GEORGE Orwell might have chuckled at the grotesque irony of Ruth Davidson’s speech to the foundation which bears his name the other night. The man who bequeathed to us the phrase double-think was being honoured by a woman whose party and entire political philosophy has been inspired by it.

In his novel, 1984, Orwell described double-think thus: “To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy …”

Recent enactments by the Tory Government at Westminster are eerily illustrative of Orwell’s words. The Tories insist that there are “complicated reasons” for the sharp increase in UK citizens using food banks. Some have even said that they are a positive example of community action. Theresa May’s election mantra is “strong and stable government”, a phrase which might have leapt straight out of 1984. For, it is being deployed by a government which is seeking a most unstable and damaging Brexit.

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On reaching 10 Downing Street last year May said that she would “make Britain a country that works not for a privileged few, but for every one of us”. Since then she has given massive inheritance tax advantages to the tiny few who possess homes worth more than £600,000 while tightening the screw on the country’s families with a portfolio of penalties, cuts and reprisals. And while all of this happens hundreds of our richest and most powerful individuals and corporations escape paying taxes by burying their shady activities in the ledgers of the Panama financial sector. This is what she believes strength and stability looks like.

How thoughtful of Ruth Davidson to illustrate George Orwell’s prophetic wisdom. Davidson claimed that patriotism was a benign and gentle state which conveyed pride in place, was “worn lightly” and was not imposed on others. Perhaps there was a time in the UK when patriotism was lightly worn and not imposed on others. If so, it was a very short time indeed.

The Tories, more than any other party, have used this word like a wrecking ball throughout its entire existence. Patriotism has been the call to arms that the UK’s governing elite have used to prosecute endless war over three centuries in every corner of the world. Orwell would have appreciated that. He used the phrase “Forever War” to portray the concept of eternal and everlasting conflict where the citizens were duped into fighting vaguely defined enemy states.

The speciality of the UK’s governing elite is to be in a never-ending state of armed belligerence to advance the commercial interests of those whose money is used to maintain their grip on power. The East India trading company was established to do exactly this.

In recent decades their work has lived on in the jackals who sit in the boardrooms of our arms manufacturers, and our biggest construction and pharmaceutical companies. They have all wrought unimaginable riches from fighting unseen enemies in third world countries before profiteering at the expense of the twisted flesh and metal they leave behind.

In the UK patriotism has rarely been gentle and never lightly worn. The endless state of warfare needs endless queues of young men from our most disadvantaged communities to sign up for the cause. So long as these communities are kept down and deprived of all hope and aspiration service in our armed forces will always be an attractive option. The UK’s “Forever War” is thus deployed to make us forget rising unemployment; low wages; insecure work; predatory behaviour by our financial institutions and energy cartels; the creeping privatisation of health and the stigmatisation of illness and vulnerability. In those few short spaces in between all the wars and the fist-shaking we have the Olympics and the National Lottery and Simon Cowell and the fecundity of an indolent royal family. And when all this is in danger of faltering we have mass circulation tabloids driving home the message that it isn’t the greed of the bankers and the tax-avoidance of our corporations and the predations of the arms dealers; it’s the refugees and the immigrants and the asylum-seekers. And you’ll be deemed to be a worthless and unpatriotic dog if you don’t agree.

Scottish nationalism, according to Davidson, is the Mr Hyde to Dr Jekyll’s patriotism. In truth though, it is the reverse. Patriotism is what occurs when nationalism becomes infected. Nationalism, in its purest form seeks only to state that a nation, if left to forage for itself, can be as good as any other. It seeks to reach out to other nations and to encourage them to trade their skills, their people and their produce with us free from tariff and a profiteering middle-man. It seeks to give respite to those who are fleeing persecution and genocide and torture in the hope that one day, and that day will surely come if there is any divine justice, we may have cause to fall on the mercy of others.

Scottish nationalism is by no means perfect and the Scottish National Party is a weak and faltering purveyor of it, but its heart is in the right place. It is a rebuke to the pride and arrogance and sense of entitlement which underpins Brexit. It is the enemy of Theresa May’s crass and potentially catastrophic pandering to the 18th century values of Little England and its unholy empire. It is the standard-bearer of values which once were owned by the Labour Party in Scotland and now no longer.

Such is the abiding, centuries-old nightmare of the ancient elites who determine who gets to thrive and who does not in this country. For, if too many of us began to believe that we were all created equal, their power would crumble into the sea and their unearned riches would be spread more evenly.

Sixty-eight years after 1984 was published the fulfilment of George Orwell’s prophecy finally came to pass in Ruth Davidson’s perverse and false speech in London on Monday night. How blinded was the Orwell Foundation to have accepted this without question and to have failed to understand. How much would George Orwell have despaired at its supine acquiescence.