Don’t Believe the Hype
The media exultation over the Tory revival (Rhapsody in Blue?) has been quite a spectacle.The tabloids have been going into a trance like state of ecstasy whilst Marina Hyde seems to think that because Ruth Davidson is not an Etonian and can simultaneously hold a pint and smile,we’re all in the grip of some sort of outbreak of mass Tory populism. Too early on Friday morning I watched a gleeful Alex Massie interviewed at Pacific Quay saying: “Tory Tory Tory, the Force Awakens”. I’m not sure what that could possibly mean – he was clearly over-excited – but let’s get a few things straight. We are so used to the Scottish Tories being annihilated we are getting very confused.
They didn’t win anything. They have no mandate for anything. They just have avoided obliteration. That’s all. They continue to be irrelevant. All that’s happened is that the constitutional question has exposed naked economic interests and the Labour right has switched hands in despair. A string of photo-ops and a media free pass doesn’t make up a platform for opposition, never mind government.
Bringing these people into the cold light of tv studios will be very revealing and the days when they are patronised and treated with quiet jocular contempt are now over. They will surely confuse Sturgeon with Mugabe and oppose land reform and child protection. In doing so they will be doing us all a favour.
As Nicola Sturgeon said today, the Conservatives: “Didn’t win the election and Ruth Davidson should be careful of overreaching herself.” Further south Billy Bragg chimed: “Triumphant Tories should be careful telling Scots that indy is off the agenda. Best recruiting sergeant the Yes campaign could wish for. Independence is a process, not an event and if Scottish Labour don’t get with that process, they’ll be out for a generation.”
“Triumphant Tories should be careful telling Scots that indy is off the agenda. Best recruiting sergeant the Yes campaign could wish for. Independence is a process, not an event and if Scottish Labour don’t get with that process, they’ll be out for a generation.”
Many in the independence movement should avoid the hysteria and reflect on Bragg’s wise words. The Tory media’s euphoria is just that, nothing else. Media monitors should know that. The referendum dream isn’t in shreds. Middle Scotland hasn’t roared, the Daily Mail has. Independence is a process and putting the Tories centre-stage may be a big help.
There is nothing distinct about Tory Scotland. It is landed and locked and jaded and broken. It is backwards looking and trapped in fear of change, protected by a guard of media acolytes. There are no innovations, no policy difference, no stunning campaign, no brilliant oratory. The simple fact is that Ruth Davidson represents exactly the polices values and ideas we rejected at the last General Election and roundly rejected again on Thursday. All else is spin.
What’s the difference between The Ruth Davidson Party and Westminster on Dungavel? On Trident? On sanctions? On the sort of benefits system that has created the foodbank crisis? On spending billions on new nuclear? On Syria? On tuition fees? On tax? You don’t need to mount a buffalo to know the answer to these or any other questions. Her and her new Scottish cohort are as enthusiastically committed to the austerity agenda as any of their English colleagues. They really are all in it together.
I can understand the glee of Conservatives but neither the indy movement nor the rest of civilised society should indulge in the gloating. As Tommy Sheppard has pointed out, the first time the Tories were wiped off the political map (in 1987) they were on 24% of the vote. This week they were on 22%. So when you get past the spin and the bullshit and the media soft-soaping the reality of what these people stand for, you are left with the simple reality of a discredited rump boosted temporarily by people scared and incapacitated enough to be incapable of considering self-government.
This is not a revival, this is just a sherry at the wake.