So, Scotland finds itself in a sort of HMP Britain with the Tories as the Governor. A bad version of Porridge then, with more than the odd frothing at the mouth Scottish Officer Mackay doing the Unionist dirty work by telling the prisoners what a useless lot they are.
The prisoner recently made an appeal to have the sentence reduced, but as can happen, the Judges laid down their verdict and used their discretion to increase the sentence. How long will Scotland languish is anyone’s guess, the jailor knows the worth of keeping this prisoner locked up securely without access to their worldly goods, other than in the form of a type of incentive policy framework whereby the cash is transferred and controlled through the prison setup. Well, we can’t have prisoners spending their own money however they like can we. Who knows what they might spend it on. They may well use it to offset the Conservative’s age of austerity, covid, and Brexit policies. Improving the lives of those who need it most whilst deepening and widening access to health, leisure, and cultural capital. That’s what the prisoner professes to wish to do with the freedom of independence is it not?
As it stands, the prisoner is further condemned to a continuing restriction of liberty order. A veritable electronic tag placed around the nation’s ankle, forbidding – for example – freedom of movement in the European Union. The restrictions in place are numerous. No right to decide if the prisoner wishes to house nuclear bombs, no say in any involvement in war on foreign shores, no right to decide on who comes and goes and how they are treated should they manage to reach the prison shore. Big issues then. Though, maybe some of the prisoners aren’t that fussed about such stuff. It is what it is and is as it always has been. Some might say.
Yet, the restrictions are not reserved only for such issues as defense and immigration. No, there are restrictions that decide how a person lives down to the very last penny in their pocket (literally). A punitive benefits system that sees some so downtrodden they cannot continue, and only the efforts of charity keep them alive. Tax decisions made to bail out bankers and offset the damage done by the incompetence of the prison committee (see Tories), so that the wiggle room in the prison pay-packet shrinks to sardine tin proportions for great numbers of people. The exploitation of resources that has seen the very wind that birls freely around the land sold without any benefit to those forced to pay for the greed running through the energy sector. The prisoner freezes in a cell where warmth could be abundant.
It doesn’t end there. Not only is the prison analogy apt for the situation, but there is also the constant drip, dripping of the ‘too wee, too poor, not good enough’ mantra from the prison run media, a form of Chinese torture (apparently originating in Spain) for the mind. So, that those who know the other argument, the one where Scotland has the potential to be a relatively wealthy country with all the possibilities that control over their own affairs could bring, must suffer the continual and seemingly unending diatribe. I mean, even the dictator Franco permitted the Catalans to go and watch their football team so they could ‘let off steam’ by roaring their disapproval at him from the safety of the crowd. In Scotland, ye cannae even watch yer ain football team play on the international stage. A joke comparison but you’ll get what I mean. That a public broadcaster that shamelessly calls itself BBC Scotland fails to show the national team’s matches is something that is unheard of in any other country I know of. And that’s not to mention the omission of the prisoners grievances in their output. The prisoner’s association is always messing up life for the prisoners r so the stories go.
What to do then. Well, it seems that there will be a chance for a further appeal at the UK general election in 2024. If – as has been stated – those up for the appeal decide to campaign solely on the single issue of a right to decide, then a majority would immediately challenge the Governor to respond. It is now up to the broad spectrum of supporters for such an outcome to work towards making sure that the majority is as high as possible. This would either see the release date set or -as is possible – the Governor may well decide on an indeterminate sentence with the parole board being the very same group as those who want the prisoner jailed. A catch-22 situation with Scotland stuck between a supreme court and a Unionist party. Now is never the time and time is all you will serve in a place where good behaviour will do you no good at all.
If the Governors do decide to keep the negotiating table firmly locked up following a majority, then what would be the way forward? Some argue for a prison break, that it needs that tipping point of prisoners rising up to demand their freedom. A concerted and sustained civic movement that includes everyone who wishes the right to decide. Public pressure in the form of a refusal to participate in prison life until demands are met. I don’t know if Scotland has the appetite for that. I hope it never comes to that. Even prisons have rules, and the rules of democracy state that a majority has the right to decide. I say let’s stick to the rules and make sure the upcoming appeal in 2024 is heard loud and clear so that even the hardest of hearing and unsympathetic parole board must come to the decision to offer the chance to walk out those gates and take our chances in a world where decision will dictate how successful Scotland could rehabilitate itself following so many consecutive life sentences. To paraphrase a well-known lyric to sum up how I’ll feel when the election flyers are delivered. I got a letter (political flyer) from the government the other day, it said they were suckers, they want me for the Union or whatever, picture me giving a damn I said never.