By Rab Bruce’s Spider

In previous posts on this site, I have had occasion to refer readers to the list compiled by Umberto Eco of the traits of a fascist government. You can check this list at:

Of the 14 points listed, I reckon the current UK Government meets 11. Others may come to a different answer, but comparing the UK against the list makes for alarming reading.

Of course, the UK has always been a very Right Wing state. After all, you don’t build a world-spanning empire by being nice and cuddly. Many of the things done in the name of Empire were quite horrific, yet many UK citizens – sorry, subjects – still don’t know about them.

Given those traditions, it’s not really a surprise that the likes of Nigel Farage, aided by the media, were able to drag UK politics ever further towards extremism. Whether you call the current Government fascist probably depends on how you interpret the meaning of that word, but I must admit that, while they certainly tick a lot of boxes on Eco’s list, the truth is that they are actually not very good at being fascists.

The Dominic Cummings scandal has exposed just how bumbling and incompetent this Government is. Yes, they remain cruel, heartless and corrupt, but they simply don’t seem to have grasped how Right Wing extremist Governments behave. Being British, they are perhaps hampered by the need to retain a veneer of democracy, for there have been plenty of extreme measures put through quietly, but bungling incompetence remains the overarching theme. This has become so obvious thanks to Boris Johnson’s refusal (at time of writing) to sack Dominic cummings for his flagrant breaches of the Lock Down rules, that even the Daily Mail is questioning their competence. When that happens, surely the writing is on the wall?

But, while I agree wholeheartedly that Cummings should be dismissed, it’s maybe worth thinking a bit about the consequences, so I thought I’d engage in a bit of crystal ball gazing.

For starters, even if Cummings does go, either through being dismissed or resigning, that won’t be the end of him. He’ll soon be back, either even more deeply behind the scenes, or being brought back in a few months as an alleged reformed character. (See also Priti Patel & Liam Fox).

Secondly, if Boris Johnson does sack him, that may offer the Bungler in Chief a slight reprieve, but he and his clownish Ministers are so hapless that some other scandal will soon come to light. Sooner or later, Johnson will probably be forced out.

And what happens then? It’s very doubtful there would be a General Election. Even if there was, the voters of England would no doubt rally behind the next Tory extremist who stepped up to the plate. More likely, though, is that we will have another Tory Party leadership contest. Will it be Michael Gove, or will it be Michael Gove? One thing we can be fairly sure of under his leadership is that we will see the UK veering even more to the Right.

And let’s not forget that the Brexit clock continues to tick.

Don’t get me wrong. I’d love to see Boris Johnson step down or be pushed out, but he is merely the latest symptom in the UK disease. Even if, for the sake of argument, there was to be a General Election and Labour won, things would not change all that much. On the face of it, there may be cosmetic changes, and it must be said that Keir Starmer would almost certainly perform better and more decisively than Boris Johnson, but let’s face it – that’s a pretty low bar we’re setting. Starmer is part of the system. While he would be an improvement in many respects, the fundamental problems with the UK would not be swept away with him as Prime Minister. The fact is that the UK is, and has been for a long time, a failing state, wrapped up in dreams of past glories which were anything but glorious when you scratch beneath the surface. It is obsessed with its own sense of exceptionalism, and it is one of the most unequal states in the world.

The Cummings debacle has opened the eyes of many people to some of the systemic problems. Perhaps it will also open the eyes of more Scots to the solution which was first made available in 2014 which, sadly, we did not take because too many were persuaded by the lies they were told. There have been many more lies since then. Surely people can see that? As soon as the current crisis has passed, the SNP really need to grasp the thistle and let us have some positive steps towards becoming a normal country.