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Ruth Wishart: Honestly, would you trust Boris Johnson to support you?



YOU may not have received the Network movie. Let me summarize. A TV reporter finally cracks, opens the studio window and shouts: “I’m crazy as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.” Reader, this morning I am with him. Shovel.

Let’s be clear; it is not an invitation to “sow division”, nor an injunction to “lose the heid”. This is a wake-up call to all supporters of independence, whatever their conviction, to recognize the scale of the new threats we are facing and the absolute urgency to combat them.

Many people of my generation fought long and hard even for the proposed shilpit assembly in 1979. We welcomed the arrival of a real parliament in 1999, albeit with limited powers. What is now happening on the track like a runaway train is a naked attempt to turn this parliament into the parish council that many would always have preferred it to be.

Next May, and the Scottish elections are eight months away. The Home Market Bill – a catch-all to go beyond Holyrood’s existing powers while threatening peace in Ireland and, at no extra cost, tearing up a treaty signed on our behalf – will return to Westminster today. The wolves are not at the door, they are in the kitchen.

Also tomorrow, an amendment is due to be tabled by the SNP to try to prevent second reading of this bill, which has achieved the remarkable feat of having two former prime ministers – one Tory, one Labor – jointly write to each other. to complain that “cavalier bombast” has replaced reasoned judgment. The top legal official has resigned, unlike the risky attorney general and former Vote Leave activist, who became QC two minutes before her appointment.

Does anyone really think that a government has become so dishonest that it tried to illegally shut down Parliament? who erased the highest rank of the public service; boasting of having broken the law of the land and having a majority of 80 seats, is he going to be scared by an amendment tabled by a party he totally despises? Dream. We must fight fire with fire. So far the Scottish government has resisted calls to test its own ability to hold an independence referendum in court.

It was left to Martin Keating’s crowd-funded efforts to try to establish whether or not a Section 30 order was necessary – efforts described by leading Scottish justice officials as “premature, academic and hypothetical ”. Well, they’re definitely not one of the above just yet.

THIS is a time to put all hands available at the pump. We have a wealth of legal and constitutional talent at our disposal in Holyrood and Westminster. They must make common cause, put aside all perceived personal or historical rivalries and formulate joint strategies.

It’s too important for playground policy. It is also too important for a pushback that only involves politicians – there is an army of devotees and, believe me, some of them are beyond impatience.

I’m not talking about Headbangers United, the Amalgamated Union of Conspiracy Theorists or the Permanent Angry Brigade. I am referring to people who understand that “stability as you go” will not solve the problem when what FM itself has described as “a bunch of incompetent cankers” is determined to demolish decentralization, let alone to facilitate independence. Of course, it’s wonderful to have serial polls showing around 55% in favor of self-determination – but arguably less if there is no longer a legislature to pursue it.

READ MORE: George Kerevan: What Boris Johnson’s flashback to the EU means for indyref2

Ditto for the gentle and gentle campaign to bring voters No to Yes, while ensuring that no Scots of equine persuasion become unduly alarmed. These tactics are great when we have months or years to carefully build the logic behind our case. Right now, in the face of the greatest threat to our Parliament and our future that we have ever faced, we need to rethink all of this. No need to promise a new Earth if it has been burnt beyond redemption.

In an ideal world, as people have argued, we might hope that next May there will be a majority in Parliament for independence. But this world is not far from ideal and, next May, there will perhaps no longer be a Parliament with two powers to rub shoulders. The threats against him have been well repeated over the past scorching days.

They go way beyond finding your M&S haggis covered with a Union Flag. Much more serious is what can be in the food you eat, or the extent to which animal welfare standards are being abandoned.

This is a UK government, we learned yesterday, whose last wheezing is to pull out of human rights law to help it return desperate asylum seekers.

If that’s the value he places on human life, don’t hope for our four-legged friends.

Meanwhile, future economic and infrastructural priorities would be decided at Westminster itself, perhaps primarily, in areas which under Scottish law would be the prerogative of Holyrood. We have already seen the lordship style of government practiced in the Brexit negotiations from which we were excluded, and a Joint Ministerial Council that has proven unwelcoming to Scottish ministers.

We have other absolutely pressing concerns, I understand that. We are facing a pandemic that could spiral out of control again any day. We have a climate change crisis that, as California is now demonstrating, could ultimately push millions of people away from their home countries.

Yet ask yourself. Faced with these two terrors, who would you trust to support you? Do you want to face these dangers with the reins held by Johnson, Gove and Hancock, or do you want to make sure a Scottish government makes Scottish decisions?

If the latter is your choice, we will need more than an app to protect our nation.

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