OH, goodie – another referendum. They always go so well. Admittedly, most people reading this won’t get to vote, but Nicola Sturgeon’s call for a second independence referendum for Scotland is set to dominate politics for the next two years – just as the chaos from the Europe referendum comes to a slow boil.
Theresa May slapped down the first minister’s call for another referendum, summoning up that sense of chilled, contained fury that she does so well. As a vicar’s daughter, May should know all about motes and beams from the parable. Or at the very least, perhaps she is due at the opticians to squint at the chart (“B-R-E-X-I-T…”).
It is easy to see why May was so cross to have been ambushed by Sturgeon just as the Brexit vote was passed in the House of Commons, but her response was still telling.
“The tunnel vision that the SNP has shown today is deeply regrettable,” she said. May should know all about peering down tunnels, as her eyes sport panda-ring from too close attention to the one marked ‘Hard Brexit’.
“It sets Scotland on a course for more uncertainty and division, creating huge uncertainty,” she added – quite missing those motes and beams. Has there ever been a time when we have been more uncertain and divided – caused by a close referendum vote which has been hijacked as the “will of the people”?
The very accusation May levels at Sturgeon could so easily be laid at her own kitten-heeled feet.
The prime minister finished with a firm bit of knuckle-rapping – accusing Sturgeon of “playing politics” with the future of the country. “Politics is not a game,” she said with grim finality.
Oh, but it is, Theresa. And it’s one whose rules you know intimately; all the way down to the pretence that it’s not a game, that somehow you are above a game you played so adroitly you saw off all opponents in your own party and became prime minister in a blink and without any votes being involved.
So, refrigerated lectures from Theresa May should be taken for what they are – a bloody cheek. That said, I see her difficulty and personally wish we’d never got into this unfortunate habit of holding referendums.
The Europe one saw, what, 17 million vote ‘yes’ and 16 million vote ‘no’ – and now we have years of chaos and uncertainty without a clue if we are doing the right thing. Unless you are the Daily Express, which offers a ‘Hooray’ in its headline today marking MPs voting to trigger Brexit. That newspaper is so certain that everything is going swimmingly that it has already been forced by the Independent Press Standards Organisation to publish two corrections for pro-Brexit stories that were, to use the technical term, complete bollocks.
Over at the Daily Mail, another ringleader of the Brexit contingent, the headline is a putdown to Sturgeon: “Hands off our Brexit, Nicola.”
Dear God, we’ve got two more years of such depressing farago to come.