Opinions are split on much of the goings on reported in the so-called dirty dossier of Tory MPs' antics published by Guido Fawkes – funny that I’m writing this on the 5 November. Some of it is awful, of course. There is no question that getting “handsy” or being otherwise “inappropriate” with women – especially when one is in a position of power – is disgusting. But how bad is it, really, that the Prime Minister's deputy has been allegedly pleasuring himself to pornographic images online?
Britain is governed, as it always has been, by a political establishment comprised of wealthy and entitled men who see those beneath them – both women and men – as nothing more than meat for their sexual enjoyment. This list gives us an assortment of men in power, including the Foreign and Defence Secretaries, who are invariably “inappropriate” with female and male researches. We read of those who have paid to be filmed being urinated on, impregnating employees, pressuring their victims to have abortions, and generally behaving like drunken barnyard animals.
Britain is no different with regard to its power structure than any other bureaucratic state. Power is not truly in the hands of the people – the demos or the representatives it elects. In the bureaucratic state, which all democracies are, the locus of power is the upper reaches of the state bureaucracy. What makes the United Kingdom different – even from many other constitutional monarchies – is that this bureaucracy of state is thoroughly dominated by the hegemony of a medieval royal estate.
Racism and violence are inseparable because racism itself is violence. It stands to reason then that these people, emboldened by the sharp right turn in British politics and the overt xenophobia of Brexit, see violence and the threat of violence as political instruments. None of this comes as a surprise. We need look no further than Brexit, in fact, for the hardest evidence of this violence. Thomas Mair, the man who hacked Labour MP Jo Cox to death during the EU referendum campaign was a white supremacist and British nationalist.
Internet trolls – especially in the political sphere – have a number of functions. They are a distraction. Trolls will engage activists in petty arguments, and, of course, the activist, taking this as a teaching opportunity, will happily go down the rabbit hole. It’s pointless. No argument will convince them of the merits of independence. They don’t even have a vote. Most likely the person on the other side is in an office in Wolverhampton following the instructions pinned to their blue cubical wall.
Brexit is an existential threat to Scotland. The “wait and see” philosophy of those who would rather wait until the terms are clearer or until we have left the EU and the consequences have hit the tarmac has run its course. We may not know the exact terms of the Brexit deal or the true significance of a British walkout, but it’s all academic. We know exactly where this is heading – and we had better not still have our head on the block when that axe comes down.
When the British media turns its attention to the “nationalists,” nothing can appear worse. Everything the Scottish government – “the SNP government” – has done to make rail travel in Scotland the best performing rail network in the United Kingdom, well that’s a “crisis.” There’s an NHS crisis in Scotland too, an oil crisis, and an employment crisis, and any other flavour of crisis you may care to imagine. Scotland, thanks to the SNP, has become one big crisis.