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McLeish Unleashed


When devolution was first given legs by the combined naivety of Tony Blair and Donald Dewar, it was (from their perspective) only meant to be a regional arm of the UK government – dealing with local issues such as schools, hospitals and roads. But what started out as a Dr Henry Jekyll has, within the space of a little over 20 years, morphed into an Edward Hyde. Scottish devolution is now a direct challenge to the authority and integrity of the British state, and it is a situation that will need to be dealt with sooner rather than later.

Not content with getting a stab at dismembering the United Kingdom back in 2014 (at the behest of a compliant Prime Minister) in which the separatists got to set the question, the timing and the franchise; their efforts since their decisive loss have been to ensure the illusion of Scotland as a separate country. That was why they made such capital out of their ludicrous argument that ‘Scotland was being dragged out of the EU against its will’; why their approach to the COVID-19 pandemic is rooted in divergence from London (despite being blessed with an extra £10.7 billion from Westminster to keep food on the table for non-essential Scottish workers); and why they wish to convey the impression of Scotland as a colonial possession of an imperial Britain.

However, it was – and is – Brexit that has afforded them the opportunity to write propaganda of McCartheyite proportions. What’s worse is that politicians formerly outside the nationalist tent have now decided to join forces with them in an effort to scupper not only the potential success, but the very constitutional viability of a post-Brexit UK. One of the worst offenders in this regard is erstwhile Labour First Minister, Henry McLeish.

His latest suggestion, published in the Nasties’ very own version of Der Stürmer, is for the Scottish government to by-pass London and simply negotiate as separate legal entity to the rest of the country. It is not the practicability of this that need worry us. It’s legal and constitutional hokum. But what is shows is the extent to which many in the Scottish ruling and chattering classes feel they can maximise dissent, division and dissatisfaction in order to ratchet up their separatist cause. I know one thing: I haven’t campaigned for 28 years to extricate this country from the clutches of Brussels only for it to be mutilated at the hands of incorrigible separatists. Boris! This is one area where you really need to get a grip.