“These are my principles. You don’t like them? Well, I have others” (Groucho Marx).
So. Quite the day.
There’s a pattern, long developing, that began with Johnson and has become more obvious under the utterly dreadful Truss. You back a terrible leader, even when the policy she’s asked you to support is obviously, clearly, disastrously immoral and completely indefensible – and deeply unpopular even amongst your own support base. Then, when she inevitably scraps it, throwing you under the bus like the useful idiots that you are, further burn whatever credibility and political capital you have left and sell another part of your rapidly shrinking soul by defending the screeching u-turn of a policy that you’d the previous day supported so much that you demanded that the leader of the Holyrood government of a parliament that we pay for you to sit in despite you being ambivalent at best about its very existence replicate, rather than doing the honourable thing and resigning on a point of principle – a concept you abandoned the moment you entered public life. What even is that? What is the point of you? Why are you here? Aye. We see you.
Tony Benn used to say that people were either signposts or weathervanes. “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows” said Dylan. And he was right. You don’t need to watch the forecast. You just have to watch a Douglas Ross interview. Although to be honest I can think of better ways of lengthening the evening or shortening the winter.
Thank goodness Holyrood held firm.
Because what is the point of devolution if we simply follow the dubious example of the worst Tory government in history? Today has been a good day for Scottish democracy, and a reminder that Scotland needs the full fiscal powers that independence will afford us. But today has also been a reminder that power devolved is power retained, and an exposure of the narrow limits of devolution that only a vote for the normality of self-governance protects and, in short order, expands. What was it Parnell said?
“No man has a right to fix the boundary of the march of a nation. No man has a right to say to his country, ‘thus far thou shalt go and no further’.
Liz Truss, who is apparently still the Prime Minister, today said she’d oppose a second plebiscite on independence even if the Supreme Court voted to permit Scotland to hold one. Think about that. These are uncharted waters.
Well, two things. Firstly, she’ll be gone soon. And, secondly, like Canon Kenyon Wright famously said when asked what we, Scotland, would do if the state said no.
“We are the people”, he said. “And we say yes”.
Stay safe good people. I’ll meet you further on up the road.