We live in such volatile times that it is distinctly possible that every word of this column will be either irrelevant or out-of-date or both by the time you are reading it.
It is Wednesday 28 August 2019, as I am finishing off this piece, and Boris Johnson has just asked the Queen to suspend Parliament so that he can railroad through his insane plan to force through a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.
Hopefully, by the time this copy of Scottish Left Review is published, something will have been done to stop this happening. Hopefully, by then, Boris Johnson will no longer be Prime Minister. It is a mark of how uncertain and fast-changing Britain’s political landscape has become, that either outcome is a distinct possibility.
Imagine if you had been in a coma for ten years and woken up during the G7 summit at the end of August. You would be utterly perplexed and not a little shocked to find that the buffoon who had somehow managed to be elected Mayor of London was now Prime Minister of Britain, shaking hands with the orange-tanned sex-pest reality TV presenter who is the President of the USA. The chances are that you would either assume that the hospital had put you on mega doses of mind-bending medication or, more probably, that would ask to be voluntarily returned to blissfully ignorant comatose state from which you had just emerged. The only missing piece of this jigsaw of hellish outcomes is Prince Andrew ascending to the throne. Of course, by the time you read this, enough members of the royal family may have been wiped out is some freak accident (perhaps, being driven in a car by Prince Phillip) to allow such a nightmare to become reality.
Even five years ago, the world looked very different. In 2014, if Scots had been told if they voted ‘No’ in the independence referendum that in five years’ time we would be dragged out of the EU, that Boris Johnson would be Prime Minister and that Parliament would be suspended, that vote would have had a totally different outcome. I reckon even Ruth Davidson would have voted ‘Yes’ presented with that scenario.
Even last year, the very prospect that Jacob Rees-Mogg would be a member of the cabinet would have been laughable. Indeed, a government containing both Johnson and Rees-Mogg would have seemed unthinkable in January. Moreover, even in his most fevered imagination, it is unlikely P.G. Wodehouse would have thought up a plot line where a pair of idiotic upper-class pantomime baddies were in charge of the country.
A matter of months ago, we were told that ‘no deal’ was the worst-case scenario. That was before Michael Gove was put in charge of ‘no deal’ preparations. Now, the worst-case scenario is Michael Gove in charge of ‘no deal’.
Yet again, Gove has ended up in a job to which he is totally unsuited. His previous post was Environment Secretary. Michael Gove to me is almost like the human embodiment of toxic waste – he looks like he been fracked. His previous job in cabinet was as Education Minister. The guy looks to me as if he should legally not be allowed within a one-mile radius of a primary school.
Johnson has, of course, only shown his face in Scotland once since taking office, and was met with a torrent of boos, catcalls and abuse when he arrived to meet Nicola Sturgeon at Bute House. If he ventures North again, which is highly unlikely, the level of resentment is likely to go right off the scale.
In Scotland, even the Conservatives hate Boris. The chances are that a huge proportion of the crowd that booed Boris in Edinburgh were Scottish Tories. I reckon if Ruth Davidson was asked to name the politicians who images she would want made into voodoo dolls, BoJo would almost certainly be top of her list. She’ll have plenty of time to make up that voodoo doll of him from the backbenches now!
Hopefully, by the time you read this, the Commons will have passed legislation preventing a ‘no deal’, or a vote of no confidence in the PM, or both. The idiot needs to be stopped from subjecting the entire nation to this grotesque act of self-harm.
‘No deal’ is now the Government’s only policy on Brexit. But what ‘preparation’ has been made with two months to go? The only obvious preparation it is making is in announcing that is going to recruit more police. However, the proposed twenty thousand extra coppers are going to be totally inadequate to handle the outbreak of civil unrest that will ensue if we crash out of Europe without a deal on Hallowe’en. That is the one thing than can predicted with any degree of certainty.