2007 - 2022

Chelmsford Blues

There’s a scene in the US version of The Office where Jim says about his co-worker Dwight: “This is the smallest amount of power I’ve ever seen got to someones head”.

I was reminded of it watching Ruth Davidson in maneuvers in Chelsmford this week, backtracking faster than a Chieftain about her thoughts about working with the incoming PM Boris. The latest media operations may have been the prelude to parachuting her into a safe English seat after defeat in Edinburgh Central. Who knows? It was an act of bravado that would normally have been eclipsed by the extraordinary announcement of the delivery of the new UK Government Hub in Edinburgh” by the Secretary of State for Scotland.

The announcement was met with muted silence by most of the media, which is itself testimony to David Mundell’s complete lack of impact and credibility as a politician.

Here, on the face of it, is a potentially threatening constitutional move – a seismic event which has largely passed by below radar with a contemptuous shrug.

In the hands of Rifkind or Michael Forsyth, or even Douglas Alexander, such a move would have been met with protest, incredulity or at least forensic analysis. But given Mundell’s shambolic discredited delivery the arrival of approximately 3000 new civil servants was largely ignored.

But if David and Ruth’s week confirmed them to be diving to previously uncharted depths of public disdain, there were other deliciously stupid opportunities opening up.

I’m not sure why she should be the arbiter of any of this but its noted that it’s noted that in a BBC interview last week, Scotland’s Tory leader said that a mandate for a fresh vote would be secured “if she (Sturgeon) gets another majority in a Holyrood election”.

Under questioning, Davidson helpfully went on to clarify that the definition of majority refers to the number of MSPs elected, not share of the vote (“seats; that’s the way we always do these things”).

Now given Mundell and Davidson’s ability to Say one thing one day and Unsay it the next, this probably doesn’t matter. But combined with the new influx of civil servants and Boris Johnson’s coronation we can conclude that things are coming to a head.

Mundell’s army of functionaries probably has a dual role of managing the power grab and the Brexit chaos, plus a shed-load of “communications” – but its Davidson’s suggestions that will confirm to people the pathway forward: win an indy majority at Holyrood, win an indy majority at Westminster elections and hold and win an independence referendum.


This week we’ve learnt that the Conservatives are considering just ‘electing’ Boris Johnson and dispensing with further votes.

Given that the Conservatives don’t want a general election, don’t a second vote on Brexit, don’t want a Scottish referendum, this isn’t a huge surprise.

In the face of these anti-democratic forces the Yes movement should continue to create a pre-figurative politics where we build institutions, structures and ways of thinking and acting that act as if we were becoming an independent country, because we are. This means acting positively for change – stretching al of the powers under devolution and creating the policies and institutions we will need for the years ahead.

Many groups and projects are doing this already, and the fact that Ruth Davidson feels the need to campaign on the streets of Chelmsford (393 miles away from her constituency) maybe tells us she knows this too.



Comments (12)

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  1. Charles L. Gallagher says:

    Mike, your conclusions are quite chilling but as it would now seem that we are even closer to INDYREF 2 than was previously anticipated that we all sign-up for the ideals and principles of AUOB and direct all our combined efforts into achieving INDEPENDENCE and leave such things and leave extreme political views left or right until they can be presented to the Scottish Electorate at the Election for the first Government of an Independent Scotland.

    1. What are the principles of AUOB?

      1. Charles L. Gallagher says:

        Independence first and foremost – end of story. By all means, discuss future possibilities but let’s not waste our energies on fighting each other and instead concentrate on the yoons.

        1. Fandango Jones says:

          >Independence first and foremost – end of story

          Those aren’t principles

          1. Me Bungo Pony says:

            Maybe not “principles” but it is a “principle”.

            Principle: fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behaviour or for a chain of reasoning.

  2. Wul says:

    In the past they built forts & barracks. Now they build UK government hubs.

    High time the uppity Jocks were put back in their box.

  3. Wul says:

    I actually feel very, very angry indeed about this blatant colonisation and undermining of our capital, our Scottish Government & Parliament.

    Why is it not front page news?

    This is our reward for staying within our precious family of nations. This is what David Cameron meant when he asked Scotland to “stay and lead the UK”.

    1. MBC says:

      That’s my reaction too. Thanks Mike for flagging this up.

  4. Donald McGregor says:

    The photo of the two tories at the top of this article looks just like that scene in the 1st episode of series two of killing eve – Johnson is about to hug and break Davidson’s neck.

    1. jk scobie says:

      How many people would not like to break her neck ?

      1. Me Bungo Pony says:

        Not cool!

  5. david russell says:

    Or has Westminster, with their usual utter lack of foresight/knowledge of the law of unintended consequences, not perhaps done us a favour by assembling a nice new hub for us to help start our independent future with once we get over that hurdle. Civil Sevice, agencies Hub, law, education, church, putative tax powers/collection, investment banks, offices in Brussels, more and more consulates, and all the autonomous or quasi/semi autonomous civic bodies and charities etc etc, all up and running and ready to go/expand. The building blocks are coming together. Or maybe I am in a rose-tinted mood.

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