Revolutionary Conservatism

As Boris Johnson roamed Aberdeenshire like Willie Rennie with testosterone and an expensive education, it dawned on the nation that we had descended into a new phase of high drama and low farce. If we thought that Theresa May was the worst Prime Minister Ever, she has been superseded instantly by an even worse one.

The era of Revolutionary Conservatism is upon us and it is darkly stupid, brutal and disconnected from principles or vision. Welcome to what Fintan O’Toole called “the United Kingdom of Absurdistan”. O’Toole noted: “Brexit is a very strange kind of revolution – the heroic overthrow of imaginary oppression, in which tragedy and farce are not sequential but simultaneous and deeply interwoven.”

Apart from the chaos and the bad-theatre the emerging reality is that Britain is a deeply unstable place. The mythical “checks and balances” don’t exist, the disgraceful state of the media is a real problem for democracy, the sense of privilege and right-to-rule personified by Rees-Mogg’s insouciance lounging is merely a red-flag to the state of the whole miserable project.

Contradictions are everywhere. “The People” are called-upon to usurp their elected representatives, the Labour Party who have been calling for an election now refuse one, ‘the Rebel Alliance’ calculating correctly that Boris and his henchmen need to be hung out to dry for as long as possible. The House of Lords emerges as the peoples champion, as does Phil ET Hammond and Lord Soames. Waiting in the wings are the Brexit Party, momentarily eclipsed by the nuttiness of the Cummings-Johnson Shitshow but eagerly waiting to pounce on any deviance from the No Deal No Surrender Script. Meanwhile, “Please Leave my Town” is trending in Germany as a very polite man asks the Prime Minister to depart. The rejoinder “I will soon” is probably true, whether Johnson likes it or not.

Sovereignty has been reclaimed by hedge-fund owners, dark money and an Etonian cabal, only to abandon parliamentary democracy.

Fascists are on the streets of London, and Glasgow. This isn’t ‘sectarianism’ this is extreme British Nationalism. These aren’t “clashes” they are attacks on peaceful demonstrations by the far-right. Don’t be distracted by the misreporting, don’t be lured by the “ban both sides” line.

It’s getting ugly.

In London “Brexiteers” sing “We’ve got a lamppost just for you” at Remainers outside Westminster tube.

In London they echoed the PM’s line about the “Surrender Bill”, in Glasgow they shout “No Surrender”. This is Better Together 2019-style.

But two things stand out from the dark madness. First, it’s not a game and the economic ruin of No Deal are going to be very harsh and not felt by the top players. Second, love it or hate it, this weird entity called “Britain” voted for Brexit. While the comedy clowns of Johnson’s degenerate government are a theatre of the absurd, you can’t have a referendum and not deliver it.

But ‘not delivering’ is what everybody is up to. It’s an open secret that Boris Johnson is not engaging in any negotiations with Europe at all, and has no intention to. Corbyn’s official opposition has been patchy and incoherent, the Liberals have been opportunist and the SNP have been tentative and awkward. The danger is that a crisis morphs and burns into a state in which the entire political class becomes smeared with the constitutional excrement being generated daily by the Brexit phenomenon.

Boris Johnson has the look of a person slowly becoming aware of his almost complete inadequacy for the role bestowed on him, a half century of extreme privilege coming home to roost, not on him, but on us.

The incredible thing to realise as you survey this scene of wreckage is that people, only a few years ago, tried to describe Britain, its structures, institutions and economy as a source of strength reliability and support. “Stronger Together” was only the slogan of an entire narrative about our “ancient Union”, how it was unique in the world and the font of immeasurable solidarity. Britain was a rock around which poor Scotland must cling. “Pooling and sharing” was just one example of the benign magnificence that shone out of London like a beacon of hope.

In the shattered wreckage of Britain’s political system its clear that the farce was always there, just under the surface.

No-one has reformed our broken institutions, they have been left to fester and rot by politicians and parties that have benefited from their brokeness. The stinking mass of British democracy is exposed to everyone. If its been obvious to lots of people for a very long time that is no consolation prize as we veer towards the possibility of violence and further chaos.

Back to Aberdeenshire.

When Prime Minister Boris Johnson appeared with Alister Jack and Andrew Bowie MP to announce money they’d previously withdrawn to Scottish farmers was now being reinstated – they were togged-out in the inevitable Barbour jackets and farming uniform. Their message wasn’t to a Scottish-wide audience it was to a class that exists Both Sides of the Tweed, as Gaughan used to say.

But amidst the rubble there is hope at hand.

YouGov polls this week showed a huge thumping majority for the SNP at any General Election this autumn, and a mirrored pro-indy majority at Holyrood, dispensing with the need for the Trans-obsessed Bathist Party’s narcissist intervention.

The results – if they played out – would be catastrophic for Richard Leonard’s disastrous leadership – and provide a true legacy of Ruth Davidson’s time at the helm – but more importantly give a renewed and huge mandate for negotiating independence.

There is – as always – opportunity in crisis and we should do well to hold onto the tiller and not change course. We need to avoid being drawn into the madness.

The drama is addictive and compelling but is also deeply toxic, riven with class interest and clandestine operations and propaganda. It will fail in chaos very soon but we must make sure we don’t fail with it.

Comments (34)

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  1. Dougie Blackwood says:

    Unfortunately this is all too true. Many of us have known about the corruption at the heart of Westminster government for some years. The lies told to Scotland about how we were too wee, too poor and too stupid; how the oil revenue was really very little and that it would run out “soon” as it’s riches was squandered on Thatcher’s demolition of Scotland’s industry.

    The bankers the con men and the rest of the financial services gang of thieves have ruled the roost with their paid servants in government for many years. Now the whole farrago is unravelling but the anger in much of England who bought into the xenophobic hatred of Johnnie Foreigner is something that will live with us for many years to come. The far right is on the march and I fear there will be much violence and sorrow before they are put back in their box.

    1. Charles L. Gallagher says:

      Dougie, we have known this for over 312 years.

  2. Josef Ó Luain says:

    Three perfectly legal marches have been harassed and harangued on public thoroughfares in Glasgow in the space of a week by a sizable number of persons unknown. There was one ‘reported arrest. “Thugs” and “riot” were liberally dispensed regarding everyone present by the media. [Simultaneous farce and tragedy] right enough.

  3. Jo says:

    Andrea Loathsome has declared war on Speaker Bercow today in an article she’s written. She claims the Tories will stand a candidate against him in the next election because he’s been “irresponsible” and has “broken rules”.

    1. Charles L. Gallagher says:

      Jo, there are no rules they make them up as they go and call them Conventions, Precedents, etc. They call them ‘Gentleman’s Agreements’ which are fine if you are dealing with true ‘Gentleman’ but at first sign of trouble everything goes out the window and they revert to street brawling. That sadly is our supposed Government today at Wastemonster and has never been so obvious for a written Constitution and Bill of Rights.

  4. Elaine Fraser says:

    Mike,

    You could be right. The SNP might win a General Election without the help of a certain man from Bath.

    But do you think they will have enough time to create the right campaign message to target women , especially those who were soft No’s in 2014?

    What manifesto pledges do you think will most resonate with this important demographic or do you think the baby box was in itself a bit OTT ?

    1. Its not my view – I’m just reporting overwhelming polling this week from numerous different sources.

      I think men and women who were soft Nos are changing their commitment to the Union in droves after the constitutional meltdown we are witnessing.

      1. Elaine Fraser says:

        I visited my MSP on Friday and again raised some issues relating to the erasure of women’s sex -based rights.

        In her view , although she agreed there needed to be a respectful consultation , there just isn’t time for concerns to be addressed before a General Election.

        So from where I’m standing the SNP have a problem.

        1. Its certainly an issue with a lot of fear and confusion (and bad faith). But I’m not sure what electoral impact it has. Who would you vote for to register a protest vote on this issue?

          1. Elaine Fraser says:

            Most women I know feel politically homeless right now.

            What do you mean by ‘bad faith’ ? I have spent the last year reading widely on this subject to hopefully understand different perspectives. I have met with others to discuss and share information . I have listened to speakers from different disciplines . I have attended public meetings requiring hired security. At one meeting held by Edinburgh University , security thankfully prevented an assault on one speaker. Fear yes. I have taken my questions and concerns to all 8 of my MSPs and my MP. I have written to government Ministers. All of whom, with respect, appeared to know less than me on the potential impact on womens rights. Ignorance you bet. This has been a real eye opener. Yet you imply women like me remain confused. What am I missing? What research/books/ audio /data do you have access to that I don’t?

            At its heart its about long-term unequal access to political influence and what some call ‘policy capture’ by a very powerful, wealthy lobby. Can I ask have you looked any of the following websites ?

            forwomen.scot
            Women’splaceUK
            fairplayfor women

            Have they all got it wrong? Is there nothing worth investigation ? Are there no concerns raised that warrant a closer look ? Is the science only clear when it comes to climate change ?

        2. Legerwood says:

          May I suggest that you read the Statement on this issue made to the Scottish Parliament by Shirley Anne Somerville a few weeks ago. You will find it here:
          https://news.gov.scot/speeches-and-briefings/statement-on-gender-recognition

          It is detailed and comprehensive.

          The Bill that was before Parliament has been withdrawn. A new draft Bill will be published later this year and each and every provision in the draft Bill will be consulted upon. The Scottish Government has listened to the concerns expressed and acted to address them. Withdrawing the Bill was the first step. The statement sets out what will happen.

          There seems to be a lot of people unaware of the shelving of the Bill and some who seem to want to keep the pot boiling on the issue because they see it as a means to serve their own agenda.

          1. Elaine Fraser says:

            Legerwood

            I have read the statement by S.A Sommerville . I remain unconvinced . I don’t know or care what you think my agenda is.

            Have a look at the websites I referred to in my reply to Mike.

      2. Dougie Blackwood says:

        I’m one of these people that goes round the doors canvassing for the SNP. Helensburgh is a tough town for us as many people are employed in the mushroom factory along the road (Faslane) and they are terrified by the propaganda that they will immediately lose their jobs.

        In the last few months, however, there has been a sea change. Many of those that were firm unionists are changing their position. Some are saying they will think about voting SNP and independence while others have jumped and made the switch. I’ve canvassed the same streets many times since 2013 and there is no doubt this Tory and Unionist town is moving toward SNP and Independence. A week or so ago I knocked a door in a small affluent estate and when I said why I was there, but before saying anything else, the guy seemed to take a breath and I think in that moment he came over to us.

        1. Interesting – that’s been my impression but anecdotally too. People Ive known who have always been committed to Britain just broken by the insanity of this process…

          1. Tom Phran Thurso says:

            Absolutely agree Mike.

            We should turn our back on the Union of 3 centuries and disregard the achievements of David Hume, Adam Smith, James Watt, Andrew Carnegie etc and give up the Union Dividend of £1,968 per Scottish citizen per annum to create a “fairer society” following in the footsteps of the Gulags,Cultural Revolution and Fife Diet.

            Nicola Good, Westminster Bad
            Nicola Good, Westminster Bad

          2. Ow wow Tom Phran that’s a keeper.

            Where to start?

            I’m not sure how establishing a Scottish democracy disregards James Watt’s inventions? You’ll need to help me out there.

            I do LOVE the Gulag / Fife Diet gag though, thanks for that.

            Can you explain why poor Alba needs the £1,968 handout?! I mean, I’m sure I should be more grateful but why are we so needy?

          3. Graeme Purves says:

            Yesterday, I encountered the opposite phenomenon. Emotional attachment to the UK increased by the current crisis, and this from someone who voted ‘Yes’ in 2014. It’s the ‘clinging to the wreckage’ syndrome. I suspect it’s how many oldies will react.

    2. Wul says:

      I support your position Elaine.

      Women have been forced to make enough concessions to male dominance over the eons. Surrendering their very sex must not be one of them.

  5. John learmonth says:

    For democracy to work you need the losers consent. Unfortunately (and for a variety of reasons) this hasn’t happened with Brexit.
    Lets say at the next (?) indy ref 52% vote for independance but the 48% who lost then claim the majority were lied to/didn’t know what they were voting for/bunch of ignorant working class white trash etc etc and 3 years later Scotland is still part of the UK and Westminster dictates the terms of leaving. Quite rightly there would be outrage.
    I voted remain but we lost….get over it

    1. Its not really like for like though is it? At the 2014 referendum the people advocating change produced a huge detailed programme and discussed it for over a year – people knew exactly what they were voting for. With Brexit they had a poster and a slogan on a bus. Nobody – literally nobody voted for No Deal.

    2. Alistair Taylor says:

      Dear John,
      with all due respect, we are all in this together.
      One world, one planet.
      Take a step back and see the big picture. Y’know; the really big picture.

      Winners and losers; it’s not as simple as that.
      At the moment, I would say that we are all on track to be “losers”.
      We are in great danger of losing the thread of dignity and decency that binds us all together.
      “We are all Jock Tamson’s bairns”, to borrow a phrase from my Father. (Fred, not God).

      Jesus wept, and so did I.

      1. John learmonth says:

        Completely agree with you Dougie which is why in a multi party democracy referendums should have no place. We vote on a plethora of issues and for most people been in the EU was about 6th in their list of priorities but another old etonian decided to make an ‘issue’ out of it.
        If Scotland decides (i hope) to become independant of the UK but remain in the EU (although personally i would choose to join Norway in the EEA) this should be part of an overall election strategy of the SNP (although they should drop the nationlist part) rather than a referendum. England is tearing itself apart and I for one hope that we in Scotland can progress and rationally discuss the issues facing us in a spirit of mutual respect for each others points of view. If not chaos awaits

        1. John learmonth says:

          Sorry Alastair. No offence i hope taken calling you Dougie. Hes further up the thread!

    3. Interpolar says:

      The disaster is not that the Remainers lost, but that the Brexiters believed that 48-52 is a licence to implement the most extreme of all brexits while in fact it was mandate to pass only the mildest version possible. Had this been May’s line, she would have found a consensus and a deal. Instead, the political system is coming apart at the seams. Yes-no referenda are not as digital as you think, as the more experienced Swiss demonstrate – the aftermath of closely fought referenda always seek some kind of inclusion of the losers’ concerns. And this is a lesson that must be heeded by any winners of a closely fought Scottish indyref.

  6. Grouser says:

    Elaine says “Most women I know feel politically homeless right now.”

    I have the opposite opinion. A lot of women I know have deeply held convictions as to the future of Scotland. I know many others who have less strong opinions but are moving towards being convinced that Independence is the only way we can solve our most pressing problems. There are a shrinking number who have not changed their minds since they were girls and echoed the opinions of fathers and husbands.

    I suspect Elaine is speaking for a particular group of women. I have struggled to keep up with the debate but have failed. I have a lot going on in my life (like most people) and I don’t have the time to follow all the twists and turns in the debate. All I can hope is that in an Independent Scotland – a smaller entity than the UK – we can have a civilised and respectful debate and eventually come to a conclusion that would be acceptable to most of the population of Scotland.

    1. Elaine Fraser says:

      Grouser

      Size does not matter , science on the other hand does and so do women.

      There are no twists and turns in the debate. Sex is immutable.

      Have you noticed how questions from gender critical women rarely get answered on Bella? But the site is more than happy to engage with blokes critical of independence. Funny that eh?

  7. De RSF says:

    “but more importantly give a renewed and huge mandate for negotiating independence.”

    How will this mandate be negotiated? The UK government have correctly calculated the SNP and Yes movement are aw mooth and simply ignore any requests for section 30 orders. They will continue to do the same even if SNP win every seat at westminster. What will SNP or Yes then do?

    1. I think thats dependent on how the SNP frame the election and what they put in their manifesto.

      The idea that ‘nothing matters’ – that no outcome has any impact is quite dangerous

  8. Richard Easson says:

    Surely the SNP should be ready with a constitution blueprint and planned scenario for any outcome or ongoing situation, like for instance… now, with the closing down of Westminster for five weeks by prorogation. The government have gone into hiding and are unavailable and no-one is taking advantage of the situation in real time….which is now. Harping on about Indyref2 which is dodgy and could easily be lost especially if Brexit has happened (hard border between Scotland and England anyone?)

    1. MBC says:

      I like that. ‘Gone into hiding’.

  9. Wul says:

    “There is – as always – opportunity in crisis and we should do well to hold onto the tiller and not change course. ”

    So where is the powerful, punchy media campaign that extolls the virtues and potential of Scottish independence? We should be seeing relentless pro-independence (not SNP) adverts on buses, trains, facebook, newspapers and bill boards.

    Harping on about “indyref2” is a total turn-off for many. What we need is a convincing argument for autonomy. It’s an easy argument to make and simple to understand. Here’s some ideas:
    “Let’s be normal”, “Every other country in the world does it”, “toffs’ costume party or modern parliament; take your pick”, “no one ever went back to Britain”, “You’ve got 60% of the UK’s resources and 8% of the population; think you can make a go of it?”, “UK isn’t working”, “How come six bus-loads of people own half your country?”

    What is Yes.Scot doing with all the cash that has been donated? Creating another petition or book of pledges? What the f*ck are we waiting for?

  10. Interpolar says:

    Mike. An excellent article that successfully attempts to provide an abstraction of what is going on. Thank you.

  11. SleepingDog says:

    SEPA has apparently condemned (temporarily) Mossmorran because its owners are not following Best Available Techniques, which seems to be a European idea imposed on the British government:
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/best-available-techniques-environmental-permits
    Why do Best Available Techniques not apply to constitutional arrangements and governance? Surely when so much in our society has been improved and/or modernized there is no excuse for leaving Parliament as a decaying sty designed to serve the interests of feudal landlords?

    An independent Scotland would only be disadvantaged by an unreformed rump UK. It is surely in the majority’s interests to apply Best Available Techniques to make a silk-purse Constitution out of this sow’s rear.

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