By Alec Ross
Unelected PM Alexander Boris De Pfeffel Johnson is standing in the backdrop of the Queensferry Crossing, a bridge he many times derided as a Scottish vanity project and yet is now, as unelected Prime Minister, and de facto ruler of Scotland, and with no discernible sign of shame or palpable sense of irony, is happy to claim the bridge as great example of what can be achieved by this equal and precious union and family of nations. Whatever. Aye. Right.
He then rather undermines that claim by stating that an independent Scotland would be forced to join the Euro (it wouldn’t), claiming that the Scottish NHS is failing (it outperforms the rest of the UK and BJ hasn’t ruled out selling it to the US private sector post Brexit. These guys would sell their grannies) and that Scotland is the highest taxed part of the UK (guess what? It isn’t). But then, this is a feature not just of this election. This isn’t just post-truth. It’s post-shame. It’s the future article I wish I didn’t have to write. But I will.
For now, the unelected leader of the United Kingdom hands over to the never to be elected leader of the second largest party in Scotland.
I imagine North Queensferry went a bit like this:
Jackson Carlaw: “Ok, we’re launching our manifesto and we need a slogan. Something strong that galvanises our core vote. How about this, eh? Scotland said no! Why won’t she listen? We said No and we meant it!”
Rare dissenting voice): “Fine, (temporary) boss, but apart from the worryingly misogynistic vibe of your rhetoric, we fought on this platform in 2015, 2017 and 2019. And we got properly horsed. Every time. I know we oppose independence. I get that, although if I’m honest most of us can’t remember why.”
“But support for an independent Scotland is at 51% and isn’t going to shift. Honestly, they started at 27% in 2013. They actually got to 52% before the Queen, Gordon Brown, the Treasury and the Civil Service intervened. All of whom were neutral apolitical and impartial. And had no skin in the game whatsoever. Obviously. Not at all. In any sense whatsoever. Aye. Right enough”.
“In fact the numbers are probably far worse. I was in Edinburgh last month. These guys are serious. If we don’t have something more positive than “youse had yer vote, get over it”, then we’re truly, royally, f****d. ”
“It’s over. As in, a lot more positive than “we are against Scottish independence and a second EU referendum and continuing the rolling out of the Universal Credit policy that has made the lives of thousands of people in the country where I stand worse but whose people‘s voices don’t matter because when it comes to who decides we own your ass and don’t care about you”.
“We need something better. I need a reason to believe in my party. I get what we’re against. I’m on some pretty unforgiving doorsteps. I need to know what we’re for!”
Jackson Carlaw shakes his head. “We’re for austerity. And universal credit. And against independence. And that’s how I’ll become Scotland’s First Minister. We said no. Why won’t she listen?”
(Silence. Nervous laughter)
Carlaw: “Right. We’ll go with this. No Indyref2. It’s all we’ve got. No more division! Keep calm and carry on! Go back to your constituencies and prepare for government”
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson is looking south “That’s a splendid bridge”, he remarks. “I had a similar idea when I was Mayor of London. If I were Prime Minister I would…..”
At this point the Prime Minister is ushered into a limousine. It heads south over, ironically, the bridge he decried as a vanity project of the valued and equal partner he claimed to love.
The great thing is that the next time a Prime Minister crosses that bridge, he or she will be in a Scotland that looks the same but is fundamentally different.
Because it isn’t about bridges, or the NHS, or the SNP.
It’s not even about about Yes or No.
It’s “who shall speak for Scotland”?
The rest is noise.