Posted on June 7th, 2023
by Rab Bruce’s Spider
Unsurprisingly, the House of Commons voted to suspend Margaret Ferrier MP for 30 days, thus almost certainly triggering a by-election in the constituency of Rutherglen & Hamilton West. I can’t say I have a great deal of sympathy for her, but it is interesting to note who voted in the decision. Barely a third of the total number of MPs took part, suggesting either that the majority didn’t care very much, or that they cared a great deal not to be seen to be passing judgement on such a highly charged case. And the reason it is highly charged has little to do with Margaret Ferrier’s blunder, and everything to do with the precedent this vote has created. It can be inferred from the fact that 40 Tory MPs voted against her suspension. This is because they know only too well that Boris Johnson broke lock down rules in an even more outrageous way than Margaret Ferrier did. These Tories actually seem to have developed a tiny bit of self-awareness, and realised that they could hardly vote against her when they fully intend to back Boris Johnson to the hilt despite his flagrant breaches of his own Covid rules.
So self-interest was at play in that vote, although the outcome was inevitable despite Tory attempts to fudge things. And self-interest also seems to be at play in the furore over Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme. We know that the Tory Government has completely switched its position on the inclusion of glass in any such scheme, but the reasons for that switch are only now becoming apparent. Of course, it may be complete coincidence that Tory politicians have received hospitality from drinks’ companies who oppose the inclusion of glass, or own very large shareholdings in companies who oppose the inclusion of glass, or that a lobby group representing companies who oppose the inclusion of glass has made a large donation to the Tory Party. But it is a hell of a coincidence. There may be perfectly valid reasons for excluding glass, especially when we already have a system of bottle banks, but I can’t help thinking that the Tory reasons are mostly inspired by self-interest. But then, that lies at the heart of Tory philosophy, and the only way Scotland can ever escape being controlled by people who hold that attitude is to become a normal, self-governing country.