The hashtag “Tory Scum” is trending on my feeds as the Conservatives gear up for the imminent £20-a-week cut to universal credit, which will leave millions of people unable to cover basic living costs from food to energy bills.
None of this is new. The pandemic landed on an already broken Britain. As we reported last year there were “deeply concerning figures on destitution in the UK, with around 2.4 million people having experienced destitution in 2019, a 54% increase since 2017.”
Late-stage Anglo-Britain is quite the spectacle. Double-Booker prize-winning author Hilary Mantel tells La Repubblica of the “dark side of Englishness” and that she feels “ashamed” by the UK government’s treatment of migrants and asylum seekers and is intending to become an Irish citizen to “become a European again”. She talks of how Boris Johnson “should not be in public life”. Meanwhilethe toxic brew of coronavius and Brexit continue to mingle and splutter into life and find new forms. Yesterday the the UK government said that polluters can dump risky untreated sewage into rivers as Brexit shortages disrupts water treatment centres.
As a metaphor the fact that Brexit has created a situation where England literally can’t process it’s own shit is unsurpassed.
In other news Prince Charles was up in Scotland to open things and generally dither about. He was seen in public for the first time after his Cash for Honours scandal involving his former valet Michael Fawcett was accused of helping arrange a CBE for the Saudi billionaire donor Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz. Leaked emails suggest Mr Mahfouz, 51, was “promised” an honour after he donated £1.5million to restoration projects of interest to Charles.
The scandal takes a new twist as Open Democracy reveals “Prince Charles’ embattled charity has been bankrolled by major Tory donors, whose names are engraved across its headquarters in Scotland. The Prince’s Foundation’s has been supported by a host of leading Conservative donors, including hedge fund manager Michael Hintze, finance and property tycoon Wafic Said, and David Brownlow, who funded the controversial renovation of Boris Johnson’s Downing Street flat. Transparency campaigners have raised concerns about the the super-rich buying access to the Royal family.”
Sue Hawley, executive director of Spotlight on Corruption, said on the Mahfouz donation: “It is increasingly clear that wealthy businessmen, including from highly corrupt jurisdictions, see making donations to the governing party and the royal family as a way to gain influence and access. It’s gone from feeling like John Major levels of corruption to Nicolae Ceausescu levels of sleaze and patronage. Balmoral-Land Jockland has emerged as a sort of Victoriana royal safe-place.
Now Randy-Andy has bobbed-up again with Fergie in-toe.
Scotland it seems is the go-to place if you want to escape the London press-pack, or avoid being served legal papers on sexual allegations. The Metro reports: “Prince Andrew has flocked to the Queen’s Balmoral estate in an apparent attempt to dodge sexual assault papers by US prosecutors, it’s been claimed. The embattled duke is facing a civil legal claim he sexually abused paedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s former sex slave Virginia Giuffre when she was 17, which he denies. Andrew was pictured in a black Range Rover yesterday with ex-wife Sarah Ferguson making the near 500-mile journey to Scotland from Royal Lodge in Windsor. According to reports, Ms Giuffre’s legal team has made ‘multiple attempts’ to issue court papers on Andrew and his lawyers at Windsor, but his security has turned them away.”
Is this really the best plan?
As Brexitland Britain bifurcates itself along lines of class and nation and between essential and (by definition) ‘non essential’ people, and between subjects and royals the very fabric of ‘Britain’ itself seems to be pulling apart held together only by the tragi-comic umbilical cord of Andrew and Fergie’s ‘500-mile journey to Scotland from Royal Lodge in Windsor ..’.
Meanwhile up here in the Windor’s Safe-Zone the Scottish Tories are doing their very best to curate a new parody of themselves. Here the Conservative MSP Rachael Hamilton – who has been involved in lobbying scandals and who has been linked with two controversial fox hunting groups – the Lauderdale and Duke of Buccleuch hunts – where members have been accused of illegally killing animals – shows the quality of debate the Tories bring to Holyrood:
So fed up of this pish. pic.twitter.com/Np7ivrw53d
— Sarah Mackie (@lumi_1984) September 8, 2021
The reality for poor Mrs Hamilton and her cohorts is that there is an escape-route from this hell-hole and once the pathway is illuminated we can expect a dash for the exits.