IT’S as regular and predictable as night following day, or Ruth Davidson following a tank in search of a photo op.
An opinion poll shows a surge in support for independence, and all of a sudden a senior Unionist politician pops up to tell Scotland that all sorts of lovely shiny beads and poxy blankets could possibly be granted to us if only we vote to remain a part of Theresa May’s glorious Empire 2.0.
Within hours of the publication of the STV poll showing support for independence at 50 per cent and the direction of movement in our favour – and that’s before the indy movement has really got going again – along comes Brexit Minister David Davis dropping hints that aspects of immigration policy could possibly maybe potentially perhaps be devolved to Scotland after all.
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Lots of things could possibly maybe potentially perhaps happen. But even if the Unionists plaster it on the side of a bus it’s still likely to be a lie. There’s a world of difference between possibility and probability.
Given that there may well be an infinite series of universes parallel to our own, absolutely anything that you can think of is possible, but that doesn’t mean it’s probable that it’s going to happen in our universe. It’s possible that somewhere there’s a universe in which Jim Murphy finished his university degree and went on to marry an egg. Although, having said that, there is no universe anywhere in the multiverse in which Ruth Davidson doesn’t obsessively bang on about an independence referendum while accusing the SNP of being obsessed.
David Davis’s suggestion of a hint that possibly maybe perhaps there could be another look at a distinctive immigration policy for Scotland falls into the same range of probabilities as Ruth Davidson getting through an entire speech without mentioning an independence referendum. It’s not going to happen.
The only reason the Tories came out with this is because they are looking at the polls and realising their intransigence and pig-headed obstinate refusal to consider the needs of Scotland in Brexit are not working. You can smell the panic. They’re bricking it so much that pretty soon they’ll have enough to build a big wall to keep the foreigners out. If this is what is happening to the Unionist cause right now, before the independence movement has really got into gear, the end of the Union is not far away.
Davie is the man on the other end of the Brexit hotline that Theresa May set up for the devolved governments. But he’s never there to answer the phone, and when Nicola Sturgeon does finally get through, on the other end of the line there’s someone asking to take her order for a Chinese takeaway. And they’ll be deported after Brexit.
What Davie actually said was that the UK Government’s post-Brexit immigration policy would reflect the needs of every part of the UK. That’s a long way short of Scotland getting control of immigration policy, which is how Davie’s words were being spun by Unionist-leaning newspapers. In fact the UK Government quickly moved to slap down any prospect of Scotland having an immigration policy that is different from that of the rest of the UK, claiming that it’s incompatible with a single state.
That doesn’t appear to prevent Canadian provinces from having their own immigration policies, but let’s not let facts get in the way of a UK knee jerk. Or, indeed, death rattle. What Davie said was a long way short of a vow, and we all know that Westminster’s vows are worthless.
When there’s an opinion poll that appears to show the Union is headed the same way as the Conservative Party’s reputation as a caring, sharing organisation that looks after the poor and the low paid, it’s always immediately followed by some vague and unspecified promise that Scotland will be rewarded in some equally vague and unspecified way.
After a disastrous few weeks during which Theresa May refused to countenance special deals for Scotland; a Scottish Tory conference which had fewer attendees than a kebab shop and where delegates held a fringe meeting to discuss the abolition of the Scottish Parliament; and Theresa herself announced that post-Brexit she will unilaterally rip up the devolution settlement, support for the Union is ebbing away. All it promises is uncertainty, doubt and financial and employment insecurity.
The strongest argument that the Better Together campaign had during the first independence referendum campaign was the appeal to voters not to risk the uncertainty of independence for the security and stability of the UK. They’ve now blown that argument out of the water all by themselves. There is no security and stability in remaining in the UK, all there is is the uncertainty of Brexit and the prospect of an impoverished and isolated future with a pound that’s plummeting faster than Wile E. Coyote off a cliff.
Right now the Unionist parties are panicking, but you can’t sustain a campaign on panic. Once the independence movement gets into gear, once an independence referendum is definite, the Unionist campaign is facing collapse.
They’ve got nothing left to offer, nothing but fear, scare stories, threats and vague promises that they don’t have the slightest intention of keeping. Scotland will become independent, and it will become independent because of the actions and inactions of the Unionist parties themselves. Hell slap it intae them, as your mammy would doubtless say.