There’s the vast majority of UK politicians I just detest, the small minority (no more than 25-30) that I like or admire, and then there are The Illusionists.
Among the illusionists (and you all know who you are) there are the Bible-thumping nitwits (May), the ideologues (Harman, Phillips, Corbyn, McDonnell, Cable, Swinson, Lammy, Clarke, Green), the pragmatic nasties (Hunt, Hammond, Cameron and Gove). In a Group of his own with May is the roguish illusionist Johnson. He is roguish solely in that he doesn’t just manage to depict things that aren’t there before making them disappear, he also gives off the stunning illusion of being just like us, viz: a straight-talking Honest BoJo and rather lovable really.
Then there are the whining cynics like Yvette Cooper. The one MP in the Commons who’s illusions are even more cynical than hers (in that he knows they’re a cheap trick, whereas Mrs Balls is not always sure) is Ian Blackford, the SNP’s Westminster leader.
I choose this picture of him, because it’s his signature facial expression while speaking. You can almost hear the sound of “Oooooooooor” being emitted. For it is Mr Blackford’s firm conviction that everything good in Blighty is Scottish.
“Thas oyerrrl is oooooooors, an’ weeeer sack of haven the Anglish take away oooooor haritadge, rooooolan ovva azz and noooo denyan the Scorrrtash peepol their right ti remain in tha Yorropeeen Yoonyon. Scorrtland votted oooorwhalmingly to stay an tha Eooyoooo an’ we dimand worts ooooors [etc etc etc]”.
Ian’s greatest illusion is his léger de main when it comes to being the leader of the majority Scottish Independence Party by seats that is and remains unable to get a majority of Scots to, um, vote for independence, as it were and so to speak.
Almost as dishonest is his contention that he speaks for seats that generally have one thing in common: they are small, largely on account of not that many people wanting to live in Scotland. Blackford’s Party won 56 seats in 2017 based on 4.7% of the votes. In the context of UK representational democracy, that is a ludicrously high share of the seats in the Westminster Parliament: the LibDems two years ago polled 7.9%, and got just 8 seats.
So you’d think Blackadder might be a wee bit more appreciative of the amount of coverage he gets compared to Jo Swinson – especially when one factors in the fact that the Scots have their own Parliament as well where the Sassenachs don’t, er, get any seats at all.
But not a bit of it: Ooooor Eeeen is a skilled conjuror when it comes to the subject of the democracy thing….especially regarding the question of who has the best public seal of approval. Ian Blackford is a performing seal for the delectation of the public, but that’s something entirely different.
In The Scotsman yesterday, he said a No Deal Brexit “would trample on democracy”. I’m not going to go over the same trampled ground again beyond repeating the obvious: 52% beats 48%. Inability to recognise that, Ian, is defaecating on democracy.
This is what the Rotund One told The Times on Monday this week (my red highlights):
“We need to reflect on the fact that Boris Johnson has become prime minister on the votes of Conservative members of parliament,” Mr Blackford said. “He doesn’t have a mandate from the voters and at no point was the proposition put forward that we would be leaving the European Union on a no-deal basis.
“He needs to be stopped and I’m appealing to parliamentarians this week to recognise the responsibility collectively that we’ve all got that when we get back to parliament next week, we have to move fast. We are up against a government that are prepared to crash the bus and they must be stopped.”
The above is a delightful example of the illusionist’s art, but it is painfully easy to deconstruct.
- Johnson was not elected Party leader by MPs alone: he was also elected by some 56,000 Conservative Party members. Blackford knows this perfectly well. But as the old adage has it, Any Lie Will Do.
- According to the YouGov Research Organisation, Boris Johnson is and has been the most popular Tory politician in Britain for some time. Opinium research showed that, during the leadership election, he had the support of over two-thirds of Tory voters.
- That does not of course make him a real Prime Minister: although Blackford’s motives are steered by other interests, mine is merely for approval to be recognised by a majority of voters. Once again, 52% beats 48% in a majority democratic system. But according to a YouGov poll for The Sunday Times, Mr Johnson’s Conservative party has 33% of voting intentions, while Corbyn Labour has just 21%. Under Corbyn, Labour is unelectable as a majority Party: views on BoJo are as always mixed, but he enjoys far more public approval than Jeremy of Nazareth.
- Ian’s ‘at no point’ thing on No Deal during the Referendum simply doesn’t hold water. All Parties in 2016 assumed No Deal as a default position – indeed, the SNP used that at the time as a scare factor. After the referendum and the coronation of Theresa May, 80% of MPs voted for No Deal as the default option.
- The call-to-arms of being “up against a Government prepared to crash the bus” is just another analogical expectation based on nothing: Project Fear at its worst, devoid of supporting data and – on every occasion when challenged – proven to be, funnily enough, an illusion.
What one doesn’t hear often about Ian Blackford is that he is a banker. He worked as an analyst with NatWest Securities, before winding up at Deutsche Bank in 1999. Blackford ran Deutsche Bank’s equity operations in Scotland and the Netherlands.
SNP Westminster leader or not, Blackford is a globalist. He wants Scotland to be “independent” but in the biggest, most federalist anti-democratic trading bloc he can find.
He doesn’t care a fig for the UK. He is just another financialiser, manufacturing bollocks in order to stop a democratically elected Brexit.