THE Scottish Tories’ efforts to row back on the Prime Minister’s “disaster” claims have been absolutely stunning.
Boris Johnson described devolution as a “disaster” and Tony Blair’s “biggest mistake” during a Zoom meeting with northern English MPs this week – prompting anger across the political spectrum.
Senior Scottish Tories are reportedly furious with the comment, but it hasn’t stopped them doing everything they can to try and clean up the Prime Minister’s mess.
Apparently Johnson didn’t mean devolution was a disaster, which is, er, what he said. What he MEANT to say was that the SNP government, which came along years after devolution, was a disaster.
And given the fact that the SNP governments have only been there because the electorate voted for them, it’s starting to sound a little bit like Johnson just thinks democracy is a disaster in general.
Gary Robertson asked Dumfriesshire MSP Oliver Mundell if he was “furious” with the Prime Minister’s language.
“No, I’m not furious,” he told the programme. “What I’m furious about is that we’ve had 13 years of an SNP government here in Scotland intent on ripping apart the United Kingdom, who refuse to focus on the issues that matter to people here in Scotland.”
Robertson interrupted: “So if you’re not furious, do you agree with the Prime Minister then?”
“I agree with the sentiment that the Prime Minister was getting at,” Mundell said. “That 13 years of a separatist government in Edinburgh has tried to exploit devolution for its own ends to try and break up the United Kingdom. That’s not been good for people in Scotland.”
It’s amazing how they’ve rewritten the script to make it seem like the Tory leader said something entirely different to what he said, isn’t it? And very convenient that what they all imagined he said fits very nicely with the Scottish Tories’ own campaign lines.
“So in saying that devolution is a disaster, he’s ultimately saying that the choices the electorate have made have been a disaster,” Robertson pointed out succinctly.
“Well we’ve got a minority SNP government here,” Mundell said. [Not for long if months of opinion polls are anything to go by.] He hit out at the BBC for not mentioning that enough.
“So it’s the electorate’s fault and it’s the media’s fault now?” Robertson asked the MSP.
“No I don’t think that,” Mundell insisted before repeating the usual SNPBad attack lines.
“So can we sum this up perhaps by saying that what the Prime Minister actually meant here was that in 20 years of devolution we’ve had three of the parties at Holyrood forming a government and not the Conservatives – and that’s the disaster, the public have not chosen the Conservatives,” Robertson asked the MSP.
“I don’t think so, I think the real disaster has been in the last 13 years –“ Mundell replied, almost verbatim his response to the earlier questions.
In response Mundell insisted that Ross was “right to make the case that every single member of the Conservative Party, whichever part of the United Kingdom they represent, has to put the Union first”.
Robertson was frustrated as he told the MSP that was not the question he asked.
The minutes-long interview felt like it went on for hours.
What do these Scottish Tories hope to achieve with these bizarre rewritings of history as they defend a man they know is helping to boost support for independence?