Theresa May is seeking a mandate to further damage Britain
Brexit, the flagship policy of the cheap patriots, is a catastrophe in the making, says Henry McLeish
Henry McLeish - Image credit: Holyrood
Mark Twain said: “If voting made any difference, they wouldn’t let us do it.”
This characteristically incisive remark, from one of America’s great literary figures, has probably been taken to heart by the 30 to 40 per cent of the electorate in Britain who, from 1997, have failed to cast a vote in general elections.
The size of the turnout on 8 June will also tell us whether voters have seen through the party political opportunism and cynicism of the Tories.
Their determination to wreck Britain’s economy and destroy the fragile fabric of the UK’s constitutional structure, already under stress, is self-evident.
- UKIP-style voters weren’t absent in Scotland, they were just sheltering in the SNP
- Election fever: with the general election looming, which are the seats to watch?
- Opinion polls don't just reflect but can shape a campaign
This election has looked like a pointless distraction, but this may be changing. For four simple reasons, this tawdry charade is coming apart:
Theresa May is not up to the job.
The Tories have no record to defend and no vision to offer.
Britain is being run for the benefit of the Tory party, not the country.
And Brexit, a catastrophe in the making, is now the flagship of the cheap patriots within her own cabinet, who lied to the British people during the referendum and are still lying.
The British people are being asked to trust the PM to get Britain out of the hole that her party and government dug for us and, outrageously, she is seeking a mandate to further damage Britain.
But the dynamic of this campaign is changing. The PM’s much lauded idea of helping the ‘just about managing’ has been brutally exposed by her decision to stop 900,000 families getting free school meals.
The PM’s disastrous handling of social care, one of the great challenges of the 21st century and Labour’s popular election manifesto, have helped transform the campaign, destroyed the myth of invincibility she has been so keen to peddle, and exposed the threadbare policy offering of the Conservatives, in this election.
The Tory party hurts working people, betrays their economic interests and, like Trump in the US, offers compassion as a coating for the pill they must swallow as the wealthy, financial interests and big business take their rightful place at the top of Tory spending priorities.
British people, including Scots, are being taken for fools.
The PM is promoted as a Joan of Arc figure, ready to save Britain from the evils of the EU, but the Tories are running on empty. Angela Merkel summed it up when she said the US was unpredictable and Britain was unreliable. The Tories are dragging Britain down, at home and abroad.
So, what would be the point of voting for the Tory party, especially in Scotland?
The drama and history of conservatism in Scotland is captured by the fact that in the 60 years to 2015, the Tories have seen their share of the vote in Scotland fall from 50 per cent to 15 per cent, while the SNP has risen from 0.5 per cent to 50 per cent.
The roots of Tory unionism run deep in Scotland. Are we seeing a revival of conservatism or unionism or both? Any Tory revival will reflect a Scotland mired in populism, nationality, and identity politics, relegating class, serious policy issues and left/right struggles, at least for now, to the margins.
Brexit and independence are overwhelming people and their politics to the extent that nothing else matters.
But what is likely to happen after the election?
A significant Tory vote in Scotland could be misconstrued by Theresa May. The PM’s tactics could become a high-risk strategy. There is a scary side to the PM’s style of governing.
She is an autocrat struggling to create an identity and impose her version of conservatism. The PM doesn’t understand Scotland and doesn’t see a different vision for Britain.
This could pose a threat to her Scottish leader and reignite the flames of independence.
The problems and aspirations of England, being the major concern of Westminster and the UK Conservative Party, will pose a dilemma for Scottish Tory MPs sitting on the green benches.
The PM’s inclusion in her UK manifesto of a ‘public consent’ clause for any future referendum in Scotland is a direct assault on the very idea or spirit of devolution or four-nation politics and a threat to democracy itself.
A hard Brexit, and a misreading of the political mood in Scotland, could become a nightmare for the PM and for her Scottish leader.
Ruth Davidson said the reshuffle was aimed at showing the party as a credible alternative government
Queen's speech amendments will call for an end to cuts to emergency services following the Grenfell Tower fire
Speaking in the Scottish Parliament the FM said she would “reset” the timetable for holding a referendum by spring 2019
Patrick Harvie and Maggie Chapman say nothing has changed and Scots should still be given a vote on the Brexit deal