Where are the Praetorian Guard When You Need Them? 123

Here is Boris Johnson writing on devolution in 2001:

OCH aye, it’s the New Jerusalem! It’s a land of milk and honey they’re building up there in Scotland, laddie. They’ll nae be doing with your horrid Anglo-Saxon d e v i l-t a k e-t h e-h i n d m o s t approach. No, they’re just more socialist than us sour-mouthed Sassenachs.

They want to spend on the puir wee students, provided, of course, that they are poor wee Scottish students, not English ones. They want to shame the tightwads in the Treasury by spending on the puir wee Scottish teachers – in fact, they’ve given them a pay rise of 21.5 per cent over the next three years, far more than the English teachers are getting. And now, just to show how much generally nicer they are than the English, they have decided to spend, spend, spend on the puir wee old folks who need someone to help them open a can of beans.

In the teeth of opposition from the Treasury of what is still laughably called the United Kingdom, the Scots have decided to pay for free personal care for the elderly. Yes, that means all of us, folks. Even if we have assets of more than £16,000, we will be entitled not just to free nursing care – changing our dressings, putting our drips in – but to everything connoted by “personal care”.

If we are so lucky as to live in Scotland, it won’t matter that we could well afford to pay for someone to run our baths, or tie our shoes. There’ll be none of that business about reaching for our own wallets. Not in Scotland, Jimmy.

The BBC have been in overdrive spinning away that Boris is actually a great fan of devolution, and we should all apparently understand that naturally he says entirely different things to different audiences. In fact there is no shortage of evidence that Boris Johnson’s expressed view that devolution is a “disaster” is his genuine view. His premiership so far has all been about the extreme centralisation of power not just in Whitehall but in No. 10, of which more later.

The latest Tory ploy to claw back powers from Holyrood to Whitehall has been the Internal Market Bill. It is more notorious for openly and declaredly breaching international law, but the seizure of regulatory authority by (let us be blunt) England across a broad range of economic activity is just as significant. The Tory response has been, aided by a complicit media, simply to deny that what is happening, is happening.

But Boris’ declaration of war on devolution makes that approach more difficult. It also queers the pitch for the Gove strategy to head off Independence by false promises of more powers for Holyrood. This was done famously with “The Vow”, which promised Scotland the strongest federal parliament in the world. Referendum over, the opposite happened. All the signs are that the people of Scotland already are not stupid enough to fall for that trick again, but Boris has made it impossible for the unionists to even try.

If the Tories offer Maxi Maxi Devo-Maxi Maxi Max again, who will now believe them?

I am strongly of the view devolution has run its course. Undoubtedly it brought great benefits to Scotland. Free personal care for the elderly, no university tuition fees, free prescriptions. It also strengthened the sense of national identity and faith in Scottish competence in self-government.

But after a time, the cumulative effect of Tory austerity and spending cuts over years and years erodes services beyond the ability of even the most competent devolved administration to mitigate them. You then fall into the devolution trap, where you become the body that imposes the cuts, and takes the blame for falling standards, which are caused by the Treasury in London. The time comes when gradualism has achieved all that gradualism can, and it is time to break free from the devolution chrysalis and spread the wings of Independence. That time is now.

In his talk to the Northern Tory MP’s, Johnson called them his “Praetorian Guard”. That chimes with me, because I had been fretting about my inability to write anything useful about developments in Westminster politics. These defy ordinary political analysis, and bear more relation to the account of the courts of Roman emperors by Tacitus than anything that ought to happen in a modern western democracy. There were no great questions of public policy that led Lee Cain and Dominic Cummings to resign. There are vital decisions pending on a basic deal with the EU, but that was not the dispute – in fact nobody in No 10 seems to care about that one way or the other. What the great spat was about, was dinner party jostling for personal advantage among people with names like Allegra, Dominic, Carrie and Dido. Various individuals were “in tears” or “felt disrespected”. The good of the people who are being governed features nowhere at all in the insider accounts of what is happening at the top of the UK government.

It is understandable why Johnson thinks of himself as a Roman Emperor; he governs like Nero. The National Audit Office report yesterday listed £10.5 billion worth of contracts for NHS supply awarded without any proper tender. Many of these were to firms with no history of supplying medical equipment, chosen by the personal influence of MPs and Ministers. It is unsurprising there is so much personal jostling for influence, and the Civil Service has been effectively and deliberately barred from its customary role in decision making, when self-enrichment by corruption has become the primary aim of Westminster politicians.

Boris Johnson appears to have forgotten that the most common death met by Roman Emperors was murder by the Praetorian Guard. I could think of five such Imperial deaths – Wikipedia lists 13! Now where are the Praetorian Guard when you really need them?


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123 thoughts on “Where are the Praetorian Guard When You Need Them?

1 2
  • Ron Soak

    People flouncing off because they feel offended in this day and age? Quelle surprise! I’m shocked I tell, shocked!

    Although, given the incompetence of those involved in and with this administration – hands up all those who seriously anticipate an effective Covid-19 vaccination roll out with this lot running the circus; they’ll probably issue the contract to the local under fives playgroup – it is of little surprise they cannot keep up with the zeitgeist.

    Do they not understand the contemporary way to deal with the bruised ego of their identity is via the hue and cry of the twitter mob? Accusing anyone who disagrees with them of hate crime and Domenic or Lee phobia!

    The quicker the majority of people on these islands declare independence from Westminster and the “Sovereignty of (its) Parliament” the quicker we can achieve some semblance of competency in our affairs.

    • N_

      @Ron – By what standard do you judge “those involved with this administration” (whatever that means) to be incompetent? Have their backers and owners lost money on them? Have they taken things along a road that doesn’t lead to a mega-cull? Surely you’re not judging them on how well they’ve served the people?

      • Ron Soak

        Couldn’t possibly comment N.

        Not when you look at these statistics (which, besides saying all of which needs to be said, suggests stocking up on brown trousers as Brexit approaches):


        When the largess of printed out of thin air money being thrown at the rich is not even backed up by a functioning economy (despite the cross subsidy of Scottish resources used as collateral) having lots of something with little, if any, intrinsic value hardly merits a description of success.

  • Father O'Blivion

    Johnson will be gone after the end of the transition period and before the Holyrood (and Senedd) elections.
    Scottish polling conducted by Theresa May’s former pollster (field work 17 – 21st Sept) is quite targeted.
    Q: Boris Johnson is not the leader I want for my country. Response: disagree 8%, strongly disagree 3%, strongly agree 59%, agree 20%. Excluding don’t knows 88% agree / 12% disagree.
    But who commissioned a Tory pollster to ask such a pointed question? This remains a mystery.
    Narrative supplied by the polling company to journalists stated that Scottish focus groups “utterly loathe” Johnson.
    Ground work is being prepared for a Tory coup d’etat. The only obvious beneficiary would be Sunak (Gove is way too toxic).

    • N_

      A Sunak coronation by the ’22 Committee wouldn’t go down well with the constituency chairman. But he may know a good place to take the state’s begging bowl when the economy crashes. Then at least Heathrow might stay unsequestered, for example. I hear he’s interested in tran$port. Is he friends with the crown prince? Any links with Sunny Varkey?

      Gove will remain in a strong position even if not electorate-facing. Gove is kinda like Jack Straw.

  • Jay

    A typical piece of Bozo-Telegraph tripe. Painfully unfunny and bigoted. The kind of stuff that used to make Lord Tebbit’s wintry face crease into a smile.

    • N_

      Most of Johnson’s “humour” is braying contempt at those who aren’t from the same privileged English background as him. He’s a racist yob.

  • Tom74

    “What the great spat was about, was dinner party jostling for personal advantage among people with names like Allegra, Dominic, Carrie and Dido.”

    We don’t know that, do we? That is only the media narrative. Someone with the kind of connections of Dominic Cummings, who was, after all, allowed to run a major business in Yeltsin’s Russia, isn’t going to get turfed out on the whim of the PM’s wife.

  • Father O'Blivion

    Knight of the Realm, Starmer has just PERMANENTLY withdrawn the whip from Corbyn. Jeez, one recent poll had Scottish Labour at 13% (Holyrood, Regional lists). Just how low can Scottish Labour go if this results in a split?
    From a cynical, political perspective it’s understandable that Blairite, Starmer in thrall to the Zionist lobby would want to “clear house” well before a “big election”, but to Starmer, “big election” translates to Westminster 2024. I doubt Holyrood / Cardiff 2021 featured in his calculations for a nanosecond.

    • Johny Conspiranoid

      Labour is going the way of the LibDems with all this regaining trust. Regaining who’s trust?

      Anyway, post independence you might borrow money from the IMF, in which case you become the body that imposes the cuts, and takes the blame for falling standards, which are caused by the IMF and their masters the US elite, thus cutting out the middle man.

  • dpg

    I appear unusually, to be early in the comments thread. My facebook point was that Boris revealed his extreme prejudice and antipathy to social democracy, But he is not far off the moment when his Brexit petard will hoist his podgy frame. Monbiot,of the guardian ,rather portentously, among others predicts food chaos especially fresh food, when the borders become gigantic lorry parks. Three days of hunger is all that separates cultivated and civilised citizens from the ravening revolutionary beasts intent on blood on the streets. .For some time now I have felt(for what that is worth) a growing widespread unease at the court of Tsar Boris , his Rasputin and courtly shrew(d) concubines, Allegra and Carrie. It has the unmistakeable whiff of delusion, fancy, fragile egos and intrigue, that so resonates with the end days of the Russian royals or for that matter, the end of the French Royalty., or indeed the end of Charles the 1st(How ironic that there may be a Charles the Third by then.
    The other point is that devolution has provided a flavour of democracy and the Scottish electorate is clearly wanting more of that sweet sensation of self-determination. A legal referendum is not available until January ’22 at the earliest but as the UK government weakens, and descends ever more deeply into overt corruption, cronyism , common incompetence and the sight of rats in a sack, the pressure for a response will build. I can’t see these levels of discontent being appeased by a call to moderation and ‘wait another year’ by the flaccid pusillanimous posturings of the likes of Blackford and Sturgeon. Key moments ahead are the 3 months after full brexit, when the extent of brexit immiseration becomes apparent, and the Holyrood election in May when the expression of discontent with WM will reach a crescendo. To add to the sense of catastrophe we have the overarching growing acceptance of a climate crisis, and the more and more strident calls for urgent remedial action, brought to an interesting point of focus by COPS 21(in June I think). Extinction Rebellion – any plans – Clark?

  • J Galt

    Well if Boris does not deliver a suitably hard brexit on the promise of which the said “Praetorians” were elected, he could soon find himself receiving a Gladius up the jacksy.

    • PeeMer

      Unfortunately, as much as I dislike Johnson, the possible alternatives in the Tory Party are either as bad as him or worse. They will all either come from the “sunny uplands” wing of Brexiteer mythology or the “easiest trade deal in history” wing! Any chaos will then be blamed on Johnson. It will be said that there was nothing wrong with Brexit, it was just Johnson’s incompetence, more or less the same argument used by Brexiteers to rubbish Theresa May. Still I won’t spare too many tears for Johnson, he will be off back home to the land of his birth where he will be well-rewarded on the seminar and celebrity dinner circuit.

      • SA

        “There is nothing wrong with Brexit”. Except it has taken 4 years to actually not have any solid plans for it. You couldn’t run a kindergarten the way the Tories have run this Brexit thing.

  • Dungroanin

    I feel the narratives are being forged for Bozo the clown to take the prat fall and go and enjoy his billionaire lifestyle with his Eton/Bullingdon chums having delivered the hard BrexShit that was always planA.

    Cameron/ Osborne & Clegg went to do just that after delivering their parts in the Pathocracy.
    As did Blair and co before them.

    It was what May/Davies who failed to do their bit in letting the clock run down on A50 which would have laid the blame on the EU 2 year limit to reach a deal.
    While May sat in the room ready to accept that ‘no deal’ the wily mutti had a corridor meeting with the other 20 odd and offered the extension that May couldn’t refuse!
    The praetorians did for her failure and sent her back to the benches in tears of self pity for not getting her ‘Seat at the table’ and billionaires retirement.

    When the shit hits the fan post Hard BrexShit- not a peep out of Starmer, who made his whole political celebrity out of stopping it whilst destroying a lot of Labour votes – Bozo will be pantomime villain like ‘praetorianed’ and a National emergency requiring a gnu could be installed under squeaky ‘clean skin AS free, Corbynite socialism free, membership hating, Starmer. With all the ‘centrists’ – who, along with the neoliberal coup following our own 12 months ago

    This will be sold to the public as poor Bozo he tries his best but what could he do with all these family sink drama queens who failed him cover.

    The new centrists will not see any need for an election and Scotland will see no need for a referendum as Nicola will no doubt be in the gnu and they will happily join in with boots on the ground and heroes in body bags coming back from all around the world, fighting against the ‘new Axis’ – guess who? After all there are bases and ‘Allied nations’ all around Eurasia now with various fermented casus belli. Not forgetting Venezuela and Africa.

    As the Old declining Empire tries to retain power and wealth extraction from the world & Scotland – I see no way forward except a mass grass roots rebellion and General Strike and a new Jarrow March.

  • N_

    “Declaration of war on devolution”? Nuts! Agreed about the Roman emperor bit, though. Johnson wants to be like Augustus and has said so. I’m guessing he was in Pop at Eton. The big thing now in British high politics isn’t Scotland. Nor is there any division over the coming mega-cull. Nudges are being given to spread the idea that people younger than 65 are at major risk. But that’s nothing compared to what will come during the “vaccine” stage of fascism. Starmer is well on-side, and Jeremy Corbyn has been chucked onto the pavement, just to a different stretch of it from where Piers is.

    If there’s a division, it’s over the defence review. (Dunno whether you saw reports on China’s use of microwave weapons against India. We may hear more about that.) The Torygraph have said openly that Cummings pissed off weapons interests. Strangely Cummings doesn’t actually appear to have left his job. (This point seems lost on all the journo-morons who fell for his “cardboard box” manoeuvre, which even David Davis fell for.)

    I don’t yet buy into the idea that Cummings will replace Johnson with Sunak. Sunak is connected to big Indian capital, so it’s possible that investment will be made (or will continue to be made) to get him into Number 10, and the FCO and SIS will consider him “one of the clever w**s we want on our side” because of Winchester. And obviously billionaire “investors” – who may be from almost anywhere – will feature publicly as “helpers of the state” when famine hits and the banking system collapses. (Cf. Ireland when the property market went kaput, although what’s in the pipeline will be on a much larger scale than that.)

    Personally I’m keeping an eye on Gove, a reading of whose book “Fahrenheit 7/7” (what an original title) suggests he is a Zionist asset. Whatever, Gove is a really big b*stard, and the Cummings-Gove partnership is probably stronger than Cummings-Johnson. I don’t envisage Gove falling in the next few months, although Johnson may.

  • Gav

    “… governs like Nero”. Or maybe Caligula, who is said to have made his horse a consul. But that was just the one horse. Mr Johnson has managed to appoint a whole herd of donkeys (or maybe asses).

  • Crispa

    I understand under what is popularly known as Frank’s Law, following a campaign by the family of ex-footballer Frank Kopel, who died from early onset dementia, that free personal care has been extended to the under 65s also since 2019. Another feather in Scotland’s cap.

  • Gordon

    Only a socialist could claim that a region of a country that gets the highest subsidy from central government is the victim of Tory spending cuts especially now when deficit spending is running out of control due to the covid fraud. Scotland enjoys a very large benefit from England and has never once even acknowledged it.

    • Cubby


      1. Scotland is not a region of any country.
      2. Scotland does not enjoy any financial benefit from England. It is the reverse and England rather than acknowledging it, does what you do and promotes a lie.
      3. Westminster had run up a massive UK debt before covid. It is now larger.
  • Mart

    As we know from its prosecution of Mark Hirst, the Crown is willing to discard any reasonable interpretation of the writings of those whom it perceives as its enemies in order to find “menacing” statements. Your last paragraph has me worried, Mr Murray.

    • Cynicus

      “ Your last paragraph has me worried, Mr Murray.”
      Don’t be deceived by the sheep’s clothing. The Wolffe of COPS lacks an ovine brain.

  • mark golding

    ‘Spinning’ is of course the BBC’s modus operandi or ‘rule of thumb’ as directed by the Cabinet Office. It is important to remember Craig Murray’s quote which I repeat here:

    “This video of Robert Stuart is a must see. Let me pin my colours to the mast and say that I am absolutely convinced that the BBC did deliberately and knowingly fake evidence of chemical attacks.”

  • Squeeth

    “These defy ordinary political analysis, and bear more relation to the account of the courts of Roman emperors by Tacitus than anything that ought to happen in a modern western democracy.”

    Britain isn’t a democracy. QED

  • Cubby

    A very good article Craig. You could have also added to your list of the benefits of devolution to Scotland – free nursery care for infants. This does make a difference for many families.

    How much better would things be if we actually had access to ALL our revenues and not just the amounts Westminster deems to allow to go back to where they came from – Scotland.

    Just how much better Scotland could have managed the pandemic as an Independent country we will, sadly, never know.

  • James Cook

    “It is unsurprising there is so much personal jostling for influence, and the Civil Service has been effectively and deliberately barred from its customary role in decision making, when self-enrichment by corruption has become the primary aim of Westminster politicians.”

    When one is having trouble ensuring loyalty thru group self interest, self-interest through individual corruption will shore up the support.

    Ultimately, it is a poisoned chalice though as it will encourage a usurper or spiral out of control as everyone fills their pockets now over actually governing for a secure future for all.

    Historically, Praetorian’s saw this because of their close proximity to the power/corruption and ultimately acted (but none of the replacements ended well) and the Praetorian’s ultimately became their own power-base.

    We all know how Rome slowly dissolved.

    Perhaps western humanity needs another dark age were we lose the intellectual technology required to heat our home or ensure we have running water?

    • Squeeth

      The (Western) Roman Empire went down the drain because Roman economic power set off a consolidation among the Germanic peoples into a smaller number of larger political units, the Sassanians reunified the Middle East, forcing the Romans to expand the army and move more of it to the east end and because the roughly generational period of instability within the boss class coincided with the pressures from outside the empire. The west end went more with a bang than a whimper.

  • Goose

    Starmer, quite laughably, claiming he’s the man to save the Union.

    Starmer, a vindictive individual who refuses to restore the whip to Corbyn, despite the previous leader being cleared by the party’s NEC. Corbyn, the man who gave Starmer a second chance in his shadow cabinet after he was part of the coordinated resignations in the so-called crap coup of 2016. Starmer is in effect giving Corbyn up Corbyn as a sacrificial offering to the fanatical Zionists who don’t even vote Labour -polling shows few do, if any. Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of members may resign in protest at Corbyn’s groundless treatment. Try winning without those, including those in Scotland.

    • mark golding

      Labour members who support Jeremy Corbyn, a principled man, should not resign. Time is better spent formulating policies and tactics that put an end to the politicisation of British institutions, a corruption that has energised popularism where trust in politicians has decayed rampantly from a belief that they represent a corrupt elite rather than serving the hopes and prayers of ordinary folk left isolated without accord, collaboration or consonance.

      An example is this institutional politicisation is the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) increasingly subject to budget cuts and government breeding a pattern of silent acquiescence or submissiveness on behalf of the EHRC to government policy.

      The Trojan Horse Affair, the Met. discrimination within it’s ranks, the report on the British Labour Party and antisemitism all smell of a pattern of silent assent on behalf of the EHRC to the Establishments deceit. The EHRC’s 130-page report had confirmed the claims of Corbyn’s critics that on his watch the party had become “institutionally antisemitic”. In fact, the watchdog body reached no such conclusion. its report was far more ambiguous. And its findings deeply flawed, intentionally vague, glaringly inconsistent and were nowhere near as dramatic as the MSM (esp. Guardian) headlines suggested.

      Paradoxically, the equalities commission’s conclusions gave a similar impression to Jeremy’s statement that the scale of Labour’s antisemitism problem had been “dramatically overstated”.

      Rather than a ‘Bonfire of the quangos’ a major UK Establishment RESET is urgently needed certainly to protect free speech, this to include the flames of change directed towards the media, the Conservative Party and the still-dominant “Blairite” wing of Starmer’s Labour.

  • Feral Finster

    O please, why are we arguing about Johnson’s principles, for he has no principles at all other than himself.

    Indeed, I can make Johnson into a passionate fan of devolution, if not outright Scottish independence, overnight.

    Simple. Make Boris Johnson First Minister of Scotland. He’ll change his tune immediately, and never miss so much as a beat.

  • Republicofscotland

    The Vow, the McCrone Report, the 6000 miles of seas to incorporate oil wells, the dragging Scotland out of the EU, the coming Internal Market bill, Scotland has never been an equal in this unfit for purpose union. Johnson is now just openly saying what he and many others at Westminster have been thinking in private, the man lauded a poem about exterminating Scots that should’ve had Sturgeon running away from the union not towards it.

    Post the 31st of December Johnson will concentrate on rolling back devolution beginning with the Internal Market bill, which will lead to the Holyrood eventually being unable to govern properly, from there its all down hill. Some will say that if that happens more Scots will want independence, true I say, but with no way of defending ourselves, who’s to say Westminster won’t enforce it will on Scotland, something its already doing and has done for centuries. do people honestly believe that Westminster will allow one third the UK’s land mass and all its assets exit the union without putting up one hell of a fight to stop it?

    We have one shot at independence in my opinion and that is to double up next years elections as a plebiscite for independence, after that I believe our chance of becoming independent become slimmer by the month. Others will say that we don’t need to worry as the International community will come to our rescue to defend democracy, did they come to the Chagossian’s cry for help or the Catalonians cry for help, no they did not.

    This should be an eye opener as to which direction Westminster will take come next year if we’re still at the mercy of this horrendous union.


    • Father O'Blivion

      Westminster will almost certainly attempt to force its will on Scotland when it refuses a S30 order. It’s then up to us to take the initiative. Mass peaceful protests in Leipzig brought down the Stasi state. Mass peaceful protest in the Baltic states won international recognition of their independence.
      Refer to the Leipzig model, irregular mass protest in the mould of AUOB won’t cut the mustard, it must be weekly. We must force the drum beat.
      The Tories in Westminster may even do us a favour and deputise the Unionists thugs that populate the OO and RFC into a militia. Sadly, I fear skulls will require to be cracked on our side (not by our side) before we’re free of this intolerable “Union”.
      If my prediction of future developments is even vaguely accurate, what will be the role of the current SNP leadership? On the sidelines no doubt. Not to worry, the greater Yes movement was always the wave that these opportunist, carreerists surfed.

      • Republicofscotland

        Mass peaceful protests might have worked abroad, but I can’t recall mass peaceful protests in the UK amounting to much, no movement by Westminster on most. Westminster would be incredibly weakened by the departure of Scotland (see my link in previous comment above). I don’t share your enthusiasm that Westminster would suddenly say right lets remove our troops from Scotland and allow them to leave the union.

        They need our oil, gas, water, electricity, deep water ports for subs and nukes etc, there’s too many folk South of the border making a good living out Scotland in the union for them to let us leave it peacefully. I think we’ll need a powerful arbiter to get out of this union.

    • cubby


      As the cry to use the election in May 2021 to get a mandate for independence gets louder the Scotgov get their law passed giving them the right to postpone the election for 6 months if needed due to the virus.

      Only Blackford seems to be saying a referendum will take place next year.

      There has been a majority all year for independence in the polls – is the SNP just another British party masquerading as a party of independence?

  • Ian

    Well, I suppose you could have pointed out the infantile ravings by Johnson are predicated on a, surprise surprise, total ignorance of devolution. His pathetic premise today was that it is the same as the powers and function he had as mayor of London, a power he of course abused and exploited to the hilt anyway.
    But if you are casting about for topics to write on, I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the Civil Service. Far from a dinner party spat, the Cummings affair is about power in Westminster, who holds it, who deploys it and who is accountable for it. Cummings’ connections are worth far more scrutiny, as his attempt to stuff Whitehall full of his fellow conspirators. I would like to hear how you think in the shiny independent new Scotland we can have a Civil Service which works for all our. benefit, and isn’t subject to the cronyism and revolving door syndrome we have seen recently. How we guarantee that they aren’t subject to political interference and bias, and are fully professional. I don’t think the assumption that we just roll over what we already have is remotely close to being a good idea. How do we reimagine a new constitution and civil society? It won’t happen just by magic. Otherwise we just change bosses, and find the new boss is still the same as the old boss.

  • Goose

    The UK media scene is full of these Johnson/Tory apologists. It’s why we’re in a bigger mess than we would be otherwise, were we to have a genuinely independent, questioning media.
    It’s perfectly clear that Johnson was being critical of the very idea of devolution itself, otherwise why not single out the SNP specifically? We’re terribly ill-served by this Oxbridge establishment- London chumocracy derived media acting as spokespeople for their powerful friends. They act as one, chasing the same stories, promoting the same narratives; prioritising the same stuff and relegating other stories and avenues of investigation. As if controlled by a hive mind – as if answerable to one person almost.
    They clearly hate independence, and yet bizarrely, won’t investigate or unravel any internal SNP plotting against Salmond, that may or may not have occurred. Presumably for fear of uncovering the true extent of SNP infiltration by their own, those who wish to thwart independence?

    • zoot

      if the british elite genuinely feared nicola sturgeon that story would be the subject of screaming headlines and commentary all day every day. imagine if corbyn was credibly suspected of having conspired to fit blair up as a serial rapist and have him locked away….

      • Goose

        Truth in that, no doubt.

        Any leader the press leave in peace or rarely criticise, despite ample errors & baggage to go at ,should automatically be treated as highly suspect.

        As for Corbyn, a year ago Starmer was campaigning to make him PM. Now Starmer says he’s not even fit to sit as a Labour MP. How can members belong to such a party led by someone like Starmer?

          • Goose

            And he’ll be cheered by the press, because the tabloid proprietors and ultra wealthy London-based journos want two Tory parties. They not only think ‘no choice’ elections, where millions of voters are simply disenfranchised, are fine, they think that scenario is desirable.

          • Johny Conspiranoid

            At the next election you will have three tory parties to choose from.
            Philip Walton.

  • N_

    If there were any SNP members who didn’t have rabies, they would agree with Boris Johnson that devolution has been a disaster – for reasons that are obvious.

    They might even cite recent polls suggesting that a majority in Scotland oppose devolution! Because independence would mean the end of devolution. But since when did logic come into the inexorable march towards national destiny, upheld by a party of heroes whose hearts beat for freedom from foreign rule, and who’d never take a backhander, suspend jury trial, influence a law officer, or anything like that?

  • 6033624

    Johnson’s contempt for devolution and for Scotland and it’s people is well known by now and surprises me not at all. As a politician he seems unable to keep himself from saying exactly what every other government politician is thinking so at least I know where I come in his list of priorities – bottom.

    What DOES shock me is that he, in the article you quote, lists all the ways in which Scotland has been improved during devolution and yet sees these improvements as negative, he dislikes them and disagrees that they should have been put into effect. These policies benefit the people and THAT is what he dislikes.

    I was also surprised to read that even Sarah Smith is unable to stomach this and is now (seemingly) of the opinion that Johnson can’t deny us the referendum for much longer. She even mentioned the power grab in her latest BBC piece. When even she says this then the game’s up for the Tories.

  • djm

    So Craig

    You’re advocating the murder of the Prime Minister ?

    I would have thought you’d have enough on your plate without inviting Plod round for a little chat about your wrongthink

      • Merkin Scot

        At least he is not advocating votes for dead people a la 79
        Still an arsehole. However, we have seen Ms. Sturgeon suggest that postal voting is the way to go. Craig wrote about this re Blackburn many years ago. Betcha Ms. Sturgeon finds some way to ‘cancel: the election.

      • djm

        You might think/say that, I couldn’t possibly comment.

        But given Polis Scotlan’ have been known to seek prosecution of people who teach their pets tricks, you’re skating on thin ice.

  • amanfromMars

    Boris Johnson appears to have forgotten that the most common death met by Roman Emperors was murder by the Praetorian Guard. I could think of five such Imperial deaths – Wikipedia lists 13! Now where are the Praetorian Guard when you really need them?

    Out of the frying pan and into the fire, Craig? Someone is bound to suggest that last paragraph is tantamount to incitement to a violent act against BoJo. I don’t suppose you enjoy the questionable convenience of diplomatic immunity any longer, so are we to question the state of your mental health by way of an excuse for the common sense lapse of judgement? It has certainly been a fraught time for you recently by all accounts so admirably shared here.

    • bevin

      Craig is, quite obviously, calling for the 1922 Committee or its modern equivalent to act to replace Johnson.
      There is something very sinister about this outburst of literalism whereby, for example, Bannon’s calling for Fauci’s ‘head on a pike’ is held to be a threat to kill Trump’s medical advisor and Craig’s invocation of the example of the Praetorians is interpreted as menacing.
      The basis of any political society is a willingness not to misinterpret or to mischaracterise each others speech but to understand and respond to it.
      As to mental health what can be said of someone who suggests an ulterior motive in Craig’s perfectly sensible equation of BoJo’s behaviour with Nero’s?

      • amanfromMars

        Quite obviously, bevin, right up to the time whenever it is decided by others that it is not so obvious and an example needs to be made ……. in order to encourage all others not to rock the boat. The fact that you and/or I may very well know what is truly meant by such prose matters not a jot if a they choose to believe something different and much darker.

        If there are many ways to skin a cat …. doing it badly does have troubling questions being asked of one which one doesn’t really need the bother of answering and justifying, hence the post of November 18, 2020 at 17:41. We all know malice in some knows no bounds so why bother testing its limits, is all that was being said above. Nothing more, nothing less.

  • Maff

    I like the Welshian/Joycian/Walkerist use of lingo but here’s a word you aren’t using, “canny”. Thats used to be the very definition of Scottish pragmatism. Not sure it applies to a nation of 5 million, spread across the most inaccessible terrain in Europe, who won’t be in any trading bloc and won’t be (re)joining the EU any time soon, lacking a currency, with an oversized financial sector, North Sea oil as a distant memory, unrealistic expectations of social provision and (crucially) who will no longer be sucking on the English taxpayer’s teat.

    Good luck!

    • Cubby


      Happy for Scotland to keep all its revenues, its oil and gas and its electricity and its water.

      When your lights go out and you canny have a bath then just suck on your teat for comfort.

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