Street Tories and the Precious

It was difficult at first to put your finger on the strange emotions evoked by seeing senior Conservatives in public in Scotland this week. Revulsion of course, but also shock probably comes closest. We just don’t really see Tory politicians speaking on the streets or appearing in public. George Osborne notoriously flew in and out without questions at a crucial moment in the indyref, the Tories famously met in a secret location to campaign in 2017 and in a garage in Granton.  Ruth Davidson rarely if ever does anything other than set-piece media events.

Sure Rory Stewart’s ‘walkabout’ was confined to the leafier parts of Edinburgh’s New Town, and there is something genuinely funny about the Tory revelation that social media exists, and the traditional media’s gasps of astonishment at the crazy innovation and bravery that such antics represent.  But there’s something odd going on too.

Why are the Tory hopefuls leadership queuing-up to come North and proclaim the glories of the Precious Union?

Perhaps because they want to remind their tiny electorate that Boris would be a disaster for the Preciousness?

Whatever the reason the delivery is darkly comic. Did Jeremy Hunt really not have anyone who could advise him how to pronounce Culloden?


Setting aside the incredible historical ignorance of citing Culloden in his “precious union” speel: the last battle on British soil; the site of war crimes; the trigger for the systemic destruction of Highland culture and language; and the most divisive scar in Scottish psyche, Mr Hunt throws in a (routine) complete misunderstanding of Adam Smith. For a different take see ‘A Defence of Adam Smith, from Chomsky and Kropotkin’.

But its worse than that.

Hunt’s notion that you can bring people together “to maintain, preserve, protect and cherish our precious union” by ignoring the democratic wishes of the Scottish people to remain part of Europe, and by repressing a future referendum on independence is remarkable.

Of course we are not the target audience for these stunts and soundbites, its all aimed at the tiny electorate of the Conservative party membership. But is is cheering to see such desultory ignorance on display.

“Unite to Win.”

Comments (13)

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published.

  1. Welsh Sion says:

    Hunt Stunt … C*nt

  2. Iain Lennox says:


    “Tories famously met in a secret barn location near Aviemore to campaign in 2017”

    Eh !?!?!?!

    If you are referring to the Village Hall in Crathes, it’s nowhere near Aviemore !
    Please feel free to correct me if I’ve missed yet another secret Tory meeting.

    1. Thanks Iain – I couldn’t remember the right spot – have found it now and corrected.

  3. Margaret McNeil says:

    My husband has lots of comments on this article, but I only have three. Is someone out there censoring my internet?
    How can I override this intrusion?
    Margaret u

  4. Margaret McNeil says:

    !Sorry he picked up the comments from the Twitter feed! I’m showing my ignorance of social media!

  5. Daniel Raphael says:

    Amusing and informative piece.

  6. Jan Culik says:

    yes, but spiel is spelled thus. It is really originally from German. Scots, be cosmopolitan!

    1. speel. Verb. (third-person singular simple present speels, present participle speeling, simple past and past participle speeled) (dialect, Scottish and Northern English) To climb. To talk at length, to spiel.

      1. Jack collatin says:

        Amo, amas, am at it.
        Spiel indeed.
        Hunt has the cold dead eyes of a visiting Witch finder General.
        It’s all about to get very ugly indeed.
        The streets of London are under martial law today, and the Mall is bedecked with Stars and Stripes, because the Ruler of the ‘Free World’ has popped in for tea with the Empress Elizabeth.
        Old England, the 51st State, about to be flooded with steroid Texas beef and chickens boiled in Domestos, and Private Health carpetbaggers buying up the profitable bits of the NHS according to Woody Johnson, of the Johnson and Johnson Pharma giant.
        Spiel, speel, sprechen all you may.
        We need action not words now.
        The Bone headed arrogant menacing Iron Heel Oligarchy to the South will send gunboats up the Clyde to suppress the rebellious Scots, rather than allow a plebiscite on Self Detremination. Oh, waqit, they’re already at the Gareloch.
        And this is the Fifth Column threat that Davidson Rennie Leonard, and the utterly ridiculous Thatcher adoring Swinson are declaring.
        No Deal to anything that doesn’t support the continuing subjugation of Scots citizens, the folk who actually put them in office, and whom they are democratically obliged to serve.

        We have run out of patience.
        Not one Unionist politician would dare announce a date and place for a Union rally in advance.
        They know what would happen.
        Time to rise up and hose down the stables, guys.

  7. Alistair Morton says:

    Of course the union is extremely precious and must be preserved at all costs or else the English economy is well and truly f*cked. For the Scots and Scotland, it is not in any way a ‘precious union’. It is a mill wheel around out necks and always has been. It has been precious only to those and such as those who benefited from asset stripping and robbing Scotland of its wealth. The sooner it is ended the better for our precious nation of Scotland. Saor Alba gu brath!

  8. Peter says:

    Very amusing, and I cannot wait to go south and mispronounce ‘Surrey’ and ‘Cannery Wharf’. You are right, it is a pretty tastless reference when he could have chosen Cantrydoune. And what about Scotland’s ‘precious union’ with the EU?

  9. DEREK BRYCE says:

    Next week, Jeremy ‘Cupid’ Stunt calls for a British – Indian relationship that works for the Indian people as good as the Siege of Seringapatam did. This is, after all, the same capering half wit who misidentified his Chinese wife as Japanese … on an official visit to China.

  10. Wul says:

    It’s kind of all there in Jeremy’s little speel isn’t it?

    All the reasons why we need to go our own way.

    The guy invokes a battle at which Scots were slaughtered by English unionists, in order to give us a warm fuzzy feeling about how well we work together ( remember to mis-pronounce our place names, we love that).
    Then, he mis-represents one of our greatest thinkers, co-opting Adam Smith’s work as justification for our austerity society and neo-liberal serfdom.

    Tops it off with a threat by telling us he will “fight” and “do everything” to preserve our union. “Doing everything” doesn’t include sitting down, talking & listening with Scotland’s elected representatives however.

    It’s time to go folks.

Help keep our journalism independent

We don’t take any advertising, we don’t hide behind a pay wall and we don’t keep harassing you for crowd-funding. We’re entirely dependent on our readers to support us.

Subscribe to regular bella in your inbox

Don’t miss a single article. Enter your email address on our subscribe page by clicking the button below. It is completely free and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.