I detect a decidedly dismissive tone in reports of and comments on Douglas Ross’s ‘big speech’ to the wee bit of the British Conservative & Unionist Party (BCUP) to which he was permitted access. Which is understandable. Ross would require a miraculous makeover just to make the grade as a nonentity. There are many ways in which a person can be small. Douglas Ross seems intent on exploring all of them. To paraphrase William Shakespeare, nothing in Douglas Ross’s political life might become him so much as the leaving it.
While emulating his Tory bosses and affording the man neither respect nor attention, however, we should heed what he says. Not, I hasten to explain, for any intrinsic worth that his words might possess. We should note what Ross says solely because he can usually be relied on to reflect the thinking of those whose thinking might matter. Being devoid of any ideas of his own or even a considered personal perspective, he can do no other than parrott what has filtered down to him through multiple layers of aides, assistants, apparatchiks and lackeys. He won’t be entrusted with any confidential material, of course. He’s far to low on the Tory party totem-pole for that. But he likely to be privy to the general mood of those who rule over us courtesy of voters in another country.
When he says “I’ve got no problem with bypassing the Scottish Government” we would do well to take note. He’s only saying he’s got no problem with bypassing the Scottish Government because he has been made aware that those several tiers over him have no problem with bypassing the Scottish Government. He can’t be referring to himself bypassing the Scottish Government. Those decisions are way above his pay-grade. He is saying only what he’s allowed or instructed to say. Or what he supposes will please Boris Johnson should he ever get to hear of it.
Ross has also been equipped with the spin to put on this bypassing of the Scottish Government – actually bypassing the democratically elected Scottish Parliament – in the obviously forlorn hope of disguising the contempt of Parliament and democracy itself. As ever, we are expected to believe that the British state’s intentions towards Scotland are benign and even beneficent. Whatever they do, it’s for our own good. So if they cut a few corners we really shouldn’t complain. Even if it’s entirely contrary to our democratically expressed wishes, we’d be ungracious not to suck it up and stay silent.
None of this is new. The goodwill of the British state is a pretence as old as the Union. What is notable in Douglas Ross’s barely coherent ramblings, however, is a ramping up of efforts to portray the Scottish Government as the enemy of Scotland’s people. Whatever misfortune may befall us, it is the fault of the devolved administration. The British state is only stepping in because we need to be rescued from the functioning of our democracy.
Ross informs us that Michael Gove and others in government are “very keen” to ensure any money that goes from the UK to Scotland is “fully audited so we know exactly where it’s spent”. Which is clearly meant to imply that the small part of Scotland’s revenue which is returned to us having been purloined by the British exchequer is not presently “fully audited”. The irony of a British Tory insinuating malfeasance by others will not be lost on many in Scotland. Ross continues,
And if that money as we believe is not getting where it’s most needed then we need answers to that, and ensure that the money gets directly to the places who need it and will utilise it to the best ability, and that’s why I always think the SNP are crying foul here to say that the shared prosperity fund or some of these new funds shouldn’t go directly to council’s.
I’ve got no problem with bypassing the Scottish Government if that money is going directly into local communities who have been asking for years for funding from the Scottish Government and have been ignored.
Scotland has two government’s and the UK government is one that wants to invest directly in local areas.Douglas Ross tells Tory conference he has ‘no problem’ bypassing Scottish Government
Part of the purpose here is to provide the British media and British Nationalists in general with a plausible justification for the evident contempt for the Scottish Parliament and blatant attempt to undermine the devolution settlement. It doesn’t have to be a credible excuse for being complicit in what cannot honestly be characterised as anything other than anti-democratic and anti-Scottish. It’s just something for them to say as they cheer on the dismantling of Scotland’s democratic institutions and obliteration of our identity as a nation. If the story had to be convincing they wouldn’t have chosen Douglas Ross to tell it.
The main purpose, however, is the eradication of Scotland’s distinctive political culture. This too is hardly new. It was predicted as a consequence of a No vote in 2014 and began within hours of the result of that referendum being known. What may be indicated by Ross’s words is a greater explicitness and a tone which fair reeks of a seething hatred for the Scottish Parliament. Or rather, for the distinctiveness which it represents. The trouble with the Scottish Parliament is that it’s just not British. Ross is quite open about the british state’s intention to rectify this. With devolution and the regrettable tendency of the Scottish electorate to elect MSPs from Scottish (non-British) parties the grip on Scotland afforded England-as-britain by the Union has been loosened. That grip must be restored. The wishes of Scotland’s people are not a consideration.
One might reasonably expect that the Scottish Government would respond to this malign with well-justified anger. By which I don’t mean the over-rehearsed outrage which we get from Ian Blackford. I mean genuine anger – accompanied by action to counter this assault on our democracy by an increasingly foreign power. What we get is SNP MSP Neil Gray’s limp flapping at Ross and his bosses with a damp hankkie. To describe this response as pathetic is to lend it a force that is entirely unwarranted. As a response to what is being done to Scotland the response of the Scottish Government is pitifully ineffectual. It is grotesquely inadequate. It’s all tired puff and bluster with absolutely no action taken.
The British political elite is embarked on a project to eradicate all that is non-British and fully, irrevocably incorporate Scotland into the ‘Great Britain’ imagined by Boris Johnson. and our own Scottish Government is doing nothing to defend us against this British Nationalist onslaught. It is as incredible as it is intolerable that this British Nationalist project should have been permitted to progress as far as it has. There has been no effective resistance from our elected representatives and popular resistance is so fragmented by factionalism and atrophied by inaction that it barely registers.
The British political elite to which Douglas Ross is a sad pretender is emboldened by the pusillanimous procrastinations and timorous pandering of the Scottish Government as well as the resounding absence of large-scale public protest. Ross himself is promoted to harbinger of Scotland’s doom – doubtless the most significant status he will ever achieve. The Union empowers the British ruling elite to do as it pleases with Scotland. What pleases the servants of that elite right now is that a final solution be implemented for the ‘Scottish problem’. The longer we fails to properly resist this attack the more difficult it will be tu turn back the tide of British nationalism
threatening PROMISING to sweep away forever the Scotland that we know along with all hope of the Scotland to which we aspire.
I want to know what Nicola Sturgeon intends to do about this.
What is she prepared to do?
What are you prepared to do?