Nicola Sturgeon promised the Scottish people she would revisit the question of another independence referendum when the details of a negotiated Brexit were better known, and while the clock is still running on the Article 50 talks the reset button on the final shape Brexit will take has just been pressed. We are now no closer to knowing the probable shape Brexit will take than we were at the end of June 2016. Yet, this isn’t quite bad news for Scotland – certainly not for the independence cause.
Yesterday, at long last, the directors at the BBC caved in to public pressure and called David Duguid – the Scottish Conservative and Unionist MP for Banff & Buchan – onto the show to answer some not-so tough questions. Considering the charges currently being laid against his party; that he and others received potentially illegal donations from a network of political associations set up and used so as to obfuscate the sources of the money, this was a brilliant opportunity for Gary Robertson to grill Mr Duguid and shed some much-needed light on this growing political scandal.
This is the thing with derivative western political culture – something Britain’s Tories have taken to whole new depths; it gets progressively worse and less convincing with each new generation. Gone are the days of a marbled Gaius Octavius Thurinus as Caesar Augustus – vultus bonus, ut me addere – pointing the way ahead for Pax Romana. Now we don’t even have an effete William of Orange on his gee-gee. We have been reduced to this: Middling civil servants accidentally promoted – through the rigours of last man standing – to leadership, poised as though bracing to release excess gas.
Walkers Shortbread has landed itself in a spot of bother over a marketing decision. The family run business thought it would be a good idea to launch a union flag shortbread tin, thinking the Scottish public would see in it nothing more than a Scottish company doing what it takes to make a buck. One would be forgiven for wondering where the heck Jim Walker, the firm’s managing director, has been for the last few years. There is no one in Scotland in 2018 who thinks the flag of the United Kingdom – the “butcher’s apron” – is a politically neutral emblem of national identity and patriotism.
There’s a four day old report on the BBC website that’s refusing to go away. On the 22 February the BBC published a video report covering the cost of recladding a private apartment complex at Glasgow Harbour found to have “similar” cladding to that believed to have accelerated the spread of the fire on Grenfell Tower in June last year. As a result of that tragedy building inspections were carried out on local authority high rises throughout the United Kingdom, finding that of the 173 structures tested in England and Wales 165 were clad with the hazardous material.
Yesterday morning the Scottish Tory list MSP for mid-Scotland and Fife, Murdo Fraser, shared on Twitter an image of an email he had received the previous evening purporting to be from me. “A measured addition to my inbox this morning,” he wrote,” from Jason Michael McCann aka Jeggit…” He went on to ask: “did he write it, or Uncle Rab?” There is no doubt this nasty and abusive email cased Murdo some distress. It certainly caused me some distress. I neither wrote it nor sent it.
Murdo Fraser, like the rest of his smug-faced cronies, is interested to know how many people who voted for the SNP last year will be feeling betrayed today. I think I am in a position to answer that question for them: Precious few. People all over Scotland have turned to the SNP precisely because they are tired with the kleptocracy the Scottish Conservatives in our country represent. Independence has turned out not to be about the “flag waving nationalism” they love to cite, but a boiling desire to make our country the nation Scottish people in growing numbers want it to be.
Those of us critical of the cynical use of the poppy as a recruitment tool and a means of ramping up militaristic British nationalist sentiment have found ourselves under serious fire for daring to question the neutrality of the symbol. With the obvious exception of elected right-wing unionists, people are expected to meekly accept the unassailable truth of the poppy as an emblem of remembrance for everyone who has died in all wars.