What’s your take on the Tory conference? — Joan, Glasgow

‘WE’RE leaving a union as a union, and if you think about leaving this union, it’ll hurt the Union, because unions are good ... except that one” seemed to be the nonsensical message of the Tory conference.

Most of the speakers lambasted the arguments for Scotland leaving the UK, whilst championing a hard Brexit for Britain leaving the EU. This hypocritical line was underscored by two people dressed in Union Jack suits (right), obliviously nodding along to a speech about the “dangers of nationalism”.

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Of course, not all Tories are out of touch. Ruth Davidson is down with the kids. The kids just happen to be 50+ pensioners. Her target audience is so old, they probably remember when the Dead Sea was just sick. As such, Ruth’s conference speech was a nostalgic battle cry for Britain. Cause, y’know, nationalism is fine when she does it? However, that’s not to say that she didn’t bring something new to the table.

Her latest fictional narrative is that Scotland voted for the SNP to govern within the Union. Of course, in reality, Scots voted for a pro-independence party to, shockingly, get independence. Clearly, the Tories prefer telling Scots why they voted for the SNP instead of listening to the people. Nothing made this clearer than them projecting the words “No to a Second Referendum” to a near empty hall during their conference. It was like their relationship with Scotland in microcosm.

As we know, Scottish Tories don’t discuss their policies, because they’re scared people will realise they’re just as awful as the English ones. Indeed, Ruth Davidson’s speech was so light on governmental ideas that she had to try to take credit for the anti-Named Person campaign last year. This was pitiful when you consider that her party didn’t even vote against the legislation in parliament. Ruth capped off these embarrassing ramblings by claiming that “Conservatives no longer hide in Glasgow, they win in Glasgow”. This made little sense as Ruth recently left the Glasgow constituency to stand in Edinburgh.

Tories might accuse Nicola Sturgeon of “playing games with people’s lives in pursuit of independence”, but this is laughable when it comes from a party who won’t even guarantee the protection of EU citizens in the pursuit of Brexit.

More concerningly, however, Tory Brexiters are now discussing if Holyrood could be abolished altogether. To on-the-fence voters, I say this: independence carries certain risks, but none as dangerous as Scotland’s powers being reverted to Westminster post-Brexit.


May the force desert them

EU or a return to the British Empire? — James, Dundee

IF there’s one sequel that the world doesn’t need, it’s a follow-up to the British Empire.

That hasn’t stopped Whitehall officials from using the term “Empire 2.0” to describe their plans to boost trade links with Commonwealth nations. Unsurprisingly, the word Empire is unlikely to endear Nigerians, Ghanaians and Zimbabweans to trade plans.

Moreover, there’s a double standard in Brexiters claiming to feel suffocated inside the EU, while thinking they have the right to form their own domineering realm. Is subservience something that is “wrong” for Englishmen to feel, but fine for them to inflict on other countries? Most Leave-minded Conservatives would happily stay in the EU, if the UK was running it, and it was referred to as an empire.

It shocks me that the children of the generation that defeated the Nazis are now talking about a sequel to a world conquest exercise. The lack of self-awareness is extraordinary.

Perhaps this is a byproduct of old age? Statistically, most of the people who think Empire 2.0 is a good idea will be dead in 20 years. Let’s hope their delusions of global power die with them. After all, Darth Vader was pretty proud of his empire too, wasn’t he? Thankfully, the youth of the planet seem to be in favour of intelligent things like Scotland’s vision for independence within the EU.

The EU is not without its faults, but it’s certainly better than living in the shadow of British colonialism.

Trolls are a problem no matter their opinion

What are your views on bigoted trolls within the Yes community? — Pam, Aberdeen

AS much as there are foul comments uttered by some on the Unionist side, our own house isn’t free of problems. In the past, I’ve called out both nationalist and Unionist bigots – if you’re only calling out one and not the other, you’re merely exploiting prejudice for your own gain.

I’d rather people condemned intolerance on all sides than deploy “your team’s more racist than ours”. It’s not helpful when some Yes supporters condone abuse on social media because they see those behind the behaviour as “useful” to the side.

For example, I do not think abhorrent statements should be overlooked simply because an individual happens to produce an SNP-centric blog.

“It’s fine to be abusive if you harvest content that benefits me” is not a healthy attitude to have. If you’re disregarding abusive tweets from fellow nationalists to try to protect “the movement”, you are part of the problem.