We live in interesting times, as the proverb says, politically speaking at least. The ‘United’ Kingdom’s lack of unity is being demonstrated once again and the whole beast now seems to be in the throes of a terminal case of dyspepsia.
For decades the right-leaning south of England got its way; it elected Margaret Thatcher, a puppet of the patriarchal hegemony, and the decline has gathered pace ever since. Even when a government calling itself ‘Labour’ and playing the socialist card was elected, under the repulsive Tony Blair, it was soon shown to be Tory Party Lite.
The result of decades of rightist government has been the almost complete abandonment of any controls on the behaviour of business and in turn the consequence of this has been a string of boom-bust cycles each worse than the previous. The most catastrophic came in 2008 and is still, seven years later, being paid for. Remember, that was a right-wing financial collapse brought about by right-wing economic policies.
The right’s response has been so-called ‘austerity’ – for certain parts of society. It is an absurd and deeply offensive policy that has seen soup-kitchens once again operating in the country and millions more people thrown into abject poverty – and all while the rich and their poodles in the right-wing parties continue to get richer.
There can never be an objection to managing budgets with care; yet that is specifically not what the current administration in the disUnited Kingdom is doing. Theirs is a ‘silk purse and no knickers’ policy that starves, dispossesses and disenfranchises the very poorest while ‘investing’ in completely unnecessary trinkets like a replacement for Trident – which will never, ever be used. It is exactly like the father who spends all his money on a new car and has not the wherewithal to feed and clothe his children. The ‘financial probity’ of the right is no more than the dietary awareness of pigs at their trough.
And for decades this continued, with the two major ‘UK’ parties vying with each other to be the more oppressive on the most oppressed.
Something has changed and the patriarchal hegemony of the English establishment do not like it. Oh no sirree they do not, and their horror is clear to see.
Last week a televised debate was held in which the leaders of seven ‘UK’ parties took part. These were the Tories, the Liberals, Labour, the SNP, Plaid Cymru, the Greens and UKIP. These parties were represented by three women and four men. What was interesting – and deeply satisfying – was that the four men had their collective backsides well and truly kicked by said three women, most especially by SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, whose approval rating was the highest amongst viewers – including the English, who cannot vote for her. After the broadcast a Twitter storm broke out that again confirmed this.
We have to admit to being proud that a Scottish woman did so well, but the fact is that we should all be glad that women were able to give a coterie of some of the nastiest products of a vile patriarchal hegemony such a hiding. It is, unreservedly, a very good thing and it is not before time. Furthermore, it is something the British State is determined to prevent, and that makes it all the more pleasant a turn of events.
Democracy itself, for the patriarchal hegemony, is an annoyance that it tolerates as long as it does not interfere with its ability to get on with running everything in its own interests. Even when women are allowed to ‘rise up’ it is because they have so successfully adopted the patriarchal model of behaviour that they are better at playing men than the men are. Margaret Thatcher would be a classic example of this, and one that makes us believe that ‘transgender’ should have a much wider meaning – were it not for the fact that the transgender people we know are all such thoroughly nice folks.
On top of this, within the disUnited Kingdom. ‘democracy’ has been tailored to ensure not only the preservation of the patriarchal hegemony, but also the continued primacy of the south-east of England over all other parts, and indeed the whole, of the disUnited Kingdom. As such, all the ‘major’ parties have concentrated their efforts there, which is one reason why Labour has abandoned all of its founding principles and become just another party of the right.
Yet now, there is a very real prospect that what the English like to call ‘the regions’ – but are in fact, at least in Scotland’s case, national partners – might actually be more important than the whim of the bloated and gluttonous south-east of England. Horrors! And how can this be?
In fact, the Tory and Labour parties have become so entrenched in their desire to please the voters of the Home Counties that they are indistinguishable – the Blue Tories and the Red Tories. Lacking any substantial differences, they have become irrelevant to most people and the result of this, as well as other demographic changes, has been that the old ‘first past the post’ system of ‘UK’ voting, which is expressly designed to ensure that a party lacking an overall majority of the vote may nevertheless command an unassailable majority in the House of Parliament, has broken down.
In the last General Election, the Tories were only able to form a government with the assistance of the Liberals, in order to achieve which, as we expected, the Liberals threw out whatever vestiges of principle they were still clinging on to. (One must not forget that the Liberals are actually the party of the landed gentry, once known as the Whigs. Political connivance has ever been their stock-in-trade.) The direct result of that opportunism – every cloud has a silver lining – looks likely to be the virtual eradication of the Liberals as a political force; yet the two major parties are unable to make up the ground and stalemate – in the form of a hung parliament – looms.
Enter the SNP, Plaid Cymru, and the Greens. In Scotland, the SNP looks set to hammer the Labour Party at the polls. If they do as predicted they will send a phalanx of perhaps 40 MPs to Westminster. They would therefore be cast as kingmakers, able to support one of the major parties so that it could form a stable government. However, the SNP has made its position clear: it will not support a Tory government, even if the Tories have more seats than Labour. That means that even if the English vote Tory, they might well still get Labour. Even more galling – for them – would be that because the SNP is significantly more progressive than the current version of the Labour Party, it would oblige Labour to implement socially-inclusive and egalitarian policies, and, perhaps, even put an end to the obscene profligacy of Trident’s replacement.
This has the mouthpieces of the English Establishment foaming. Scottish voters are not meant to count; only English, and particularly, southern English voters are. Scottish MPs are expected to do as the leaders of their London-based, English parties decide. That is why Winston Churchill described the Scottish MPs as ‘cannon-fodder’. They were makeweights and that is all; all they would ever be allowed to be too. While Scottish politicians have been from time to time honoured with positions of power by their London masters (notably in the Labour Party over the decades of the rise of the SNP – we wonder why) the corollary has always been that they must not rock the boat; London and the southeast rules and must always do so.
So the prospect, of a democratically elected force that does not obey the ‘London First’ rule having a pivotal role in governance, is deeply objectionable to – well, London and the southeast in general and to the Tories in particular. It’s quite all right for a minority Tory group to form a government with the acquiescence of the Liberals – but for shame! Decent humanitarian policies to be put in place because voters outside the southeast of England desire it? An end to the outright deceit of ‘austerity’ because other people see that it is only a way of making London richer at the expense of everyone else? That would never do.
Those very English politicians and pundits who only last year fought tooth and claw to prevent Scotland leaving the disUnion – thus depriving the British Exchequer of its assets – and who promised with tearful eyes how they would never again take Scotland for granted, how, if only Scotland would stay, they would be better people in the future and not lie, deceive and chisel at every opportunity, are now up on their hind legs baying for blood.
How dare the uppity Scots attempt to rise above their station? How dare Scotland influence how England shall be governed? How dare a woman (who is not one of those creatures who have already sold their souls and principles to the patriarchy for a place at its trough) presume to tell men how things should be run? (And this last in terms reflecting the outright misogyny of the writers, lest they should think we might not have noticed.)
Which leads us to reflect that these commentators might be well advised to consider that for decades, Scotland has had the will of English voters imposed upon it willy-nilly, and that women, an overall majority, have had to do as men decide, not for decades, but millennia. An impartial observer might think that what is sauce for the goose should also be sauce for the gander.
So in the disUnited Kingdom last week, momentous events took place. Three articulate, intelligent, educated women gave a public dressing-down to four of the most repellent examples of the privilege-assuming patriarchal hegemony that is ‘meant’ to run things; once again, the Scottish National Party, far from being crushed by the manoeuvring of London and its agents, has returned stronger, bigger and more powerful; and for perhaps the very first time, the southern English may have to recognise that democracy is a tool that does not exist to serve them alone.
It is all deeply gratifying and frankly, we can’t wait for more.