THE eternal splintering of the left into factions, destined seemingly to fall together through time in mutual suspicion and recrimination, has always invited ridicule. Yet, there’s something pleasingly honest about this. Those who favour societal change from the bottom rung upwards care about the impact of feral capitalism on the lives of our poorest people and on their communities. As such, they care too about constructing models for what will come afterwards so that they endure and be future-proofed against capitalism. They care enough to fall out.

The processes of the Conservative right are rarely subject to such internal strife. Theirs is a more narrow focus that affords fewer opportunities for division. All paths along the conservative way will soon converge into two: how to make more money and acquire more property more easily and how to keep it in the hands of the fewest possible number of people. Nothing else matters.

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I don’t actually despise those ancient families who seek to maintain their hegemony but I do despise those from far lower down the economic food chain who willingly act as their chambermaids and butlers.

Those who favour a more collective approach to addressing the endemic inequality that disfigures UK society have had a bad week. In England, the final triumph of the Labour centrists was confirmed by the decision to re-admit Jeremy Corbyn into the party but to prevent him taking his place at parliament. Its transition into a fringe party of the populist right was completed with Sir Keir Starmer’s endorsement of the Conservatives’ £16.5bn increase in defence spending. The Labour leader has effectively become the UK Government’s junior minister for the Opposition and the 22nd member of Boris Johnson’s cabinet. The Labour Party as we once knew it has ceased to exist.

In Scotland, Anas Sarwar, freshly restored to a position on Scottish Labour’s front bench marked the event with a beauty. He wants the Scottish people to decide their own fate in a second referendum, but not until 2026 when he thinks they’re mature enough to be trusted. Mr Sarwar has effectively taken his party out of any meaningful role in Scottish politics for another five years. Who knows: maybe by then the family firm from which he derives his fortune will be paying all of their lowest-paid workers the real Living Wage. Hell, they might even be allowed to join a union.

At Holyrood, while everyone was looking in the direction of the new lockdown restrictions, the SNP were doing what they do best: talking left and tacking to the right. They opposed a motion proposed by the Scottish Greens that called for an end to driven grouse moors. In doing so they dutifully bent the knee to their friends in Scotland’s landed aristocracy and the Countryside Alliance. Those who think this party is governing for the majority of the Scottish people are delusional.

In 20 years of devolved government in Scotland, dominated by left-leaning administrations, nothing has been done to halt the levelling of our industrial base. The great grandchildren of those who were menaced by capitalism and free market eugenics in the 1920s and 1930s now find themselves patronised by the indolent managerial class who have effected a sleepy takeover of Holyrood.

This collection of entitled mediocrities, both Labour and the SNP, have between them destroyed the life-chances of generations of school pupils by tinkering with the curriculum so that Scottish pupils are now among the least literate and innumerate in Europe. They couldn’t even put in place a fair system of examination when coronavirus forced a re-think.

Somehow, the devolved era has produced a political class that favours gestures and grand-standing more than anything which might improve the life chances of those who live in our most deprived neighbourhoods. Instead they choose to gas-light these communities, criminalising them and despising them for their poverty instead of lifting them out of it.

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It produces punitive Hate Crime legislation – the crack cocaine of all oppressive governments – by targeting free expression and the authentic right to choose, rather than have the right choices imposed upon them. And all of it prosecuted by a ridiculously incompetent single police force which somehow always manages to escape a public inquiry into their secrets.

The jobs are still disappearing; industries and factories are shutting and the mortality rate remains steadfastly high in our most disadvantaged communities. But this matters less than the narcissistic posturing that accompanies the new politics of identity. Mis-gender the wrong person and you’ll pay with your career and, soon, your liberty. But if you lose your job by corporate-driven, market forces they won’t lift a finger to help you.

In Fife and on Stornoway they have abandoned the Bifab workers and the working-class communities of Methil and Burntisland, their promises of a renewables job bonanza exposed as a chimera to win votes. They retreat behind questionable legalities and European state aid legislation which will be obsolete in two months. They had neither the wit, imagination or will to make good Scotland’s advantages in wind energy. But hey; there’s no more cheap booze; the foxes run wild and there are free baby-boxes.

In Scotland no major political party now exists that favours socialism. As such, devolution has failed the great majority of its citizens. There was a hope at the outset that a new approach would emerge, tailored to the needs of the many in key areas of Scottish life – health, education and justice. Instead, devolution has become a jobs factory for a dismal and craven managerial class devoid of intelligence and creativity and fearful of risk.

Scotland now needs, more than ever, a new pro-independence party that actually wants to re-make the rules that have always governed society. The old party of independence has betrayed the Yes movement. It chooses only to ridicule and defame the voices of the left who are calling for new ideas and fresh thinking to fill the cavernous policy vacuum that exists at its centre. Yet, we keep voting for these people. So what does that make us?

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