You may have noticed that the Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, has been causing a bit of a stooshie.
In the aftermath of a train wreck of Prime Minister’s Questions which will surely signal the beginning of the end of the Boris Johnson clusterbouroch, Rees-Mogg did a couple of interviews during which he said that the elected leader of the Scottish Conservatives had “always been a bit of a political lightweight”, and that the appointed but wholly unelected Secretary of State for Scotland, Alister Jack, was a “much more substantial” figure. He also dismissed reliable reports that the Conservative block in Holyrood – who you’d think he’d want to keep onside if he wants to keep the United Kingdom intact – had agreed en masse that they wanted the resignation of Boris Johnson.
There was a genuine intake of breath from the BBC presenter Kirsty Wark when he said all this, but I’ll pass on the faux outrage.
Many months back, Rees-Mogg was criticised for his comments during an interview in which he seemed to blame the victims of the Grenfell Tower on their own lack of common sense, but watching the clip anew it wasn’t mis-speak. It wasn’t a “gaffe”. He was simply articulating his argument based on his own worldview. Likewise, yesterday’s comments were if nothing else truthful and revealing, as they revealed what was already in plain sight to the millions who watched the marginalisation of Scotland during Brexit, and arguably for many decades before that – Scotland doesn’t matter. Rees-Mogg did nothing more than give a public airing to a view held privately by not only his clan but by other unionist parties: that Holyrood, like Cardiff, like Stormont – largely exist to give provide the illusion of self-government whilst giving the colonies something to keep them occupied.
And it was interesting, by the way, that in Rees-Mogg’s view, the only Tory that counts as substantial is not the ones democratically appointed by the Scottish Electorate but the one appointed by an English Prime Minister. The rest – the Scottish leader included – are just useful idiots. You almost (but not quite) feel sorry for Ross as at least he seems to put in a shift – which to an entitled dilettante gentleman amateur like Rees-Mogg must seem terribly vulgar. Perhaps “lightweight” is euphemistic Mogg-Speak for “not rich”.
In short, he confirmed, in a heartbeat and without blinking, that the the Scottish branch of the party is not part of the Union and is an utter irrelevance to him, to his Prime Minister, to his party to the United Kingdom. By logical extension therefore, so is Scotland itself.
As a friend of mine commented this morning, his choice of language was deliberate and if it doesn’t leave his party seriously questioning its râison d’être, then they deserve all that will befall them. And befall them it will.
Of course, by articulating a commonly held Conservative Party viewpoint – that Holyrood and its representatives are a nuisance at best and an irrelevance at worst – he makes a compelling case for something that I’ve long believed. For a Conservative Party and its political worldview to gain traction and influence in Scotland, it needs independence. Rees-Mogg has just, in plain terms, shown them that they have next to no influence under the current constitutional settlement. What will their core vote think of a party that chooses to know these limits and try to justify continuing to operate within the narrowest of prisms? Whither a party that is knowingly designed to fail?
The first step for them should be, I think, distancing themselves from the “Big Hoose”, something that’s been floated before, but this doesn’t come without its difficulties.
After everything that’s happened over the last decade or so, it would actually be deliciously ironic if the Tories in Scotland did decide they wanted to be independent from London rule but instead against their will ended up yoked forever to a relationship with a bigger partner with different priorities that considered them too wee, too pure, too stupid – and too lightweight – to be independent.
Welcome to my world, Douglas. It’s one in which at least half of Scotland lives in. Not a great place to be, is it? And what currency would you use?
Rees-Mogg’s strangely honest statement of fact can serve as a timely reminder, from the unlikeliest of sources, that political parties of whatever hue can only express the truest versions of themselves when the democracy they believe in isn’t outsourced to a different country with a markedly divergent worldview. Yesterday made it crystal clear that all our our futures are best served within a normal, independent, wholly accountably Scottish Parliament. It’s coming yet, for a’ that.
Stay safe everybody. I’ll meet you further on up the road.
He is another who thinks of only himself
Jacob-In-The-Fog lives in an entirely different world to that of most of the population.
I genuinely can’t envision who votes for him, as there are few others like him.
I suppose it’s people who look up to him in some strange, feudal, ‘touch your cap, he’s better than us so he can guide us sort of way’. Beats me.
A quote from ‘Why Not Trust The Tories?’ by Aneurin Bevan
“That is why no amount of cajolery, and no attempts at ethical or social seduction, can eradicate from my heart a deep burning hatred for the Tory Party that inflicted those bitter experiences on me. So far as I am concerned they are lower than vermin. They condemned millions of first-class people to semi-starvation. Now the Tories are pouring out money in propaganda of all sorts and are hoping by this organised sustained mass suggestion to eradicate from our minds all memory of what we went through. But, I warn you young men and women, do not listen to what they are saying now. Do not listen to the seductions of Lord Woolton. He is a very good salesman. If you are selling shoddy stuff you have to be a good salesman. But I warn you they have not changed, or if they have they are slightly worse than they were.”
Alister Jack? I have trouble remembering names, so I use word association – for him, it’s The Posh Plank – for some reason, it works.
While I am in total accord that for two decades have proved that Scotland that the peoples of Scotland haven’t and don’t matter to WM and in particular to this Tory government and ilk of Moggs, Jack and Johnson…that its aspiration and voice over the EU, Trident, and many other things are simply discounted …it would be a mistake for us to imagine that they will not fight tooth and nail, as dirty as can be, to keep Scotland in the Union. They will. Not because of the people but because of the resouces, water, wind, waves…fishing grounds, agriculture, and still the oil and gas….to keep their border against Europe….and to have an acceptable, to them, place to keep their nuclear weapons and perhaps to store nuclear waste, The only way they would happily let Scotland leave is if they first secured secured their access to those resouces. It has never been that Scotland is too wee and too poor to be independent to WM…No the small population to them is a boon to their Union…too wee for Scottish votes to matter…too many resources and innovation to lose control of for their massive population….So it is ever important not to lose sight of Scotland’s importance to them given that they actually produce so little per head compared to Scotland. And that is why they will seek now to emasculate devolution and why we must go sooner than later and win a referendum solidly and any snap General election broadly as well…in Scotland at least. We must not give them any more rope with which to tie us up.
How true. It’s up to every single one of us … who believes in democracy and justice, who dearly loves this county we are fortunate enough to live in and who believes in the restoration of Scotland’s Independence … to brace ourselves for the onslaught of continuing propaganda we will face
and, with steely determination, do everything we can … individually and collectively … to right the wrong carried out some 314 years ago and bring about the reinstatement of Scotland’s Independence as a Nation state. We must never again allow our country to be dominated by another.