Whatever happened to the high wage high skills economy that Boris Johnson promised us at the last year’s Tory conference? Remember just a year ago when the UK government pretended that the lorry driver shortage and the empty supermarket shelves weren’t a direct result of the Tories’ isolationist policies but instead were a mere temporary obstacle on a high speed journey to higher pay?
This year we – or at least the wealthy – were briefly promised high growth and low taxes. Then the chancellor u-turned and it’s now more unclear than ever how the Tories intend to solve the UK’s myriad problems. Every way they turn they find themselves caught in an economic morass of their own making.
This is a Brexit government. Finally the true believers are able to implement the policies that they’ve been fantasising about for years. That’s why Farage was so enthusiastic. And why the Daily Express hailed it as the first true Tory budget for decades.
But for people so dependent on the idea that the ‘markets’ know best this has turned out to be one of the greatest incidences of hubris in political history. The hard right notion that the markets are above politics was proven to be correct. Though not in the way the British nationalists and free market ideologues had banked on. The think tanks behind Truss and Kwarteng’s gamble were revealed to be rammed with naïve and detached–from-reality policy wonks. Their analysis was right – the markets don’t care about politics – that’s why there was a run on the pound and turmoil in the bond markets. City traders weren’t going to put aside their own interests to rescue a government engaged in enacting ruinous and self destructive policies.
With the Tories it’s always someone else’s fault. Six years ago it was Mirka working as a care home assistant and Pavel running his plumbing business. Now it’s the ‘lefty’ IMF! Goodness, if the IMF are interfering lefties then that means one of either two things – the Tories have gone back to the meddling foreigners trope that served them so well for so long, or they are so delusional they actually believe it.
But what of the Scottish response? The BBC, the unionist press and commentariat, along with every grovelling troll on social media wanted the Scottish Government to follow the Tories’ tax policy to the letter claiming that if they didn’t the sky would fall. While all the time the sky WAS falling in! Maybe this more than any other event in recent political history demonstrates the depths to which unionism will sink. Right through the barrel, out the other side, down into the depths of the earth and back out again. No level of degrading servility is low enough for Douglas Ross and the Tory lackeys in the Scottish media.
And surely there can be no institution more emblematic of the weakness and lack of leadership shown by the Scottish moyenne bourgoise than the Faculty of Advocates. Its dean made a spectacularly ill judged intervention in the debate. Demanding that the already wealthy receive even more, and threatening to renounce his own country for the sake of a fatter wallet. While he later withdrew his threats there is no question that this revealed an ugly side to a society already riven by inequality. The wealthy couldn’t care less about the rest of us and we’ll remember that when important votes come up in the next year or two.
This has been an unedifying two weeks but in all the tumult the wheel of fortune has turned again. These events demonstrate that the UK and Scottish unionism have no positive offer to make to the people of this country. They play into our hands. What’s more they signal the beginning of the end for Brexitism, for cosplay Thatcherism, and for the claim by unionism that it represents anything but a dying selfish creed held to by the most scurrilous rogues.