38176793_Home_Secretary_Theresa_May_watches_a_vidHome_Secretary_Theresa_May_watches_a_video_prio-large_trans++piVx42joSuAkZ0bE9ijUnGH28ZiNHzwg9svuZLxrn1UOnce again, a new Prime Minister neither I nor my country ever voted for is kissing hands with the Queen this morning. Once again, as of last night, the Labour Party is running a leadership contest between the unelectable and the unspeakable – between a leader who is heartily despised by one wing of the Party while being endorsed by another.

Has anything really changed?

This may sound like a peculiar question after the most extraordinarily nerve jangling political-drama nerdfest of a fortnight we`ve just been watching open-mouthed down the wrong end of a Scottish telescope. But the truth is that the biggest substantial change – The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland disentangling itself from the foreign contamination of the last forty years, as some would see it, has barely begun to have the legal, social, economic, cultural or constitutional impact that we all feel it is GOING to have but that none of us can really anticipate.

All we have is the feeling, (probably from the majority by now, despite the win for the Leave campaign), that whatever it is, it`s going to be bad. Except for those who are directly engaged with the immediate fall-out, on the currency market and University`s watching European co-sponsors and research partners take their money up and walk away to take a look elsewhere, for example, we simply don`t have any meaningful idea what happens when you attempt unpick something as intricate and all-pervasive in our lives as the EU has become by hitting it with a fucking big hammer.

Hitting delicate and complex mixes of social relationships with fucking big hammers is usually something the British Empire reserves for hot countries like Iraq. Of course, it occurs to me, as it has occurred to many people, that had we voted “yes” in 2014, we would have been looking again at a situation of hoping that everything will turn out all right in “the negotiations.”

We learn that, once again, as they did in regard to Scotland, that the British Establishment has made only the sketchiest preparations for a referendum result they didn`t want and weren`t expecting. But it is a reasonable bet that the underlying reason for the Tory`s grateful avoidance of democracy in their leadership campaign (or succession) was dire warnings from Mark Carney at the Bank of England and elsewhere that with another shock about to hit the Eurozone in the shape of a run on the Italian Banks that now was not the time to be farting around with whether or not being a Mum made you a better person. The Tory party membership is no more to be trusted than the Labour party membership these days to be guided to the “correct” decision about important things. Look what happened last time they made the mistake of consulting “the people” about something that mattered?

The grateful relief with which the media and other outliers of said Establishment have greeted the advent of St Teresa is above all predicated on the as yet only superficial intuition that she is “a safe pair of hands” to guide us through the choppy waters that lie ahead of the good ship Britannia. Her credentials as a “leader” seem consistent with a certain lineage of lower class Tory leadership that has wrested control back from the Etonians. This is not the end of her resemblances to Margaret Thatcher, who, though likewise married to a millionaire, gathered a good deal of impetus from her status as an outsider to the charmed circle of ancestral privilege which Cameron re-installed atop the Tory party.

the humiliation of the Labour Party in England promises, at this stage, to be every bit as thoroughgoing as the slow, self-destructive twitchings undergone by its Northern Branch Office, which, let us not forget, even at this late hour, is one bad-tempered phone call (between the leader and her deputy) away from splitting down the middle just as decisively as the wider party is now fracturing on regional as well as ideological fissures.

How that superficial resemblance plays out in Scotland, where the nuances of inner and outer circles that so pervade the life of the Oxbridge/Westminster bubble are opaque at best, remains to be seen. The fate of the Labour party, itself mired in what in some ways is a continuation of its own perennial internal contradiction between representing of the “movement” and doing a passable imitation of a “government in waiting” is rather more emotionally charged up here in the wilderness. The alternatively degrading and hilarious spectacle of Angela Eagle calling on journalists who were already absent doing something more important competes with Cameron humming like Winnie the Pooh off to spend more time with his Hunny Pots as the soundbite of yesterday. But the humiliation of the Labour Party in England promises, at this stage, to be every bit as thoroughgoing as the slow, self-destructive twitchings undergone by its Northern Branch Office, which, let us not forget, even at this late hour, is one bad-tempered phone call (between the leader and her deputy) away from splitting down the middle just as decisively as the wider party is now fracturing on regional as well as ideological fissures.

CnMVa59XEAEWpwbIt is surely impossible that anything resembling a unitary, British National Labour Party is going to emerge from this acrimony and embarrassment. The last possible repository of anything resembling a positive and inclusive British Populism has now surely divided into a handful of socialist saints, a gang of 172 forming the nouveau SDP and a lot of completely disenfranchised, desperate English electors just waiting for Teresa May to hoover them up with one nation Toryism. And that`s if we`re lucky enough that the Tories get them and not whatever vile successor Farage leads to replace UKIP.

(Hint – Either way, that nation doesn`t include the likes of you! Tam, Mick or Khaliq!)

I have friends in South London who feel as estranged from the North London radicals who have coalesced around Corbyn as does any Northern English middle of the road trade unionist who is now thinking despairingly of voting UKIP. If those Tories around may who can smell the blood that Labour is so conspicuously spreading all over itself can persuade Teresa May that, Brexit or no Brexit, now is the moment when they can shove Labour`s head so far down the toilet that they`ll forget what breathing was even like, and if enough Labour Turkeys can be persuaded to vote for Christmas…well, we could find ourselves in a One Party Tory State setting nostalgic sail for the glory Days before we know it, certainly before we get around to what is the central order of business for Bella Caledonia and her band of fellow travellers in a very different direction.

What about Scotland? You may well ask. We are sure as hell not top of the agenda at the moment. Even all those noises commentators were making a week or so ago about the “inevitability” of a second Independence referendum were included as more as a measure of the depth of the Brexit crisis than they were out of any real thought let alone considered familiarity with our circumstances.

Nicola Sturgeon took skilful advantage of the window of opportunity left by Tory disarray to do her very best to get what happened to us onto the wider European as well as British agenda. As is Alec Salmond this week attempting to make hay with the Chilcot report – that other epoch marking indictment of the failed experiment of high-minded globalisation that I`d just about forgotten to mention.

But in the broader contexts of Europe`s ongoing crisis, and Britain`s contradictory impulse to tear everything up and keep it exactly the same as it was, Scotland, as it did way before the Union of 1707, is having to do what small countries do – dart about between the legs of warring giants, looking for advantage.

But in the broader contexts of Europe`s ongoing crisis, and Britain`s contradictory impulse to tear everything up and keep it exactly the same as it was, Scotland, as it did way before the Union of 1707, is having to do what small countries do – dart about between the legs of warring giants, looking for advantage.

There is a pleasing simplicity about the slogan “You do what you want, we`re not going anywhere” that “we” have now adopted in regard to Europe…but we simply cannot anticipate yet what the broader context will look like by the time we could practically get round to another referendum, let alone what the political complexion of Scotland, never mind the UK or Europe will look like even 18 months from now.

But the Establishment in the shape of this morning’s feudal succession has gone for safety as it’s priority. It’s own safety that is, which is, of course, not at the same as ours. And when the winds of Brexit DO start to blow, every instinct tells me that it is towards safety, whoever looks like providing it, that the electorate here in Scotland as well as in London and Wales and Doncaster, will be looking. The snake oil salesmen have been taking a couple of weeks off as they gleefully survey the damage they have wrought. Expect some dark forces to be out on the prowl for our anxiety any time soon.

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