False dawn

I have frequently noted the inconsistencies and contradictions that riddle British nationalist commentary. David Torrance can always be relied upon to illustrate the point. Here, we have him both acknowledging and denying the “realignment of Scottish politics” according to what is expedient at any stage in his customarily blinkered and shallow analysis.

At times he recognises that this realignment has moved Scotland away from the old faux rivalries of the two main British parties and into two genuinely opposed “entrenched camps – unionist and nationalist”. Elsewhere, he insists that this recasting of Scottish politics is marked by a “Tory revival, or rather continuing revival”.

Now, it may be argued that these two things are not mutually exclusive. But, even if we allow this, awareness of the conflict or, at the very least, distinction between these two perspectives – party political and constitutional – does cast the supposed Tory revival in a very different light. The interesting question is, why the Tories? Given that both the British parties have adopted what is basically the same rigid anti-independence, anti-SNP, anti-democracy line, why is it the Tory brand of hard-line unionism which is being favoured?

Taking a party political view would imply that the supposed Tory revival is to be explained by support for their policies. But not even David Torrance tries to suggest that this is the case. It is only be looking at the situation as a contest of constitutional positions that we get an idea of what is really going on. And what we see is, not a Tory revival, but merely the hard-line unionist vote shifting from British Labour in Scotland (BLiS) to the British Conservative and Unionist Party in Scotland (BCUPS). What, in a frenzy of false analysis and wishful thinking, is being portrayed as a Tory revival is actually no more than the core unionist vote coalescing around Ruth Davidson and her brand of fervent British nationalism.

There is no endorsement of Tory policies at UK level. Every other indicator tells us that those policies are no less rejected now than when BCUPS barely managed to get a single MP elected. Not only did the SNP win the local elections by every meaningful measure, the party is also in line to take the vast majority of seats in Theresa May’s snap UK general election. And there can be no endorsement of BCUPS policies on local issues for the simple reason that they don’t have any. You’ll struggle to find any mention of local matters in any of their leaflets.

If the fundamental divide in Scottish politics is now between the pro- and anti-independence camps – which few would deny – then the meaningful inquiry revolves around what the local elections tell us about that divide. In those terms, the only possible conclusion is that the pro-independence side made modest but undeniable advances. It only looks a bit like a Tory revival if, halfway through the analysis, the terms of reference are altered so as to replace ‘unionist’ with ‘Tory’. This is just what David Torrance does. By a carefully contrived framing of the question, he arrives at the answer that he wants.

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8 thoughts on “False dawn

  1. TheStrach

    The BBC did exactly the same. They are deluding themselves which must play into our hands.

    What matters in any election is turnout. We must get our people out to vote.

  2. bringiton

    A sad day for democracy when your politics are simply defined by what you are against.
    Many of these voters,having benefitted from Scottish governance,are prepared to put this at risk in order to satisfy an irrational attachment to the British state.
    Their Tory leader in London has made it clear that she intends to claw back powers from Holyrood if possible so that we will probably have e.g. one NHS being centrally dismantled from London.
    They are already making noises about devolution having failed and this will be the excuse they will use.
    Be careful what you wish and vote for.

  3. Jockanese Wind Talker

    This is the realignment of Scottish Politics which was destined to happen post Indy Ref 1.

    But Torrance, BBC et al can’t admit this as it will show peak Tory at 20% – 30%

    Better a Tory surge against the SNP than a Tory cannibalisation of BLiS.

    The vote now at every election is going to be Union or iScotland

    This is best illustrated by the OO vote in the recent Local Elections.

    The creatures have crawled out from the sewers and from under the rocks to defend their ‘precious Union’ but folks like Torrance won’t report or discuss this fact as it will disrupt their carefully prepared narrative.

    A narrative for us Scots of SNP bad, Ruth and the Tories are the good guys, the majority of the Scottish Electorate don’t want a second devisive independence referendum, Brexit is going to be good for the UK and Scotland.

    But a narrative at the same time for the rest of the UK from TMay is ‘crush the sabatours, extremist and separatists who would seek to destroy our United Kingdom’.

  4. Robert Graham

    This tory government’s actions while in office i believe are totally indefensible to most Scots , either they dont know what they have been up to , or they simply dont care ,
    I am alright bugger the rest of you , if it’s i dont care maybe then possibly our Scottish government have been just a little bit too good and efficient in shielding them from the majority of tory cuts ,
    A little bit too efficient in doing things differently from the shambles south of the border all this with real cuts to the budget ..
    The media are hell bent in covering up the harm previous administrations have done , the PFI fiasco we are lumbered with , that is a real drain on the budget , a budget that to opposition parties seem to believe is a bottomless money pot .
    All the coverage the BBC has brought to our screens regarding PFI omits any reference to the culprits , where is any reference to Jack McConnell who made PFI the only game in town , the only way councils could build and improve schools . the BBC guilty by omission .and still at it on a daily basis , why the SNP cooperate with them is baffling .

  5. Dan Huil

    Thankfully circulation figures for britnat rags are in decline. The bbc remains the real enemy.

  6. bringiton

    Unionism is a one way street.
    It is predicated on Scots accepting their subsidiary/non existent role within the British state and that English voters have the right to elect Scotland’s government.
    As we have seen,any prospect of Scots having a say in electing England’s government is rejected out of hand by their political parties and electorate with which I am in complete agreement.
    Why should voters in another country make decisions on your behalf unless you are happy with that situation and clearly English voters are not.
    There are no “unionist” politicians in England,just normal left,right and centre (although mainly right) political parties which represent the views of their electorate and that is as it should be.
    Time Scotland became a “normal” democratic country and rid itself of British state proxies whose interests lie elsewhere.

  7. michael boyd

    I just heard John Beattie give an explanation as regards the BBCs position re the boundary changes. Who was responsible for the boundary changes and why did they only affect the SNP?

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