Friday, 16 May 2014

Under Tory control

Despite Scotland having a parliament and a government, crucial aspects of our lives and our society remain controlled by another parliament and another government.

Scotland has not voted Tory since 1955: at the last UK Election, in 2010, we again rejected the Conservative Party, which finished in fourth place. Yet, because Scotland remains part of the British Union, we have a Tory-led Government imposed on us.

The London-based UK Government, led by multi-millionaire Tory Prime Minister David Cameron, decides how much tax Scots have to pay, how much we receive in social security benefits (and whether or not we get them at all), dictates foreign policy (including sending young Scots to kill or be killed in illegal, immoral, imperialist American wars), locates nuclear weapons of mass destruction just 30 miles from Scotland’s largest city (and centre of population), imposes punitive measures such as the Bedroom Tax and benefits sanctions, while pocketing multi-billion pound revenues accruing from oil reserves located in Scottish territorial waters.

Remember, Mr Cameron and his party have control over these crucial aspects of our lives and our country despite his party finishing fourth in Scotland and having just one elected MP.

Last week, David Cameron visited Scotland to tell us we must remain within the British Union. He told us it is the Scots who “put the great in Great Britain”. Does anyone in Scotland actually believe that Mr Cameron repeats this claim when speaking to audiences in England?

Does David Cameron really not know that the ‘great’ in Great Britain has nothing to do with being distinguished or remarkable, but, in fact, refers to the geographical area of ‘greater’ Britain, the largest land-mass of the British Isles? Of course he knows – he just thinks the Scots are really, really gullible and will fall for fake flattery.

Incidentally, why is it that Mr Cameron should have to ‘visit’ Scotland? Shouldn’t the person with total control of Scotland’s economy, taxation, welfare system, foreign affairs policy and defence actually live and work here in Scotland?

Think about that situation for a moment: think how the people of England would react if the roles were reversed. Imagine the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom was based at the parliament in Edinburgh and that every aspect of England’s taxation, macro-economic policy, welfare system and defence was decided in Scotland. Imagine how the people of England might perceive a situation where their Prime Minister was Scottish, the government sat at a parliament in Scotland, and the Prime Minister merely ‘visited’ England from time to time.

Imagine, if you can, a situation where wealth generated in England had kept afloat the economy of Scotland – even creating a super-wealthy economic zone around Edinburgh – and where the Scottish, Edinburgh-based Prime Minister ‘visited’ England to tell the people that this situation should continue, despite large parts of England suffering soaring levels of unemployment and poverty. Would the people of England allow such a situation to continue, even if the Scottish, Edinburgh-based Prime Minister told them they were ‘great’?

Cameron’s ‘visit’ of last week also saw the ‘Better Together’ anti-independence campaign drop the pretence that it is not controlled by the Tories. Until now the organisation has been fronted by the ‘abominable ‘No’ man’, Labour MP Alistair Darling, but much of its funding comes from Tory sources, including many donors who live in England and do not actually have a vote in the Independence Referendum.

Cameron has repeatedly said the referendum is for people in Scotland – it is this fig-leaf he hides behind when refusing to debate with Alex Salmond – but if that really was his belief, then why do Tory Ministers ‘visit’ Scotland to tell us what we should be doing and how we should vote in the referendum? If the referendum is only for people in Scotland, then why does the ‘Better Together’ campaign accept and rely on funding from outside of Scotland?

Tory control of the anti-independence campaign was there for everyone to see last week during David Cameron’s ‘visit’ to Scotland when he used the name of former Labour leader John Smith, a Scot who died 20 years ago, to call on the people of Scotland to reject the normal national status of independence. Presumably a Tory Prime Minister would not have used Mr Smith’s name in such a way if the Labour Party had not gone along with the strategy. All of which led to the situation where a Tory came to Scotland and claimed that a Scottish former leader of the Labour Party was apparently at ease with the situation where Scots reject the Tory Party at the ballot box but have them imposed on us anyway.

The Labour Party is so dominated by the Tories within ‘Better Together’ that they are supporting a position where they would rather see the Tories govern Scotland from London than have a Labour Government in an independent Scotland.

Thankfully, more and more Scots are seeing through the absurdity of a situation where a government we didn’t vote for, sitting at a parliament in another country, has control over our lives. Thankfully, more and more Scots reject the idea that Tories should be able to impose their will on Scotland.

Thankfully, more and more members of the Labour Party in Scotland reject the London leadership’s support of the Tory-controlled and financed ‘Better Together’ campaign. Thankfully, the growing numbers within ‘Labour for Independence’ would rather see a Labour Government in an independent Scotland than have our country controlled by Tories in London.

Independence is simply being a normal country, and thankfully more and more Scots are determined to grasp the opportunity presented to us in September’s referendum.

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