Lift Thine Eyes

Getting twitchy? You should be – the Tory ghouls are gathering and their slavering mouths are calling you out. You, Angus Robertson…be gone! You, Wishart…we will devour you! They’re cackling and mewling at all Nationalists now that you’re time is up. They’re coming to get you.

The Tories of course are the zombie party, the barely breathing husk of the Undead. They were supposed to return to the swamp and submerge for ever. They were on their way until a saviour arrived in the form of Labour who sacrificed themselves and gave them a blood transfusion. Woooo….(Can’t keep this up any longer)

One thing that’s noticeable is the tone of the Tory campaign and it’s most un-Tory. Tweets from Carlaw Jackson and Murdo Fraser sound petty and mean – ‘Smell the fear’, ‘Sturgeon squirming’. Others adopt the cruel tone of some Nationalists (re-sitting MPs) ‘Tick tock.’ Davidson alludes to her uniform and the IRA. A Tory MP tells a Scots schoolgirl to ‘fuck off back to Scotland.’ Tory blood lust has descended like a red mist. For them this isn’t the election of a government. It’s an act of revenge.

For the first time in twenty years those of a Tory persuasion are getting their own back. After a generation of humiliation in Scotland, the feeling has changed and things are looking up. The transfer of votes from Unionist Labourites is sending pulses through the moribund apparatus. And, as the Scottish election and the council elections showed, if the anti-Nat votes coalesce in the right places, the SNP can be defeated.

And that’s all they need to know. Just offering a threat is enough after a lifetime of hopelessness and failure. The one win they did get – in the indyref – was hollow as it merely confirmed just how strong the anti-Union forces now are. The issue teeters on the edge, at risk from the slightest tremor – Scotland’s political San Andreas Fault.

So there’s a demotic, chaotic sense to the Tory effort in which they appear as the outsiders, the insurgent raiding party storming the power base. (However ironic in light of events at Westminster).

I sense the Nationalist and progressive reaction to this is mostly disbelief. First, incredulity that anyone with centre-left sensibilities could ever go Tory and second, that it doesn’t make logical sense. The Tories are anti-Europe. They have strangled the economic life out of working families. Public servants use food banks. They continue to hack at essential benefits while subsidising big business. They stand for grammar schools and fox hunting, for nuclear weapons and arms sales. They are heading for tripling the national debt. The NHS is being privatised. They haven’t lifted us out of austerity yet, 10 years on. Their Brexit policy is already cutting household budgets and putting up prices. In Scotland they have nothing you can describe as a policy and no one outside three or four people you could name.

It doesn’t make sense, right?

Well, think of it this way. If you can honestly say you hate the SNP and their rise frightens you. If you believe deeply that Scotland is in no state to be independent and that to argue the case is dangerous and delusional. If you imagine your whole way of life and your identity is acutely threatened – then it begins to make sense.

This is the flip side of Scottish Nationalism which vocally damns the Tories and laughs at Labour. Most Nationalists don’t, or rather can’t, know for sure what the morning after independence would bring but we believe in ourselves and our ability so that’s alright. The manifestations of Union are detested – Westminster, the right-wing media, British hubris – just as virulently as Tory Unionists and their new-found ex-Labour supporters loathe Sturgeon and Holyrood.

Base emotions play a key role in voting and often override policy considerations. Hating the other side is as powerful a motivation as any other and, as I’ve said before, I have heard expressions of hostility from otherwise sane people. This looks like a time of reaction and, if so, it has been a long time coming. The SNP has defied the laws of politics to stay on top so long. Some rebalancing is overdue so it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.

On the other hand, it still doesn’t look like a decline in SNP support so far as I can see. Rather it is a transfer of votes from a failing party into another causing a realignment. The effect though will be felt differently in places, with areas defending small leads over the Conservatives at risk of the waters breaking the banks.

But while I feel sanguine about much of this as part of the great wheel of fortune that is politics, I harbour deeper feelings of concern about where the result of this General Election is taking us.

Brutal, simple messaging like No Second Referendum or Theresa Not Jeremy mask what is really happening. This is deliberate. Like the EU referendum, we are not debating the policy direction of the country – instead we are playing the game of the party schemers and spinners whose job is to win, not inform nor enlighten. Behind-the-scenes manipulators like Lynton Crosby don’t care what happens afterwards. He’s only paid to do everything possible to secure the votes that win the election.

It is we who will pay the price demanded of the winner.

Blinded by anti-SNP sentiment and sold on the upfront message, many voters won’t ask themselves what happens later. What do they imagine a Tory government ensconced for a decade at least is going to do? Look at the signs already visible from a Prime Minister running a tight policy-making cabal who had to be dragged to the Supreme Court so Parliament could have a say in the biggest decision in forty years.

Freed from effective scrutiny, is she going to bow to opinion on Scotland? Isn’t that what Not Now meant? She means all other decisions will wait until she has control of all the power and she has completed the surgery removing the UK from Europe so can reshape the country in her neo-con image. The Supreme Court ruling confirmed that Scotland’s parliament is nothing but a lame beast of Westminster, vulnerable to being put down at will.

Assumptions that it will continue to shape different policies and be given the budget-raising powers needed to fund it need to be revised. Theresa May is no defender of devolution and a post-Brexit UK will be no place for distinctive devolved policies and institutions. Britain will be alone, climbing into the lifeboats, bobbing on stormy seas, when patience for dissent will be severely limited. It will be all for one – and that one will be a Tory-run Westminster.

Of course it may be that this adjustment in political sentiment will develop its own hybrid form and that the Tories will return to their original stance on Scottish devolution – against. It may be that those same Scots are tired altogether of Holyrood being at odds with London, and sick of arguments over referendums and finances and powers. Perhaps that’s where this is heading, back down the other side of the hill towards a British hegemony. Maybe the game is up.

I doubt it though. I truly doubt that the mood is running so strongly that MPs with considerable track records of achievement will be turfed out in favour of individuals with distinctly limited ability. Or that enough Labour and Lib Dem voters simply give up and swap over to an anti-Nat movement. There are enough people whose politics is philosophically grounded and enough with the foresight to see that, if for no other reason, Scotland needs the potential escape route offered by the EU until we can appraise the damage and benefits of Brexit. Labour and Lib Dem voters going Tory risk not only a damaging Brexit deal and closing off Scotland’s options, but undermining the whole devolution home rule project which was their own parties’ work. Voting Tory this time to oppose a possible referendum already approved by the parliament gives hope to those who would destroy the work of the originals…Kenyon Wright, Dewar, Wallace et al. Giving this anti democratic Tory Party votes based on  a thin and transitory premise of preventing us from deciding democratically our future, will allow them to consign the Claim of Right to the dustbin of history. if we care, we must choose.

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31 thoughts on “Lift Thine Eyes

  1. Don’t hold your breath , Derek , waiting for policies to be debated from the present day Tories in Scotland. As you say , the message is everything – SNP baaad , Independence baaad , Ruth for gauleiter ( Mundell is toast ! )

  2. Robert Graham

    This Tory regimes record is there for all to see , and no right minded person could in all honesty defend it .
    Any government who has been criticised by the UN – Oxfam – and the Red Cross doesn’t deserve a vote, , prison would be my choice , dereliction of duty in public office .

  3. Revenge of the 50s mindset. I curse the elderly.

  4. Is this not the biggest problem. I see all too oftern on twatter and Feartbook … unionists with multiple references to ‘wee krankie’ and ‘SNP Natz’ et al. The redone pictures of ‘jolly’ Sturgeon in some ‘ultra’ pose.

    I know it happens in all sides, but the unionists don’t have any argument other than ‘I luv the yOOnyun’.

    So when some supposed former Labour voter ( I was one) protests and moves to Tory .. tell me if they love Fox hunting, NHS privatisation, punishing the disabled, food banks en masse … tell me if they can’t open their eyes to the corruption.

    So the biggest problem is the dregs of this puddle left. The unwavering stupidity and inability to comprehend anything but the yOOnyun fleg.

  5. The britnat media thrives on the intellectual laziness of many in society. The simple [in all senses of the word] britnat anti-Scotland message is easily regurgitated by the feart and the foolish. It worked in England in the EU referendum. Britnats expect it to work in Scotland. It won’t.

  6. We are standing on the brink of UK totalitarianism, albeit with an implausible veneer of democracy.

    Tyranny of the majority is not democracy, particularly if that majority has been manipulated by sophisticated and heavily funded media.

    The amateur independentista presence on the internet achieves a great deal -and caught the establishment off guard in 2014. This was noted by our opponents. Professional forces with huge resources are being brought to bear.

    See Cambridge Analytica et al for examples of how targeted campaigns can work.

    If we vote foolishly, this might be our last chance to cast a vote that matters..

    This is when we find our just how savvy the Scots electorate are.

    Amateur Citizens vs Professional manipulation.

    Brace yourselves.

  7. I’ve said this before in other places and wearily I will say it again – I do not believe in a deeply-held devotion to the Union and I do not believe that outrage about a perceived threat to the Union is behind this hatred of the SNP. This loyalty to the union is being used by people as a more respectable cover for the real emotional investment in a status quo whose very purpose is inequality. Those who have come out in an advantaged position have no intention of losing that advantage. This is personal and little to do with Unionist loyalties. ( I’m leaving out the unhinged Loyalist vote, of course. ) Tories and the present Westminster political system promise to maintain that privilege.

    Unfortunately, the Westminster political elite has nurtured the vey division which is opening up so starkly now and there is a kind of irony in that the Tories who who created it, have bulldozed out of the way, the willing collaborators in this policy, the Labour party. Thatcher introduced right-to-buy which was not reversed by Labour. Opportunist Labour cynically thought to exploit this particular demographic, also ignoring the damage that feather-bedding the housing market might do to society and little thought that these new property-owning Labour voters might inevitably drift away to the Tories. As Angela Merkel remarked elsewhere, it was not wise to go down the route of the Anglo-Saxon real estate model. I would assert that it is not simply unwise economically but also helps to embed social injustice.

    Anyway, I have a link to an excellent article from Commonspace which explains it more fully. I think it might be too late to address the fault lines in society created by encouraging the bloated housing market and I don’t think that the SNP would want to tackle this any more than the Labour party did.

  8. On the nail Derek.

    A stable, strong party of national unity.

    Does that sound like Conservatism to anyone? Given the tone of their rhetoric individually and collectively. Does anyone with an ounce of human reason and care feel particularly upbeat about a decade or more of Tory government?

    No. Nor I.

  9. Ruth Davidson’s perpetual squealing about the state of Scottish society under the SNP has yet to be tested against her party’s record looking after the same services in England. What are her plans for education and the SNHS? We really should be told? What are the Tory plans vis-à-vis state pensions? Pensioners, the Tories lifeblood in Scotland, really need to know what they are, in fact, enthusiastically voting for. When are we going to see this woman and her policies seriously tested by the media?

  10. Brilliant analysis Bateman. June 8th is judgement day. If Scottish voters do not comprehensively reject the Tories and their camp followers we are doomed and the cause of independence will really be off the table for a generation .

    • no it won’t. The cause of independence will never be off the table until it is a reality and we can finally lift the clouds from the eyes of the doubters. Independence is normal; wishing to remain servile in your own land is shameful.

  11. scrandoonyeah

    Jeepers, Creepers that surely gave me the jitters but like any horror flick the good always come good in the end.
    And so will Scotland

  12. Derek, there is a wee bit you overlooked. You put you’re instead of your in the first paragraph. Apart from that minor niggle, a good read.

  13. Steve Asaneilean

    June 8th is indeed judgement day. And if enough Scots actually vote for what will be the most intolerant and xenophobic Westminster government in living memory, to the extent that Ruth and Co can portray it as some kind of moral victory here in Scotland, then we will get what we deserve.

    As I have said before, an all-powerful Tory government in London will think nothing of effectively neutering the Scottish Parliament and government. So expect things like TTIP with bells on forced on Scotland regardless of what our MSPs decide.

    That we would let that happen and allow it to come to pass depresses me immensely yet it is certainly well within the bounds of possibilities.

    The voting intentions are clear – the over 50s (like me) will vote to shaft the under 30s (like my kids). Maybe “once in a generation” is right after all but ultimately I think this election will cement the likelihood of future independence once the younger generation come to realise what the older generation have done to them. I certainly don’t think they will forgive – nor should they.

  14. The old people have an undying love for red,white and blue. They love banging on about wars, poppies and the Queen.

    Young people see the war as ancient history. They have no attachment to a foreign flag and no time for the Queen.

    The union is in its death throws. What is happening now is a spasm of a dying beast. It looks violent and ugly but will be shortlived.

    The young people are what will save Scotland from the skeletal hands of the selfish undead. They will make the right choice Scotland will never die. This is the beginning of the end for the UK and the start of the beginning for Scotland.

    Let them eat cake.

    • I hope you’re right Jock.

      Any inroads into Scotland made by the Tories will be lauded as a great victory, the decline if the SNP and definitive proof that Scotland doesn’t want another referendum. The tame media will paint the lies.

      I hope you’re right.

    • Please do not bracket everyone who is old into the same camp. It is completely unhelpful for those of us that want to try to convert, even 10% of them, to the independence cause. And, yes, I am 69 and have been in the SNP for a long time now.

      • Don’t take these blanket statements too harshly, as someone ‘of age’ I know there are actually a lot more ‘pro-society’ elderly than not. The jumps are harder though after a life of concerted propoganda …

        On the other side, how can some young people think of wanting Tory when they so obviously do not want them!

  15. Latest canvass returns from Edinburgh South show that 2/3 of Tory voters are uncertain who to vote for. It’s a three cornered fight. The constituency voted 78% Remain. The unionists are divided and confused,

  16. W.J. Watt Zompoc author

    HeY derek, stop calling Zombies conservatives, even zombies have a heart beat (well in some cases they do) and feelings, and in my book about an independence seeking Scotland during a time of Brexit, the zombies are the good guys

  17. “Dewar, Wallace et al.” That would be New Labour who changed the maritime boundaries just before Holyrood opened, and commissioned a monstrosity of a parliament building hundreds of millions over budget, and a voting system which was “guaranteed” to prevent stable government, combining with the Lib-Dems who at the first sniff of a chance at ministerial posts betrayed every single election pledge to coalition with Cameron. As for Scotland waking to an uncertain future the day after independence?

  18. smiling vulture

    today’s manifesto, will say it wants powers brought back from the European Union to go straight to the relevant region or nation.

    BUT a spokesman said that Whitehall could be given control over certain areas in “exceptional circumstances”.

    I edited out labour – to show it could be tory manifesto

    • Only an eejit would believe any further britnat vows.

      • Robert Graham

        Aye Dan and by f/k we are surrounded by them deaf dumb and blind , no wonder the Labour party Weighed the votes in all the years the were in power , Stupid pills have been handed out and swallowed , it makes you want to scream bloody waken up Idiots .

  19. Thomas Valentine

    When it became apparent that the Tories in Scotland were trying to revive their old “Unionist” side I thought it quite stupid. To do this in a country where over half the country is atheist or has no connection to religion. But they are after the older generation and people tied by birth to hating Catholics.

    They are winding together every strand of support. But what happens when these people they are getting elected to councils pursue their main purpose, attacking Catholics and immigrants. With their social media cleansed and the state controlled BBC hiding the true motives, is actively targeting people for harm now the day to day business for the Scottish Conservatives?

    Will your Planning Permission be refused because you have an Irish sounding name? Non bigoted Tory councilors going along with the Orange Order so as not to alienate those voters?

    Yes I think that is exactly what will happen. Because they have engaged in transactional politics. Give us your vote and we’ll give you what you most desire. OK but we want some of ours in position to make sure we get what we want.

  20. For anyone interested:


    SNP 46.4% (+3.6)
    Conservatives 28.0% (-2.3)
    Labour 14.6% (-0.4)
    Liberal Democrats 6.5% (-1.0)

    Not exactly a swing to the Tories, is it?

  21. “…The Supreme Court ruling confirmed that Scotland’s parliament is nothing but a lame beast of Westminster, vulnerable to being put down at will…Theresa May is no defender of devolution and a post-Brexit UK will be no place for distinctive devolved policies and institutions…”

    I fear this understates the risk. The UK-based social media are unchecked and rampant with anti-Scottish emotion, and the UK media discourse is about unity, with opposition branded as “saboteurs” or “enemies of the state.” So the Scottish Parliament’s democratic referendum vote, challenging the Unity of the Kingdom just as it addresses its own existential threat of Brexit, is an open goal for its enemies.

    Our Parliament’s own Unionist opposition have divided loyalties: should they not be forced to choose?

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