2007 - 2021

Beyond Boris

It’s become an instant certainty that a Boris elevation to Number 10 would prove a major boost to the cause of independence. It probably would given that he’s a racist liar with a track record of saying a lot of offensive things about Scots and Scotland.

Exhibit A:



This isn’t just a ‘Boris Gaff’ but a serious proposal and threat. The list of nasty stupid things Boris has said is long, and this is hardly the worst of them, but it would be a complete misjudgement to isolate him and give the others a free run.

Sajid Javid has two heroes: Margaret Thatcher and Ayn Rand.

During his time as Energy Minister, Matt Hancock was criticised for hiring a private jet to fly back from Aberdeen to London after signing a deal on climate change with the President of Mexico. It also been revealed that Hancock had taken donations from Neil Record, a funder of the UK’s leading climate science denial lobby group, the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

Rory Stewart is a posh ex-spook and amateur cairn enthusiast. Roderick James Nugent Stewart OBE MP FRSL FRSGS was educate at the Dragon School in Oxford and Eton College and was the former private tutor to Prince William and Harry.  Many will remember his Auld Aquaintance Cairn which Stewart, hoped would be “a lasting marker of our union, something that future generations will look back at and remember, with deep gratitude, the moment we chose to stay together”. The cairn was celebrated by many distinguished supporters of the Union: the explorer Ranulph Fiennes; the historians Simon Schama, David Starkey, Antony Beevor and Max Hastings; the philosopher AC Grayling; and Joanna Lumley.

I don’t know who Antony Beevor is either.

With a Tory party baying for Remainer / foreigner blood, Stewart is about as likely to win the Conservative leadership as I am, and in a crowded field Rory is probably the least offensive of the gaggle. But he’s not the only one running on an improbable “unity” ticket.

Today the BBC’s political correspondent Iain Watson quotes Michael Gove speaking to the Policy Exchange think-tank on the 21 May arguing that Brexit has strengthened the union. Gove argued that support for Scottish independence was down and support for the Scottish Conservatives was up.

Yes really.

This is simply not true. As Michael Russel points out: “Unsurprisingly this assertion just isn’t true. In fact the Conservatives in Scotland have just had their worst result since 1865 , Ruth Davidson MSP has lost every national election in which she has led the Tories and support for independence is up on 2014 result.”

Gove is running on a “unity ticket” to distinguish himself from Bad BoJo.  But if anyone for a second thought that Gove was less objectionable than Johnson, it’s worth watching and sharing this extraordinary exercise in self-hatred …

“Most Scots in London are in the London Underground begging.”

“A Scot rarely opens his mouth in parliament without simultaneously extending an outstretched palm.”

As Gove tries to self-decontaminate himself whilst also reaching out to the Brexit wing of his party, we should be reminded of these views. The difference between Boris and Gove is negligible.



Comments (24)

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  1. Welsh Sion says:

    Who is Antony Beevor?

    Scotland, know your enemies.


    And as for that Gove clip. Is that not pure and simple racism? Incitement to cause racial hatred? As a non-Scot, I shivered when I saw it. Substitute any other nationality in the ‘Scot slot’ (including my own – often the butt of such ‘jokes’, also) and I’m sure you could call it out for racism.

  2. Stirling says:

    It is worth noting that since then AC Grayling has become a supporter of independence. See Phantom Power Journey To Yes 17.

    1. Aye good point Stirling – I suppose the point I was making was that the people endorsing it didnt reflect the Union he thought he was celebrating.

  3. squigglypen says:

    Oh I like this guy..he’s promoting independence for Scotland. I hope he comes for a visit…he’ll get a warm welcome….
    Still knockneed? Saw you running(?) the other day… I suggest new patellas..especially with us behind chasing you up those steep hills of ours….

  4. Hamish Kirk says:

    Stewart is a bit more than a posh brat. His dad was a higheidyin in MI5 but I recommend to all Stewart;s book on jhis time in Iraq. “Occupational Hazards”. He has actually come out and said UK can fight no more wars like the Iraq conflict.

    We have become so obsessed withn Brexit and Indy that we have forgotten the wars being conducted in the Middle East. E.g. Afghanistan 2001-2019 Anyone who is against that and other imperialist conflicts. Our allies are any who are opposed to those wars. Rory Stewart is one of those

    As for you ignorance of bevvor and hastings…….what can I say ? Read more and watch less TV ?

    1. I know who Max Hastings is!

      I’ll try and read more Hamish : )

    2. Frank Casey says:

      If you read Beevor’s history of the Spanish Civil War you’d have a very clear understanding of his world view. I don’t say that as a recommendation.

  5. Wul says:

    How the hell did I miss the fact, until now, that Gove is Scottish? Wow!

    1. MBC says:

      He once had a Scottish accent! Who knew?

  6. Millsy says:

    ”The between Boris and Gove is negligible .”

    True , Mike – actually Boris IS Gove but with a wig and minus the glasses !

  7. John Monro says:

    There appears to be developing quite a queue to step into Theresa May’s shoes. Rory Stewart may be “posh”, but unless you’re guilty of reverse class bias this shouldn’t be particularly relevant. He passes my test as being a sane, rational, competent and concerned human being. He has a history of accomplishment, including a long walk in Afghanistan. As a long-distance walker myself, that immediately brings him up a notch or two in my estimation. He did initially support the Iraq war, he would have been 30 at the time, so that’s a very big black mark, but considering most of Parliament did support the war, that’s not particularly remarkable in itself. He has subsequently said the war was a “mistake”. Some mistake, 500,000 dead and a country reduced to rubble. At least he’s acknowledged this but to call it a mistake is still to seriously underplay this tragedy and the sheer illegality of this. He’s knowledgable about human rights and speaks Dari and Indonesian, plus a passing knowledge of several other languages. He’s extremely popular in his own constituency and doubled his majority. He appears to have a reasoned attitude to Brexit. He supported and voted remain, but acknowledges the result and is working for a deal for Brexit, and refuses to countenance leaving without one. He supports a paid citizens assembly to help Parliament. His walkabout with selfies made a commentator in the Guardian “cringe”, but he comes across as sincere in wanting to engage. Check how Alexandria Orcasio-Cortez got herself elected, by walking and talking all hours, wearing out numerous pairs of shoes, with as many people in her constituency as she could manage in the usual 24 hours per day we all have – her defeat of the incumbent Democrat was a huge shock and she become the youngest ever member of Congress. Rory Stewart is doing much the same in his own particular way. He has written two very popular and well-reviewed books based on his experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan; contrast with another rather posh Tory whose book was very recently totally slated.

    There’s some good articles about this man, whom I hadn’t even heard of until recently (I’m an expat, living in NZ) now on the internet. I took to him immediately, perhaps because I still have a soft spot for the slightly eccentric upper middle class Englishman, in fact he reminded me a bit of my childhood quondam hero, Richard Hannay. Indeed, an article published in US Spectator opens with a John Buchan quote about another Buchan character, Sandy Arbuthnot. https://spectator.us/the-refreshing-ridiculousness-of-rory-stewart/ Well worth a read. Even his name, Rory Stewart, should surely resonate just a bit with Scotsmen and women, indeed his father was a distinguished Scot. He might live in England, but he’s couldn’t be much closer to Scotland. Rory Stewart’s name is now in the papers and a simple google of his name will find numerous articles, and they’re mostly positive.

    At one time, an outsider like Rory Stewart might actually have had a chance of leadership, as leaders sort of “emerged” from the Tory MPs arguing among themselves – finding a leader who might not have been anyone’s first choice, but avoiding someone who was hated by a fair number. Now though, with the Tory membership having a say, I think it’s almost inevitable that Boris Johnston will get the ticket. I hope I’m wrong for the country’s sake. However, Boris as PM would appal so many that this would actually improve Labour’s chances and make Scottish independence rather more likely. Rory has stated he’d refuse to serve in any Boris led cabinet.

    There’s actually a lot to like with Rory, and I think he’d make a good PM, for a Tory. But of course, he’d be hamstrung by the system, and the powerful right wing base of his party, our economic system and the City of London, and our toxic relationship with the US. .Admirable as he is, he still wouldn’t likely become a reason for most left-wingers to vote Tory as he’d be a nice man leading a nasty rabble.

    1. Wul says:

      He’s probably a top bloke.

      Problem with people from his background is that they tend to see Scotland as a playground; a great place to shoot, fish and walk, meet up with friends. Nice locals, cheap property, beautiful scenery, fresh air etc. ” I adore Scotland” they say.

      But the see it as a possession, a great thing to have in your backyard as you carve a distinguished career based around your London contacts. Do they see it as a real, actual country, belonging to it’s people and not Her Madge or Her Madge’s Government? Not so much.

      Would you like NZ to be owned & run by Australia? They’d give you enough pocket money to run your country (albeit on a shoestring), treat you kindly and let you stand at the back door during dinner parties. You’d never be invited into the dining room though.

    2. “Even his name, Rory Stewart, should surely resonate just a bit with Scotsmen and women, indeed his father was a distinguished Scot.” Er, ok.

    3. Alistair says:

      The Tory faithful (who are generally pro Boris) will only get a say if he is one of the last two standing. My understanding is that it’s the MP’s responsibility to whittle the field down from its second rate fitba squad of wannabes.

      If that’s the case, him being a shoe in should be taken with a pinch of salt.

    4. milgram says:

      ” sane, rational, competent and concerned human being.”
      No, he’s a Tory.

    5. Derek Thomson says:

      He’s a fucking Tory. End of.

  8. florian albert says:

    ‘The difference between Boris and Gove is negligible.’

    This is simply wrong. Gove is a Tory party loyalist and a pragmatist. You can be confident about what he will do if he wins the Tory Party leadership.
    He will try to keep the party united and try and engineer a deal which (just about) keeps the party united and (just about) keeps the promise to leave the EU.
    In short, he will try and do what Theresa May failed to do.
    If Boris were to become Tory leader, it is nearly impossible to envisage what would happen. He has no real party loyalty and no real commitment to leaving the EU.
    This is why so much of the Tory establishment despises him and will do all they can to prevent him becoming leader.
    The best comparison would be with Oswald Mosley. This is not because Boris is a fascist – he is not – but because he is an opportunist and a dilettante. He is a part time politician. He disappears for weeks on end to pursue his private ‘affairs.’ One result of this is that Nigel Farage, who is no mean opportunist himself, has re-emerged as the leader of the Brexiteers.
    Further, in the Commons, Boris has always been seen as a poor performer. His position there would be weak and the only way to try and improve it would be to hold an election. Right now, an election would be a vast risk for either the Tory or Labour Party. More likely to lead to oblivion than success.

  9. Richard Easson says:

    Gove is British (i.e. Scottish) but is Boris not half American? Does he hold a dual passport and can someone thus endowed be a PM in Sovereign Brittania? I realise I might be completely wrong but how do you find out but by asking the finest minds in the country (Scotland) on Bella?

    1. Bill says:

      Yes, according to Wikipedia, Upper East Side New York Is the birthplace of Boris – who claimed that his chances of being Prime Minister were at the same level as Elvis being found on Mars, or of him being reincarnated as an olive. I hope the olive reincarnation comes soon. In fact it is to be hoped that Boris and his chums, Michael, Nigel, and Jacob become so full of themselves that they self immolate to fulfil their narcissistic predilections


  10. SleepingDog says:

    I think you can be a unionist without being a jingoist.

    Anthony Beevor has documented British (and other Allied) war crimes in his history books, and criticized British and USAmerican historians for omitting them (basically covering them up). When we consider the upcoming D-Day celebrations, we might also consider Beevor’s characterization of the British assault on Caen as (almost certainly) one of many war crimes impacting on allied citizens, in his book D-Day: The Battle for Normandy, where he writes (p519):
    “the debate about the overkill of Allied bombing and artillery is bound to continue… It is a sobering thought that 70,000 French civilians were killed by Allied action during the course of the war, a figure which exceeds the total number of British killed by German bombing.”

    And philosopher AC Grayling has tackled the Allied city bombing of World War 2, specifically the British bombing of German cities, on the question of whether it amounts to a moral crime, in Among the Dead Cities. And as others point out, Grayling was capable of changing his mind on unionism with more data and thought.

    A curious impression from watching British movies from the decades immediately following WW2 (on Talking Pictures TV) is how critical (and realistic) they are compared to the often dumbed down heroics of modern WW2 movies (I was never taught about WW2 in school here). The would-be leaders of the Conservative and Unionist Party have an easier job because of it.

  11. Jim Bennett says:

    Hi Mike,
    A wee bit disappointed that you’re not familiar with Antony Beevor. In fact, you probably are aware of him. The much memed “Downfall” film about the last day’s of Hitler was based on his book, Berlin. It’s a cracking read.
    Another great read of his is Stalingrad. Fantastic, forensic description of the human slaughterhouse that turned the second world War.
    Whilst I appreciated his book on the Spanish Civil War, to be honest, his obvious politics did show thrown more in that one.
    He might be an old unionist but his works have mostly been a gift to the public.

    1. Thanks Jim, I was just being honest and trying to be funny (Failed!).

      I genuinely hadn’t heard of him, will look out these books, thanks Jim

      1. Jim says:

        Stalingrad or Berlin are rattling good reads!

  12. Being Stuck In An Abusive Relationship says:

    Keep the faith, my Internet friend, You are a first-class writer and deserve to be heard.

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