Hall of Fame Member
- Oct 9, 2004
RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: A failed state? How about Scotland under Wee Burney?By Richard Littlejohn for the Daily Mail
25 Jan 2021
Boris Johnson is reportedly flying to Scotland this week ‘to save the Union’. Why? It’s not as if he hasn’t anything better to do, apart from the small matters of dealing with a global pandemic and the economy going to hell in a handcart.
Yet the Prime Minister is about to drop everything to race north, panicked by the threat of a new wildcat independence referendum, with polls suggesting that this time a majority of Scots would vote to break away from the UK.
This isn’t the smack of firm leadership, it’s a feeble knee-jerk response to an opportunist smack on the backside from a two-bob Toytown Tartanista chancer.
Wee Burney told the BBC’s Andrew Marr on Sunday that following the SNP’s expected landslide victory in May’s local elections she intends to call another referendum, with or without Westminster’s permission.
There’s always the Catalan Model as a precedent, even though most people can’t tell the difference between a Catalan Model and a Matalan Model posing in cut-price knickers on an artificial beach in Dubai.
That’s if they don’t think a Catalan is a boat with two hulls. So, I repeat, why is Boris bothering to take the high road? An unscientific survey conducted by this column yesterday produced the decisive finding:
Boris Johnson is reportedly flying to Scotland this week 'to save the Union.' Why? It's not as if he hasn't anything better to do
What we want is another independence referendum, said absolutely nobody outside the ranks of swivel-eyed SNP supporters.
The people of Scotland, like everyone else in the UK, are first and foremost fixated on surviving Covid-19 and getting back to some semblance of normal life.
By banging on about independence yet again in the middle of a catastrophic health crisis, Sturgeon has only served to highlight her insular monomania.
Wee Burney is the John Cougar Mellencamp of British politics. She was born in a small town . . .
There’s not a single issue in life that this Lilliputian charlatan can’t refract through the prism of Scottish separatism.
Peter Cook and Dudley Moore once produced a spectacularly tasteless sketch in which the cause of every misfortune was put down to ‘cancer’. In Wee Burney World, the solution to every failure of her own dysfunctional, jumped-up parish council at Holyrood is: independence.
If in doubt, blame the English.
Failing schools: blame the English. Corona: blame the English. Celtic falling 23 points behind Rangers: blame that cheating Scouse Git Stevie Gerrard. Send him hame to think again!
Sturgeon never takes responsibility for her own failures. Far easier to point the finger at the wicked Westminster bogeyman.
In a brilliant commentary for this newspaper in November, Andrew Neil eviscerated the dismal record of the Nats. He highlighted the cynical fashion in which Holyrood has become a trebles-all-round job creation scheme for otherwise unemployable William Wallace wannabes.
Neil pointed to the shocking fall in educational standards north of the border — an area in which Scotland once proudly led the world.
The SNP’s stewardship of the NHS has been equally disastrous. Life expectancy in East Glasgow is shorter than in Djibouti and Mongolia. Even during the current Covid crisis, the SNP’s performance has been no better than elsewhere in the UK.
But Sturgeon has been allowed to pretend that she is handling the pandemic with far more assurance than Boris.
Part of this is down to the cult of personality which has been constructed around the First Minister, by a largely slavish domestic media and the support of a political class who owe their lucrative fealty to the myth of SNP competence and invincibility.
Sturgeon’s presentational ‘genius’ appears to amount to little more than listening in to the morning Cobra briefing in London and then announcing whatever has been decided before Boris can get to the cameras ahead of her.
Every lunchtime at midday — until I switched off in disgust — the BBC and the increasingly Left-wing Sky News Black Lives Matter Channel (under its new American management) beamed Wee Burney and Her Amazing Dancing Bear across the kingdom. TV producers are happy to roll out the red carpet for Sturgeon because she reinforces their own anti-Boris, anti-Brexit fanaticism.
She was at it again on Marr, using Burns Night to accuse the Prime Minister of being a ‘cowering, timorous beastie...’
Boris should have ignored her, instead of dancing to her tune, as usual, terrified of being the PM who ‘lost the Union’.
Gordon Brown is no better. He’s been disinterred since Sunday, warning that unless further concessions are made to the Scot Nats, the UK is over. Brown wrote: ‘The choice is now between a reformed state and a failed state.’
He could have said that if there’s one failed state out there, it’s Scotland under Wee Burney and the Nats. And if anybody failed to see that coming, it was Gordon and New Labour who thought devolution would shore up their hegemony north of the border — and by extension give them a guaranteed majority at Westminster.
Instead, first Alex Salmond and now Wee Burney have done up Labour like an Arbroath smokie.
Sorry, but it’s time Westminster stopped parking the bus and went on the offensive.
Boris should be reminding the Scots that it’s England’s money footing the bill for the largesse they enjoy and for which the SNP takes credit.
It’s the UK Government which took the gamble on the Oxford vaccine and approved the Pfizer jab currently being administered everywhere.
"Celtic are 23 points behind Rangers – blame the English"
He must turn the spotlight on Sturgeon and her husband, who run Scotland as their personal fiefdom.
They wouldn’t get away with it in London. Carrie may bend Boris’s ear over climate change, but she’s not chairman of the Conservative Party — unlike Burney’s old man, who is the SNP’s full-time chief executive.
By all accounts, it’s not all sweetness and light within the SNP, either. And not just because of the split between Alex Salmond and Sturgeon, who is accused of misleading the Edinburgh parliament over complaints against her former boss.
She’ll probably dodge the bullet. Demagogues generally do in one-party states. But there’s also simmering resentment between the Holyrood crowd and the SNP’s Westminster contingent, led by porky pub bore Ian Blackford, suspected of living high on the hog in London at taxpayers’ expense.
Everybody back to the cigar bar at Boisdale!
Word is that if Wee Burney fell under a bus tomorrow, there’s no natural successor and the whole shooting match could go belly up. So Boris would have been well advised to stay away for while and concentrate on the day job.
From all this, some of you may conclude that I couldn’t give a monkey’s if Scotland broke away from the UK. You couldn’t be more wrong. I’m a visceral believer in the Union.
I even tracked down the late Joel Barnett, the Labour politician who dreamed up the eponymous ‘Barnett Formula’ under which Scotland even today receives well over the odds from the Treasury — reckoned to be pushing an extra £2,000 in cash and other benefits for every man, woman and child north of the border.
Even though this generous discrepancy is a bone of contention, when anyone bothers to think about it, especially in England’s Northern Red Wall constituencies, I concluded that it was worth it.
The ties that bind matter. Only yesterday, we booked a hotel room in the Lake District for the wedding of the son of our best friends, proud Aberdonian Scots who live west of Glasgow. We met when they lived round the corner in North London.
We like the same music, we like the same bands. . . as Springsteen sings on one of my all-time favourite tracks, Bobby Jean. In fact, the last time I saw Springsteen live was at Hampden.
It didn’t occur to me that I was in a foreign country. I’m just as comfortable in Glasgow’s Horseshoe Bar as I am in London’s French House.
Unlike our ill-fated experiment at bonding with our European neighbours, we are one people — albeit with our own peculiarities. We have a shared history, shared values, and hopefully a shared destiny.
Look, as a hardline Brexiteer and a democrat, I couldn’t deny the Scots the right to self-determination.
Even though I fear that if you extended the vote on Scottish independence across the whole UK, the English would in a heartbeat wish the North British a fond farewell — glad to be well shot of whining Wee Burney and her gang of ingrates.
Still, let’s hope that never happens and the last two lines of Bobby Jean don’t come true.
And I’m just calling you one last time, not to change your mind,
But just to say I miss you, baby, Good luck, goodbye...
RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: Johnson is reportedly flying to Scotland this week 'to save the Union'. Why? It's not as if he hasn't anything better to do, apart from the dealing with a global pandemic.