Long live the Queen!

ruth_davidsonThe British media in Scotland aren’t always negative. We are accustomed to a daily diet of unremitting gloom, doom and despair served up by journalists who have made a career of portraying Scotland as a country made entirely from dreich held together by dour. All is crisis and chaos. Unless it’s catastrophe and collapse. If the nominally Scottish media are analogous to a window through which Scotland both observes itself and puts itself on display to the world, then the typical  hack spends their days smearing the glass with excrement and bile.

Apparently, there is only one good thing about Scotland. One palely gleaming pearl of hope in the mire of misery. One reason for journalists to exercise the muscles of positiveness which would otherwise surely atrophy. One thing in all of Scotland about which they can wax enthusiastic. Ruth Davidson!

And why not? Why shouldn’t they lionise her? She is, after all, a creature of the media’s creation. A Frankenstein’s monster made from photo-opportunities and vacuous pronouncements stitched together with spin. It is the media who have elevated Davidson to the status of Queen of the BritNats. It is only the constant and vigilant protection of the media which allows her to continue pretending to a status that she could never hope to earn on her own.

The British state needed a ‘personality’ to be the face of the ‘One Nation’ British Nationalist project in Scotland. The British political elite required a leader for hard-line Unionists to rally around. The narrative of British propaganda demanded someone who could be portrayed as a heroic blend of Boudicca, Churchill and Thatcher  – with a dash of Molly Weir. Someone to play the role of bold defender of the Union standing with her finger in the dyke holding back the tide of democratic dissent threatening the settled order.

Ruth Davidson got the part by default; British Labour in Scotland being unable to field a candidate who might survive internal party strife long enough to serve the British state’s purposes. That potential for a certain longevity was pretty much the only thing Davidson had going for her. The rest had to be constructed. She had to be given a make-over. She was shoved in one end of the British media sausage-making machine a third-rate party place-filler with no discernible talent. She emerged the same bag of fatuous hypocrisy and unabashed dishonesty, but now bulked with the breadcrumbs of interchangeable stock positions; artificially coloured with off-the-shelf charisma; seasoned with carefully controlled controversy; and enclosed in a protective skin that lends her the deceptive sheen of a serious politician whilst concealing the unappetising insipidness of the content.

But the Queen of the BritNats sits on a rickety throne. Her crown is on a shoogly peg. The pedestal upon which she has been raised must be constantly steadied and shored up. The British political establishment has invested too much in Ruth Davidson to let her fall. No matter how often or how badly she succumbs to arrogant stupidity, she must be protected. Her every clumsy stumble has to be presented as deft politicking. Each ill-thought utterance has to be imbued with gravitas. The contradictions and inconsistencies must be spun as intellectual complexity.

So it is that we get headlines such as ‘Ruth Davidson throws down gauntlet to May on immigration, NHS and tax‘ above cloyingly sycophantic articles written by journalists more accustomed to churning out dire pieces in the ‘Scotland is a hellhole’ genre. The purpose here is to present Davidson as a significant actor in Scottish and British politics. Someone who matters. Someone who has influence. Someone who can get things done. Someone who can be effective. Someone capable of bringing about change.

And it is all completely, utterly, ludicrously false!

Ruth Davidson is not a significant actor. She has no power. She has no authority, She can do nothing of any import whatsoever.

It’s all a sham. It would require a massive injection of substance to qualify as smoke and mirrors. It is a deception. Yet another confidence trick being played on the people of Scotland by the British establishment. The lectures and speeches and stage-managed public events and strictly controlled TV appearances, are all just theatre. None of what you see and hear is real. None of it matters.

The idiom of throwing down a gauntlet suggests a serious challenge. We are supposed to believe that Davidson is standing up to her generally reviled boss. We are supposed to be duped into thinking of Davidson as an effective shield against the worst excesses and ineptitude of the British government. Essentially, we are supposed to see Davidson as either – or both – an alternative to Theresa May and to Nicola Sturgeon. She is either Prime Minister-in-waiting or First Minister-in-waiting depending on the demands and expediences of the moment.

She is neither! But that won’t deter the British media. So long as Ruth Davidson remains a useful tool of the British establishment, they will continue to treat this commonest of commoners like political royalty.


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Strong and stable… suckers!

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The following is an extract from my article in the April edition of iScot Magazine.

There was always something very fishy about the idea of Ruth Davidson as the protector of Scotland’s interests. The Tories’ betrayal of Scotland’s fishing industry reveals just how misplaced was the trust put in Davidson by those in our fishing communities who voted, first to keep Scotland in the UK, then to take the UK out of the European Union. To people outside those communities, this always looked like serial self-harm. To many, it seemed inexplicable that folk who make their living from the sea should continue to put such faith in politicians who had spent three years demonstrating, on an almost daily basis, the extent to which they had misled, deceived and downright lied to the people of Scotland during the first independence referendum.

When it was revealed that the UK Government’s Brexit ‘deal’ with the EU involved the Common Fisheries Policy effectively being retained for nearly two years longer than had been promised, there was no great surprise amongst those who have their finger on the pulse of Scottish politics. While the less well-informed were expressing various degrees of shock and dismay at this blatant breach of trust, the attitude of those more aware of the realities of Scottish politics was nicely summed up by Holyrood magazine editor, Mandy Rhodes,

What was more surprising to me was that fishermen, who so loathed the Common Fisheries Policy, were prepared to put their faith in the same Conservatives that took them into it, to then take them out of it with no equivalent pain. They were expendable then and they are expendable now.

There is evidently a curious psychology at play here. Ms Rhodes is far from alone in being perplexed by the readiness of the fishermen to believe the promises of those who have so frequently and comprehensively shown themselves to be unworthy of anyone’s confidence. How is such behaviour to be explained?

To read the full article, and support Scotland’s independent media, please subscribe to iScot Magazine.


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The tool

ff_davidson.pngAs we wearily condemn yet another instance of British betrayal, let us not forget the role played by the media in this latest bit of unabashed duplicity. The mainstream media helped peddle the utterly false notion of Ruth Davidson as a significant political leader commanding a small but powerful group of “Scottish Tory” MPs; regularly attending cabinet meetings at Downing Street, and exerting real influence within the British Government. It was all lies!

There is no such group! There are only British Tory MPs, some of whom happen to have managed to get themselves elected in Scotland. Those British Tory MPs take their orders from Theresa May and the British Tory Whips at Westminster, not Ruth Davidson. Other than for the purposes of the occasional photo-opp, there is no place reserved for Davidson at British cabinet meetings. On a scale of one to ten, Davidson’s influence isn’t on the scale of one to ten. In terms of British politics, she is several promotions away from the rank of nonentity.

Which is not to say she isn’t useful to her masters in London. It was expedient to market Davidson in Scotland as a politician of some substance in the hope of persuading voters here that there might be some point in voting for Tories. Affording their leader a high media profile was like giving Pan Drops to the Tory faithful in North Britainshire. Being crowned Queen of the BritNats helped persuade hardline Unionists to abandon British Labour in Scotland (BLiS) in favour of the British Conservative & Unionist Party in Scotland (BCUPS). Elevating Davidson to the status of First Minister-in-waiting was a ploy to divert attention from Nicola Sturgeon and maybe even diminish her in the eyes of the more gullible consumers of British propaganda.

In all of this, the British media have been totally complicit. They lie to us in order that the British political elite may more effectively deceive us. They mislead and misinform us to facilitate the duplicity and mendacity of British politicians. As part of the British establishment, the British media naturally serves established power. It cannot be otherwise. Considerations of veracity and accuracy simply don’t enter into it. Truth is whatever serves the structures of power, privilege and patronage which define the British state.

Ruth Davidson is a tool. She has been coldly utilised by her superiors in the British Tory party. She has been professionally exploited by the British media. When her usefulness is at an end – which may be far sooner than she would like – Davidson will be discarded like a snottery hanky.

But waste no pity on the wretch. She chose the role of puppet. As a British Nationalist, she is content to sacrifice her dignity for the greater glory of the British state. She could have chosen differently. She could have chosen to serve the people of Scotland. She could have chosen to serve democracy. She didn’t. Hell mend her!


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