For anyone who considers that the job of Prime Minister should go to the individual best qualified to carry out the responsibilities of that high office, the Tory leadership contest must be a depressing, if not distressing, sight. The entire process seems geared to finding, not the best person for the job, but the one who is least offensive to the party’s MPs and members. The role which is, at least nominally, the most powerful in the UK will be filled by the man or woman who best manages to pander to the various prejudices and competing self-interests in a political party known and widely reviled for its unprepossessing ideology and tendency to venality.
Politics is, of course, the art of compromise. But it would be gratifying if, just once in a while, this might be a compromise among a range of attitudes and opinions that was somewhere close to being as broad as society, rather than an accommodation between barely distinguishable dogmas.
The race to become leader of the Conservative Party – and hence, by the grace of the monarch, Prime Minister – looks like being dominated by the issue of the UK’s pantomime flounce out of the EU. Which, in much of England, is a proxy for the issue of immigration. Theresa May is tainted by her failure to enthusiastically participate in the Leave campaign’s grotesque frenzy of lies, empty promises and ill-concealed xenophobia, as well as by her failure to adequately secure a reputation as the scourge of the brown hordes bent upon sucking the Englishness out of everything the English had sucked out of the world. It will be won by the candidate who best demonstrates the ability to practice that courteous, politic prejudice which, despite all protestations to the contrary, gives licence to baser bigotry.
Why should we care which of the contenders emerges victorious from this pig-pen wrestling match? As Kevin McKenna says, the EU referendum was about “creating a foe for the working class to blame while their real enemies pursued their ends”. The Tories and their clients need that foe now more than ever. The Conservative clique of the Westminster elite is in the process of selecting the candidate they think is best qualified for the task of deepening and widening the rifts in society.
Meanwhile, the Labour clique of the Westminster elite is oblivious to everything but the rifts within its own ranks. It has forsaken its role so completely that it is difficult now to discern what role it might have; or to remember it ever having a role. It has completed the process of becoming an organisation which exists to serve its own existence, rather than the purpose for which it was first conceived.
British politics is a desert of principle. An arid wasteland of compassion and competence where the vacuous and the vicious scrabble in the dust for scraps of power and personal advantage.
Scotland can do better. Scotland is already home to a political culture that is markedly different from England. A political culture which is discernibly more responsive to the needs, aspirations and priorities of Scotland’s people than the stunted, deformed politics in which only the likes of Michael Gove and Theresa May can thrive. A political culture which is anathema to the ruling elites of the British state who appoint politicians like Gove and May and Leadsom to do their bidding and serve their interests.
If Scotland’s distinct political culture is to survive and develop and facilitate the better, fairer society we hope for, we have to break free of the stultifying, corrupting influence of the British political system.
For anyone who considers that our political leaders should be chosen from among those best qualified to meet the criteria of a functioning democracy and serve the interests of the sovereign people who elect them, there can be only one choice for Scotland. Independence! Nothing less!Views: 2380
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