A saying that is derived from ‘To a Mouse’, one of the many splendid poems written by Scotland’s legendary National Bard Robert Burns. Although he put it better:
“The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley.”
I have next to nothing in common with Tory Prime Minister Theresa May but this evening both of us will have reached for those words from ‘oor Rabbie’ to explain our situations.
I had planned to pen a column about the economic ineptitude and political theft and vandalism displayed by successive governments’ privatisation programmes which have diminished the UK’s wealth and reduced service provision to millions.
Theresa May hoped to have a short meeting with her Cabinet colleagues over some stiff brandies and caviar coated salmon canapes and hors d’oeuvres while securing their support for her 500 page Brexit deal.
I have postponed my public ownership versus privatisation column while Mrs May’s Cabinet sojourn turned into a marathon session with much gnashing of teeth and wailing protests. Both examples of the best laid plans going ‘awry’.
I watched Channel 4 News live last night as May emerged meekly from No 10 to address the nation via the lone microphone that had become very sad as it had been left alone for hours. Her body language exposed her predicament as eloquently as her words. Alone, unsure and drained with a strained expression even worse than her default one Mrs May then sought to reassure everyone that her Cabinet was united behind her deal. She was as convincing as Donald Trump explaining he has nothing to fear from his tax returns being exposed.
I have said it since the June General Election failure of last year and I believe it to be truer than ever today. Mrs Theresa May is a political corpse. She may formally be in charge but she is not in power. She is a Prime Minister on borrowed time and whatever else emerges from the political shenanigans in the Houses of Parliament over the next few days and weeks I believe Mrs May is finished. She will be dumped by her ruthless party of spivs, charlatans and landed gentry.
I don’t have an iota of sympathy for her. She herself has displayed the cold, cruel and callous characteristics required to succeed within and lead the Conservative Party but her tactical blunder in calling a General Election when she didn’t have to backfired spectacularly as she listened too intently to the comfortable advisors and rich polling friends who predicted a Corbyn led Labour party would dive at the polls.
On the contrary, and defying all the arrogant out of touch pundits, Corbyn recorded a 10% swing towards him, the biggest since 1945. Not in Scotland mind you. There the swing was derisory at less than 3%.
Mrs May was fatally wounded in terms of authority and had to enter into a grubby £2 billion deal with the reactionary bigots in the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in the North of Ireland to try and shore up a governing majority in Parliament. In almost 50% of crucial votes in the Commons since then she has had to rely on that grubby deal to survive. Now the whole sordid arrangement is about to unravel.
I hate to be fair to Mrs May but she would have had a better chance of nailing raindrops to the wall than uniting her Tory Party and the DUP around a deal always bound to be weighted in favour of the EU and its institutions and traditions. Let’s face it the UK voted to leave an organisation of 27 other countries. If the exit package was anything other than complex, painful and costly other malcontent members would be encouraged to travel the same path.
The Tories are riven with division on the question. Some have illusions of grandeur that hark back to the old days when Britain controlled two thirds of the planet through its brutal and bloody Empire. Plundering and pillaging the natural resources and wealth of other countries and continents allowed it to ‘rule the waves’. Those days are gone. Britain is no longer the superpower it once was and its main influence on the world stage is reduced to the status of America’s poodle, the unofficial 51st State of America. From Bulldog to Poodle aptly illustrates Britain’s declining influence and importance on the world stage.
Bumbling bumpkins like Rees Mogg and Buffoon Johnson pretend to care about ordinary people. The truth is they don’t give a damn. They see an opportunity to enhance their own considerable personal wealth in an isolated Britain free to lower wage rates and employment protection even further without the troublesome regulations and treaties of the EU. The reality is the EU is a big business friendly institution tied to and promoting the free market and privatisation at every turn but the level playing field of sorts is restrictive to the millionaire Tories who want to drive living standards and workers’ rights further down and back to the 19th century.
Other Tories more wedded to finance capital see the EU as an important gateway to lucrative markets and fear the loss of influence outside the club. Those contradictory views within the Tory party are irreconcilable. May’s chances of herding these cats within her own party in the one direction are as high as mine are of waking up today with a full head of hair. They are non-existent.
She will be replaced within the coming weeks and months. Already letters to the Tory 1922 Committee seeking a no-confidence vote in her are mounting up, apparently the requisite 48 letters have been sent. The DUP are adamant they won’t back her deal. Labour won’t back it. The Liberals won’t back it. And enough Tories won’t back it to make the deal and her Prime Ministerial post dead in the water.
The massive question for me is what the SNP now choose to do? The whole Brexit fiasco sums up entirely why we as a nation have to get out of the abusive union and establish our own solutions and path to growth and prosperity for all.
England voted Brexit. They are getting it. Wales voted Brexit. They will get it. The North of Ireland voted Remain. They are getting special treatment. Gibraltar voted Remain. They are getting special treatment. Scotland voted Remain more decisively than either the North of Ireland or Gibraltar and we are getting nothing. Treated with disdain and contempt throughout the whole process.
Our First Minister is due to make a statement at 2.30pm today. That statement has to be clear and concise. The mandate for IndyRef2 has to be triggered. We cannot stick around in this abusive British union any longer. Our destiny awaits us but first we have to secure our independence and become a normal nation once again.
The UK is due to check out of the European Union on Friday 29th March 2019. Our independence referendum should be set for Thursday 28th March. Their Brexit from the EU should signal our Exit from Britain the union.
The only other acceptable scenario in this fluid and high stakes situation is an early General Election. Given the Fixed Parliament Act such an election could only be held if two thirds of the Parliament votes to hold it. That is a high threshold and many selfish Tories may resist it for fear of losing their seats. It is not however an outlandish development. It could take place in February next year, or sooner, with the winner free to deliver a different Brexit deal or decide to put the whole issue back to the people with the reversal of Brexit on the ballot paper.
If a new General Election does transpire, my preferred option as I want Corbyn to win enough seats in England to form at least a minority Government, then the SNP must step up to the plate and declare a vote for them is a vote for independence. Thus when they secure the majority of the Westminster seats in Scotland for a 3rd time in a row it will be a sufficient democratic basis to call UDI, a Unilateral Declaration of Independence.
So either way via a new referendum or an open commitment to UDI the SNP must be bold and brave today and in the coming months. Scotland is crying out for a new start. A country wedded to communitarian values, public ownership of health, land, energy, water and eventually oil. With a national bank able to fund ambitious and necessary public works programmes to improve access to housing, health care and education.
Independence in and of itself will change nothing other than giving us the power and tools to change everything.
I will celebrate the demise of Prime Minister May. She has proved herself to be every bit as cold, cruel and callous as Thatcher and Cameron before her. She deserves no sympathy.
But her demise is Scotland’s opportunity. Through the route of a new referendum or a unilateral declaration of independence following a successful General Election we will soon be free.
My vision of an independent socialist republic will then compete with the visions of others to secure the allegiance of Scots. However our destiny will at long last be in our own hands free from the restrictive chains of the corrupt Westminster and able to utilise our resources for the benefit of the millions not the millionaires. Bring it on.
‘Break the chains from the unicorn and show Westminster Tories that Scotland’s no longer their slave’, to quote from the wonderful song ‘Hope Over Fear’.