Scotland does not need Tory approval for a referendum

We are getting to the crunch point of what my colleague and friend Michael Russell calls the “Brexit bourach”.

As we do, I admit to becoming utterly scunnered with Tory MPs and ministers seeking to justify all the costs and pain of Brexit by saying: “In my constituency, 60+% voted Leave and I am determined that Brexit will be delivered according to their wishes.”

You will not hear this, though, from any Tory MP representing a Scottish constituency.

As we know, every council area in every constituency in Scotland voted to remain. My scunneration (if that’s not a word it’s about time that it was!) derives from the fact that these same Tories, when confronted with the fact that people in Scotland voted by a large majority for Remain, immediately retort: “But no: it was a UK vote!”

If Tory MPs in the rest of the UK are right to vote and argue for what they seek to interpret as their constituencies’ “Brexit directive”, should their colleagues in Scotland not also be citing, arguing for and defending their constituents’ decision?

Instead, Scottish Tory MPs have taken a vow of silence on their constituencies’ support for Remain. Far from championing these views, they don’t even respect them.

For example, Ross Thomson MP. His enthusiastic embrace of his hero, Brexiteer Boris Johnson, when leaving a fringe meeting at the Tory Party conference, was so passionate that it earned him the nickname “the human limpet”. Where has he acknowledged the strong support for Remain among those who elected him?

Once again, we see voters elsewhere getting what they voted for, and voters in Scotland getting whatever the Tories tell them they will get.

The shunning of any inconvenient views in Scotland goes right to the top of the Tory party.

It is evident from the Prime Minister’s contemptuous dismissal of the democratically elected First Minister of Scotland as a participant in any leaders’ TV debate on Brexit.

It is exemplified by Theresa May’s scornful dismissal of the fact that the Brexit deal she is currently flogging like a dead horse around the country doesn’t even mention Scotland once!

Less remarked upon is the fact that such malign neglect provoked not even a whisper of concern from any Scottish Tory MP.

Further echoes of this disdain are demonstrated by Tory MPs like Luke Graham, singing the praises of Universal Credit in the teeth of the evident human misery.

We do not know if there will be a further Brexit referendum or indeed a general election. However, if there is the latter, it will be interesting to see how people in Scotland react to the contempt shown to them by the new generation of Tory MPs in Scotland.

What seems less open to conjecture, at least in my view, is the likely reaction of people in Scotland to a Tory response to the requirement for a new Section 30 agreement to facilitate a Scottish referendum on independence.