I suppose it’s too much to hope for, but I do wish we could stop referring to the present shenanigans as “Tory chaos” and recognise the fact that what is happening is a feature of British politics. Anybody who imagines things would be much different if seating arrangements in the House of Commons were altered is just plain naive.
Patel behaved as she did, not because she is a Tory, but because she is British. It was the British sense of entitlement which led her to act as she did, and suppose she would get away with it. It was the British sense of exceptionalism that bade her assume that the rules didn’t apply to her. It was British elitism that put her in that position in the first place.
None of this is unique to the Tories. Nor is there anything novel about the corruption which stems from this British entitlement, exceptionalism and elitism. That corruption is inherent in and a product of the structures of power, privilege and patronage which define the British state. It is as old as the the British state. And, like any corruption that isn’t cauterised, it grows and spreads.
Insider trading! Sex scandals! Foreign spies! Cash for honours! More sex scandals! More financial scandals! Nepotism! Political ineptitude! Cash for honours again! More financial impropriety! More foreign spies! And we’re only up to the 1950s! It gets worse after that. Remember these names and the scandals associated with them?
John Vassall. John Profumo. Joh Stonehouse. John Poulson. (What is it with these ‘Johns’?) Reginald Maudling. T Dan Smith. Harold Wilson and The Lavender List (Not a JK Rowling fantasy.) Jeremy Thorpe. (Baron) Joseph Kagan. Cecil Parkinson. Jeffrey Archer. Edwina Currie. David Mellor. Michael Mates. Jonathan Aitken. Neil Hamilton, Tim Smith and Mohamed Al-Fayed. Peter Mandelson (Twice!).
That takes us only as far as the turn of the century; at which point, things start to get really bad.
We are told that changing parties will solve all the problems precisely because it won’t change anything. The British state is corrupt by nature. All the British parties are mired in that corruption. Every British politician is tainted by it.
Scotland urgently needs to distance itself from this pit of putrescence. We need to bring our government home.
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