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Column: The Country Can’t Go On Like This


Categories: Column, News

A once proud and resolute institution turned burnt-out husk, brought low through neglect, inaction and bad luck. You’d be forgiven in thinking I refer to what remains of the once beautiful Langgarth House, the 1897 Victorian villa possessing now only half a roof, following a devastating fire at the beginning of April.

Whilst the destruction of yet more of Stirling’s incredible shared heritage is deeply regrettable and lamentable, the greater tragedy still at the present time is the rapidly diminishing fortunes of UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Brought in as the fourth Conservative Prime Minister since 2016, Sunak’s ascendency intended to draw a line under the chaos and disorder of Messrs Johnson and Truss. Instead, the fire within the Conservative Party simply smouldered beneath the surface, and since the slates on Langgarth fell those political flames have returned to destabilise yet another Tory administration at the worst possible time.

For decades, the UK Conservative Party traded on a supposedly in-built tendency for stability. Any scholar of political history will scoff at the very idea, and could rightfully point to countless examples of this theory coming very firmly off the rails. Yet in the popular consciousness it has held true in far too many conversations and minds.

Far from the ‘Chaos with Ed Miliband’ as predicted in the ‘golden era’ of 2015, the internal drama of Europe has perhaps permanently scarred the internal machinations and factions of the UK Tories, to the point of ex-Prime Ministers remaining active, aloof and allegedly working against the fortunes of Number 10’s present incumbent. Throw in a dose of culture wars, conflict in Ukraine and the Middle East, the ongoing struggles against climate change and a cost of living crisis, and the chickens really have come home to roost for Sunak and his colleagues.

His latest wheeze is a war on the disabled, the sick and the vulnerable. He continues down the road of no return with his doomed Rwanda scheme – human rights, costs and international law be damned.

With the English local elections rapidly approaching on May 2nd, the Tories polling dreadfully at every level and 64 of his own MPs bowing out at the next election, there are rumours abound whether he will or won’t go early. I think he should go – permanently, and the sooner, the better. Bring on a UK General Election, and consign these chancers to the footnotes of history.

And for anyone thinking Labour offers change, look harder – even this week they refused an offer from the EU to recreate freedom of movement across the EU for young people. Limited yes, but a step forward from where we are.

Scotland has a better choice. Independence in Europe will put rocket boosters on our recovery from Covid and will be the shot in the arm our economy and society badly need, both locally here in Stirling and Scotland-wide too.