Parliaments’ elections gave no time for a breathing space; activists also like to watch European football, although Scotland was absent, and the Olympics, where we did quite well, but under the Union Flag which is appearing in all sort of ways – my renewed driving licence for one, and Andy Murray won Wimbledon. Perhaps this summer was not the best time due to circumstances beyond our control. But now we hear that we are in for an Indian Summer……..
The Unionists had a fun summer too, David Cameron had to call the EU Referendum, sure he would win it, but the UK voted for Leave. The fallout from that was followed by a falling out of the Leave leaders with Boris Johnston, cheerleader No 1 being stabbed in the back by Michael Gove, who in turn was unceremoniously dumped by Tory MPs. The Tories then were forced to choose Theresa May, last women standing, so this Disunited Kingdom now has a Prime Minister that nobody voted for. This gaggle of chancers assailed the airwaves when Gordon Brown became Prime Minister in the same fashion, but of course the Tories are immune to democracy. In turn Mrs May gave prominent Brexit Cabinet posts to Leave supporters, Boris Johnston, Liam Fox and David Davis; as we know the Tories do not do irony, perhaps poetic justice?
Labour had, and still have their own self-centred troubles. Jeremy Corbyn had been overwhelmingly elected by Labour Party Members less than a year ago, but the Labour MPs in Westminster could not accept that. After the fashion of the Praetorian Guard at some stages of the Roman Empire, they attempted to assassinate their Emperor, who actually had some clothes, but not the right ones in their less than humble opinion.
The upshot of the above means that this Disunited Kingdom faces at least 20 years of right wing Tory Rule, and the only way out is independence for Scotland. This solution frightens the living daylights out of the Unionists and they are trying to panic the people of Scotland.
And what of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown? He disappeared from public view after losing the 2010 General Election to a coalition of the Tory and Liberal Parties, but kept drawing his wages. Then he emerged from the crypt during the 2014 referendum campaign making promises that as a back bench MP he was in no place to implement. He talked up the Vow, which was actually the invention of the Daily Record, and trumpeted this with enthusiasm. When the Smith Commission came up with a list of demands he then claimed this was the best thing since sliced bread, and said it could be amended at Westminster. SNP MPs put in a list of amendments, fully debated in Parliament, but once the Division Bell rang, all the amendments failed.
Westminster contains 650 Members of Parliament – 59 of these are Scottish; at the 2015 General Election Scotland elected one Labour MP, one Tory MP, one Liberal MP – and 56 SNP MPs. So it does not matter what we say and do, we are outvoted 10 to 1.
And Mr Brown has crept out of the crypt again (to recycle an old joke)- methinks an unintended double entendre there, bleating about Home Rule, as if he has finally made some discovery.
Since Nicola made her statement we have had the usual Tory and Labour comments about “she should be concentrating on the day job – NHS, education, poverty, oil prices, whatever” (Don’t know what the Liberals are saying but it doesn’t matter, it will be different tomorrow). As far as the NHS is concerned I may have the advantage on them as this last 18 months I have had treatment at Edinburgh Western General, Edinburgh Royal Infirmary (major operation), Edinburgh Dermatology Department and St John’s Hospital Livingston. I have become a serial attender and I have no complaints or criticism of any of these places – I forgot the Scottish Ambulance Service and NHS 24, but I was unconscious at the time – my wife said they were great!
Education – well, there were 17 schools closed in Edinburgh a few months back, all built under the PFI plans of Gordon Brown, running away with millions of public money which it would now seem to be getting paid to new owners, unspecified, finishing up in tax havens – perhaps even organised crime. Incidentally the PFI schemes bitterly attacked by Labour were renamed PPP (public private partnerships), also by Labour and continued to rip off the public. Local government was told this was the only game in town, and we were told it was to keep these projects off the Balance Sheet so that they did not breach the PSBR (everything begins with a P) Public Sector Borrowing Requirement rules imposed by the EU. I think the EU has now relaxed that rule and the projects have to be declared, but as the UK is leaving the EU where will the money go now? They haven’t thought of that. This year the payments passed the billion barrier, and they are the first charge on any organisation. This means that in Education they are paid before teachers, staff, building repairs – everything necessary for the running of schools; the same applies to the NHS.
Poverty? The plethora of food banks, never even needed during World War II, were driven by the austerity agenda of the Tories. The vast subsidies due to the economic crisis triggered by greed – bankers’ bonuses anyone – are being expected to come from the pockets of the poor who did not create, nor profit by this situation.
Truly we are seeing “The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists” 21st Century style.
As for oil – no one has yet come up with what happened to the untold billions of oil money which disappeared into the gaping maw of Whitehall, or why with all this loose money sloshing about the Government had to do public borrowing in the first place? Oil prices will rise, and there is still more oil and gas in the North Sea than has been extracted.
It is very difficult to keep up with the fast moving political situation, but one thing is clear to me; Westminster does not know what to do, and is scrabbling to come to terms with the unprecedented shambles they have allowed to develop. Scotland has a chance to walk away from this mess; there are no middle ways – only independence – full control of the purse and the policies, as Winnie Ewing defined it in the Sixties and Seventies- will allow us to survive and thrive.