The toxicity of contemporary politics is striking as values seem to circle the sewer. Last week Sir Nicholas Soames was making barking noises when the SNPs Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh was trying to speak in the so called Mother of All Parliaments. UKIP’s leader Paul Nuttall admits today that he was lying on his website that he lost a “close personal friend” at Hillsborough. Arthur Thackeray is retained as an assistant to David Coburn despite being on the sex offenders register. David Irving makes a hate-speech in the Glasgow Hilton – at what Paul Hutcheon called “Without doubt the foulest event I’ve ever covered as a journalist” – saying that “he liked living in the north of Scotland because it reminded him of the England he was born into, when “England was white”. Amber Rudd tells us that the “UK Govt does not want to “incentivise” refugee children to come to Europe”. Suzanne Moore describes David Davis’s behaviour towards Diane Abbott: “The tropes of misogynoir are easy to see: the black woman is always both desirable and undesirable, and reduced to a sexual identity. Currently a Conservative councillor has been suspended for portraying her as an ape wearing lipstick. Alan Pearmain retweeted this completely unacceptable message, adding “Can you tell me what’s wrong with this tweet?” Murdo Fraser is reduced to shouting: “Indyref2? Let me put this as simply as I can: You had your referendum. You lost. Now shut up.” Slavering in anticipation at the very idea of excluding people from democratic participation, the Scotland in Union board member Neil Lovatt declares: “Strange that the nats think that EU nationals will be getting to vote, post Brexit they certainly wont”. And Ruth Davidson talks hysterically of ‘fratricidal conflict’.
There’s a desperation in the air from the right and the far-right as Trump’s regime staggers from farce to crisis. This is the politics of the gutter from a powerful but clueless emboldened right. Angry bitter and directionless they are staggering about drunk on power.
But there’s also a mundanity. Labour are in disarray, launching another F plan, a “a new covenant of nations” they are calling it.
The world is going to hell and Labour launch a botched re-tread of some vague story about ‘federalism’. Clearly they’re toast in Glasgow but if they lose Stoke to Nuttall there will be no hiding place for Corbyn. What’s left of the Labour Party’s response is so pitiful it’s made even people who have tried to back Corbyn even against all the evidence, even against all the obvious media bias, simply give up.
Being tied to Britain means being dragged into all of this.
Talking of the abandonment of the Dubs Amendment and the proxy war against Yemen, the journalist David Pratt wrote:
“In its execution it carried with it the political duplicity and double standards that have become the hallmarks of Prime Minister Theresa May’s Government. This is a government that sells arms to the Saudis who bomb Yemeni civilians but that talks of “British” values and upholding human rights.” If refugee children, often alone and always vulnerable, are not fully deserving of this, then we have no right to speak meaningfully of ‘values’.”
When I put it to Kevin Hague that this descent into the pre-Brexit madness and the collapse of the “Partnership of Equals” narrative would make it more difficult for a Better Together campaign next time he relied: “frankly fuck you telling me that’s not credible”.
There’s a madness in the air. In Mississippi they’re going to reintroduce the firing squad as a means of execution.
Deborah Orr talks of a ‘shameless betrayal of the Brexit low-paid’ concluding that “in this troubled age, nothing much thrives except absurdity.” The danger is that as the lies that were told to deliver power and to prevent change come home to roost, those that were lied to are so desperate and undermined that they turn not to progressive and radical solutions but to the absurdity of UKIP and the Tories and the politics of hate.
This is about a defense of values and a re-articulation of why another Scotland is possible. We need to create a defense against the viral politics of Trumpism, the mayhem of Conservative rule and the degenerate culture of racism and misogyny.
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