Tele column 7th December 2018

Take the House of Commons and add nine political parties of differing origin, four varieties of countries and a couple of matured outposts of the empire. Blend in the potential for an extension of Article 50, a possible vote of no confidence, a hint of a general election and tip in the UK Government’s reluctance to publish legal advice and then leave it all to one side to soak. Mix a revolving door of cabinet ministers with a pinch of duplicity and a teaspoon of deceit. Add a soupcon of ambition and a large dollop of arrogance. Now put it all together for 40 hours in the heat of debate then wrap it in media darlings and egotists and you won’t get a plan for Brexit because what you have is a recipe for disaster. The chefs have left in disgust, the kitchens on fire and the larder is empty. And if you think this article is getting a tad ridiculous then it is nothing as bad as the reality that is the House of Commons right now. In all seriousness we have had 896 days to negotiate a responsible exit from the European Union and the long and short of it is that we have not. From day one the devolved parliaments were ignored, entire nations that voted to remain were snubbed. Infighting in the Conservative and Unionist Party created a multi headed snake. Splits in the Labour Party created an internal atmosphere of mistrust leaving them ineffective as an opposition. And all the while the Democratic Unionist Party sold its votes until they actually meant something, at which point they reverted to type and withdrew their support. This is no way to run a country. You couldn’t run any competent organisation like that. What Brexit has done is show up the shortcomings and ineptness of Westminster. Left to its own devices historically it has muddled through and over the years damage limitation has been the order of the day. But now, that it has to stand up and be counted, now that it has to be shrewd and savvy, now that it has to negotiate and compromise, it has been left wanting. Wanting for leadership, cohesion, courage and even compassion. We can and we must do better than this if Scotland is going to thrive. We must acknowledge that the answers to Scotland’s future do not reside at Westminster.

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